President Barack Obama’s latest initiative to reduce sanctions against Iran in return for Teheran’s promise to pull back on its nuclear program points to an astounding level of naivete and a singular lack of attention to history.
Seventy-five years ago, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared that the Munich agreement he had just signed with Adolf Hitler represented “peace with honor”. He set an historical precedent that should never be forgotten. “I believe,” he said, “it is peace for our time.” It was just the opposite.
Chamberlain told the people of Britain what they wanted to hear, and they gave him a hero’s welcome when he returned to England. They preferred his hopeful message to the more ominous warning of Winston Churchill, who saw the dark horizon of the coming dawn. He warned the British people, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.”
Churchill was right, and Chamberlain was tragically wrong. By the time World War II ended in 1945, over 50 million people had died, millions at the hands of the Nazis, and millions more the casualties of the war and the accompanying brutality that left a long trail of dead, wounded, and permanently scarred.
The events of today are eerily reminiscent of the prelude to World War II. America and the world face a threat no less catastrophic than that which the Nazis represented in 1938. We are faced with similar choices and our leaders are making the same mistakes. They have apparently learned nothing from history.
The enemy is Iran and the Islamist threat to the free world that Iran represents. As Hitler did in the 1930s, the Iranians have repeatedly made their plans for the Middle East and the rest of the Western world abundantly clear. They have openly vowed to annihilate Israel and to destroy the United States. Their plan for global domination in a world governed under Shariah law has never been a secret.
Nevertheless, the Obama administration has ignored the many warnings, dismissing the public threats, and opting instead for a policy of appeasement towards the Iranian government. The latest round of talks in Geneva between Iran and the P5-Plus 1 is just one more round in this diplomatic fiasco. Even while it placed economic sanctions against Iran, the Obama administration gave waivers to at least 19 governments, allowing them to ignore the sanctions and continue doing business with the rogue regime.
Two things are clear: the first is that while the sanctions have hurt the Iranian people in many ways, they have had little effect on Iran’s nuclear program. Secondly, Iran has been using the long and wearing process of negotiations to delay a confrontation while they complete their race to become a nuclear power. And rather than defeating their stalling tactics with a tough foreign policy that takes these stalling tactics into account, the President is following a path of giving in to our enemies and compromising the security of our allies, like Israel and Saudi Arabia, whom Iran has repeatedly threatened.
The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds the real reins of power in Iran, recently told a group of Iranian students that he was not optimistic the talks would succeed. Why should he be when he has been sabotaging them from the outset?
On the anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the American Embassy in Teheran, thousands of Iranians took to the streets. They celebrated the day by torching countless American flags, burning President Obama in effigy, waving anti-U.S. banners, and chanting “death to America”. Even the press cards of reporters were printed with the message “Down with the USA”.
This was not a spontaneous demonstration. It was sanctioned at the highest levels of the Iranian government. Coming only days before the Geneva conference, the message could not have been clearer. But once again, it was ignored in Washington.
Not unlike Hitler in 1938, Iran has made its intentions very clear – to destroy western civilization, with particular emphasis on the US and Israel. Yet what should have been more than enough warning for the Obama administration, seems to have had little impact. In a show of incredible naivete, the administration believes the lies that come out of Teheran, but ignores the truth, even when they make it abundantly obvious.
It is not a small matter that we fail to recognize (or even admit) the Iranian threat against us. Our willingness to compromise our principles so easily, shows the Iranian government that we lack commitment, thereby destroying any negotiating advantage we might otherwise have.
The unintended consequences of our policy are likely to lead the world into a new reality in which the balance of power in the Middle East suddenly shifts dramatically. What we have to do to change the outcome begins with understanding the danger and we are running out of time. A nuclear Iran will initiate an arms race among its neighbors. The region will live on a hair trigger, waiting for that first random spark that will unleash a nuclear catastrophe from which none of us will truly recover.
Iran is now on a short path to achieve its nuclear ambitions. If it says it will curtail its enrichment program, it is most likely because it has already accomplished that part of its goals.
If we think Iran will not follow through on its threats, we are sadly mistaken. They have proven time and time again that they lie and deceive when they perceive it is in their interest to do so. They have also proven their cruelty and inhumanity in countless ways.
By choosing a path of appeasement to Iran’s megalomania and following in the footsteps of Chamberlain, the Obama administration is paving the way for a nuclear World War III, initiated by an Iran whom we helped to arm.