Democrats Complain: “Appeasement Is a Synonym For Democrat!”
Vol: 80 Issue: 16 Friday, May 16, 2008
President Bush used a speech to the Israeli parliament on Thursday to liken those who would negotiate with “terrorists and radicals” to those who appeased the Nazis in the months before the outbreak of World War II.
History identifies the two most egregious appeasers as British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and French president Edouard Daladier following their famous Munich Agreement.
The two leaders met in Munich with Adolf Hitler on September 29, 1938 to hammer out an ‘agreement’ that would prevent war from breaking out.
When talks with Hitler over the Sudetenland broke down Hitler gave Britain and France an ultimatum of 2pm on 28 September, after which he said he would invade Czechoslovakia. It looked like war was inevitable. Then Mussolini stepped in and proposed a 4-power conference.
The four leaders were Chamberlain, Deladier, Hitler and Mussolini, representing England, France, Germany and Italy. Czechoslovakia, whose fate was being determined at that meeting, and Russia, who guaranteed Czech security, were not invited to participate.
When Chamberlain returned to England, he held up the paper signed by Hitler and declared its existence guaranteed that “we shall have peace in our time.”
The paper, bearing Hitler’s signature, read: “We regard the agreement signed last night as symbolic of the desire of our two people never to go to war with each other again.”
The British public went wild; one lady proclaimed that Chamberlain had ‘given her back her son’ – meaning her son would not have to go off and fight a war with the Germans.
History says that Hitler broke the agreement with his invasion of Poland in 1939, but in point of fact, he did not.
Only Winston Churchill and few British parliamentarians recognized that all the paper really said was that the parties did not want to go to war. It contained no promise that they would not.
So, that is the backstory behind Bush’s speech to the Knesset. The Chamberlain/Deladier Munich Agreement that appeased Hitler by giving away Czechoslovakia.
It didn’t prevent war. It didn’t even forestall it. Hitler wasn’t ready in 1938 — he needed more time to prepare his forces.
The Munich Agreement gave it to him. Less than a year later, on September 2, 1939, when he believed his forces were ready, he ordered them into Poland, firing the opening shots of the Second World War.
According to transcripts of the Bush speech to the Israeli Knesset, what the president actually said was this:
“Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided. We have an obligation to call this what it is the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.
We’ve already looked into the historical backstory — now let’s take a look at the venue. George Bush was addressing the Israeli parliament to mark the occasion of Israel’s sixtieth birthday.
One can draw a straight line directly from Chamberlain’s Munich Agreement to the rebirth of Israel in 1948. Israel was founded by the survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, in direct response to Hitler’s effort at genocide, and under the banner slogan of, “Never Again!”
Bush was addressing the threat posed by a nuclear Iran, whose leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, marked Israel’s birth by repeating his claim the Holocaust was ‘a myth.” Ahmadinejad noted Israel’s celebration of its sixtieth birthday in a speech in which he said;
“The Zionist regime is dying. The criminals assume that by holding celebrations they can save the sinister Zionist regime from death and annihilation.”
The Democrats went ballistic. But not over Ahmadinejad’s threats against Israel. Instead, they targeted Bush’s historical observations about appeasement.
“What I see emerging in this campaign is an ugly pattern I quite frankly find disturbing and I think is threatening our national security,” said Sen. Joseph Biden.
“We should not be engaging in the parliaments of other nations, making political points against your opponents that are outrageous.” (Is Bush running again? If so, is Bush running against Neville Chamberlain?)
Leaving aside the fact that virtually every major Bush political opponent, from Bill Clinton to Jimmy Carter to half the Democratic Congressional Caucus, has gone abroad to criticize the Bush administration, let’s take Biden at his word (at least for the moment), and break the Bush statement down into its component elements.
Bush mentioned Nazis. He mentioned Poland. He mentioned an unnamed senator of unknown party affiliation who was evidently in office seventy years ago. Bush mentioned Hitler. And he said that history proves appeasement does not work.
Hillary Clinton called Bush’s original comments “offensive and outrageous, especially in light of his failures in foreign policy.”
Barack Obama called the Bush speech — to Israel about the events of seventy years ago that led to Israel’s re-establishment in 1948, remember — a “false political attack” aimed against him.
Obama issued a statement in which he said it was “sad” that Bush used the speech to take ‘a partisan shot’.
“George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists, and the president’s extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel.”
(I could do a whole ‘nuther column listing the number of times Obama has promised to meet with terrorist leaders ‘without precondition’ but that’s grist for another mill.)
This one is about the Democrats seeing themselves reflected in Bush’s recollection of Chamberlain, the Munich Agreement and the historical price of appeasement and the fact that THEY were the first ones to make the connection.
The most amazing statement — the one that floored me — was the one made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “We have a protocol, sort of a custom, informally around here that we don’t criticize the president when he is on foreign soil.”
We DO? Does that mean that the visits to Baghdad by Democrats in the months before the 2003 Iraq invasion where they accused the White House of trumping up a case for war so that America could steal Iraqi oil was a violation of that protocol?
Or when Bill Clinton went to England to criticize the Bush administration during the 2004 election? And what about Jimmy Carter? He not only made a post-presidential career out of criticizing the US government, he won a Nobel Peace Prize for it.
But leaving that aside, the president is still George Bush, not Barack Obama. And Bush was the president when Nancy Pelosi defied the White House and traveled to Syria to criticize the White House from Syrian soil.
Evidently, that ‘informal protocol’ must be something new.
Here’s the irony. Bush didn’t accuse any living human being of appeasement. Not Obama. Not Clinton. Not Pelosi. Nor Democratic lawmakers Bonior, McDermott, Durbin, Kennedy, Biden, or any other Democrat who immediately self-identified with Bush’s description of appeasers.
You have the quote. He didn’t refer to any living American, and made no reference to any American political party or contest. He was addressing Israel, on the occasion of its sixtieth anniversary, about the European policy of appeasement that was ultimately responsible for bringing about its rebirth.
Yet the mainstream liberal media; NYTimes, Washington Post, LATimes, USAToday, Newsday, Newsweek, TIME, CNN, etc., etc. immediately assumed that Bush was talking about the Democrats (and them).
Frankly, I admit that I immediately saw the connection between Bush’s denunciation of appeasement and the Democrat’s proposed foreign policy — but that is because I believe that they are appeasers.
And that is the point. If the Democrats truly don’t believe that they are advocating appeasement as future Democratic foreign policy, then why would they think that appeasement is a synonym for Democrat?
And if they do, then what’s all the hubbub about?
The Scriptures say; “The wicked flee where no man pursueth: but the righteous are as a bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1) I will leave it to you to sort out which is which.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out.