The Price of Appeasement
Vol: 80 Issue: 24 Saturday, May 24, 2008
Last month, former US president Jimmy Carter defied the US-led diplomatic boycott of Hamas by meeting with its leaders in Damascus, Syria.
After the meeting, according to the mainstream media, he ‘stunned’ the world by announcing he had reached a breakthrough with the terrorist group.
Carter announced that he had received assurances from Hamas that they would accept a two-state solution, should one be negotiated by Abbas and then ratified by a public referendum.
“This is enormous,” says Gershon Baskin, copresident of the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information. “It’s the first indication that Hamas is turning its back on its own covenant of never recognizing Israel.”
It’s always ‘enormous’ — to someone — when Hamas makes a new promise of peace, or even a promise to promise to consider peace with Israel.
The reason that it would be enormous, (if they ever went past the ‘promise’ stage) is because the charter establishing Hamas gives it only one reason for existing.
Hamas isn’t a social welfare group, although it does community service work. It isn’t a political group, although it holds seats in the Palestinian parliament. It isn’t a charitable group, although it does charitable work.
Hamas doesn’t exist to do good works, it does good works in order to exist — so that it can fulfill its existential purpose — the destruction of Israel.
Hamas, the acronym of the Islamic Resistance Movement, emerged out of the Gaza Strip branch of the Muslim Brotherhood shortly after the beginning of the first Palestinian intifada (“uprising”) in 1987.
Hamas’ professed aim is to establish an Islamic state in all of Palestine (that is, Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip).
By its charter, Hamas cannot accept a two-state solution (that is, an Israeli state living side-by-side and at peace with a Palestinian state).
Accepting a two-state solution requires acknowledging there are two states. Hamas cannot recognize Israel without amending its charter to remove its reason for being.
For Hamas to accept a two-state solution would be akin to amending the US Constitution to acknowledge Great Britain’s right to rule the American colonies. In such a case, the United States of America would have no reason to exist.
Recognizing the existence of a Jewish state, even as an adjunct to obtaining Palestinian statehood, would undermine Hamas as an Islamic organization and render it obsolete.
There can be no room for compromise with an enemy whose existence depends on your destruction. The Israelis understand that. Carter does not.
Within days of Carter’s visit and his assurances that Hamas was ready to commit ideological suicide, a truck loaded with four TONS of explosives attempted to ram its way through the Eretz Crossing into Israel.
The driver was killed by IDF forces before he could reach the crossing, but the truck exploded on the Gaza side of the border, blowing a crater in the street in an explosion that could be heard 18 miles away. And the Hamas-Jimmy Carter Appeasement Process was over before it started — to no one’s surprise.
Except, possibly, Jimmy Carter’s.
If there were ever a politician who should understand the price of appeasement, it ought to be Jimmy Carter. The cost of his appeasement of the Iranian revolutionaries by deporting the Shah, then gravely ill with cancer, is still being felt today.
When Carter took office in 1977, the Shah of Iran was one of America’s staunchest allies in the region. Carter asked for an in-depth report on Iran even before he assumed the reins of government and was persuaded that the shah was not fit to rule Iran.
In 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini sparked the Iranian Revolution, Carter pressured the shah to make what he termed human rights concessions by releasing political prisoners and relaxing press censorship.
Khomeini could never have succeeded without Carter. The Islamic Revolution would have been stillborn.
Carter accused the Shah of torturing political prisoners, stifling human rights, and executing political opponents. To underscore his displeasure with the Shah’s human rights record, he withdrew US support for the Pahlavi regime, encouraging Iran’s revolutionaries.
After finally being deposed in October, 1979, the Shah was reluctantly granted a limited visa for treatment at the Cornell University Medical Center in New York. In response, Iran seized the US Embassy, taking 52 American hostages.
Carter quickly booted the Shah out of the country. But Carter’s efforts to appease the Ayatollah went nowhere and the hostage crisis dragged on.
When the Shah died in Egypt in 1980, the Pahlavi Dynasty died with him.
During his campaign, Ronald Reagan assured the American public that, if elected, he “would not bargain with barbarians.” The implication was not lost on the Ayatollah.
On January 20, 1980, as Ronald Reagan was taking the oath of office in Washington, Ayatollah Khomeini was hurriedly loading his hostages on a plane bound for Ramstein AFB in Germany.
But by then, the Shah was dead, his regime scattered, and the Islamic Republic of Iran was well-entrenched as that country’s legally recognized government. All Reagan could do then was try to contain what Carter left behind.
Let’s add up the cost of Jimmy Carter’s appeasement policy so far:
In 1975, Saddam Hussein attempted to invade Iran following a dispute over the Shatt al-Arab River. The Shah beat back his forces in just four days, forcing Saddam to sign a treaty between the two countries.
In 1980, Saddam abrogated the treaty, reinvaded Iran, launching the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War that claimed a million lives on both sides.
The Shah was a staunch anti-Communist and a key US ally. After the collapse of the Pahlavi Dynasty, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, hoping to use Afghanistan as a springboard to taking over Iran’s warm-water ports in the Persian Gulf.
Invading Afghanistan is something the Soviets would never have dared to consider — prior to the Shah’s fall.
The Iran-Iraq war would not have taken place if the Shah had still remained in power. Neither would the invasion of Afghanistan, which gave rise to both the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Nor is it likely that Saddam would have made his move against Kuwait, had there been a US-friendly Pahlavi regime next door in Iran. The First Gulf War, with its attending casualties, would not have been necessary. Nor the 12 year air war over the Iraq ‘no-fly’ zone.
Osama bin-Laden would not have risen to power as leader of the anti-Soviet Afghani mujahadeen, so the September 11 attacks may never have happened.
The War in Afghanistan would not have taken place in 2002. The 2003 invasion of Iraq would not have been necessary.
The cost of appeasing Islamic terrorists by abandoning the Shah comes to more than a million dead in four wars, thirty years of Iranian-backed Islamic terrorism, the total collapse of US influence in the region, and the relative certainty of at least one more war in the Middle East.
Totally oblivious to his legacy thus far, Carter continues to promote appeasement as the best way to deal with threats like Hamas, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, North Korea — with the unrestricted support of the American Left, including at least two presidential candidates.
The current crop of appeasers don’t get it any better than Jimmy Carter does or Neville Chamberlain did.
Chamberlain’s political nemesis, Winston Churchill, tried to explain it to his contemporaries in 1938, but the British didn’t get it then, either. Churchill equated appeasement with “continuing to feed the crocodile in the vain hope that it will eat you last.”
History proved Churchill right and Chamberlain wrong. As it will George Bush and Jimmy Carter.
When the offer is peace at any price, the price is far too high.