Karl Marx said, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” A short travel through history reveals that it keeps repeating itself as tragedy after tragedy because we stubbornly refuse to learn from it. British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli returned from Berlin in 1878 stating, “I have returned from Germany with peace for our time.” That peace ended with World War I.
British statesman Neville Chamberlain proclaimed “peace for our time” after signing an agreement with Hitler in Munich in 1938, an agreement that was praised and celebrated in Europe and across the Atlantic. In a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King, President Franklin Roosevelt wrote, “I can assure you that we in the United States rejoice with you, and the world at large, that the outbreak of war was averted.” The New York Daily News declared, “Hitler has made a significant gesture toward peace.” The “significant gesture toward peace” ended up with the World War II and fifty million dead, including six million Jews.
Echoing those two delusional optimists, President of the United States Barack Obama proclaimed after signing the Geneva Agreement with Iran that the U.S. and allied diplomacy “opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure.” Time will prove the president’s political blindness and lack of historical perspective. The Geneva Agreement has all the underpinnings of the Munich Agreement. Just as in 1930 the world failed to stop Hitler, while the viper was still in its crib, and tolerated Germany’s violations of the Treaties of Vesalius to allow her to re-arm, the world de facto allowed Iran to ignore United Nations Security Council resolutions and continue the development of a nuclear weapon. Just as Brittan sold out Czechoslovakia in 1938 to appease Hitler, the United States sold out Israel in 2013 to appease Iran, with one subtle difference: Israel will not surrender the way Czechoslovakia did.
According to Secretary of State John Kerry, the United States enters into negotiations with Iran “with eyes absolutely wide open. We have no illusions.” The historical precedents and political prudence would tell us otherwise. Here are just a few examples:
- Illusion #1. Just as Iran was about to sink into chaos, the United States and its European allies offered her a helping hand. Kerry insists that if Iran violates the agreement it can be reversed and sanctions could be re-applied. The folly of this argument is that nothing in this world is more permanent than something temporary. The administration will never recognize its failure, and Obama supporters will insist on further softening the sanctions in order to provide Iran with more incentive to comply. Just as with Hitler in the 1930s, the slippery slope of appeasement will prove to be irreversible and will continue until the sanction regime crumbles or Iran obtains a nuclear bomb, whichever comes first.
- Illusion #2. In Geneva, Kerry said of the agreement, “It will make our ally Israel safer.“ Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, does not share Mr. Kerry’s Chamberlain-ish optimism. Netanyahu called the agreement “a historic mistake.” What can John Kerry, an amateur in international diplomacy, and his boss possibly know that Benjamin Netanyahu, a highly experienced politician and a recognized expert on Middle East relations, does not? Kerry also said, “It will make our partners in the region safer.“ It is not clear which of the U.S. partners in the Middle East he is referring to. Netanyahu is not alone in criticizing the agreement; the Saudis do not like it, the Jordanians do not like it, and who does??? The Iranians and Syrians do, not surprisingly.
- Illusion #3. Kerry said, “Put to the test what Iran’s real intentions are.“ It seems he and the president are the only two people in the world who do not know what Iran’s intentions are. Iran has been the chief world troublemaker for the last 30 years. If these two detached-from-reality peacemakers do not believe the Israelis, Saudis and Jordanians, the Iranians leave no doubts about their intentions. Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei attacked the United States, France and Israel, saying that “Zionist officials cannot be called humans, they are like animals,“ that “the Israeli regime is doomed to failure and annihilation,” that the “Zionist regime” is the “rabid dog of the region.” John Kerry, who suppressed his Jewishness, can afford to be dismissive but the Israelis no doubt remember Adolf Hitler’s, “The Jews are definitely a race, but they are not human.”
Realizing the weakness of his arguments, Kerry is desperately asking, “What is the alternative?” In doing so he is acknowledging that the administration is weak and has no stomach for stopping Iran from achieving its ultimate objective.
History is repeating itself. Just as Europeans’ weakness led to the Munich Agreement, which resulted in World War II, this agreement has laid ground for a new Middle East conflict. Pinned in a corner by the United States and chronically delusional Europeans Israel cannot afford to be a spectator in this unfolding drama that threatens its very existence.
The president called the agreement historic. It certainly is, but not in the way he intended. Rather, it reflects the president’s catastrophic failure of vision, how for the sake of political expediency he has fostered the conditions for nuclear war.
By Alexander G. Markovsky is a Russian émigré. He holds degrees in economics and political science from the University of Marxism-Leninism and an MS in structural engineering from Moscow University. He resides in Houston, Texas, with his wife and daughter, where he owns a consulting company specializing in the management of large international projects.