Appeasement: A Historically Failed Foreign Policy Approach

On September 30, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain waved a piece of paper to the cheering crowd gathered at Heston Aerodrome. He had just flown back from Germany, and that paper had the signatures of himself, and German Chancellor Adolf Hitler. They had signed the Munich Agreement. In essence, it allowed Germany to annex the Sudetanland in western Czechoslovakia, in exchange for no more land grabs or aggression from Germany. "I have returned from Germany with peace for our time", declared a jubilant Chamberlain. His harshest critic, Winston Churchill, responded, "You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war." Churchill was right. On September 1, 1939, German panzers rolled into Poland in a "Blitzkrieg", a lightening war, and took over Poland. Two days later, Britain and France declared war on Germany. What Chamberlain and the rest of Europe found out, was that appeasement never works and has dire consequences. That is a historical fact and an insightful truth.

Now fast forward some 75 years in time. Does history repeat itself if we fail to learn from it? Repeat, maybe not. Does it give us a good precursor of what might happen? Absolutely yes. The Obama Administration negotiated a Nuclear Deal with Iran and it was agreed to in July 2015. The intent of the deal is to stop Iran from continuing their pursuit of a nuclear weapons program. It gives Iran billions of dollars and lifts sanctions and restrictions against them, in exchange, Iran has to cut their centrifuges by two-thirds and eliminate their stockpiles of uranium. They also agreed not to build any new heavy-water facilities. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be monitoring all of the Iranian nuclear facilities, and Iran agreed to allow them regular access to check and verify that they are abiding by the terms of the agreement. Unfortunately, much like Germany and Hitler, the Iranians aren't interested in following rules. They are funneling that money into continuing terrorist activities against the United States and Europe, and are giving President Obama the middle finger now. Iran got what they wanted, the lifting of sanctions and restrictions against them, and the easy access to billions of dollars. They have no need to follow the terms of the agreement anymore. Recent reports have noted that Iran is consulting with Russia and North Korea as they boldly continue with their pursuit of nuclear weapons. Pandora's box has been opened, and time will tell just how much history will repeat itself.

Why has the policy of appeasement failed? It is quite logical actually. Much like a parent who has kids knows all too well. If you bargain with your kids, and continue to give in to their demands, they will take and take. At some point, you have to have a backbone and stop the aggression. History proves and has shown us, that you can't appease evil. They know no rules. You can't just bake a cake and sing kumbaya. There is no safety or security when you embark on a foreign policy strategy of appeasement. You end up kicking the can down the road and just postponing the inevitable confrontation, and quite honestly, making the confrontation and the consequences much more dire and costly. Iran is the latest example, and the Germany of today. Will we learn the lessons from the 1930's or will we have to again face the horrible consequences that result from the historically failed foreign policy approach of appeasement?


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