1938 REDUX

John Leo points out some interesting parallels between Europe’s policies toward Hitler in 1938 and toward Saddam today

Europe’s cowardice and appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s are similar to France and Germany’s sad performance today. The ’30s appeaser in chief–British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain–drew applause on all sides for capitulating at Munich and was said to deserve a Nobel Peace Prize, just as Jacques Chirac has been mentioned for the prize now. Then, as now, France had a weak leader unruffled by growing danger abroad and rising antisemitism at home. . . .in 1938, Hitler had been reneging on the First World War peace treaty for only two years, compared with Saddam Hussein’s 12 years of defying the terms of the U.N.’s Gulf War cease-fire. Then, as now, the fearful argued that a murderous tyrant may have terrible new weapons, but, after all, he hasn’t turned them on us yet. The arguments for doing nothing were eerily like Western Europe’s today, even down to the insistence that the comatose League of Nations was the true savior of world peace.

And, this pretty much sums up Bill Clinton’s foreign policy record:

President Clinton got it right, verbally at least, in 1998. He said then that Iraq was “a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists, drug traffickers, or organized criminals.” In urging strong action on Iraq, the Washington Post referred to Clinton’s words as “perceptive but ultimately empty” because they led to no meaningful action.

Excellent piece. Read it all. (via RCP)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.