Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Doomed to repeat it?

The West may be on the verge of repeating one of the greatest blunders of history. Let us look at the similarities between Al Qaeda and the Nazis:

1. Before 1938, Hitler had set forth his plans for Europe. (Mein Kampf) Hitler openly said that he wanted to defeat France then turn on Russia to get living space for the German people.

1. Al Qaeda has set forth its plans too. (letter from Zarqawi to Al Qaeda) (Letter from Zawahiri to Zarqawi). In these letters, Al Qaeda discusses its plans -- to slaughter innocent Shiites in order to get the US to leave Iraq; and Zawahiri's plan, after the US is kicked out of Iraq, to establish a government there and, once that government is strong enough, to use it to create a "Jihad wave" in neighboring countries.

2. Before, 1938, the Nazis' murderous nature was already perfectly clear. (Night of the Long Knives; Kristallnacht)

2. Today, Al Qaeda's murderous nature is also well established (September 11; slaughter of 500 Yazidis by truck bomb; Africa embassy bombings)

3. In 1938, Hitler promised peace if he could only have part of Czechoslovakia. (at 3:30-3:50 in the video).

3. In 2006. Osama bin Laden promised a long-term truce if the US will only pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq and leave them under the control of Al Qaeda.

4. In 1938, the leader of the free world was Neville Chamberlain. Chamberlain was a pacifist. His convictions were deep and sincere -- he was even working on a book entitled "the struggle for peace"

4. In 2008, the leader of the free world is George W. Bush. He is not a pacifist. But Barack Obama has a good chance of becoming the next leader of the free world. He is a pacifist. And his plans for handling foreign policy bear an eerie resemblance to Chamberlain's.

5. In 1938, Chamberlain met with Hitler in an effort to solve Europe's problems.

5. Obama has said that if he is elected, he will meet, without preconditions, with the leaders of Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.

6. In 1938, Chamberlain's solution was to give Hitler control of part of Czechoslovakia in return for a promise of peace.

6. Today, Obama promises that if elected, he will pull US troops out of Iraq. This is exactly what Osama Bin Laden wants and was one of his preconditions for a "long term truce". Obama does also say that he will maintain some troops in the region for "targeted strikes" on Al Qaeda (in case Al Qaeda follows its stated plan of setting up a base in Iraq after US withdrawal). However, the realism of this approach is highly questionable. With lots of US troops in Iraq, the locals can feel confident in fighting against Al Qaeda. A few US troops at a far-away base would not inspire the same confidence.

In 1938, at Munich, the free world surrendered part of Czechoslovakia to Hitler in return for a false promise of peace. At the time, the decision was widely popular.

Today, there is a dangerous possibility that the US will surrender in Iraq, leaving the way open for Al Qaeda to take control of much or all of the country. This would be done in the false hope that it would bring peace. If the US does this, the decision will be widely popular.

Are we doomed to repeat history?


Banking Guy said...
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drake said...

One thing I wonder about is what could have Britain and France done during the 30's that would have prevented WW2?

Perhaps an invasion of Germany could have been done in the mid 30's when Germany's treaty violations started. Germany was probably weak enough then so it would have been possible with the full backing of Britain and France. But I'm sure most felt that those violations didn't justify a war.

Seems like much of the US foreign policy since WW2 has been shaped by the fear of repeating the 1930's, from the Cold War to the last 2 wars with Iraq and now with Al Qaeda.

I think we need to do more to show the evilness of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Somehow all of those 100's of suicide attacks against civilians get lost in a cloud of ancient sectarian violence.

One thing that's very difficult to show proof is the global danger of Al Qaeda, not just from terrorism, but from a point of view of a real war. Can they really take over nations like Iraq and Pakistan? Can they grow their support in the Arab nations like the Nazis did in Germany?