"A little learning is a dangerous thing," wrote
Daily, our 43rd president testifies to Pope's point.
Addressing the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's birth, Bush said
those who say we should negotiate with Iran or Hamas are like the fools who
said we should negotiate with Adolf Hitler.
"As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared,
'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.'
We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement."
Again, Bush has made a hash of history.
Appeasement is the name given to what Neville Chamberlain did at Munich in
September 1938. Rather than fight Germany in another great war – to keep 3.5
million Germans under a Czech rule they despised – he agreed to their peaceful
transfer to German rule. With these Germans went the lands their ancestors
had lived upon for centuries, German Bohemia, or the Sudetenland.
Chamberlain's negotiated deal with Hitler averted a European war – at the
expense of the Czech nation. That was appeasement.
German tanks, however, did not roll into Poland until a year later, Sept.
1, 1939. Why did the tanks roll? Because Poland refused to negotiate over Danzig,
a Baltic port of 350,000 that was 95 percent German and had been taken from
Germany at the Paris peace conference of 1919, in violation of Wilson's 14
Points and his principle of self-determination.
Hitler had not wanted war with Poland. He had wanted an alliance with Poland
in his anti-Comintern pact against Joseph Stalin.
But the Poles refused to negotiate. Why? Because they were a proud, defiant,
heroic people and because Neville Chamberlain had insanely given an unsolicited
war guarantee to Poland. If Hitler invaded, Chamberlain told the Poles, Britain
would declare war on Germany.
From March to August 1939, Hitler tried to negotiate Danzig. But the Poles,
confident in their British war guarantee, refused. So, Hitler cut his deal
with Stalin, and the two invaded and divided Poland.
The cost of the war that came of a refusal to negotiate Danzig was millions
of Polish dead, the Katyn massacre, Treblinka, Sobibor, Auschwitz, the annihilation
of the Home Army in the Warsaw uprising of 1944, and 50 years of Nazi and Stalinist
occupation, barbarism, and terror.
In that same speech to the Knesset, Bush dismissed the idea we could ever
successfully negotiate with Hamas, Hezbollah or Iran:
"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and
radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them that they have been
wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before."
But did not Ronald Reagan's negotiations with the Evil Empire, as he rebuilt
America's military might, bear fruit in a reversal of Moscow's imperial policy
and an end to the Cold War?
Richard Nixon went to China and toasted the greatest mass murderer of them
all, Mao Zedong, when Maoists were conducting a nationwide purge: the Great
Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Yet Nixon ended a quarter century of implacable
U.S.-Chinese hostility. Was Nixon's trip to China useless?
Three years after Nikita Khrushchev drowned the Hungarian revolution in blood,
Ike had him up to Camp David. John Kennedy ended the most dangerous confrontation
of the Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis, by negotiating with that same Butcher
Were Ike, JFK, and Nixon all deluded fools? For the dictators they negotiated
with – Khrushchev and Mao – were far greater mass murderers and enemies of
America than is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Bush's father negotiated with Syria's Hafez al-Assad, the Butcher of Hama,
and made him an American ally in the Gulf War.
Was President Bush's father a deluded fool?
The president's own diplomats negotiated an end to the nuclear program of
Col. Gadhafi, who was responsible for the air massacre of American school kids
Bush's own diplomats are negotiating with Kim Jong-Il's North Korea, a state
sponsor of terror. Ambassador Ryan Crocker is negotiating with Iranians in
Baghdad. Egypt is negotiating on behalf of Israel with Hamas to retrieve a
captured Israeli soldier. Are they all deluded fools?
Bush refused to talk to Yasser Arafat because he was a terrorist. But four
Israeli prime ministers negotiated with Arafat. Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin
shared a Nobel Prize with him. "Bibi" Netanyahu ceded Hebron to him. Ehud Olmert
offered him 95 percent of the West Bank.
Were all four Israeli leaders deluded fools?
True, the Chamberlain-Hitler summit at Munich proved a disaster, as did the
FDR-Churchill-Stalin summits at Tehran and Yalta, and the JFK-Khrushchev summit
in Vienna. But JFK's diplomacy in the missile crisis may have averted a nuclear
war. And Eisenhower, Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Reagan all met with foreign dictators
with blood on their hands, without loss to America, and sometimes with impressive
What has Bush's refusal to talk to Hamas, Hezbollah, Damascus, and Tehran
done to make either Israel or America more secure?
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