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Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Tale ofTwo Betrayals. by Steve McCann

A Tale of Two Betrayals

The President of the United States has willingly and with forethought placed our long term ally, Israel, whose existence America has guaranteed since 1948, in an untenable situation by his attempt to impose a course of action that, if not followed by Israel, will further inflame the Muslim world and cause international sentiment to turn against Israel.

President Obama is attempting to force a settlement on terms dictated by the Arabs in the Middle East. By setting as a pre-condition the surrender of territory commensurate with the pre-1967 boundaries in any negotiations with the Palestinians, he has instead guaranteed further conflict.

Mr. Obama, the smartest and ablest person to ever occupy the Oval Office (as confirmed by his demeanor and sycophants in the media), either is naive and overweening (synonymous with the Left) or unaware of the failures throughout history caused by intimidating one's ally into giving up land in exchange for peace with someone bent on their destruction.

However, in case the President wasn't aware, about this time 73 years ago there was an eerily similar situation taking place in Europe. Czechoslovakia was a country formed out of the re-drawing of boundaries after the horrific slaughter of World War I and the surrender of Germany and Austria. Much of the Czech border was adjacent to what was left of Germany. But it was defensible border against a nation which for decades exhibited a particularly aggressive stance against its neighbors.

The new nation quickly developed its own economy, government and military while avoiding much of the financial and political chaos taking place in Germany during the 1920's and 30's. However, along its border with Germany was a region called Sudetenland which contained many ethnic Germans, who for the most part were quite content to live within the boundaries of Czechoslovakia.

Adolf Hitler upon assuming power in Germany almost immediately began to cast his eye on recapturing and re-instituting the old German-speaking empire in Europe. Once he realized that the other strong Western European powers would not stand in the way of his immediate ambitions, such as the re-occupation of the Rhineland (controlled by France), he cast his eye toward Czechoslovakia.

In April of 1938, Hitler, together with his allies in the Sudeten Nazi party, issued a demand that Sudetenland by made autonomous and allied with Nazi Germany. A request if granted would leave Czechoslovakia nearly unprotected, as almost all its border defenses were located in this region, as well a large portion of its industry. The Czech government refused to acquiesce to these absurd demands.

Hitler then, knowing that the governments of France and the United Kingdom were set on avoiding war at any cost, ratcheted up his demands and threatened to begin a war by invading Czechoslovakia. Both France and Britain advised the Czech government to accede to Hitler's demands or they would not support them in the event of a war.

Hitler and his henchmen then began to foment unrest in the Sudetenland, which prompted military action by the Czech army in an attempt to restore order. Hitler then claimed that the Czech were indiscriminately slaughtering Sudeten Germans (a wholly false accusation). He demanded that the French and British acquiesce to the German takeover of the region. They agreed and issued an ultimatum to the Czechs, making their commitment to Czechoslovakia's existence contingent on accepting Hitler's demands.

The Czechs reluctantly accepted; however Hitler then increased his demands once more insisting that the claims of ethnic Germans in Poland and Hungary also be satisfied which would have the effect of further decreasing not only the border with Germany but also that of Poland to the north and Hungary to the South. The remaining Czechoslovakia could not survive in such a diminished state.

The Czech government refused these new demands and began to mobilize its military. On September 28, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Neville Chamberlin, appealed for a conference with Hitler on this matter along with France and Italy. Czechoslovakia was not invited.

A deal was reached the next day. The German army was to occupy the Sudetenland by October 10, 1938, and an international commission would decide the fate of the other disputed areas; Hitler agreed that he had no further designs on the country and would leave the balance of the Czechoslovakia in peace. The allies would therefore guarantee the survival of the remainder of the country.

Czechoslovakia was informed by Britain and France that it could resist Nazi Germany alone, as they would not honor their defense agreements with Czechoslovakia or submit to the annexations and the terms of the Agreement. Given that option the Czechs capitulated.

Neville Chamberlin flew back to London and proclaimed this Agreement, now known as the "Munich Pact", together with a new peace treaty with Germany as "Peace in our time."

Within six months Czechoslovakia ceased to exist as:

1) October 1938: Germany occupies the Sudetenland
2) October 1938: Poland occupies parts of northern Czechoslovakia
3) November 1938: Hungary occupies parts of southern Czechoslovakia
4) March 1939: The remaining Czech territories were annexed and became part of Germany

Hitler having so successfully intimidated and bullied the European allies over Czechoslovakia and other territory then set his sights on Poland which was invaded in September of 1939 thus triggering the most devastating war in the history of mankind.

It is not a casual observation to notice how many parallels there are with the saga of Czechoslovakia and today's Israel.

Many of the immigrants to the new state of Israel in 1946-1948 originated in the cauldron that was Europe in the 1930's and 40's. They and their progeny remember what happened to Czechoslovakia and other countries that relied on the guarantees of so-called allies for their survival. Israel is surrounded by those whose primary ambition is to destroy and annihilate the people of that country. Barack Obama, by his recent actions, has forced a major question to be asked: will the United States reprise the role of France and Britain in 1938? Will Israel be intimidated and bullied into accepting terms that will have as their end-game the dissolution of the country?

Despite numerous efforts over the past forty years by Israel to negotiate and surrender some land, among other concessions, nothing has or will accomplish peace with the Palestinians and Muslim radicals unless and until all parties have an equal commitment to peace, and most importantly respect for each other. It would do well for the President to understand not only history but human nature before he attempts to satisfy his misguided ambition for an exalted place as the savior of the Middle East. His ham-handed attempt to force a settlement by appeasing the radical Arab street at the expense of Israel will only lead to a potential world-wide conflagration as Iran and it's jihadist allies will only be emboldened to seek more concessions and ultimately war.

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