Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Monday, August 14, 2006

War is coming no matter how hard we try to evade it -- it's five minutes to midnight

By Aussiegirl

Another trenchant article by Robert Tracinski warns us that it is five minutes to midnight and war with Iran is coming whether we admit it or not, whether we are ready or not, and whether we want it or not. It's the late 1930's all over again, and we are sleepwalking through history once again -- blind and deaf to the lessons of the past, we imagine that we can avoid destiny. As any Ukrainian will tell you in the words of the old saying: "You can't avoid your destiny even on horseback." Be sure to read the whole thing -- I've excerpted a relevant portion.

The Intellectual Activist:

I have noticed a recent trend in war commentary, starting a few weeks after the beginning of the current conflict in Lebanon. The trend began with a series of analogies between recent events and the events of the 1930s, leading up to World War II.

In the August 2 Washington Times, for example, Kenneth Timmerman referred to the Lebanon War as "Islamofascism's 1936." Just as the Spanish Civil War that began in that year was a preview of World War II—the 1937 bombing of Guernica was Hermann Goering's test of the ability of aerial bombing to destroy cities—so Timmerman argues that the Lebanon War is a preview of a larger conflict: "Iran…is testing the international community's response, as it prepares for a future war." (TIA Daily readers may remember that Jack Wakeland made a similar point in the July 19 edition of TIA Daily.)

For others on the pro-war right, the preferred analogy is 1938, the year in which Western appeasement of Hitler emboldened him to further attacks. That year's Munich Agreement—the "diplomatic solution" to a German-fomented crisis in Czechoslovakia, abandoned Czechoslovakia to Hitler in exchange for promises that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain claimed would guarantee "peace for our time." On August 7, the headline of a Washington Times editorial asked: is the Bush administration's proposed diplomatic solution for Lebanon an attempt to secure "Peace in Our Time?"

Over at National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg picks 1939, wondering if Israel will fall to a Sunni-Shiite pact, just as Poland fell to a Nazi-Soviet pact, while John Batchelor, writing in the New York Sun, is more ecumenical, citing analogies to 1936, 1938, 1939, and even America in 1941.

British commentator David Pryce-Jones, in his blog at National Review Online, sums up the general sense of things:

I have often wondered what it would have been like to live through the Thirties. How would I have reacted to the annual Nuremberg Party rallies, the rants against the Jews, and Hitler’s foreign adventures which the democracies did nothing to oppose, the occupation of the Rhineland and Austria, Nazi support for Franco in the Spanish civil war, and the rest of it. Appeasement was then considered wise, and has only become a dirty word with hindsight….
Now Iran is embarked on foreign adventures in Iraq and Syria and Lebanon. It is engaged on all-out armament programs, and is evidently hard at work developing the nuclear weapon that will give it a dimension of power that Hitler did not have…. Appeasement is again considered wise.

What these commentators are picking up is not an exact parallel to any one event of the 1930s—hence their scattershot of historical analogies. Instead, what they are picking up is a sense of the overall direction of world events: we are clearly headed toward a much larger, bloodier conflict in the Middle East, but no one in the West wants to acknowledge it, prepare for it, or begin to fight it.


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