Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Why the Neocons should shut up about Munich

Many commentators in Bush 43 era objected to the neocons because of the role they played in fomenting the Iraq invasion and in propping up the Bush administration, ideologically, during the period of the 'War on Terror'. They took umbrage with Bush, the neocons and the 'War on Terror' on mainly humanitarian grounds: it was wrong, unethical, to kill and blow up so many Arabs and Muslims.

Moving forward to 2016, the neocons can't really be castigated for that reason: quite a few of these critics of the neocons now approve a 'War on Terror' - as it is waged by Assad; they approve the torture, kidnapping, bombing and murder of Arabs, so long as Assad, and the 'progressive', 'secularist' forces of Russia and Iran are doing it. The Syrian war is shaping up to be the most devastating conflict in the Arab world's recent history, and Assad will prove to be much worse than Bush 43. So, on this point, we should cut the neocons some slack.

I find the neocons - Krauthammer, Kristol, Podhoretz, Stephens, Kagan and the rest - fairly agreeable up to a point; they don't really differ all that much - especially since the election - from Steve Sailer, Hunter Wallace, VDare - in their criticisms of immigration, political correctness, the Democratic Party, Black Lives Matter... They are obsessed with Obama's Iran deal, but I could take or leave Iran.
As for their other obsessions - Israel, the Palestinians, the settlements in the West Bank - not being an Arab or Jew, I don't have a dog in the fight on that one either. I agree with the neocons when they make the charge that American foreign policy has been weak and unassertive, not to mention criminally irresponsible, since Obama - that's true enough. So I often experience, when picking up the National Review or Commentary or Weekly Standard, the strange sensation of reading through one of their articles and finding it not so objectionable after all - at least, not as much as I had anticipated. 'Maybe the neocons aren't as black as they're painted', I say to myself.

Then I come to the one stumbling block which prevents full agreement: Munich. Hitler. WWII. Analogies to Neville Chamberlain's deal with Germany at Munich in 1938, and to an alleged Chamberlain appeasement policy, have been made countless times in neocon propaganda; the neocons just can't keep away from the topic.

Let's take a look at the latest piece by the classicist Victor Davis Hanson, one of the few goyish neocons out there (and incidentally a big opponent of illegal immigration into California, his home state). It attacks the Obama administration for its many failings, including its lamentable foreign policy and its neglect of the fundamental truths of statecraft:

Throughout history, it has not gone well for powerful leaders when they have been perceived as being both loudly sanctimonious and weak (read Demosthenes on Athenian reactions to Philip II), as if the nation’s strength enervates the leader rather than empowers his diplomacy. Worse still is when a leader aims to loudly project strength through rhetoric while quietly fearing to do so through ships and soldiers.

So far, so good. I haven't read Demosthenes on Philip II, but when it comes to that subject, I'm willing to take Hanson's word for it. I'm no classicist.

But then, here it comes:

Think again of Neville Chamberlain at Munich, who gave Hitler everything — including lectures on proper international behavior. Anthony Eden remarked at the time that British statesmen thought Hitler and Mussolini were like typical British elites with whom they could do business; the British diplomats mistakenly believed they could appeal to the dictators’ reason and common interests, and thus they were bound to be sorely disappointed.

This is wrong in so many ways.

From 1938 to 1939, Czechoslovakia was breaking up, in the same way that Yugoslavia was to nearly six decades later. The 1938 partition deal, in which Germany, Poland and Hungary got pieces each of Czechoslovakia, wasn't enough to forestall the inevitable.

Here's what John Mosier - not a Hitler fan - has to say in his Cross of Iron: The Rise and Fall of the German War Machine, 1918-1945 (2006):

On November 22, the Czecho-Slovak Republic officially became a confederation of Czechs, Slovaks, and Ruthenians, each group to have considerable local autonomy in its local areas. But by then the Slovaks were beginning to panic. Negotiations with Hungary had broken down, and on November 2, representatives from Germany and Italy met in Vienna and readjusted the boundary between Czecho-Slovakia and Hungary; the latter thus got back the roughly 600,000 ethnic Hungarians who had been stuck inside the Czech Republic at Versailles. Teschen was restored to Poland, and Germany acquired a small piece as well. The Slovaks, who had been hapless bystanders with no say in the foreign policy of the republic, saw that at this rate, they would end up again under Hungarian domination. ('Bloodless victories, or nearly so: toward a Greater Germany, 1935-1939')

The Slovaks then upset the applecart by demanding independence - a demand which entailed the breakup of Czechoslovakia:

While some Slovaks sought real independence, as far as the Czechs could make out, the Slovak idea of autonomy was, for all practical purposes, de facto independence. Thus in February 1939, as the Spanish civil war slowly came to a bloody end, the Czechs drew up a plan to occupy Slovakia. The plan was so secret that neither the Czech prime minister nor his minister of defense knew about it; it nonetheless existed. On March 10, a version of the plan was put into effect, and Prague attempted to name a new Slovak government. On the thirteenth, the Slovak leaders went to Berlin, because Hitler had agreed the day before to guarantee the new state’s independence (as it were). Without Slovakia, there was obviously no more Czecho-Slovak Republic, so events happened quickly: by March 15, German armored cars were in the streets of Prague. On that same day, the Ruthenians declared their independence, only to see Hungarian troops invading the country, with the tacit approval of Warsaw. (Ibid)

Perhaps the US, and Britain, should have gone to war, like Lincoln in 1861, and Serbia in 1992, to keep the country together? In the view of the neocons, yes: this would have 'stopped' Hitler. But Mosier injects a note of realism:

Although it soon became established in the West that Hitler had orchestrated all these events, the motivating tensions predated Hitler’s rise to power by decades. Considered from the point of view of diplomatic history after 1918, Hitler’s decision was harmless. The Slovaks had always (post–1918) wanted their own country, they were as entitled to one as anyone else, and Germany had every right to guarantee its existence and to insist that Hungary and Slovakia settle their differences peacefully. Hitler would insist on the same thing with Hungary and Romania, embellishing his credentials as a man who had unified Germany peacefully and had reversed the injustices of the Versailles and Trianon treaties without a shot being fired. From the point of view of the Germans, the Poles, the Slovakians, most Hungarians—and some Ruthenians—this was a perfectly logical development, and one probably viewed favorably (in private at least) by a good many foreign ministries in the West as well. For the French and the British public at large, however, the dismemberment of the Czecho-Slovakian Republic was the last straw. Again the complexities of Central European ethnicity were, for most people, not merely abstractions; they were daunting abstractions of the sort that only the professional diplomats of the previous century understood. The disappearance of an entire country, though, was concrete enough. It was rendered all the more so by the defiant “come and get us” speeches that Hitler had been making through the fall of 1938. (Ibid)

Germany, then, prevented war by acting as it did -  a war which Roosevelt and Churchill so dearly wanted.

The neoconservatives will counter this by pointing out that the Czechs lost any independence and self-determination as a result of the Slovaks getting theirs - (what later became) the Czech Republic was annexed to Germany and became Bohemia and Moravia. I agree in principle that's a bad thing when a country loses its independence and ceases to exist. But then I remember another the fate of another country - Palestine - which disappeared in 1948: what happened to it?

We know the answer: in 1948, Jews took over most of Palestine and forced the original inhabitants - who had been there for far longer than these newly-arrived Jewish 'settlers' from Europe - to leave; at the same time, they attacked Palestine's neighbours with a numerically superior army. They won, and literally overnight, Palestine became Israel. All traces of the original Palestinian nation were wiped out; the nation was replaced with a new, synthetic, Hebrew-speaking one.

Now, in 2016, the neocons - and Israel - are outraged with Obama's abstention on the UN resolution on settlements: they find the notion that Israel should be censured for taking whatever scraps of land that the Palestinians have left deplorable. When it comes to the Palestinians - and the ethnic minorities who lived in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s and who were oppressed by the Czechs - all the neoconservative principles of liberalism, freedom, fairness, decency, 'moral clarity' and the rest go out the window.

It's here that the anti-Semites step in and accuse neoconservatism of being a Jewish thing; the only real principle the neoconservatives by is, 'Is it good for the Jews?'. The neocons oppose National Socialist Germany because of its anti-Semitism; likewise, they support the state of Israel, and the dismemberment of Palestine, because they believe in old Talmudic prophecies to the effect that the founding of the Jewish state shall lead to the return of the Moschiah (the messiah) and the dominion of the Jews over all life on Earth...

The destruction of Palestine in 1948, and the ethnic cleansing of the Germans by the Czechs from Sudetenland from 1945 to 1948, happened a long time ago. It's the 21st century, and I'm prepared to let them go. But the neocons - and Jewish intellectuals in general - keep on bringing the past up again and again; worse, their ethnic self-interest, which can be barely restrain itself for a moment, keeps on appearing again and again, and inserting itself into the discourse.

Some of my nationalist friends believe that we shouldn't talk about the war; nor should we talk about Jewishness. I see their point: we shouldn't live in the past, and we shouldn't be taking up the worldview of the obsessive anti-Semites David Duke and Kevin MacDonald either. But what happens when the neocons and the Israel lobby - two extremely politically powerful groups - won't shut up about the two topics of the Hitler era and the State of Israel? When they have bent the most powerful man in the world - Donald Trump - to their will?

It's almost as though we can't escape the Jewish question. Perhaps Hitler's doctrines represent inescapable truths - even in this day and age.

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