Washington, D.C. – President Barack Obama has been getting pushback from opponents of the Iran nuclear deal for arguing that opposition to it is tantamount to support to war. Not true, they say. The opponents just want “a better deal.” “The alternative to this deal was never war; it was greater pressure on Iran and insistence on a better agreement,” Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a joint statement.
“I hope he’ll avoid tired, obviously untrue talking points about this becoming some choice between a bad deal and war,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday morning. After McConnell’s hopes were dashed by Obama’s speech later in the day at American University, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who had recently noted of Iran that the U.S. could “set them back to day zero,” played peacemonger.
“Today, President Obama once again presented a false choice between military action and his deeply flawed agreement with Iran,” Cotton said, a few months after admitting that his aim had been to blow up the deal. “It will give Iran billions of dollars to finance a terrorist war on Israel and America that it has been waging for over 30 years. And it raises the prospect that in 10 to 15 years, Iran will be able to wage war with a nuclear weapon. Americans deserve a better deal that will deprive Iran of nuclear-weapons capability.”
Since Obama is obviously saying that the nuclear deal with Iran (which is, basically, a polite way of saying that appeasement will work better than war) is the only way to go forward, it begs the question of whether his words sound familiar. Namely, there has already been a similar situation in history, and it didn’t end all that well. Its result was, more or less, World War II.
In 1938, Neville Chamberlain, then Prime Minister of Great Britain, returned home after signing the Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler, which permitted German annexation of the Sudetenland in Western Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain told the British Public that he had achieved “peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time.” His words were immediately challenged by his greatest critic, Winston Churchill, who declared, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.”
Indeed, Chamberlain’s policies were discredited the following year, when Hitler annexed Czechoslovakia (the whole country instead of just the initially agreed upon Sudeten area, which was home to some three million people of German origin). Hitler then precipitated World War II by invading Poland in September of 1939.
The Munich Agreement has from then on been known as a byword for the futility of appeasing expansionist totalitarian states. The question that lingers on today is – will President Obama’s nuclear deal be the Munich Agreement of the 21st century?