Appeasement, containment, carrot and stick behavior modification. The coward’s trifecta is not going to work against Iran.
What was Germany in 1938-1989? A country that only 20 years earlier had suffered a major military defeat. A country whose economy was SANCTIONED like no economy had ever been sanctioned before or since, a country that perverted its Christian origins in favor of a made-up ideology constructed around a Buddhist symbol it had imported from India and the Far East. Most of all, it was a country hell-bent on revenge. It wanted to deal a death blow to those it perceived as its enemies, as the agents of its defeat in the Great War; the English and the French, of course, but also the Americans and behind them all the Jewish financiers who had financed both sides of that unprecedented slaughter, but who, in the end, had made it impossible for Germany to win.
In pursuit of this revenge, the Nationalist Socialist leadership was willing to enter into pacts with those whom, like Russia, they knew they would have to eventually fight and actively support sibling and like minded fascist regimes in the Southern European countries of Italy and Spain, countries and people that they otherwise despised. Germany of that time used ethnic German minorities in places like the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia and German-speaking peoples in the remnants of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to justify the subversion of foreign governments. Germany of that time more and more openly flouted the international sanctions regime that had been placed upon it by rebuilding its military forces. Germany of that time began its revenge crusade against the weakest of its opponents, the Jews, first, like with Kristallnacht, by forces only loosely and deniably affiliated with the ruling Nazi Party and only later, when no opposition had materialized, more openly, viciously, and officially.
France, Britain, and the US, all targets of Germany’s vendetta, simply decided that war was not something they were interested in. They had enough of it. The Great Depression had just blown over, they had to focus on rebuilding their economies and taking care of domestic priorities. One generation of young men lost to war was quite enough, thank you very much, two would be unthinkable. Those who expressed the slightest bit of alarm at Germany’s insanity, lawlessness, expansionism, were branded “warmongers”; like Winston Churchill, they were ridiculed, ostracized, suppressed. Nobody wanted war. So it wouldn’t happen, right?
There is a problem that is inherent to regimes, whether you pronounce their names Aryan or Iranian. They live in a morality play of their own making. A morality play of which Hollywood has made extensive use. In this play, our hero-protagonist, un chevalier sans peur et sans reproche, is minding his own righteous business when he gets assailed by villains who rape his daughters and take away his ancestral home, leaving him wounded within an inch of his life. Through boundless self-sacrifice and strict adherence to his higher moral code, our knight regains his powers, arms himself to the teeth and visits Biblical vengeance upon his assailants, vanquishing them once an for all.
This is the story that the Nazis and the mullahs alike believe in, the story they sell to their people, and the more sacrifice they demand of them, the more they are committed to carrying the story to its conclusion. This is what Churchill understood about the Nazi regime in Germany; he knew that they could not be appeased, contained, or enticed to modify their behavior and rewrite their script. Faced with this eschatological, perverted morality play in which the villain is the hero, there is only one thing to do: fight, win, vanquish. Without mercy, without fear, without second-guessing or self-doubt.
Since the Iranian mullahs started enacting their eschatological scenario on the world stage, five presidents have come and gone and now Trump is the sixth. All of them without exception have chosen the coward’s trifecta: appease, contain, modify. Reagan, Clinton, and the Bushes pere et fils, all chose containment. Embargoes, sanctions, international opprobrium combined with some needle pricks like cyber attacks and various Stuxnet-type schemes hatched along the Langley-Tel-Aviv axis. Needless to say, none of this had the desired effect, allowing Iran to kill hundreds if not thousands of American troops in Lebanon and Iraq without the slightest bit of push-back or retaliation from America.
Obama of course decided that Iran was as good a tool as any for the destruction of America and the West, the twin entities that arouse in his otherwise dispassionate nature a burning, searing hatred. With that background, his approach towards Iran was wall to wall appeasement, allowing that fascist regime to make enormous strides towards achieving its goals of a Shia-dominated Middle East followed by the entire world.
Trump is engaging in the oldie but goodie tactic of behavioral modification via the carrot and stick approach. Continue with your policies of nuclear arsenal development and destabilization wars in Israel and in the Arabian Peninsula and you will get hit with “sanctions like the world has never seen before”. Mind your own business and you can have a “great country very quickly,” presumably with granite counter-tops and Sub Zero refrigerators in every kitchen. But Iranians, from Khamenei down to the last peasant, do not want Sub Zero refrigerators, especially not when they come along with all the other Western accoutrements like gay parades, infertility, and utter moral collapse. They want to win, they want to make this their moment in history, they want to be the force that finally rids the Islamic world from the unbearable shame of Israel.
Containment, appeasement, behavior modification are all simply the strategies of cowards who are unwilling to rise to the challenge of their generation. These cowards ostensibly worship the “Greatest Generation”, but are utterly unwilling to follow in its footsteps. These cowards fool themselves into believing that the moral clarity of the Second World War predated it, made the decision to fight easy, whereas in reality the moral clarity came only after the hard-fought victory.
Hundreds of Marines blown up in Lebanon? Never mind. Countless losses to Iranian-made munitions in Iraq? Who needed that dirty war anyway? Humiliation of American sailors held for ransom against every international norm of war fighting? Fire the commander for poor navigation, wipe the spit off our faces, and carry on. A $180 million dollar UAV shot down with threats to shoot down more? That’s totally OK, because nobody had died and any retaliation would be warmongering.
Oh and by the way, what business do we have in this God-forsaken part of the world inhabited by foreigners who object to people exposing themselves to children in broad daylight in the middle of their cities? Some weirdos out there claim that choking off a waterway through which 30% of the world’s energy supplies are shipped can be a real problem? Not for us it ain’t coz we are self-sufficient! As Neville Chamberlain had so eloquently put it, (paraphrasing) nobody wants to go to war in a foreign land for people who we know nothing about. What business is that of ours?
Cowardice has many excuses, valor needs none. The glory of our grandfathers is not going to save us; having the courage to do what they did is the only thing that will.
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