THE TALK IS MIGHTIER THAN THE WORD. CONTRARILY TO LEGEND, TALKING IN MUNICH WAS A LETHAL TRAP, AND HITLER FELL INTO IT. REAL MEN CONFRONT THE AYATOLLAHS BY CONTRADICTING THEM TO THEIR FACES. BY NOT TALKING TO THE FASCISTS, THE USA ACTUALLY HAS ALWAYS HELPED THEM.
For decades, the USA has refused to talk to Iran. The USA was upset that its toy had acquired a life of its own. The USA asked France, Britain and Germany to talk in its stead. Interestingly, the same trio was at Munich, having a serious disagreement, and the USA then, already, was out there, sitting it out, refusing to get involved. As it turned out, the USA waited long enough, not talking to the Nazis as a government, for the situation to rot so much that it produced a lot of delicious carrion the USA has feasted on ever since.
Now, the three big European democracies are united, and talk to Iran, trying to reason with it. And the USA is back in the same game, of making a big show of not talking to the miscreant that causes the problem. One may only wonder if this absence of American expression is not also because the USA wants the situation to rot again. Last time, for the Second World War, it worked pretty well, as far as the USA was concerned. But that is, of course, a very dangerous game to play, for the entire planet.
The Second World War killed more than 72 million people and would certainly not have happened, or would not have happened the way it did, if the USA had been involved in a timely manner, instead of waiting until Japan and then Hitler decided to get the USA into the war!
American strategists may believe that the USA is still an island, and that is correct. But it’s now within easy reach of enemies, and not just of a rag tag group of fanatical cave dwellers.
We will presently demonstrate why it is that the USA should join its European Allies, and talk to Iran directly, as Obama has proposed.
Some have objected that talking is a symptom of weakness, as if to be mute was a manifestation of strength… Although they wrap themselves in the robes of history to make their point, history is not about fashion, or wrapping, or warping, but about what really happened.
Opponents of talking to Iran often brandish the talks of France and Great Britain with Hitler and Mussolini in Munich in 1938 as the epitome of the pitfall of talking. Before going any further, let’s reiterate that the greatest problem with Munich was that the USA WAS NOT IN MUNICH. If Roosevelt had been talking to Hitler directly in Munich, by the side of France and Britain, things would have turned out completely differently.
For starters, the USA would have had to choose sides: Mr. Uncle Sam, do you side with democratic, republican, enlightened France as she bares her breasts and rises the old Red, White and Blue to defend humankind against the old fascist scourge? Or, Mr. Uncle Sam, do you keep on doing business with the Nazis, as your corporations and plutocrats, and Wall Street have been doing intensely ? (This sort of trading with the enemy carries to this day, since several major US corporations have been doing big business with the Ayatollahs.)
We of course do not doubt that the USA would have chosen France, to side with, because not only France is the Ally and Friend of the USA since ever, but she is also the national Parent of the USA, and its philosophical Parent, since the empire of the Franks is where Western Civilization started (and, among other Western nations, even the England of the Magna Carta and Parliament started; the Franks even started Aragon, that is Spain, and created Western Europe, as one State of Law and empire ~ 800CE).
So, when push came to shove, the USA would have chosen its roots rather than its bloody, greedy, racist, fascist plutocrats, the ones working with Hitler, (and the descendants of whom bug us to this day while presiding to our destinies!).
Thus comforted by Uncle Sam, France would have been ready to go to war at Munich, and Hitler would have known it. The USA may have had a tiny army (around 150,000 men, whereas the French army, with the reserves, was six (6) million), but everybody knew the USA was the top industrial and economic power in the world. Opening the floodgates of US help to France would have invited an immediate repeat of WWI, namely the capitulation of the fascist Germanoid State.
If Hitler had seen the USA backing France (instead of backing Nazism), he would have known that France was going to attack. Then he would have backed off, losing prestige, or persisted, risking Germany. In either case, the aristocratic German and Prussian generals, already exasperated and deeply worried by the ignorant little corporal of dubious and certainly non-German pedigree, would have made a coup. The generals knew well Germany did not have a chance, and, besides, hated Hitler. (Soon they were plotting to shoot him in the face.)
Conversely, as it was, France went to Munich with a much greater force than Hitler’s, but the label of “enemy belligerent”, that Uncle Sam had perfidiously plastered on her, weighed heavily on her conscience, and undermined her determination. Fighting Nazism was one thing. Fighting the USA was not a moral option; fighting one’s progeny, France had done with England, and it lasted five bloody useless centuries, France had no desire to repeat the performance with her unruly and inexperienced child across the pond.
The fact that Britain had fully converted to the anti-Nazi cause only six months before, and had no army, and no air force, did not help much either. France remembered fighting completely alone (besides the courageous help from the tiny Belgian army) in the first crucial weeks of the First World War against the entire German army, an immense Teutonic juggernaut, massed in a multi million men monster. France was not looking forward to a repeat performance. (French dead and seriously wounded in the First World War had exceeded six million, more than 15% of the population.)
Munich has long been equated to “raising the white flag”. Such a naive, but traditional “wisdom” denotes a superficial knowledge of history, infused with enough erroneous data to reach handily completely erroneous conclusions. To believe one has “wisdom” when one has no knowledge, and one just repeats what one has heard other parrots say, that’s hubris.
True, PM Chamberlain came back and notoriously claimed:” Peace in our time”. But at the same time, Chamberlain was spending enormously on fighters and bombers, so much so that Britain was able to out-gun the Nazis in the skies, not only above England, but also above Germany herself. Meanwhile, PM Daladier, Chamberlain’s French colleague, arriving at his own airport, under thunderous applause, said: “Les pauvres, s’ils savaient!” (“Poor devils, if they only knew!”). Thus, Chamberlain and Daladier tried to make Hitler believe they were playing along, when in truth they were preparing for a world war.
It is true that in Czechoslovakia, the Munich accords came to be known as a “dictate”, or a “betrayal” (they thoroughly violated the military defense treaty between France and Czechoslovakia). Although France had partially mobilized, it forced Czechoslovakia to surrender to Hitler its Sudetenland territory that had a majority of Germans. (Czechoslovakia sticks smack inside the core of Germany, an obvious irritation before the EU; the Sudeten Germans were expelled after WWII.)
In truth, though, Munich was an indispensable preliminary to the Second World War. If nothing else, it gave time for Britain to mass produce enough of a brand new, superior air force. (Churchill hysterically agitated to mass produce real quick an obsolete air force; wisely, Chamberlain held off for the most advanced technology.)
But Munich did even more. It provided the two large democracies with the Casus Belli they needed. They knew the war would kill millions, and put the survival of democracy in play. The French and British politicians came from the best schools, they had studied their history. They knew that Spartan, Persian and Macedonian fascisms had destroyed Greek democracy durably, and that democracy has stayed destroyed for 22 centuries. They knew the risks. Their hearts were heavy. But first, they had to occupy the highest moral ground possible. They knew the texts, they knew the history. They knew Athens had failed to occupy the highest moral ground in a timely manner when confronting Sparta, and that led to the catastrophe. They were determined to not repeat that mistake. They wanted their moral position to be unassailable. (Besides, the Franco-British leaders needed time to gather an unbeatable mechanical force. As it was, with an enormous quantity of bad luck, betrayal, and a plethora of unfathomable mistakes by the French Haut Commandement Militaire, they barely made it. If they had come up a few squadrons of Spitfires short, it would have been curtains.)
When at war, democracies, to stay in one solid piece, have to release the full power of the People, in agreement with itself (that’s what the Roman fascii symbolize). That means the war has to be perceived as completely just by the People. And that means a good reason for having war. The Romans, under the republic, called that a “Casus Belli”, and paid careful attention to having one always, before going to war. The reason that France and Britain were able to declare war to Hitler while occupying the high moral ground, was precisely because they had talked to him first. They put him in a conceptual cage, and robbed him of all and any moral advantage, real or imagined, for all to see, including the increasingly shocked German population, that saw its beloved Reich turn into an abyss in search of a cataclysm.
For years prior, Hitler had been good at dividing his opponents. In 1934, he made a pact with Poland, and one with Britain in 1935 (which violated the Versailles Treaty). By 1937 the business opportunities presented by Hitler and his monster Reich had incited the USA to pass laws dealing with the democratic French republic as if it were an enemy belligerent of some sort (because France was exhibiting no obvious signs of affection towards Hitler, contrarily to the USA, and viewed anti French American maneuvers as one more attempt by Hitler to surround France; in 1939, France found herself de facto at war with the Nazis and their two main allies, that were feeding them with oil and weapon systems, the USSR, and the USA; that was a bit much, even for the French).
As France and Britain talked to Hitler in Munich, they consolidated the British conversion to an alliance with France against Hitler. The talks also forced Hitler to formally engage himself to some agreements. At this point, Hitler was stuck, it was the end of his malevolent dance. Either he respected the accords, and he lost prestige, and that is grave in a regime that rests on terror. Or then he violated the accords, for the whole world to see, and Britain and France had their Casus Belli. Whereas most of the German establishment was satisfied by the Munich agreement, Hitler saw that he had been entrapped, and he was furious.
As it was, Poland, observing that Britain was following France, taking a firm stance, got encouraged to make a formal military assistance treaty with the French republic, and Britain was in the fine print in the appendix.
Next, of course, Hitler, observing that he was in the process of being surrounded by France and Poland, while Britain was scrambling to build a modern air force, had to strike. So he attacked Poland, after rushing a love pact with his pal Stalin. Britain and France declared war, 45 French divisions attacked the Siegfried Line (“Westwall”), and while Poland fought to death, American capitalists of the Wall Street type, rushed anti-knock additives Hitler desperately needed for his air force. But I digress.
The point is this: Hitler was entrapped by talk. No talk, no entrapment. If one had kept ignoring Hitler, as the US government was doing, Hitler would have got his world war when he wanted, when he was going to be ready, in 1945, with huge quantities of new, terrific weapons that were on the Nazi drawing boards. In 1939, Hitler was not ready, not at all.
There is force in speech, power in thought. Before acting, think, and then talk.
If nobody had talked to Hitler, the survivors would be living under the Great Nazi World Reich. Only those who have no brains, and no morals, fear speech. Winking at destiny may satisfy a professional seductress, but does not make for a better world. Only expression can bend destiny, and, in humans, that starts with speech.
So indeed, seen from the purely military point of view, the USA should talk to Iran. The worst that can happen is that the USA learn to sort out its thoughts.
P/S 1: In 1940, the Nazis were nearly powerless against heavy French or British tanks. In the two tank battles that were fought in 1940, one against the British, one against the French, the legendary Panzers were severely defeated. Many of the Nazis weapons systems were of foreign origin (USA), and obsolete relative to what the Nazis had in mind. Those systems had to be mass produced in 1939-40 to address the problem posed by 100 French divisions and 3,000 French tanks.
P/S 2: In 1953, the CIA used Muslim Shiite fundamentalists it had organized, excited and financed, to throw out the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister. Mossadegh. Mossadegh wanted to keep more oil revenues inside Iran, to the great anger of Anglo-Saxon oil men. Thus, if somebody should be really upset, it should rather be the Iranians.
P/S 3: So, in 1953, the U.S. secret services cooperated with the Shiites. Nowadays, not talking to the Ayatollahs has been most useful to them. Are the USA still secretly allied to them? In Munich, the non presence of the USA made possible the on going march of Nazi Germany to war, and it discouraged the German generals from making a coup against Hitler (they were ready, and they would, six years later). Thus in Munich, it looked as if U.S. diplomacy had decided war was in the best interest of the USA. And so it, indeed, was (W.W.II made the USA into the super power). Thus the question: was the refusal of the USA to talk with Iran, a way to make the situation with Iran worse?
P/S 4: So should Britain and France have made an agreement with Hitler at Munich? None of what we wrote above really answers this question. Militarily, Great Britain was not ready. France was ready enough, and Czechoslovakia was very ready behind its Sudeten fortifications. Hitler was not ready at all. There is no doubt that a grand coalition of France, Britain and Czechoslovakia (especially if Poland had joined) would have defeated the Nazis. The problem was not military, it was philosophical. And then what next? Dealing with a resentful Germany preparing round four with France? It was better to make sure the Nazis would capture the most hellish ground first.
Ironically, when Hitler attacked France with 2,000 tanks, about half of them were Czech (since Hitler had occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia in the meantime). Facing them were 3,000 French tanks, some so heavy the Germans could not destroy them.
P/S 5: The fact remains that the Sudeten Germans really existed, and they did not like to be in Czechoslovakia. That would have made it quite a bit self contradictory for Britain and France to go to war to impose the violation of the right of self determination.
P/S 6: As it was the USA provided no help to France whatsoever, in 1939-1940. Not even one single bullet, but the USA rushed in a formal recognizance of the illegal, unconstitutional Vichy collaborationist organization as the legitimate French government, which it was not. That was part of a multi year, long term effort, strangely similar to Hitler’s, to finish France as an independent country; Roosevelt actually prepared the occupation of France in 1944, but, basically, the armies prevented him to do so. The French army was reconstituted by 1944, and many US military men esteemed and befriended their French colleagues. The strident, and eerily accurate warnings of President Eisenhower about the “military-industrial complex are worthy of the best vehement Left Bank French intellectuals. Maybe Ike talked too much to the French during the war…