This week marked Holocaust Remembrance Day. And while Jews the world over stopped to think about the worst racial liquidation in human history, Iran continued its preparations to create a nuclear device and pledged to help spread that technology to others; the Russian government, which has fostered and encouraged the Iranian nuclear program, refused to consider sanctions against the Iranian government; Palestinian Arab terrorist group and leading parliamentary party Hamas maintained its defiant posture as Saudi Arabia pledged $90 million to support Hamas; Jordan accused Hamas' Syrian leadership of ordering attacks within Jordan; Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Saudi Arabia and signed a "security cooperation agreement," while pledging to step into the Arab/Israeli conflict; Osama bin Laden released another audio tape, renewing his call for jihad against Israel and the United States; Islamists likely linked to bin Laden set off three bombs at Egyptian resorts, killing at least 22 people and wounding another 150.
"Never again"? Unfortunately, the prospect of a second Holocaust, this time targeting Jews and Christians on a massive scale, is all too possible. While millions remember the victims of Hitler's evil, millions more around the world blind themselves to today's evils, conveniently forgetting that even a leader the magnitude of a Hitler could not and did not act alone. Hitler's destruction required allies and partners, spoken or silent -- and it required the passivity of the West.
Russia, then as now, played both sides of the table. In 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, pledging nonaggression between the Soviets and Nazis, brokered a secret alliance regarding the invasion of Poland and much of Central and Eastern Europe. The Soviets were quite willing to give Hitler a free hand against France and Britain, and were quite willing to revel in the spoils they would surely gain from Nazi conquest. "Fascism is a matter of taste," Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov remarked after signing the pact.
The Russians still believe that fascism is a matter of taste. They are perfectly willing to exacerbate the Iranian nuclear problem, just as they did the dictatorial Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq (they inked a multimillion-dollar trade deal with Hussein just months before the U.S. invasion of Iraq) and the North Korean nuclear problem (Russia has provided long-range ballistic missile technology to the North Koreans). Meanwhile, Russia continues to provide aid for Hamas, even as bin Laden demands that the West continue filling Hamas' coffers. Russia could quite accurately be described as a state sponsor of state sponsors of terrorism. President Bush said in 2001 that he looked into Russian President Vladimir Putin's eyes and saw straightforwardness and trustworthiness. Perhaps he should have said dollar signs.
The Muslim world, then as now, largely sided with the forces of evil. Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini was a staunch Hitler ally; he suggested that Hitler's "final solution" to the European "Jewish problem" be extended to include all Jews in Arab countries, as well as Palestine. He spent most of the war as a guest in Berlin and encouraged Muslim cooperation with the Nazis in their extermination plan via radio in the Middle East. According to the testimony of Nazi war criminal Dieter Wisliceny, al-Husseini even visited the Auschwitz death camp incognito. Al-Husseini resided in Egypt after the war, where he was treated as a celebrity. His nephew, Yasser Arafat, would seek the destruction of the Jews with the same virulence his uncle had. In 2002, Arafat called al-Husseini "our hero."
And the Western world, then as now, is firmly on the side of waiting rather than acting. Aside from George W. Bush, Tony Blair and a handful of other courageous leaders who recognize that inaction in the face of evil aids and abets evil, much of the West prefers to remain on the sidelines. Bush and Blair have fallen under such heavy fire for their strategy of pre-emption that they have had to virtually abandon the strategy -- Westerners are treating Bush and Blair midwar like they treated Churchill postwar. The grandchildren of those who stated in 1933 that Hitler would be moderated by power now encourage us to wait and watch with Iran's Ahmadinejad, Hamas, the Saudis and the Syrians, and to turn a blind eye to Russia and China.
It is still unclear who the new Hitler will be. But in an age of weapons of mass destruction, Hitler is unnecessary. All it takes is an evil individual, bolstered by dreams of glory, cash from the Saudis, training from Hamas and technology from the Iranians, North Koreans, Russians or Chinese to achieve in one day the devastation achieved by Hitler over a decade. If we refuse to act in the face of such a threat, we may bear responsibility for tens of millions.