Editor’s note: This examination of the Iranian threat and what the world’s options are first appeared as the cover story for the November 2009 issue of Townhall Magazine. To subscribe to Townhall Magazine and receive a free gift, click here.
In the spring of 1945, when a liberated survivor of a World War II Nazi death camp was asked what he had learned from his ordeal, he replied, “When someone says he wants to kill you, believe him.” During the holocaust, in what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the “tragedy of powerlessness,” millions of European Jews walked, obedient and docile, all the way into the gas chambers. This fact painfully permeates the modern Israeli psyche to the extent that it gives rise to a kind of national mantra—never again. Today, it is incomprehensible for those outside Israel to understand how Israelis must be feeling, knowing that there is a new Nazi-like state poised to attempt Israeli annihilation.
APPEASEMENT AND THE FALL OF CIVILIZATIONS
In 346 B.C., prior to the conquest of the Greek mainland by the armies of Macedon, Greek ambassadors agreed to a treaty called the Peace of Philocrates. After years of negotiations, the terms of the treaty allowed Macedon to absorb still more land—two very small city-states, Phocis and Alos. It proscribed that the Greeks stand by while their fellow Greeks of two small states were absorbed in the fashion of the ancient world, where many members of the leadership were executed and many of the women and children sold into slavery. Gone were the final two buffer states standing between central Greece and the invading armies from the north. With these two remaining obstacles out of the way, Macedon could prepare for the all-out invasion.
In the same way that Hitler coerced France and England to give up their alliances with Czechoslovakia in the fall of 1938, Athens and Thebes threw Phocis and Alos to the dogs. With their defeat by Macedon at the battle of Chaeronea in 338 B.C., the ancient Greeks became a subject people, their freedom not regained until the conclusion of their war of independence against the Islamic Ottoman Empire in 1820, more than two millennia later.