Neoconservatives, Reaganites and other militarily assertive factions in the United States are sometimes accused of thinking it is always 1938 (Britain's appeasement of Hitler at Munich) -- that there is always a Hitler-like aggressor being appeased and about to drag the world into conflict. There is sometimes merit in that charge.
As, likewise, is there sometimes merit in the charge against isolations and other doves that they always see 1914 (start of WWI) or 1964 (beginning of escalation of troops in Vietnam) -- the imminent and foolish entry into or escalation of a war that can't be won -- or even if victory were to be gained, it would be Pyrrhic.
Knowledge of history can be as much a snare as a guide -- if it is wrapped in a dogma that distorts the current facts to match the preferred historic lesson.
Our actions -- if any -- in the Iranian nuclear weapons development controversy cry out to be based on a careful assessment of facts -- and a heartless rooting out of assumptions, hidden or otherwise, that may be driving policy.
Those who are or will be calling for U.S. military action to damage and delay Iran's ability to develop operational nuclear weapons -- that is those for whom it is now 1938 -- make a number of assumptions: 1) The Iranian regime intends to develop nuclear weapons; 2) once it has them, being fanatics, they may actually use them against Israel, as they have repeatedly threatened; 3) even if they doesn't use them, it will change the dynamics of the Middle East by inducing a nuclear arms race between Sunni Muslim countries and Iran, and by giving Iran a huge capacity to intimidate and dominate the region; 4) both Europe and the United States will eventually fall within the missile shadow of a nuclear Iran -- thus giving Iran capacity to be a world player and possible precipitator of nuclear war even beyond the Middle East; 5) the regime is inherently hostile and aggressive, particularly against the U.S. and Israel, and will keep pushing until pushed back; and 6) even tough sanctions will not deter Iran -- moreover, Russia is too invested in Iran to truly cooperate with us, and even Europe will not enforce tough sanctions.
The 1938'ers further believe -- or claim to believe -- that while Iran can create havoc in response to our military action (threaten oil transport out of the Gulf, terrorist attacks in the Middle East, Europe and probably the United States, further harm to our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan), they would be even more dangerous -- and just as ill intentioned -- if nuclear armed. And they make the factual assumption that the threat will emerge sooner rather than later. John Bolton warned last week that we have only days.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.
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