Victor Davis Hanson:
The now-concluded Iran nuclear negotiations predictably reflect ancient truths of appeasement.
While members of the Obama administration are high-fiving each other over a deal with the Iranian theocracy, they should remember unchanging laws that will surely haunt the United States later on.
First, appeasement always brings short-term jubilation at the expense of long-term security. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was a beloved peacemaker after the Munich Agreement of 1938 with Adolf Hitler but derided as a conceited fool and naif by May 1940.
A few years from now – after Iran has used its negotiated breathing space to rearm, ratchet up its terrorist operations, and eventually gain a bomb to blackmail its neighbors – the current deal will be deeply regretted. Expect a Nobel Peace Prize for Secretary of State John Kerry now, followed by Chamberlain-like infamy later.
Second, the appeasement of autocrats always pulls the rug out from under domestic reformers and idealists. After the Western capitulation at Munich, no dissenter in Germany dared to question the ascendant dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.
Until last week, Iranian dissidents and reformers had blamed the theocracy for earning Iran pariah status abroad and economic ruin at home. Not now. The haughty ayatollahs are bragging that they faced down the West and will restore the economy – as they wink to applauding crowds that Iran will soon be nuclear and dictate its terms to the Middle East.
Third, appeasers always wrongly insist that the only alternative to their foolish concessions is war. Just the opposite is true.
Time was not on Iran’s side. Teheran was growing desperate for financial and commercial relief from global sanctions and embargoes. In contrast, the world had no such urgency and could have easily waited for a cash-strapped and ostracized Iran to give up on a bomb.
There were plenty of alternatives short of war in dealing with Hitler from 1936 to 1939, but none after. Expect that in five years Iran will be better armed, richer, more confident, more aggressive – and nearly impossible to deter without the use of force.
Fourth, beneficiaries grow to hate their appeasers. Such ingratitude might seem counterintuitive, given the gifts that the Iranians have just received from the Obama administration. But we should remember that Hitler called his Munich appeasers “worms” and pushed them even further.