Thursday, December 27, 2007

Those who don't understand history...

...are doomed to repeat it.

But now, the stakes are higher than ever, as the weapons of the first and second World Wars were inconsequential compared to those readily available today.

I have been reading William L Shirer's Berlin Diary, his account of the events leading up to -- and subsequent to -- the start of World War II. Shirer was a radio correspondent for CBS whose beat took him to various parts of Europe as peace crumbled.

It's not difficult to find parallels between 1939 Europe and the world of 2007. Mad power-grabbers are waving swords and making threats, misguided but sincere anti-war types are counseling "discussions" with people who have no interest in maintaining whatever stability the world now enjoys, alliances with enemies are sought, and behind the scenes some are counting the potential profits of plunging the world into war once again.

One wonders what spark will finally ignite the new war. Will it be the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, whose death today has propelled her into mythic hero status among those who know nothing of her past record in nuclear-equipped Pakistan? Will Mad Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lose patience and fire missiles at Israel?

Will it be George Bush's misguided crusade to spread "democracy" through the world, or the foolish "we can negotiate" stance of the Democrats?

In any event, too many world "leaders" simply fail to understand the dynamics of those who wish them dead. Bush, Gordon Brown and too many members of the Western "elite" have no clue what is in store for them, what will come all the sooner if they continue to attempt appeasement.

The world has always had its share of madmen ruling countries. In the past, they could do little damage; today, too many have nuclear weapons. And once one of those madmen sees an opportunity, there will be no turning back.

In the early months of 1939, Neville Chamberlain was willing to allow Adolf Hitler almost anything in pursuit of "peace." History shows how well that worked out. Today, we have those in this country who think so-called diplomacy can have an effect on modern Hitlers.

We make alliances with those who care nothing for our nation's survival, just as Germany and the Soviet Union did in 1939. Will we, too, be stabbed in the back as the Russians were? And will we then line up at the side of an avowed enemy, as Roosevelt did with Stalin?

What this all means to me is that we are, as we were in 1939, on the brink of a conflagration. The diplomats, the power-hungry and the madmen, have had a field day trying to work things out, and in their greed, stupidity, fealty to political parties and religions and clueless desire to make the world "tolerant" to every nutjob who comes down the road, have created a mess for which no one seems to have an effective answer.

I have no answer either. As if anyone would listen to me.

Actually, I do have answers, because I read history. None would be adopted, and none would be pleasant. They would be considered "unfair," "intolerant" and, worst of all, would run counter to the image we like to think the world has of us. Even if that image vanished back in the days of Vietnam.

But what price the avoidance of total destruction?

One way or another, we will pay the bill for what the world has become. And it may be sooner than you think.

3 comments:

maryjane said...

No one listens to the voice of reason. They only listen to the mad men standing on their soap boxes.

It's funny you chose to write about this - I said to a friend earlier that this is the beginning of the end.
A new war is coming.
I need to hurry and have some babies so I can fulfil my potential before the earth is blown to pieces by the mad men on the soap boxes.

MrScribbler said...

Maryjane -- I'm sorry to have to agree with you. And voices of reason are in short supply these days....

lowandslow said...

The similarities are indeed eerie. History DOES repeat itself, and we have a disturbing proclivity to re-invent the wheel instead of learn from past mistakes. On the other hand every generation seems to think "the end is near", yet it never quite gets here. But with nukes in the hands of all the wrong people, do we have any margin of error? I have no answers, either. Let's hope the world will back off at the 11th hour again.