Enhanced Munich

In her statement supporting the adoption of Resolution 1701 by the United Nations Security Council this past Friday, Secretary Rice placed emphasis on the role of an “enhanced UNIFIL” in enforcing the terms of the resolution. We now read in her interview with USA Today:

I don’t think there is an expectation that this force is going to physically disarm Hezbollah. I think it’s a little bit of a misreading of how you disarm a militia. You have to have a plan, first of all, for the disarmament of a militia, and then the hope is that some people lay down their arms voluntarily.

Today’s Washington Times follows up with “Beirut cools to disarming Hezbollah.” Like the UN resolution, the Munich Agreement was dependent on certain guarantees and, not an international force but rather an international commission, to resolve outstanding issues. Like the UN resolution, the Munich Agreement assured that war, when it came, would be on terms more favorable to the fascists than they otherwise would have been.

Nevertheless, the people of Europe had some 10 months during which they might reasonably have believed that the Munich Agreement was, as the subtitle of Telford Taylor’s magnificent history of the agreement has it, “the price of peace.” We on the other hand have not had 10 days during which it might reasonably be believed that the UN resolution has secured anything other than another war on terms more favorable to the fascists than they otherwise would have been.

UPDATE: Hisorian John Steele Gordon qualifies my Munich analogy:

First, Munich, signed September 30th, gave Britain eleven months to rearm before war broke out, which it did with increasing vigor, as Chamberlain greatly accelerated rearmament immediately after Munich. The Royal Air Force was relatively stronger vis-a-vis the Luftwaffe in September, 1939, than in September, 1938. It was still miserably weak, to be sure. But had the Battle of Britain been fought in the summer of 1939 instead of a year later, those few to whom so much is owed would not have been able to save the many.

Second, even Chamberlain realized by March, 1939, when Hitler helped himself to the rest of Czechoslovakia, that “peace in our time” had been an illusion, and he abandoned his policy of appeasement. Two weeks later he guaranteed British aid to Poland should it be attacked, a guarantee he honored five months later.

The first point I leave to pursue another day. As for the second point, Taylor notes that at the British Cabinet’s March 15 regular morning meeting, Chamberlain’s “main purpose was to escape from ‘the moral guarantee of Czechoslovakia,’ which, Inskip had told the Commons after Munich, was already in effect.” Reducing the post-Munich period of illusion from ten or eleven months to six makes my point more accurate; reducing the current period of illusion to six days also makes the point more stark.

On the subject of Resolution 1701 and events since this past Friday, see also Benny Avni’s New York Sun article: “Resolve is eroding in face of call to disarm Hezbollah.”


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