Munich?

I’m with Hilzoy1: to neocons it’s always Munich in 1938.

I don’t have much to say about Russia and Georgia, other than the obvious—it’s scary (maybe a little less so this morning). Others have said everything I might want to say, much better than I would. Do read this—I don’t know enough to have a real opinion about Georgia and South Ossetia, but God knows we could use some counterbalance here, and I’m inherently very leery of nationalist “territorial integrity” arguments (on which, see Ilya Somin). (I am also leery of nationalist pro-secession arguments. I am leery of pretty much everything here.)

But I do have a tiny bit to say about Neville Chamberlain and Munich. All we seem to have learned from that is “appeasement bad”—not, I admit, altogether a bad lesson, at least in that case. But Chamberlain’s problem wasn’t that he was a wimpy appeaser. He was no wimp. Chamberlain’s problem was that he was an arrogant pig-headed narcissist, convinced of his own infallibility, who apparently thought he could look Hitler in the eye and get a sense of his soul. Remind you of anyone?

Yes, I should cite something for that. An excellent book on the years leading up to World War II is Ernest May’s Strange Victory; its real subject is how France managed to lose so quickly, but it’s very good on what went before, including Munich.

 

1. “I wish I had said that.” “You will, Oscar, you will.”

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