A reassessment of the history of appeasement in the 1930s yields the following conclusions: first, Hitler remains unequaled as a state threat. No post-1945 threat to the United States bears genuine comparison to the Nazi dictatorship. Second, Anglo-French security choices in the 1930s were neither simple nor obvious; they were shaped and constrained by factors ignored or misunderstood by those who retrospectively have boiled them down to a simple choice between good and evil. Third, hindsight is not 20/20 vision; it distorts. We view past events through the prism of what followed. Had Hitler dropped dead before 1939, there would have been no World War II or Holocaust, and therefore no transformation of the very term “appeasement” into a pejorative. Finally, invocations of the Munich analogy to justify the use of force are almost invariably misleading because security threats to the United States genuinely Hitlerian in scope and nature have not been replicated since 1945. ~ Appeasement Reconsidered, Jeffery Record, U.S. Army War College, August 2005Dr. Record cautions that invoking Munich comparisons limits strategic thinking and tends to skew policies towards military actions. Seeing every problem as a reflection of Hitler is lazy thinking and leads to
the presidential tendency since 1945 to overstate threats for the purpose of rallying public and congressional opinion, and overstated threats in turn encourage resort to force in circumstances where deterrence, containment, even negotiation (from strength) might better serve long-term U.S. security interests.American policy under Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld is driven by rhetoric instead of research. It results in actions that are ill-conceived, at best ineffective and at worst counterproductive.
We are not fighting fascism, using the word does not change the fact. We are faced with Islamic religious fundamentalists who are using the only force available to them, the weak force of terrorism, to change the course of Islamic countries. We have found ourselved in the firing line because our cultural, economic, and political tentacles touch every nation.
It is a stupid hunter who declares a goose is an elephant and then shoot the goose with a 50-caliber gun. It is a stupid politican who says everything he sees is fascism and declares war on a quarter of the world.