Tuesday, November 17, 2015

ISIS is not Nazi Germany and the "appeasement" argument is ludicrous

Every time "pundits" with little to no historical knowledge or understanding of any kind want to malign moves by a given leader to chose a path that is not explicitly militarist when confronting whatever new enemy the Western apologists for imperialism have decided needs attacking, the old canard of "didn't they learn anything from attempts to appease Hitler" is hauled out.

This ludicrously ahistorical analogy -- which one might note was used to justify the staggeringly ill-advised attack on Saddam Hussein in 2003 that helped to create ISIS --  is being used to condemn Justin Trudeau's decision to pull Canadian fighter jets out of bombing missions in the present conflict.

An example of the line of "reasoning" at play here can be found in this article from Christina Blizzard in the Toronto Sun:

In the wake of the Friday the 13th terror attacks in Paris, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became the selfie-taking appeaser as the rest of the world declared war on ISIS.
It’s a role reminiscent of former British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, who in 1938, returned from a meeting with Adolf Hitler in Munich declaring “peace in our time.”
That worked out well.
Chamberlain famously waved an umbrella. Trudeau waved a smartphone.
History has shown that those who appease murderers and terrorists simply enable more murder and terror.

Sounds suitably erudite and frightening right?  I mean those efforts to appease Hitler obviously backfired didn't they?

Except that there is absolutely no meaningful way, other than to the stunningly simplistically minded, that the two historical situations can be remotely compared.

The first obvious difference is that Nazi Germany was one of the most powerful and advanced industrial and military nations in the world. It was capable of not only mass producing guns, artillery pieces, aircraft, tanks, submarines and so forth on an immense scale but was also able to deploy them via a disciplined military in a nation united in purpose (however evil that purpose turned out to be).

The Germans not only proved capable of taking on the French and invading and defeating them, they took on the British, United States and Soviet Union and very nearly won. They conquered and occupied France.

To note that this is so far beyond the capability of ISIS that it simply beggars belief that anyone attempts to compare the two would be a vast understatement.

To be clear, and it is crucial to understand this, even if left to its own devices entirely ISIS would never even conceivably pose the type of existential threat to countries and nations like France or Britain that Nazi Germany did. They could never invade and conquer France in a matter of weeks. They could never occupy most of Europe and drive militarily deep into Russian territory to the very gates of Moscow and beyond.

To suggest they could is beyond asinine and alone makes the comparison not simply specious but intellectually stunted and nothing more than the propaganda of the historically illiterate.

While the murders of over a hundred innocent civilians at restaurants and concerts in  Paris was horrific, the notion that it is anyway similar to the threat posed by Nazi Germany is offensive morally and intellectually.

This essential fact aside, the other difference -- and it is a massive one -- is that Nazi Germany set a course for war and genocide in the political context of the 1930's and actually began to invade and absorb entire countries in Europe, starting with Austria and Czechoslovakia, and then, with the invasion of Poland, brought matters to a head so that the Western powers at the time finally took a stand.

Nazi Germany was the aggressor on all fronts.

ISIS, however, is a product of aggression. Unlike Nazi Germany it is not attempting imperialist aggression but is actually a creation of imperialist aggression. It only exists due to the decision of the United States to invade Iraq under false pretenses (something eerily similar to the actions of the Nazis in justifying the launching of their wars) and due to the now obviously misguided decision of the West to intervene in undermining the Syrian regime.

While France nonsensically talks about the attack by ISIS as a "declaration of war" the West, including France, have been involved in military interventions and attacks in this conflict long before these attacks in Paris and these actions by the West have killed far, far, far  more innocent people than have terrorist attacks.

Not only has no effort been made to "appease" anyone, Western military action and mass violence in the region resulted in the very threat that reactionaries now rant about.

ISIS is a byproduct of military intervention and action. It is very, very hard to see how it, or something else similar that will replace it, will be ended by such actions.

History is often distorted to serve narratives, though seldom this moronically. To be clear, while ISIS is a profoundly vile, destructive and violently reactionary force, neither its origins nor capabilities bare any comparison to Nazi Germany, it is wrong and deeply offensive to the victims of Nazi Germany to suggest otherwise, and it displays a staggering lack of knowledge of historical context that would almost be darkly humorous -- like theories about "ancient aliens"-- were it not, in this instance, being used to justify more incredibly wrongheaded attacks and killings and a Western militarist agenda that is a straight up lie.

See also: Non-violence -- There is a way to stop the cycle

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