Much like the solution to the Sudeten-Czech Crisis of 1938, opposing world leaders have settled a thorny dispute against the backdrop of unsheathed arms and the threat of war — The deal that Neville Chamberlain and the ministers of his allies made with Hitler and Germany over Czechoslovakia was better and more justified by contemporary realities than the Syria deal with Russia, brokered in recent days by Secretary of State John Kerry and coolly embraced by President Obama.
On September 30th 1938 Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain emerged at Heston, England from his second airplane trip in two weeks and said this: “...the settlement of the Czechoslovakian problem, which has now been achieved is, in my view, only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace. This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine. Some of you, perhaps, have already heard what it contains but I would just like to read it to you: ' ... We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.' ” A little later that day, the same man stood in front of his residence at 10 Downing Street and made a few short remarks including the following fateful and historically ironic words: “My good friends, for the second time in our history a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time.”
Do you remember how that all turned out ?
Enough about THEN, what about NOW ?
According to multiple outlets, the “Syria Crisis” has been averted as a result of diplomacy driven by the threat of the use of arms by the United States against Syria. The New York Times reports, “The United States and Russia reached a sweeping agreement on Saturday that called for Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014 and indefinitely stalled the prospect of American airstrikes. *** The joint announcement, on the third day of intensive talks in Geneva, also set the stage for one of the most challenging undertakings in the history of arms control...” (See “U.S. and Russia Reach Deal to Destroy Syria’s Chemical Arms” by Michael R. Gordon, 9/15/13, NY Times [http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/15/world/middleeast/syria-talks.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0]). According to the Times, “Speaking at a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry said that “if fully implemented, this framework can provide greater protection and security to the world.”
Neville Chamberlain couldn’t have said it any better — And the Syrian people have been no less betrayed by the deal to save them and avoid war now, than the Czechs and Slovaks were 75 years ago.