Thursday, April 20, 2006

Officials: Remilitarized Germany Is "Years Away" From Posing Threat

Bleurters News Service
London, April 21, 1936

German Chancellor Adolf Hitler's surprise remilitarization of the industrial Ruhr region of the Rhineland does not pose an imminent threat to peace in Western Europe, said various officials. The entry of German troops into the former industrial heartland of western Germany has prompted warnings about the dangers of Nazi Germany gaining the means to start a general European war. Other commentators say that such fears are disingenuous and overblown.

In a statement released after the entry of German troops into the Ruhr valley, Chancellor Hitler seemed to suggest that he would abrogate the Treaty of Versailles. "The German Government have continually emphasized during the negotiations of the last years their readiness to observe and fulfill all the obligations arising from the Rhine pact as long as the other Contracting Parties were ready on their side to main­tain the pact. This obvious and essential condition can no longer be regarded as being fulfilled."

Former French prime minister Pierre Laval said Monday that Germany is a least five years away from developing an offensive military capability, leaving time to peacefully negotiate a settlement.

"But there is a chance that the Western powers will use bombs or artillery against several sites in Germany," he was quoted as saying. "Then, the reactions would be strong, and would contribute to increased war fever."

"We have time on our side in this case. Germany can't have a revitalized Wehrmacht ready in the next five years," Laval was quoted as saying.

Others voiced a more concerned note. "Right now the ball is in the League Of Nation's court, and I think they must take some action, fairly strong action, in the reasonably near future," said former Secretary of War Newton D. Baker.

Chancellor Hitler in an interview insisted that there was no longer any cause for conflict between France and Germany despite "very bad things about France" in Mein Kampf. "You want me to correct my book, like a man of letters bringing out a new and revised edition of his works. But I am not a man of letters. I am a politician. I undertake my corrections in my foreign policy, which aims at an understanding with France. If I succeed in bringing about the Franco‑German rapprochement, that will be a correction which will be worthy to be made. I enter my correction in the great book of history!"


  1. Via lgf. very enlightening re: time is on our side...Same with Iran, indeed. But nuclearised now. What would it look like when that time has elapsed.... Sanity does need inspecting - urgently. Thank you.

  2. Accepting for the sake of argument your thesis that Iran today is the equivalent of Germany in 1936, what do you propose we do?

    We can't invade Iran, because the Army and Marines are tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan. We can't destroy their nuclear program from the air, becuase it's widely dispersed, in hardened bunkers in densely populated areas. We can't even build up our armed forces, becuase the combination of the Iraq war and the tax cuts have sunk the government deeply in debt.

    What exactly does that leave, beyond containment? (If you're proposing containment--making it clear that a nuclear attack on Israel would be met by massive retaliation from the US--we're on the same page with me and with most liberals. I get the impression, though, that you'd prefer some other response.)

  3. Britain and France were in no shape or mood for a war in 1936, either. That's why they didn't move to enforce the non-militarization of the Rhineland, even though Hitler could never have held his bluff at that stage.

    My rather bleak opinion is still much the same as it was this past January, when I posted this.

    Containment? We're not succeeding in containing them now; why should they be intimidated later, once they have a device? The Bush administration's present approach of diplomacy is the best for now, but it won't always be if things continue to go like this.

    Not the least danger of a jihadi state with a nuclear capability is that terrorist groups will shelter under its "nuclear umbrella", like Europe used to with America's. Imagine the Iran-sponsored terrorists of Hezbollah totally off the leash and on the loose...

    Maybe all we can realistically do is hope for Salafi Burnout.

  4. Again, accepting for the sake of argument that your assessment of Iran is correct:

    Shouldn't we at the very least raise taxes and start increasing the size of the Army? Should we really have emarked on the Iraq war, given that Iran's current position is hardly a surprise? Shouldn't we have worried that destroying Iraq while carefully treating with North Korea would make it clear that hostile powers absolutely must be able to devastate a US ally if they hope to survive?

    I simply don't understand how you can simultaneously believe that Iran is the threat that you clearly do, and give your full support to an administration that has systematically destroyed our ability to do anything about it.

  5. Why? In a word, credibility. The Dems have been wishing our national security threats away for too long, for me to trust them again just yet. Henry "Scoop" Jackson is long dead, and whatever hawkish 9/11 Democrats there may be are probably still working their way up through the ranks. That leaves the Sixties fossils now in control of the national party, who in my view must be kept far, far away from being able to mung up national security in the name of their flaming consciences.

    Yes, Ron Dellums didn't give the store away to Cuba during his tenure on the House Intelligence Committee back in the 80s. But still and all, I don't trust "world citizens" to do what's best for America, when worst comes to worst.

    But let's change seats for a moment. Why do you believe that Iran does not pose a threat, imminent or forthcoming, if indeed you do believe that?

  6. Apologies for the long delay in responding---my son came down with a head cold bad enough to keep him home from preschool. That immediately sends me into "robbing Peter to pay Paul" mode, trying to get everything done close enough to on time that no one becomes enraged.

    In your characterization of Democrats, I'll just note that you seem to be basing your opinion on what the most extreme Democrats say instead of on what elected Democrats have actually done. Remember, my party controlled the Congress, by and large, throughout the 1980s. We certainly didn't destroy the nation's security during that time! Clinton's presidency was hardly marked by the end of US military power.

    I certainly believe that Iran represents a potential threat. It's a hostile power developing nuclear technology; I'd be a fool not to.

    What I don't believe is that it represents a threat comparable to Germany in 1936. Germany at that time was poised to launch a series of attacks on its neighbors, which the Allied powers initially misread as an attempt to return Germany to its 1914 borders.

    I don't really see any likelihood that Iran is about to attack a neighbor. Iraq would be the most probable target (southern Iraq is culturally similar to parts of Iran), but is under the protection of US forces. No other neighbor is really worth the effort. Israel would be, but a nuclear strike on Israel would be met by massive retaliation at least by Israel itself, probably (we should make this definitely) by the United States, and possibly by India (which has a strong intelligence relationship with Israel).

    Iran seems more likely to be in the same class of threat as North Korea---a nasty thorn in US foreign relations that we'll have to contain carefully and delicately for decades, until it finally collapses internally. This is the sort of threat that the State Department exists to handle.

    What's been worrying me is distressingly casual talk of launching a nuclear attack on Iran based on what it might do. That's an insane standard for launching a nuclear war, and vastly weakens the use of our nuclear arsenal as a deterrent. If countries believe they might fall under nuclear attack whether or not they use nuclear weapons, they might plausibly reason that they should hit first, regardless of the consequences. That'd be a disaster.


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