Sounds familiar? These phrases have been Neocon mantras for nearly 20 years now. The great irony is that what they're saying is true. We are at a '1938 moment' Appeasement won't work. We do need to take action. Against the NeoCons themselves.
Back in 2003, I warned in the New Statesman that the illegal invasion of Iraq wouldn't be 'the war to end all wars' but would be followed by threats to Libya and Syria.
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And look what happened. The Regime Changers never went away- and now, thanks to them we are perilously close to World War Three. To avoid it we desperately need to learn the lessons of the 1930s.
Hitler was emboldened because of the ease with which he achieved his earlier ambitions. In March 1936 he sent German troops in to recapture the de-militarised Rhineland.
"The actual move was a staggering example of Hitler's strong nerve", writes historian A.J.P Taylor in his book 'The Origins of the Second World War' "Germany had literally no forces available for war. Hitler assured his protesting generals he would withdraw his token force at the first sign of French action."
But there was no French action. The Fuhrer moved on to the next territory on his 'To Do' list. Britain and France acquiesced as Austria was incorporated into the Third Reich in March 1938. That same year, Hitler got his way again at the Munich Conference where he was handed the Sudetenland on a plate.
Can we really blame him for thinking Britain and France would cave in over Danzig and the Polish Corridor in 1939?
Hitler attacked Poland in the confident belief that he'd get away with it. Taylor argues that the German leader was not hell-bent on world war and that he could have been contained. 'Men will long debate whether this renewed war could have been averted by greater firmness or by greater conciliation…. Maybe either would have succeeded, if consistently followed; the mixture of the two, practised by the British government, was the most likely to fail.'
Britain did give guarantees to Poland in 1939, but the Germans didn't take them seriously.
In Syria, the NeoCon project has been checked, on account of Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah military assistance to the UN-recognised government. But Israel's targeting of Iranian installations in Syria — plus the racheting up of the propaganda war against both Russia and Iran- indicate that we‘re entering a new, even more dangerous phase of the conflict. Put simply, the road to Tehran goes through Damascus and the NeoCons,for whom the word 'obsessive' might have been invented, are prepared to risk quite a lot to get what they want.
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Russia was praised by peace-loving people around the world for its lack of military response to the illegal US/UK/France air strikes on Syria on 14th April, but the concern is that the uber-hawks in Washington, London, Paris and Tel Aviv will be emboldened by the fact that they seem to have 'got away'' with bombing Syria on the pretext of responding to a non-verified chemical weapons attack. Already before the strikes commentators were coming forward to suggest that it could be worth calling Russia's bluff.
"If the international community-and Turkey in particular-starts challenging Russia, they might find that Rusia (sic) is not as formidable in Syria as it comes across," wrote Oved Lobel on 2nd April on TRT World.
Kyle Orton, a Research Fellow of the Henry Jackson Society, argued the same thing following Trump's bombing of the Shayrat airbase in 2017.
"It is now clear that Russia cannot protect the Syrian regime if the US is determined to challenge it. The myths and rationalisations of a 'Third World War' have been overthrown."
You can imagine similarly confident articles appearing in the Nazi press in 1939, seeking to assuage worries that Britain would stand by Poland.
It's not hard to predict what the next 'act' of the drama will be.
Yesterday a source told Sputnik: "US security services are planning provocations with the use of prohibited substances in Syria. The operation is led by a former militant of the Islamic State *[Daesh], Mishan Idris Hamash. The aim is to stage a chemical attack against civilians to be further spread in the media,".
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If this 'provocation' does indeed take place, then we could be very close to a pivotal moment in world history.
Like Hitler in 1939, the neocons don't want a world war. Their strategy, as we have seen, has been to pick off 'target states' one-by-one. Remember that General Wesley Clark video?
But a major global conflict could easily break out-unless the war lobby in the west is absolutely convinced that the Kremlin would respond with force to a further escalation of the conflict in Syria and a direct assault on Iran. Back in 1938, the one thing that could have saved Czechoslovakia was a formal alliance between Britain, France and the Soviet Union to protect the central European country. Today, what is clearly (and, I'd argue,
urgently needed), is a formal mutual defence pact between Syria, Iran and Russia. If China could be persuaded to join, then all the better.
The Neocons have caused death and destruction around the world for far too long. Better to act now to make sure that 2019 doesn't turn into 1939, and- indeed from a Russia perspective- that 2021 doesn't become 1941.
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