Tuesday, July 14, 2015

14-Jul-15: Snatching the world from a universal calamity: A historical note

From the pages of The Guardian, October 1, 1938:

"Peace is still the greatest hope in the hearts" of Iranians, Israelis, Europeans, Americans, everyone. But history has a powerful message for those who think hoping is all that is needed for peace to be achieved. 

At this exact moment we are watching Federica Mogherini (High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the EC) and Mohammed Javad Zarif, (Iranian Minister for Foreign Affairs) telling a media conference in Vienna that we have achieved "the end of the crisis". We recall Winston Churchill in 1938. The then-British prime minister Chamberlain had just returned from Munich, clutching in his hand a written understanding with the Nazi Germans - the appeasement letter. Churchill said this to the Parliament:
I do not grudge our loyal, brave people... the natural, spontaneous outburst of joy and relief when they learned that the hard ordeal would no longer be required of them at the moment; but they should know the truth. They should know that there has been gross neglect and deficiency in our defences; they should know that we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road; they should know that we have passed an awful milestone in our history... and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies: "Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting." And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup...  [Winston Churchill, speaking on October 5, 1938 in the House of Commons]  
And more bluntly:
You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour, and you will have war. [Churchill, 1938]
The text of today's historic understanding, the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is here.

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