One of the hallmarks of Progressives is that they appear determined to learn nothing from history. In fact, their method for doing so is to not know history at all, and to make sure as few others do as possible, particularly through the education system.
But they also are incapable of learning even from their own, most recent history. And the overarching first lesson of history is that those who do not know it are doomed to repeat it — and unfortunately if those people are in leadership, drag the rest of us with them.
This is playing out in real time as we see the Progressive media and Democrats double down on both the short-term political mistakes they made in the run-up to the 2016 election, and in dealing with tyrants around the world. Progressives either ignore both of these lessons fairly plain from history or they are blind to them. Or perhaps they do not even see them as lessons and so cannot learn from them.
But regardless, the result is the same. They repeat them.
So in the foreign policy realm, the lesson is what happens when we appease evil tyrants.
The utter disaster of trying to appease wicked regimes such as Nazi Germany in the 1930s, which was the policy of good Progessives such as British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, along with French President Édouard Daladier, leader of the Socialst party. This weak appeasement allowed a wicked regime that could have been contained relatively easily in 1938 to overrun most of Europe by 1941, costing tens of millions of lives and leaving half of Europe under the tyranny of the Soviet Union for 50 years.
President Jimmy Carter turned his back on the Shah of Iran, an imperfect leader but a U.S. ally, and made the way for the Mullahs of Iran, an evil regime that has spread terrorism and misery throughout the Middle East along with oppressing its own people. Carter, among the Progressives of his time, had not learned that weakness invited war and aggression and so depleted the U.S. military.
President Ronald Reagan rebuilt the military and the economy from the Carter shambles and approached the Soviet Union from a position of strength, identifying an evil threat. The result was the downfall of that empire that had killed multiple times more than the Nazis did.
President Obama, learning nothing from the Carter debacle or the Reagan victories, openly appeased the tyrants in Iran with the nuclear accords that saved them from the suffocating effects of the sanctions from the 2000s put in place by President Bush in concert with the U.N. That act allowed Iran to strengthen itself and expand its misery, just as appeasing Hitler did.
Today, Iran continues to follow the Stalinist tactic of pushing everywhere that is soft, and continues to push to expand their power and influence until they meet resistance too stiff. They never found resistance during the Obama years and greatly expanded their power and wealth. The nuclear deal delivered them desperately needed cash and lifted economic sanctions, meaning they could funnel more money to Hezbollah and other terrorist proxies.
They want the U.S. totally out of Iraq so they can essentially turn it into a vassal state, giving them influence from the Afghan border to the Mediterranean Sea — the heart of the Middle East. Again, this is in historical line with dictatorial expansionist regimes.
Further, removing us from Iraq and bringing that land into their orbit will align them solidly with Russia in the region, which entered during the Obama vacuum and appeasement years. (Resetting Russian relations, which was another form of appeasement also resulted in Putin invading and occupying Crimea and waging war against Ukraine.)
Obama appeased the tyrants in Tehran and Moscow and they became stronger, and spread their misery, repeating history. Also worth noting, so did China in the Obama years, but they did during the Bush years also.
This was the ashes of Progressives’ foreign policy that Trump was left with. He has created red lines and actually enforced them. Syrian use of chemical weapons against its own population resulted in sharp bombing raids that damaged their ability to do so and killed about 200 Russians. There have been no further chemical attacks.
Our evil enemies know that Trump is willing to use force and has done so against Russia in Syria, along with arming Ukraine (despite the whole impeachment nonsense) and the results is that they’ve been stymied in the lust for expansionist power. They will not push and spread their tyranny if they believe the U.S. will respond with force.
That brings us to the moment where Trump ordered the drone strike on the Iranian general in charge of the Quds force, General Solemeini, who has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of American soldiers in Iraq. The military has long wanted him eliminated as he is the author of the bloody actions inside and outside Iran, including the Hezbollah-backed militia operating in Iraq. And he is thought to be responsible for the attack on the U.S. Embassy over the holidays.
Obama passed up on taking him out. And worse, as part of the horrible nuclear deal, he removed Solemeini from the U.S. terrorist list, even though he was right behind the leader of ISIS in deadliness.
The media will and has painted this along the Democrat talking points, per usual, that Trump is acting recklessly, causing more attacks, risking war and acting without Congressional approval (the last one of which is a hoot considering what Obama did without Congressional approval.)
But Solemeini was planning more deadly attacks and was brazen about it. Because Obama had given him a free pass to kill Americans, he did not even try to hide his movements or whereabouts as other terrorists did. He even did selfies of himself in various hotspots.
Iran will likely respond in a strong enough way to show their people they are fighting back, but not so strong as to trigger an escalated U.S. attack. They know how vulnerable they are against the American military.
The response of Democrats, channelling Progressives’ thinking, is that we have just made them mad and risked escalation. They also think we should return to the nuclear deal.
In other words: Appeasement.
Nothing learned at all from the last 50 years.
Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.