Former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain sacrificed the Sudetenland in his deal with Hitler in order to bring "peace for our time." After Hitler trampled over the Munich agreement and whatever was left of Czechoslovakia, London waited three days before filing an "official protest."
In Moscow, Foreign Ministers Viacheslav Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop signed the famous non-aggression pact and divided up regions of influence in Eastern Europe among themselves. Stalin bought himself two years of quiet and was the first one to be stunned when the German army pulled a Napoleon-style act and launched Operation Barbarossa.
Almost 70 years after that shameful appeasement, it appears the successors of those leaders haven't learned a thing.
It may have been the Saudi desert's heat, or possibly skyrocketing oil prices that caused the British foreign minister to express public interest in "normal relations" with the Hamas government – the one that a day earlier characterized the terror attack in Tel Aviv as a "legitimate act of revenge."
It appears Chamberlain's black umbrella was the only thing missing from Jack Straw's photos with the corrupt, fanatical Saudi royal family.
And what lesson did the Russians learn from the Molotov-Ribbentrop disgrace? "Give us concrete evidence of a military nuclear program in Iran, and then we can talk about sanctions."
The Kremlin is inundated with documents and testimonies regarding what is taking place under Iranian soil. It is no secret Israel also
took an active part in the gathering and persuasion work. But who needs classified intelligence evidence when the crafty leader from Tehran is presenting "good news" about progress in uranium enrichment and openly demands his country be treated as a nuclear power? What additional proof does the new Russian czar need, and how much sand does he think is still left in the hourglass?
Now, Moscow hopes that assistance in uranium enrichment for "peaceful purposes" would push the bomb away from the hands of the ayatollahs. And in any case, they assure us, they're still far from getting there, and even if they do get there, they'll never push the button.
Is anyone willing to take that chance? Can we even imagine life here under the shadow of the Iranian bomb, when any minor operation in Gaza or Lebanon, and possibly in Chechnya and the Muslim suburbs of Paris or London, leads to an implied, not-quite-conventional threats?
There is only one regime in the world still using apocalyptic terminology to discuss the extermination of another people and making remarks unheard around here since the German dictator's departure. And to this regime of all others, the world – from Beijing through Moscow and the International Atomic Energy Committee and all the way to the Security Council in New York - is willing to give access to doomsday weapons.
If there's one lesson from the death camps that must resonate today more than ever in Washington and also in Jerusalem, it's this: Do not take this chance, at any price.
On the eve of elections and now too, the bon ton among "social" circles here and their cheerleaders in the media is to view the Iranian question as no more than a spin. A spin by a candidate desiring a security agenda and by a defense establishment that wants more money and weapons.
"Instead of another F-16, boost minimum wage," says designated Defense Minister Amir Peretz. There might be some truth in this, but let's not get confused: This existential threat is not a spin and it is taking shape right before our eyes, here and now.
For Ahmadinejad and some leading Ayatollahs the "final solution" is clear. And therefore, on the eve of Holocaust Day, it might be a good idea to treat this – as well as our friends around the world that are letting it happen again – a little more seriously.
Guy Ronen is a Ynet editor