"It fell to Neville Chamberlain in one of the supreme crises of the world to be contradicted by events, to be disappointed in his hopes, and to be deceived and cheated by a wicked man," Winston Churchill said in 1940 during his eulogy for the British prime minister who preceded him. Of course, Chamberlain was not the only victim of wicked people or a reality that refuses to obey wishes, but his conciliatory approach to Hitler made him the object of scorn, and his name is associated with disastrous appeasement.
Churchill spoke about Chamberlain, but it seems that the same can be said of other "great leaders" who, in their actions, vision and beliefs followed in Chamberlain's footsteps and are worthy of wearing his crown of thorns. One of these leaders is current American President Barack Obama, who has made hesitance and pacification his guiding principles – or President Shimon Peres, who still praises the 1993 Oslo agreement despite its failure.
There are of course differences between Obama and Chamberlain, and the circumstances have changed since the 1930s, but it appears there are quite a few wicked people – from Moscow to Tehran and from Pyongyang to Damascus, who are rubbing their hands in pleasure in light of the softness and performance anxiety displayed by the world's policeman - a policeman who is convinced that everyone will be better off if he reconciles with criminals.
Perhaps it is only natural that a man whose character was shaped in the liberal hotbeds of Columbia and Harvard and the left wing of the Democratic Party, and whose ideology was influenced by Jeremiah Wright, Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said and Ali Abunimah – will try to avoid any confrontation with rogue leaders such as Assad, Gaddafi, Kim Jong-il, his son, and the president of Iran. And yet, the US stills considers itself to be the lone superpower and therefore has to raise the stick the from time to time. It is a bit difficult to see how its president's hesitance in the face of such a light threat as Assad and his army serves this purpose.
Today, as Obama's weakness is irking even his most ardent supporters in the US, the American president can at least rest assured that his Israeli counterpart will continue to heap praise upon him. By repeatedly praising Obama, Shimon Peres is actually praising his own efforts regarding peace, reconciliation and the signing of agreements with murderous terrorists which, according to Peres, were supposed to help realize his declaration that "after 100 years of terror come 100 years of dialogue and neighborly relations."
Like Obama, who in 2011 envisioned the light of democracy shining in the Levant with the outbreak of the "Arab Spring" (while severing the alliance with the loyal ally Mubarak, only to see a dark Islamist regime rise to power in Egypt and later brought down by a military coup), Peres was also convinced in the capital of Norway that it was possible to reach an agreement with a terrorist who dedicated his whole life to the annihilation of Israel.
"He did everything he could to prevent terror. Those who are disrupting him are Hamas and Islamic Jihad," Peres said of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat during the bloody mid-1990s. Arafat's speeches about shahids (martyrs) and his revolving door policy for terrorists did not cause Peres to question his blind faith in his partner and the agreement.
The comments Churchill made during his eulogy for Chamberlain apply just as much to Peres' approach to Assad and Obama's approach to Putin, Assad and Rohani.