Guest Writer Sarah N. Stern: The Geneva Betrayal

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by Sarah Stern

In a speech before the British House of Commons after hearing news of the signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, Sir Winston Churchill stated, “We are in the presence of a disaster of the first magnitude … we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road … we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, 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,” Churchill concluded.

The deal that was brokered in Geneva last week with Iran will go down as perhaps the worst betrayal of American and Western interests in history. Many pundits have compared it to the Munich agreement with Adolf Hitler. But this agreement is infinitely worse.

Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich ecstatic about the deal. He confidently boasted to the world that he had delivered the epigrammatic “Peace in our time.”

Upon return from the signing of the Munich Agreement, Adolf Hitler contemptuously proclaimed in regard to Neville Chamberlain, “If ever that silly old man comes interfering here again with his umbrella, I’ll kick him downstairs and jump on his stomach in front of the photographers.” In one of his public speeches after Munich, Hitler declared: “Thank God we have no umbrella politicians in this country.”

As Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal pointed out in his excellent editorial on November 25, 2013, the United States and its allies came to Geneva in a position of relative strength, whereas in Munich, Britain and France came to the negotiation in a position of relative weakness.

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