McCain’s game plan: Paint Obama as Neville Chamberlain
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-06-10
History blames then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain as the man who could have demolished Adolf Hitler in 1938 but failed to do so.

Going eyeball to eyeball with Adolf Hitler in September 1938 in Munich, Chamberlain blinked and allowed the German Fuehrer to annex the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain accepted Hitler’s rationale that most of its inhabitants were of German descent and that Germany needed Lebensraum (living room).

Chamberlain returned home posturing as a hero, waving the infamous deal with Hitler and claiming “It is peace in our time.”

In a subsequent speech where he sought to justify the German annexation of the Sudetenland, Chamberlain said: “However much we may sympathize with a small nation confronted by a big and powerful neighbor, we cannot in all circumstances undertake to involve the whole British Empire in war simply on her account. If we have to fight it must be on larger issues than that.”

Historians assessed that the annexation of the Sudetenland emboldened Hitler to invade Poland in September 1939 — thus triggering World War II. Had Chamberlain resisted Hitler’s annexation of the Sudetenland, the German Fuehrer would have had no choice but to follow the British demand as Germany was in no position then to go to war. Instead, Chamberlain encouraged the German Fuehrer to embark on bolder adventures.

There was also the widely accepted assessment that had Chamberlain rebuffed Hitler in Munich in 1938, the German Fuehrer would have lost face. It could have created the momentum for Hitler’s fall from power. The strong British position would have rallied Opposition forces in Germany against Hitler, especially in the armed forces.

Neville Chamberlain’s failure is one that stemmed from fear of reliving a past trauma. Up to 1938, the British had never experienced a national trauma as much as the big casualties suffered during World War I, thus the aversion to starting another war. Instead, that fear resulted in an even bigger (future) trauma being experienced — World War II.

Neville Chamberlain failed to foresee that giving a bloodthirsty jackal like Adolf Hitler a pound of flesh merely encourages him to seek more flesh to sink his teeth into.

It is this historical drama 70 years ago that now provides Republican Party Presidential Nominee John McCain the opportunity to paint his Democratic Party rival, Barack Obama, as another Neville Chamberlain who will endanger US security through an appeasement policy.

To fuel this perception, McCain utilizes Obama’s previous pronouncement of troop withdrawal from the Iraq quagmire and a willingness to talk peace with perceived US enemies like Iran.

It is doubted though if the American public will bite McCain’s line — not after incumbent George W. Bush fooled the US public into invading Iraq on false claims of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

It also does not help McCain any that former Bush Press Secretary Scott McClellan recently published his book (“What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception”) about how the Bush regime lied in order to push the US into war in Iraq.

McCain’s disadvantage is not just the unpopular Iraq War but also the state of the US economy, health care concerns and the continuous loss of jobs. Historically, the economy has always proved to be the biggest incentive of American voters to change the party in power.

Obama, on the other hand, will attempt to paint McCain as another George W. Bush.

LLDA rejoinders

Our June 3 column on reported LLDA (Laguna Lake Development Authority) irregularities drew emailed responses from LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda and Laguna Lake fish pen operator — former general Marino Filart.

Ed Manda denied Mikey Arroyo’s involvement in LLDA operations, saying: “Rep. Mikey Arroyo has never interfered for or in behalf of any fish pen owner or businessman since I took over the Laguna Lake Development Authority.”

In the same e-mail though, Ed Manda acknowledged that: “I had ordered a full-blast investigation of similar reports of people dropping the name of presidential son and Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo long before your column came out and results show that never has the unlawful action been taken by anybody.”

This is a clear indication that there has been this ‘smoke’ for some time in the LLDA. Remember the saying that where there is smoke, there is fire? In my response to Ed Manda, I told him the names of reported non-paying, name dropping operators.

Former Gen. Filart explained how typhoon Milenyo prevented the delinquent fish pen/fish cage operators from paying their LLDA dues. The weakness of Gen. Filart’s position is that there are more fish pen/fish cage operators who have smaller operations but have managed to pay the LLDA fees.

Like I said, this is a case of unequal application of the law and unfair competition. If Ed Manda will entertain the logic of the delinquent operators, then he ought to reimburse the others who dutifully paid their LLDA dues.

  Previous Columns:

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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