Copyright © 2008 The American Conservative
Neocon news flash: Hitler invades Georgia.
By Leon Hadar
Neoconservatives and their useful idiots in the American media have been on overdrive this August, rewinding to their World War II analogies and applying them to the fast-forwarding world of global politics. Exhibit A: the obvious likeness of the 2008 Beijing Olympics to the 1936 Berlin Games. Hitlergram of the Month was the parallel drawn between Nazi-era filmmaker turned propagandist Leni Riefenstahl, who was invited by the Führer to film the Olympics in Berlin—the result being the technically and aesthetically impressive documentary “Olympia”—and the celebrated Chinese director Zhang Yimou, who was commissioned by his government to produce the magnificent opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. The power of analogy, there for the China-bashers’ taking.
But no neocon narrative is complete without Czechoslovakia. Imagine your average Weekly Standard subscriber taking a free-association test and being asked to state the first words that come to his mind when he hears “Czechoslovakia.” Rest assured, he would respond with “Munich,” “appeasement,” “Chamberlain,” or “umbrella.” And let’s not forget “Hitler.” Thus can anyone clamoring for U.S. military intervention in, say, the former Yugoslavia or the Persian Gulf, mount a successful media and public-relations campaign by identifying his chosen victim (the Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo, or Kuwait, or the Kurds) with Czechoslovakia and associating his preferred “aggressor” (Slobodan Milosevic or Saddam Hussein) with Hitler. Those Americans who resist pressure to deploy U.S. troops abroad to save the victim from the aggressor are appeasers leading the world into another Munich.
Here we go again. “The details of who did what to precipitate Russia’s war against Georgia are not very important,” explained leading neocon foreign-policy ideologue Robert Kagan—who insists that he isn’t a neocon at all—in a column in the Washington Post three days after the eruption of hostilities between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway province of South Ossetia. “Do you recall the precise details of the Sudeten Crisis that led to Nazi Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia?” he asked. Kagan, one of the chief advisers to Republican presidential candidate John McCain, wants to kick “revisionist” Russia out of the G-8 and establish a League of Democracies as part of a strategy to contain the growing threat from Moscow. Kagan’s answer to his rhetorical question in his column titled “Putin Makes his Move” (wink, wink—like you-know-who made his move 70 years ago): “Of course not, because that morally ambiguous dispute is rightly remembered as a minor part of a much bigger drama.”