“Lord, if only I could have talked with Hitler, all this might have been avoided.”
If you said Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, Joe Biden, or even Chuck Hagel, you'd be wrong, but you'd know that. It was the quote used today by President Bush as he addressed the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem, discussing appeasement and the idea that all we need to do for there to be peace in the world is simply to talk to our enemies. It's an appropriate quotation, since so many of us believe that if we meet face to face with those whose stated desire is the destruction of our country and its way of life, they'll change their mind and love us.
Neville Chamberlain was had at Munich, and the entire world knows it. You can probably see the piece of paper that Hitler and Mussolini signed somewhere in the British or French archives (it's probably not on display in, say, the Czech Republic or Poland). People who are fanatics, Churchill observed, will never change their mind or the subject. And so it is with those who desire your death, destruction, or subjugation. You would think that Jimmy Carter would have learned that after the Soviets duped him on Afghanistan. Is it any different today? Apparently so, as all that stands between us and peace in our time is cowboy diplomacy.
The quote, by the way, was Idaho Republican Senator William Borah, an isolationist, made in 1939, as recorded in William K. Hutchinson's book Borah, 1961. Hutchinson records it made in a conversation with Borah. Apparently, Borah held himself in the same high regard as today's Congress does itself. Would that the rest of us felt the same, eh?