We have examined what really happened at the famous Munich meeting between the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the German Chancellor Adolf Hitler that concluded on September 30, 1938. We then reviewed the parallels between what Chamberlain was really after at Munich, which had nothing to do with “appeasement,” and what Obama was really doing with the “tax deal,” which has mainly to do with carrying out Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) right-wing policies while appearing to be a conciliator. Since the signing of the tax give-away, Obama has achieved a series of apparent legislative successes. They have been trumpeted by the Administration, the DLC, and the new DLC lookalike, the “No Labels” something or other, as demonstrating the “triumph” of “bipartisanship.”
Well, lets’ see about that. Again the comparisons with what happened to Chamberlain’s “Peace in Our Time” and to the people of Europe and then of the world (with the hammer falling hardest on the Soviet people, 25,000,000 deaths, the Germans themselves, 10,000,000 deaths, and the Jews of Europe, 6,000,000 deaths) are fascinating (at least for those of us who like this sort of thing). No deaths yet, fortunately, and may there never be any allocated directly to Obama’s dealing. But there will be negative outcomes, just as there were following Munich. Apparently Chamberlain did not anticipate the latter. But Hitler surely did, for they came along very quickly, and they were not in accord with “Peace in Our Time.”
First of all, giving up nothing, Hitler got a chunk of Czechoslovakia including the majority of its plant and equipment. Second of all, within six months he had invaded and taken over the rest of the country with no meaningful British-French objections. Third of all, after dealing with a Soviet Union that had given up trying to get the Western Powers to do anything meaningful to stop him, within 11 months he had conquered Poland and wiped the country off the map, creating something called the General Gouvernement. And by going to war with Great Britain and France over Poland, Hitler made it clear that he was not going to give Chamberlain what he really wanted from Munich: that is a guarantee from Hitler that his expansionist ambitions would be limited to the destruction of the Soviet Union while leaving intact the British Empire. Some “Peace in Our Time.”
On December 21, 2010, following the passage in the Congress of a watered-down “9/11 Responders'” Act, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), and the ratification of the START Treaty, Obama was proclaiming “We Are Not Doomed to Endless Gridlock.” Just like “Peace in Our Time,” no? Well, let’s see. Peace with the GOP, no. An outcome similar to what Chamberlain achieved at Munich, without the deaths (so far), yes. First as to what Obama really got. Then to what he really will get.
He really got a further huge addition to the national debt due to the unfunded continuation of the low tax rates (not further tax cuts), especially for the wealthy. Obama has adopted in full the GOP and DLC line that “tax cuts” (even though they aren’t) stimulate the economy. Proof of what happened under Reagan and the two Bushes to the contrary notwithstanding, the US right of whichever party sticks to this fiction. Of course, within a twinkling of an eye the expansion of the national debt will become “Obama’s debt,” just as the Bush recession was labeled the “Obama Recession” by Rush Limbaugh even before Obama took office. A hole was slashed in Social Security which will help drive it towards what the GOP really wants: its abolition and replacement by “private security accounts,” on which, by the way only Wall Street will have security, of their profits from running it. Finally, any hope (and with the incoming GOP Congress — yes, I said Congress, for now a majority-vote GOP House joins the minority-controlled Senate — there was practically no hope anyway) of something like, for example, a massive public works program to repair our nation’s crumbling, rusting, antique infrastructure while creating possibly several million new jobs, is totally out the window.
So what about the legislative “victories?” Well the GOP leadership was opposing ratification of START only for political reasons. The military-industrial complex wanted it because they would get “missile defense” (ho, ho, ho, and against whom?) and modernization (against whom?), worth billions. So just enough GOPers were allowed to vote for it, at the same time making the party look good to people who really just don’t look at its reality, like Joe Scarborough. As far as the watered-down 9/11 responders legislation is concerned, it was watered, way down, and Senators like Coburn of Oklahoma (is this guy really a doctor?) were able to say that “it is not compassionate to help one group while robbing future generations of opportunity.” I wonder where he stands on the unfunded $2 billion a week on the war on Afghanistan as opposed to the measly $4.7 billion for folks who were told at the time of the 9/11 disaster by the Bush government and “America’s Mayor,” Rudy Giuliani, that they had absolutely nothing to be concerned about while breathing all the dust.
Then we come to DADT. Some observers compared it to the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Oh really? It is important, but let’s remember that it applies only to the military. And all it does is legalize a human behavior that has been of the US armed forces ever since “Baron” (he wasn’t a real one) Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand von Steuben came to Valley Forge to train Gen. George Washington’s way undertrained troops during the awful winter at Valley Forge. A life-long bachelor (like the 15th President of the United States, James Buchanan, who had a live-in male companion at the White House), he had left his native Prussia in 1776 under the cloud of accusations that he had abused young boys. He was accompanied by two young French aides-de-camp. (Von Steuben spoke little English, but did speak French.)
In his testimony to Congress supporting the repeal of DADT, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mullen told of serving on a destroyer during the Viet Nam war with known homosexuals, who worked and worked out just fine. So repeal is just recognition of reality, and an opportunity for gays and lesbians to serve in the armed forces without the threat of being summarily kicked out for no other reason than that the wrong person finds out about them. Good for the military? Of course. Dealing with the homophobia which is a major electoral club for the GOP? Hardly. In fact, it strengthens the hands of the homophobes politically. Just wait and see.
As to Obama’s version of “Peace in Our Time,” “We are not Doomed to Endless Gridlock,” well that will start to go out the window on January 6, 2011. McConnell has already announced that his number one objective is to defeat Obama in 2012 and has characterized “bipartisanship” as Obama adopting GOP policy (as he did on the tax bill). John Boehner has announced his number one goal is the repeal of the National Subsidy for the Private Insurance Industry Act (oops, sorry, I mean “health care reform”).
The House is preparing to give the Obama Administration no money for administering the Act, which is one reason why the GOP refused to authorize the so-called Omnibus Spending Bill which some of them, at least, had previously signed on to. Do you really think that Darryl Issa, incoming Chairman of the House Investigation of Any Democratic Official it Can Serve a Subpoena On (I mean Government Operations) Committee, is really not going to start impeachment proceedings against Obama for possibly offering Joe Sestak a job if he would not run against Sen. Specter in the primary (ohmygosh, no GOP President ever did anything like that before, did they)? About the same chance that Hitler would not take over the rest of Czechoslovakia once the winter snows were out of the way and the Panzers could move without sinking into the mud. And that’s just for openers. Washington may or may not get much snow this winter, but the air will be filled with subpoenas flying down Pennsylvania Ave from the Capitol to the White House.
Dream on, MacDuff. Obama has made his pact with the devil, while cheerily telling us that he can “deal” with him. The country will be much the worse for it.
Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor of 30 books. In addition to being a columnist for Truthout/BuzzFlash (http://www.truth-out.org/, http://www.buzzflash.com), Dr. Jonas is also Managing Editor and a Contributing Author for TPJmagazine; a Featured Writer for Dandelion Salad; a Senior Columnist for The Greanville POST; a Contributor to Op-Ed News.com; a Contributor to TheHarderStuff newsletter; and a Contributor to The Planetary Movement.