To the editor: Samuel Kleiner and Tom Zoellner give an excellent historical overview of the Munich agreement of 1938. Actually, they spend very little text telling us why it is wrong to compare it to President Obama’s (Neville Chamberlain) and Secretary of State John Kerry’s (Lord Halifax ) recent actions in relation to Iran. (“Republicans’ ‘Munich’ fallacy,” op-ed, July 20)
Chamberlain had an excuse because Great Britain was weak after World War I and did not yet have the backing of the U.S. and what would become the Allies.
The authors write that the U.S. is the major superpower in the world with massive firepower and that economic sanctions left Iran without much leverage. Despite this overwhelming advantage, we constructed a deal to leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power with plenty of economic funding to continue arming and constructing missiles.
I assume we felt that Iran had an irrevocable hard line and that we needed the courage to compromise and accede to its demands.
Stanley Tobias, Long Beach
To the editor: I agree with Kleiner and Zoellner that comparing Iran now to Munich in 1938 is ridiculous. For starters, Chamberlain did not have thousands of nuclear missiles and history’s largest and most expensive military establishment at his disposal.
Given that, I think we’ve all noticed how mainstream media select tidbits from history while ignoring most of the rest of it. These esteemed scholars have omitted the fact that President Eisenhower’s CIA helped to overthrow Iran’s democratically elected government in 1953, in a dispute with British petroleum interests.
Apparently, our gas pedals not only start our cars, but they start our wars too.
To go to even more recent history, why would these scholars omit the fact that the Pentagon under President Reagan provided support to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, effectively helping him slaughter thousands of Iranian troops?
John C. Graves, Winnetka
To the editor: Kleiner and Zoellner ignore the fact that the original intent of the negotiations, as advertised to the American people, was that Iran was going to be prevented from ever achieving a nuclear bomb. We started the negotiations holding all the cards and rapidly gave them away.
All we did was kick the can down the road and allow Iran the capability to build one in the near future.
Because of the threat of a nuclear Iran, this will kick off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. With unstable governments in the region, the potential for terrorist groups to get a weapon and trigger a world war is high.
Iran’s record of complying with anything imposed by world powers is bad. The safeguards in the pact accordingly provide little comfort. Sounds to me like a good comparison to Munich.
Emanuel R. Baker, Los Angeles