Cal Thomas: The futile attempt to contain evil

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, February 21st. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up, Cal Thomas on the futility of containing evil regimes.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: One might think that after denying the evidence of Adolf Hitler’s rise and the actions that led to World War II, Europeans might be more attuned to modern threats.

Last week on a visit to Munich—don’t miss the irony there—Vice President Mike Pence criticized Europe’s continued support for the Iran nuclear deal. That’s the agreement President Trump withdrew from last year.

Pence urged European leaders to follow America’s lead. He called Iran a “murderous regime” and “the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world.”

Speaking at the same gathering, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sounded as if she were channeling the late British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. She acknowledged Iran’s military buildup, and the threat it poses to Europe and the world. But like Chamberlain, Merkel remains in denial about how to contain that threat. She suggested maintaining ties with the Iranian regime through the nuclear agreement might help the West exert pressure in other areas.

This takes wishful thinking to an entirely new level. It would be better to help younger Iranians who hate the regime to topple it, as the U.S. is doing in Venezuela. How can Merkel acknowledge the threat that Iran represents and in the next breath diminish it? Not surprisingly, many in the audience believe as Merkel does and gave her remarks thunderous applause.

Imagine if the policy of the United States and Britain had been to contain Hitler and his Nazi regime instead of defeating it. Evil cannot be accommodated or “contained.” Evil must be crushed and eliminated.

In her speech, Merkel defended and promoted the importance of a multilateral approach to global affairs. Under the right circumstances and with the right policies, multilateralism can work. But it is doomed to failure when proponents of a multilateral approach to serious problems choose to play down the threat before them.

World War II should have taught Merkel and the rest of Europe a lesson about denial. Hopefully it won’t take another disaster and countless deaths from Iranian nuclear weapons to show those who survive how mistaken they were.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.

(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson) German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers her speech during the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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