Response to Tuesday’s letter

Eric Lee’s recent letter to the editor, “Learn the lessons of history: Oppose the threat of world war,” suggested that small-scale conflicts like Syria are orchestrated by an international cabal of capitalists whose ignorance may lead to World War III. To suggest that our present world situation mirrors the eve of World War II is to misread history.

In the decades leading up to Hitler’s 1939 invasion of Poland, Anglo-American nations were ruled by peace fetishists. Britain’s prime minister declared “peace for our time”; appeasement led to the abandonment of progressive modern states like Czechoslovakia; war-sick youth swore never to take up arms again.

America’s population hardened its heart to the plight of Europe. Isolation gripped America so that it was blind to the plight of Europe. Millions perished while
“peaceful” nations did nothing. Socialism and
communism were in vogue then far more than now. A passing perusal of western classics like Carl von Clausewitz’s “On War” and Max Weber’s “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” would teach the reader that ideological failings, not any sinister symptom of class differences, are the cause of war.

So long as men and women disagree about the ideal ordering of society, there will be differences whose resolution depends on military force backed by national political will. No one is waiting around peacefully for World War III; I would say that our nation has learned its history lesson well. Limited intervention in troubled regions combined with aggressive diplomacy, would have lessened the intensity of the global conflict in the 1930s and 1940s.

Instead, a hatred of might and the false promises of conflict avoidance led to the greatest slaughter in the history of man’s cruelty to man. The same man who saved the benighted west from the crisis of World War II laid out why we must struggle against religious and political extremists like the Islamic State.

In 1898, Winston Churchill published the following words: “[Civilization] is confronted with militant Mahommedanism. The forces of progress clash with those of reaction. The religion of blood and war is face to face with that of peace.” University students should take care not to subscribe to naïve and unreasoning creeds such as socialism and the ideology of the Islamic State, nor to sympathize with such hate-fueled ideological regimes.