A Whiff of Munich

Harold James in Project Syndicate:

The Cold War ended 30 years ago. But since the 2007-08 financial crisis, it has not only returned but mutated into a hybrid lukewarm war. And with the United States and its European allies now struggling to manage the threat of a Russian attack on Ukraine, the specter of a hot war is looming. The 1938 appeasement of Nazi Germany has become an attractive historical analogy, since that was the moment when the post-World War I cold war mutated decisively, supposedly making a hot conflict inevitable.

Munich will forever be associated with that moment, because that is where Britain, France, and Italy ceded to Germany substantial territory in Czechoslovakia without consulting either the Czechs or the Soviet Union. This episode has been revisited repeatedly, most recently in Christian Schwochow’s brilliant new film Munich: The Edge of War, based on the novelist Robert Harris’s interesting attempt to rehabilitate British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s reputation.

Now that the Biden administration has offered to hold another summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, following weeks of abortive negotiations, are we witnessing a replay of Chamberlain’s efforts in Munich?

More here.