Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Appeasement does not win wars


In 1938, Sir Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, together with Edouard Daladier, French Premier, met with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in Munich, to discuss upon German demands prior to what later would become World War II. The agreement they came up with after a few days was reported by the British politician as “The Peace of Our Time”.

Basically, what the two Western representatives had done was giving in to every demand from the Germans. The main issue at the stake was the partition of Czechoslovakia, and, shamefully enough, the Czech representatives were not even allowed to participate in the meetings.

Sir Neville came back with a feeling of triumph that was as well backed by the majority of Great Britain. He was in fact welcome as almost a hero. The savior of peace.

you can read appeasement in his face…

Chamberlain’s future successor, Sir Winston Churchill, knew better. In a speech in the House of Commons, he regarded the agreement as a total defeat: “We have suffered a total and unmitigated defeat”, said he. He foresaw the consequences of the agreement. Most Historians actually cite the Munich Pact as the peak in the disastrous Appeasement Policy led by British and French governments. About one year after it had been signed, the world was at war.

Today it has been announced that SAP has agreed to pay for legal costs after the TomorrowNow trial. We talk of $120 million, which is not a small quantity just for legal expenses and fees. Consistent with SAP’s non-contest position, it could be imagined that SAP attorneys are trying to show goodwill after they admitted formally long ago they played inappropriate practices. As a side effect, they may be seeking to placate the beast they have in front of them, Big Mouth Larry, Pontifex Maximus from the oracle, and eventually get a better conclusion at the end of the trial.

Because it has to be well understood that these $120 million are just that: Legal costs. Nothing to do with the $2 billion the Pontifex demands upon business damages. That is precisely what the trial is about. And, at the moment, the Pontifex has not given in an inch in that demand, despite taking the $120 million, of course, like Germany did not change its plans after having got the Western approval for annexing the Sudetenland in 1938.

We will see on Friday, when the Pontifex is supposed to step in full majesty and glory into Court. Incidentally we should mention that he will as well have the advantage of having known about a theoretical deposition by Apotheker on previous Thursday. We are not sure about the benefits of not appearing personally.

We are not sure that SAP and Apotheker are 100% aware of what is going on. Appeasement might work when the ultimate objective of both parties is to prevent war, when war is more a threat than a really likely possibility. And as far as we know, we truly believe the oracle has set for aggressive war. Consciously giving in, as the Russians did in 1812 against Napoleon and 200 years later against the Germans, does only make sense if you simultaneously devastate the territory you give up. Certainly appeasement won’t help at all if your way of appeasement includes a $120 million cheque.

Appeasers do not win wars.