The Hypocrisy of Disarmament

Posted on December 14, 2011


© Time

The verb “to disarm” is irregular in all languages. It has neither first person, nor present, nor past: it is conjugated above all in the future and in the second person. People do not say: “I am disarming”, or “I have disarmed”, but: “You will disarm”.

Édouard Herriot

Herriot wrote this in occasion of the Geneva Disarmament Conference (1932-34), when France and other anti-German nations denied Germany her right to rearm. Germany’s armed forces were limited to 100.000 men by the Treaty of Versailles, and her government was demanding equal rights. France, however, was terrified by the prospect of a strong Germany and opposed German rearmament while refusing to give up her own supremacy. What is funny is that Herriot’s comment was intended to criticize German unwillingness to give up rearmament ambitions, rather than France’s reluctance to reduce her armaments to the level of Germany’s.  He was in fact the French Prime Minister.

We all know how it ended. You may like to apply Herriot’s quote to more recent situations. Just replace Germany with Iran and France with Israel/USA/Europe.

Posted in: History, Opinion