Munich 2011: Libya and Bahrain
Or not to intervene when they shouldn’t, as illustrated by a bit of history that I learned from Churchill’s account of WWII. Hitler's first attempt to annex Austria was abandoned when Mussolini announced that Italy would not tolerate it and made his point by moving Italian divisions into the Brenner pass. What eventually made Mussolini switch sides was the response of the U.K. and its allies to his invasion of Abyssinia. They sharply criticized the Italian action, took ineffectual steps against it, but stopped short of the actual use of military force. Mussolini concluded, reasonably enough, first that the British and French were not his friends and second that they would not be very dangerous enemies.
The next time Hitler moved against Austria it was with Italian permission. Incompetently executed interventionist policy not only did not prevent the second World War, it helped to cause it.
All of which brings me to the depressing present, with Barack Obama playing Neville Chamberlain to Qaddafi’s Hitler. The consequences of Munich were not limited to the loss of the Sudetenland. Similarly here. It was only after it became clear that the U.S. and its allies were unwilling to oppose Qaddafi with anything more than words that the Bahraini rulers concluded that it was safe to bring in Saudi troops to violently suppress their opponents.