An oft-repeated adage claims that history always repeats itself. Those who fail to learn from the many lessons history has to offer end up becoming victims to the forces that be, very much like the countless names posterity now warns us about. Perhaps that is why Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman reminded us of the follies of European leaders in the 1930s, when he labelled Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the ‘new Hitler’. Prince Mohammad seemed to insinuate that the world was adopting a policy of appeasement towards Iran which was reminiscent of the policies which led to the rise of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. The Prince’s claim is not only a tendentious reading of history, it also highlights how nations misrepresent history to perpetuate their own interests. Historical events and facts shape modern day imagination and formulate public opinion. A nation, and indeed, the global community’s common sense of self and representation hinge on the historical narrative these communities choose to disseminate. This practice is common the world over and many states use history to form a cultural and national basis; something that is all too common in our nation as well. Historical narratives also shape public opinion towards a nation and its actions. By misrepresenting history, a particular nation or ideology can alter how the world views that nation or its opponents. It is in this context that we must scrutinise the Saudi Crown Prince’s diatribe against Khamenei, and view it as an attempt to use history to malign the Prince’s bête noire. It is crucial to understand the weight of Prince Mohammad’s statement, and the sinister motive that lies behind his words. Mohammad bin Salman has depicted a strong proclivity for aggressive and hegemonic tendencies, and his astronomical rise to power has been marked by violent overtures all over the Middle East. Central to the Prince’s expansionist worldview is the hostility he harbours against Iran. Labelling Khamenei as the ‘new Hitler’ is thus, the latest salvo Saudi Arabia has launched in its campaign to isolate and demonise Iran. The fact that Mohammad selected one of history’s most despicable characters to characterise Iran’s Supreme Leader further highlights how history is used to spread propaganda and political ideologies. This is particularly true in the case of Western nations who have perpetuated their world order and political dominance by misrepresenting history and controlling mainstream voices on global affairs. This practice was evident during the Cold War as well when America depicted the Soviet Union as a tyrannical empire, all the while ignoring its own support for dictators the world over. We also witness a warped representation of history in the way many elites in post-colonial nations reminisce about their colonial past. This is especially evident in Pakistan’s case, where many people claim our former British lords left behind institutions and infrastructure that form the backbone of our economy. Many even go as far as to claim that British governance might actually prove better than the present crises of leadership that plague post-colonial nations. This narrative completely ignores the destructive nature of colonialism, and further highlights how historical views are used to promote certain interests and false narratives. Saudi Arabia’s aggressive policies are far more redolent of Hitler’s notions of ‘lebensraum’, and Mohammad bin Salman’s verbal propaganda against Iran is an attempt to cover his own nation’s egregious atrocities These false narratives are in fact central to what makes the Crown Prince’s claims all the more devious. While it is true that Iran holds sway in countries such as Iraq and Syria, Saudi Arabia under Mohammad bin Salman has become a nation that is not afraid to flex its political and military muscles. Thus, like Hitler in the Sudetenland and in Czechoslovakia, we witness Saudi carrying out a devastating war in Yemen and forcing Lebanon’s Prime Minister to resign. Saudi Arabia’s aggressive policies are thus far more redolent of Hitler’s notions of ‘lebensraum’, and Mohammad’s verbal propaganda is an attempt to cover his nation’s egregious violations. These statements also come at a time when the Western media is attempting to portray Mohammad bin Salman as a ‘moderate’ ruler, and one who will make Saudi Arabia less rigid and more open. This campaign highlights the progressive steps the Crown Prince has taken, all the while ignoring the atrocities Mohammad is championing in Yemen. This ‘white-washing’ of Saudi Arabia also comes in the wake of substantial military deals the Kingdom has signed with western nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom. The world community must, therefore, condemn Mohammad bin Salman’s statements and hold his country to task for the violence and aggression it is promoting. Isolating Iran and further fuelling a cold war in the Middle East will have severe repercussions not only in the region but also in Pakistan, which is struggling against its own demons of sectarian strife. All the while, we must remain aware of the weight of history and the influence historical narratives have on shaping public opinion. Appeasement did give birth to the catastrophe that was Hitler, and the West was culpable in his rise. Now, a new hegemon arises, and the West remains just as guilty. The writer graduated from Aitchison College and from Cornell University. He also studied at Oxford University. His interests include the politics of class, gender and race, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, November 30th 2017.