Winston Churchill was principally engaged in warning about, and later pursuing the defeat of, the Nazi threat to civilization. He also had much to say about the dangers of Islam. Today, the Islamic threat increases as multicultural voices assure us that Islam is not a threat and that Islamists merely seek peace and prosperity. The same was said many years ago of Nazi Germany.
I closed a recent article with the rhetorical question, “What would Winston Churchill do?” and answered it as follows:
That’s an interesting question, helpful answers to which can be found in The Gathering Storm. Answers to the question are, unfortunately, not relevant because Churchill is dead and there is no one living who even approaches him in prescience, resolve and ability to do what needs to be done.
Churchill there spoke of Nazis. Would he now speak in similar ways about Islamists, as he did many years ago?
Might he be arrested for doing so?
Are we still the masters of our fate, as Churchill proclaimed us to be in 1942? Assuming that we are — a dubious assumption — how long will we remain so?
Churchill is dead. Does his spirit linger within us?
I very much hope, but doubt, that it does. Might it revive and persist?
The Gathering Storm offers some answers to my rhetorical question and they may be useful. Here are some from the early-mid 1930’s, after Hitler had gained control over the German Government. Page references are to a battered Bantam Books paperback edition I have long had and, fortuitously, to the Kindle version which has the same pagination but is easier to read.
Page 80, referring to 1933:
We must regard as deeply blameworthy before history the conduct not only of the British National and mainly Conservative Government, but of the Labour-Socialist and Liberal Parties, both in and out of office., during this fatal period. Delight in smooth-sounding platitudes, refusal to face unpleasant facts, desire for popularity and electoral success irrespective of the vital interests of the State, genuine love of peace and pathetic belief that love can be its sole foundation, obvious lack of intellectual vigour in both leaders of the British Coalition Government, marked ignorance of Europe and aversion from its problems in Mr. Baldwin, the strong and violent pacifism which at this time dominated the Labour-Socialist Party, the utter devotion of the Liberals to sentiment apart from reality, the failure and worse than failure of Mr. Lloyd George, the erstwhile great war-time leader, to address himself to the continuity of his work, the whole supported by overwhelming majorities in both Houses of Parliament: all of these constituted a picture of British fatuity and fecklessness which, though devoid of guile, was not devoid of guilt, and, though free from wickedness or evil design, played a definite part in the unleashing upon the world of horrors and miseries which, even so far as they have unfolded, are already beyond comparison in human experience. [Emphasis added.]
Soothing and pleasing (to some) platitudes abound today. According to a Washington Post opinion piece of September 2nd,
President Obama is not worried. And that is unnerving.
British Prime Minister David Cameron presented to Parliament on Monday the alarming conclusions of European leaders who had met in Brussels over the weekend: “The European Council believes the creation of an Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria and the Islamist extremism and export of terrorism on which it is based is a direct threat to every European country.”
Cameron added: “To confront the threat of Islamist extremism, we need a tough, intelligent, patient and comprehensive approach to defeat the terrorist threat at its source. We must use all the resources at our disposal, our aid, our diplomacy and our military.”
But three days earlier — the day Britain raised its terrorism threat level to “severe” — Obama delivered a very different message when he spoke to donors at a fundraiser in New York’s Westchester County. “Yes, the Middle East is challenging, but the truth is it’s been challenging for quite a while,” he said. “I promise you things are much less dangerous now than they were 20 years ago, 25 years ago or 30 years ago. This is not something that is comparable to the challenges we faced during the Cold War.” [Emphasis added.]
Speaking to another group of contributors that same day in Newport, R.I., the president said that the post-9/11 security apparatus “makes us in the here and now pretty safe” and that the threat from ISIS “doesn’t immediately threaten the homeland.”
I hope Obama’s chillax message turns out to be correct, but the happy talk is not reassuring. It’s probably true that the threat of domestic radicalization is greater in Europe than in the United States (hence the British plan to confiscate some passports) but Obama’s sanguinity is jarring compared with the mood of NATO allies Obama is meeting in Europe this week.
Obama has been giving Americans a pep talk, essentially counseling them not to let international turmoil get in the way of the domestic economic recovery. “The world has always been messy,” he said Friday. “In part, we’re just noticing now because of social media and our capacity to see in intimate detail the hardships that people are going through.” [Emphasis added.]
So we wouldn’t have fussed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine if not for Facebook? Or worried about terrorists taking over much of Syria and Iraq if not for Twitter? This explanation, following Obama’s indiscreet admission Thursday that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for military action against the Islamic State, adds to the impression that Obama is disengaged.
In short, Americans would worry less if Obama worried more.
In his pep talk to the donors, Obama spoke optimistically about U.S. influence in the world. “The good news is that American leadership has never been more necessary,” he said, “and there’s really no competition out there for the ideas and the values that can create the sort of order that we need in this world.” [Emphasis added.]
Yes. And the necessity of American leadership — in Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere — is precisely why Obama needs to show more of it. [Emphasis added.]
Would Obama even know how to provide the necessary leadership? Would He lead competently and in the right directions?
Churchill had a dream. Does Obama” If so, what is it? Will His dream be a nightmare for western civilization?
It would be refreshing were a modern day Churchill to respond to Obama’s happy talk and question the nature of His dreams for Obama’s America.
Back to Churchill’s The Gathering Storm, at Page 91 referring to 1934:
In the course of June 1934 the Standing Committee of the Disarmament Conference at Geneva was adjourned indefinitely. On July 13 I said:
I am very glad that the Disarmament Conference is passing out of life into history. It is the greatest mistake to mix up disarmament with peace. When you have peace you will have disarmament. But there has been during these recent years a steady deterioration in the relations between different countries, a steady growth of ill-will, and a steady, indeed a rapid increase in armaments that has gone on through all these years in spite of the endless flow of oratory, of perorations, of well-meaning sentiments, of banquets, which have marked this epoch. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
This is not the only Germany which we shall live to see, but we have to consider that at present two or three men, in what may well be a desperate position, have the whole of that mighty country in their grip, have that wonderful, scientific, intelligent, docile, valiant people in their grip, a population of seventy millions; that there is no dynastic interest such as a monarchy brings as a restraint upon policy, because it looks long ahead and has much to lose; and that there is no public opinion except what is manufactured by those new and terrible engines–broadcasting and a controlled Press. Politics in Germany are not as they are over here. There you do not leave office to join to Opposition. You do not leave the Front Bench to sit below the Gangway. You may well leave your high office at a quarter of an hour’s notice to drive to the police station, and you may be conducted thereafter very rapidly to an even graver ordeal.
It seems to me that men in that position might very easily be tempted to do what even a military dictatorship would not do, because a military dictatorship, with all its many faults, at any rate is one that is based on a very accurate study of the real facts; and there is more danger in this kind of dictatorship than there would be in a military dictatorship, because you have men who, to relieve themselves from the great peril which confronts them at home, might easily plunge into a foreign adventure of the most dangerous and catastrophic character to the whole world.
Again in 1934, at page 102, Churchill wrote:
Although Germany had not yet openly violated the clauses of the Treaty which forbade her a military air force, civil aviation and an immense development of gliding had now reached a point where they could very rapidly reinforce and extend the secret and illegal military air force already formed. The blunt denunciations of Communism and Bolshevism by Hitler had not prevented the clandestine sending by Germany of arms to Russia. On the other hand, from 1927 onwards a number of German pilots were trained by the Soviets for military purposes. There were fluctuations, but in 1932 the British Ambassador in Berlin reported that the Reichswehr had close technical liaison with the Red Army. Just as the Fascist Dictator of Italy had, almost from his accession to power, been the first to make a trade agreement with Soviet Russia, so now the relations between Nazi Germany and the vast Soviet State appeared to be unprejudiced by public ideological controversy.
Obama’s happy talk is apparently intended to assure us that we face no problems which He will not face forcefully and effectively — but only if and when, if ever, He deems it necessary and convenient. He, and our acceptance of His happy talk, are symptoms of the disease that affects Obama’s America as well as Europe and even Britain.
Bryan Preston posted an article today at PJ Tatler titled The Islamic State: A Time to Hate and notes a “tweet” by Donna Brazile that “Hate is not a family value.” Bryan observes,
Islamic State’s operators are, among other things, serial killers.
Brazile’s tweet of a cliche might not seem to matter, but it does, because she is a big name in the media and a bigger name in the Democratic Party. That party controls American foreign policy as the Islamic State threat rises. Brazile has the ear of President Barack Obama like very few do. Her reactions are likely to align with those of most Democrats including President Obama.
Brazile surrounded that sentiment with others that indicate confusion over the Islamic State and what to do about it. She tweeted that “hate is not a strategy for victory.” Who said that it is? No one who has ever spent any time in the American military would substitute hate for a battle plan. That’s a recipe for defeat.
She called for a “full debate,” but immediately took the military option off the table. That’s not a “full debate.”
Perhaps she would prefer that we send the Islamic State bushels of love. Sure. That might work, in Obama’s fantasy world.
An article by Richard Fernadndez at PJ Media is titled Writing on the Wall. Mr. Fernandez observes,
When you lead from the front, you control the coalition. When you lead from behind, the coalition controls you. This indecision can be disguised under the pose of “sophistication” or “nuance,” where you claim to adapt your behavior to the “context.” But it is really a euphemism for spinelessness. When you’re not in charge, someone else is. Since Obama has declined to take charge, someone else has. Because in the last analysis, no game theoretic and certainly no war can have meaning unless it defines at least two terms: us and them. [Emphasis added.]
This explains why everything is so confusing. Why nothing makes sense to lesser mortals. Without a course of his own to steer, Obama’s ship of state seems blown this way and that by every puff of wind. Don’t worry that he’s relinquished the stick and rudder of the airplane to the foe, because he has the trim wheel firmly in hand. Yet if you can’t explain policy even to your supporters, there’s a good chances the policy is actually inexplicable. This is a possibility Obama’s most ardent supporters cannot admit. It is pitiful to watch them reduced to deciphering hieroglyphics on a wall. They’ll be damned if they can understand it, but assume it says something profound. [Emphasis added.]
Please read the whole thing.