Humor Magazine

Obama: Just More of the Same Old Same Old

By Davidduff

After a bit of an interruption - diving back into King Lear because I just can't get the mad, old man out of my mind - I managed to return to Richard Holmes' first-rate one volume bio of Churchill.  Unfortunately, I hit a particularly bitter passage in chapter nine which merely served to demonstrate, yet again, that nothing changes except the names!

Always scrupulously fair, Holmes touches upon Churchill's necessary but disgraceful treatment of the Poles.  Given the number of young Poles who have emigrated to the UK recently I can only assume that modern history is not strong on the curriculum at Polish schools these days!  They have every reason to hold a grudge but, at least in some thoughtful areas of Polish intellectual life, there remains a generous, retrospective understanding of Churchill's real-politik dilemma.  This stands in contrast to the longstanding, festering, French resentment which perhaps says more about them than about Churchill and the British.  However, he quotes one French general who said, "There will be Frenchmen who will not forgive you for two generations.  You made our shame too great by fighting on."

But when it comes to truly, disgustingly bad, and even worse, monumentally stupid behavior amongst the allies we need to turn towards FDR.  I quote from p.309 with my emphasis:

On his sixty-ninth birthday, during the Tehran conference of 28th November - 1 December 1943, Winston saw all too well that the indispensable role Britain under his leadership had played in the Grand Alliance was coming to an end. 'There I sat', he said, 'with the great Russian bear on one side of me, with paws out-stretched, and on the other side the great American buffalo, and between the two sat the poor little English donkey who was the only one who knew the way home.'  Unlike de Gaulle, he was not too weak to make concessions: but nor was he strong enough to refuse them.  If any tangible American advantage had followed FDR's humiliation of Winston during the conference, history would judge him to have made a hard but correct decision.  But it is still profoundly chastening that a man who considered his nation to be a vanguard of human civilization sought the friendship of a despot whom he knew to be responsible, amongst other monstrous crimes, for the murder of some twenty thousand Polish officers at Katyn and elsewhere, and made jokes with him about doing the same to the Germans.  Winston protested and then strode out.  Roy Jenkins [another British socialist tit of the first order and biographer of Churchill] glides gently over the episode by observing that Winston handled the situation 'unbuoyantly'.  But Winston had just learned that the man in whom he had deposited his hopes for a decent post-war world was an appeaser, and had seen FDR make mock of him while sharing a genocidal jest with a mass-murderer.  In the circumstances, he can be forgive for seeming less than buoyant.'

FDR, of course, was a socialist progressive in a line certainly stretching back to President Wilson, and now stretching forward to President Obama.  The latter makes clear his disdain, even dislike, of the old democracies and prefers to spend his time soft-soaping every tin-pot dictator the world over especially if they are Muslim.  As Holmes points out, all this lick-spittling would be excusable if there were ever any good results but you only have to look at the post-war settlement to see what an abject failure FDR's schmoozing with Stalin was because it was followed by the conquest of Eastern Europe and 40-odd years of cold war.  Now Obama tries schmoozing with the Iranian Ayatollahs and all I can say to that is - if I was an Israeli I would be very, very worried.  Equally, though Obama has yet to be tested in the Pacific, were I Japanese, Philippino or any close neighbor of China working on the assumption that as a democratic nation I could rely on the USA, I would start learning Chinese!


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