Tommy Robinson and Liberal Democracy

Over the weekend Paul Mirengoff of Powerline wrote an article called Getting “World Order” Wrong. It’s a very good one. Here’s some…

In this post called “Getting Italy wrong,” I argued that when EU types say populism threatens liberal democracy they usually mean it threatens their policy preferences, which often are not particularly democratic. The same is largely true, I think, of complaints that Donald Trump threatens the “world order.”

This story by Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post — “In Trump, some fear the end of the world order” — is full of moans that, as the pompous Donald Tusk puts it, Trump is challenging “the rules-based international order.” But how is Trump doing this?

Through tariffs? What rule prohibits Trump from imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum? I disagree with Trump’s decision to do so, but surely the rules-based international order does not depend on the absence of these tariffs. Canada imposes ungodly tariffs on U.S. agricultural products without threatening the world order. Why should our tariffs threaten it?

They don’t. Eurocrats and their friends are just using buzz words to defend their economic interests.

And that is the exact truth, what Donald Trump threatens is a lot of corporatist rice bowls. Those people who aren’t good enough to make in on their own and so run to the government to protect them from those who are.

You know, maybe he does threaten the world order, if so he does so by attempting to reintroduce the American order, where merit is the sole determinant of success. It’s never been quite that clean-cut, of course. Paul Revere founded the Revere Copper Works to make the copper bottom for the USS Constitution, and Abraham Lincoln was a railroad lawyer (and a good one). But both of them, and many others provided real quality for a realistic price.

Now what we have in most instances are people providing shoddy merchandise and services for an inflated price which includes a kickback for the politicians.

And do not think it doesn’t carry beyond business either. Why is Tommy Robinson in jail (or gaol, if you prefer)? Because he threatens the system, which enriches politicians who turn a blind eye to abuses, like industrial scale rape and abuse of working-class girls, for a price. The British system can no longer exist in sunlight but must hide in the shadows of the night to exist. It is that corrupt.

And so in time-dishonored fascist fashion, Robinson was frog-marched through a risible parody of a conviction, for not much and consigned to a prison where he has a fair chance of being murdered. If he is, his blood will be on the government of the United Kingdom. This is such a bad thing that it is a parody of the infamous star chamber which the Stuart kings used to try and defenstrate Parliament.

The Dutch MP Geert Wilders spoke to a very well attended rally in Whitehall not long ago to demand Robinson’s release. His address is here.

This is the ‘liberal democracy’ (two lies for the price of one!) that they are so very afraid that Donald Trump and America, in whose name he acts, will tear down.

By God, I hope so!

In 1653, Oliver Cromwell spoke to what we call the Rump Parliament. I think his comments just as applicable today:

It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place,

which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice.

Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government.

Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?

Ye have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?

Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.

Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do.

I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.

Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!

The time has again come, all across Europe.

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A Big Week

So the G7 today in Canada, then on to Singapore for the Nork summit, and then the IG report drops. Quite the week coming up. We’ll talk about the G7 today, although I find Europe increasingly irrelevant.

Benny Avni has a pretty good piece up at the New York Post so we’ll base off that.

Well before his threatened steel and aluminum restrictions on European countries (as well as on Canada and Mexico), Trump slaughtered some of Europe’s most sacred cows.

He withdrew from the Paris accord on greenhouse-gas emissions and broke away from the Iran deal. Europeans strongly believe the former will save the planet. (It won’t.) They also hope the latter will tame the Islamic Republic. (Again, nope.) As important, they want their continent’s economies to have access to Iranian markets.

Then Trump offended the Euros’ collective sense of decorum by moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

But on that, as on other issues, Europeans are far from united.

And strangely, America pretty much is, at least the part of America that hasn’t run screaming in terror to their safe spaces. We seem to have become far more level-headed with Trump in the White House, which I think goes with having a President that at least appears to listen to us, and take us seriously.

What I see in Trump is a man who uses all applicable tools, trade, aid, defense policy, the military itself, tariffs, even Twitter to help the US win. It’s a worldbeater, especially in a world of globalist technocrats who focus on process, not results. What we are doing now is the American way, best described by Great Satan’s Girlfriend, in my article Hyper Puissance, The American Way, and Donald Trump

Which may funnily enough hinge on a factor that is flat out tough to factor in:

Unbridled free inquiry.

“Courtney, free societies have, in general, a decided advantage when it comes to creativity and innovation, including in the military realm. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that”

All the cool kids know how Great Satan’s indispensable ally just to the east of Durand line sold access to that ditched sexed up chopper of Abottabad/Abottagood infamy. Theft of high tech and reverse engineering are the fortunes of unfree regimes and will directly impact the Diffusion of Military of Power.

Stuff that makes the West the Best — Wonderbra, BvB, individualism, scientific inquiry, rational critical thinking, democracy with it’s inherent capitalism, political freedom, dissidence and open free wheeling debate functions as kryptonite in Smallville in regards to autocrazies, despotries — and by extension — to their acquisition, development and deployment of military power.

And central to that common sense, what stops a criminal regime, like Iran, is military force, and plenty of it. Why did you think we are having a summit in Singapore next week with Whoa Fat because Trump has great hair? It’s B2s and CBGs, and Infantry in the south, and above all a President not afraid to use them. It’ll work on Iran too, or they’ll die, which is another way of saying they’ll work, just messier.

In addition, Europe is far from united, Britain would be leaving, if it had any leadership at all, Italy is tending that way, the Visegrad countries are cleaving closer and closer to the US, not the Brussels-Berlin Axis, and the Balts care more about defense than anything, and that is done by Americans and Brits.

Meanwhile German Chancellor Angela Merkel, long presiding over Europe’s largest economy, recently said the continent can no longer rely on America and should instead defend itself.

Well, good luck with that.

Germany is currently one of NATO’s worst deadbeat members, investing a mere 1.22 percent of its GDP in the military. That’s well below the alliance’s agreed-on 2 percent. America spends more than 3.5 percent of GDP on the military. The US is by far the most muscular NATO member, as it has been since the alliance’s inception.

Germans have grown fat under America’s military umbrella. They and other Europeans developed a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil attitude, which is increasingly untenable in a growingly hostile world.

Demanding more European funding for defense was one of Trump’s early mantras. Yet this year Germany is, at best, expected to up its military budget to 1.5 percent of its GDP. The only Europeans that contribute their required share are Greece, Estonia, Britain and Poland. The rest slouch toward Germany.

How will Europe, then, “defend itself” — let alone contribute to global security?

Will its carriers sail the Pacific, where Europeans hope to surpass America in exports to Asia, but where China threatens to dominate and limit freedom of navigation? And what if, God forbid, a future nuclear-armed Iran turns its ire on one of the continent’s capitals?

We’ve written about how important the control of the sea is, the main one here. What has always been true is what Sir Walter Raleigh said back in the early 17th century and remains true:

Whoever commands the sea, commands the trade;

whosoever commands the trade of the world

commands the riches of the world,

and consequently the world itself.

There’s only one answer there, and it is the United States, before that it was Great Britain, since at least the Armada. That’s why the world is as it is, and why Europe is making itself increasingly irrelevant.

The Round up

Lots going on, let’s just look around today.

Bruce Bawer has written an excellent column on the Tommy Robinson fiasco for Gatestone.

  • The swiftness with which injustice was meted out to Tommy Robinson is stunning. No, more than that: it is terrifying.

  • Without having access to his own lawyer, Robinson was summarily tried and sentenced to 13 months behind bars. He was then transported to Hull Prison.
  • Meanwhile, the judge who sentenced Robinson also ordered British media not to report on his case. Newspapers that had already posted reports of his arrest quickly took them down. All this happened on the same day.
  • In Britain, rapists enjoy the right to a full and fair trial, the right to the legal representation of their choice, the right to have sufficient time to prepare their cases, and the right to go home on bail between sessions of their trial. No such rights were offered, however, to Tommy Robinson.

The ban on talking about Tommy’s case has been lifted, which is too little too late. The damage has been done to Britain’s reputation as a member of the free world. #FreeTommy.

Warsclerotic has a pretty good write up (I think) on the somewhat clarifying mess in Syria. Well worth reading.

Russia, too, is dealing with a public relations problem. It is trying to link a withdrawal of Iranian forces from the Syrian border with a withdrawal of US forces around al-Tanf–this was the location where Russian mercenaries got the snot beat out of them by US forces back in February. Without some sort of face-saving deal, Russian prestige will suffer and the Iranians will start thinking the Russians are looking for an exit. And they are.

What had started out as a venture to procure a Mediterranean port and supporting logistics facilities and airbases to project Russian naval power into the Eastern Med has become an oozing ulcer, costing Russia cash and lives.

None of this just happened. Leon Hadar has an interesting article in The National Interest called Trump’s Strategy for the Middle East Is Working. In it he juxtaposes the way Middle East crises used to work and the deft change of calculus made by Trump (I’m using Trump as a metaphor for his administration because guys like Mattis and Bolton and Pompeo have watched the Middle East for a while).

Ireland voted last week to allow pretty much-unrestricted abortions in the first trimester. As we know, from both the US and the UK, intentionally violating the right to life echoes around a countries morality and damages it in manifold ways. Too bad that Ireland decided to join the cesspit of Europe on this one.

In the US (which never voted for abortion), on the other hand, for the first time, it looks like there may be a real chance to overturn Roe v. Wade, the monstrosity that made abortion legal nationwide. That’s still a long shot, but more and more states are restricting abortion, often to where the heartbeat is detectable, my understanding is that is about 6 weeks. Not enough, but trending the right way. More here.

And we’re number 1 again. So says Bloomberg and the Switzerland-based IMD World Competitiveness Center. The Runners-up are Hong Kong, Singapore, Netherlands, and Switzerland.

Also: The US economy will remain strong for the next three years, 71% of global CFOs believe.

And: The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is forecasting economic growth will exceed 4% for the current 2nd quarter of 2018.

A NorK terrorist general is in New York talking to the State Department about the upcoming (maybe) summit.

So, overall, the British Isles are sinking into the quagmire, but the eagle continues to climb.

Yeah, OK, #MAGA

Finding One Such Man

Well, I was looking about for something to add to this, and finally came to the conclusion that there is nothing I can add or subtract from the story, except perhaps to echo Ronald Reagan. President Reagan said this in his radio address on May 15th, 1982.

I received another letter from one of our ambassadors in Europe. He wrote that a 19-year-old trooper in our armored cavalry had asked that he send me a message. It was: “Tell the President we’re proud to be here, and we ain’t scared of nothing.”

In James Michener’s book “The Bridges at Toko-Ri,” he writes of an officer waiting through the night for the return of planes to a carrier as dawn is coming on. And he asks, “Where do we find such men?” Well, we find them where we’ve always found them. They are the product of the freest society man has ever known. They make a commitment to the military—make it freely, because the birthright we share as Americans is worth defending. God bless America.

From the Navy:

Summary of Action

Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Britt Slabinski:
For his actions during Operation ANACONDA in 2002, to rescue teammate Petty Officer First Class Neil Roberts.

In the early morning of 4 March 2002, then-Senior Chief Slabinski led a reconnaissance team to its assigned area atop Takur Ghar, a 10,000-foot snow-covered mountain in Afghanistan. An enemy rocket-propelled grenade attack on the insertion helicopter caused Petty Officer Neil Roberts to fall onto the enemy-infested mountaintop below, and forced the damaged helicopter to crash land in the valley below. Fully aware of the risks, a numerically superior and well-entrenched enemy force, and approaching daylight, without hesitation Senior Chief Slabinski made the selfless and heroic decision to lead the remainder of his element on an immediate and daring rescue back to the mountaintop. Senior Chief Slabinski’s team, despite heavy incoming enemy fire, was subsequently successfully inserted on top of Takur Ghar. Senior Chief Slabinski, without regard for his own life, charged directly toward the enemy strongpoint. He and a teammate fearlessly assaulted and cleared one enemy bunker at close range. The enemy then unleashed a murderous hail of machine gun fire from a second hardened position twenty meters away. Senior Chief Slabinski exposed himself to enemy fire on three sides, then moved forward to silence the second position. With bullets piercing his clothing, he repeatedly charged into deadly fire to personally engage the enemy bunker with direct rifle fire, hand grenades and a grenade launcher on the surrounding enemy positions. Facing mounting casualties and low on ammunition, the situation became untenable. Senior Chief Slabinski skillfully maneuvered his team across open terrain, directing them out of effective enemy fire over the mountainside.

Senior Chief Slabinski maneuvered his team to a more defensible position, directed danger-close air support on the enemy, requested reinforcements, and directed the medical care of his rapidly deteriorating wounded teammates, all while continuing to defend his position. When approaching daylight and accurate enemy mortar fire forced the team to maneuver further down the sheer mountainside, Senior Chief Slabinski carried a seriously wounded teammate through waist-deep snow, and led an arduous trek across precipitous terrain while calling in fires on enemies engaging the team from the surrounding ridges. Throughout the next 14 hours, he stabilized the casualties and continued the fight against the enemy until the mountain top could be secured and his team was extracted. His dedication, disregard for his own personal safety and tactical leadership make Master Chief Slabinski unquestionably deserving of this honor.

Official Citation

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

SENIOR CHIEF SPECIAL WARFARE OPERATOR (SEA, AIR, AND LAND)
BRITT K. SLABINSKI
UNITED STATES NAVY

For service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while assigned to a Joint Task Force in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. In the early morning of 4 March 2002, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Slabinski led a reconnaissance team to its assigned area atop a 10,000-foot snow-covered mountain. Their insertion helicopter was suddenly riddled with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire from previously undetected enemy positions. The crippled helicopter lurched violently and ejected one teammate onto the mountain before the pilots were forced to crash land in the valley far below. Senior Chief Slabinski boldly rallied his five remaining team members and marshalled supporting assets for an assault to rescue their stranded teammate. During reinsertion the team came under fire from three directions, and one teammate started moving uphill toward an enemy strongpoint. Without regard for his own safety, Senior Chief Slabinski charged directly toward enemy fire to join his teammate. Together, they fearlessly assaulted and cleared the first bunker they encountered. The enemy then unleashed a hail of machine gun fire from a second hardened position only twenty meters away. Senior Chief Slabinski repeatedly exposed himself to deadly fire to personally engage the second enemy bunker and orient his team’s fires in the furious, close-quarters firefight. Proximity made air support impossible, and after several teammates became casualties, the situation became untenable. Senior Chief Slabinski maneuvered his team to a more defensible position, directed air strikes in very close proximity to his team’s position, and requested reinforcements. As daylight approached, accurate enemy mortar fire forced the team further down the sheer mountainside. Senior Chief Slabinski carried a seriously wounded teammate through deep snow and led a difficult trek across precipitous terrain while calling in fire on the enemy, which was engaging the team from the surrounding ridges. Throughout the next 14 hours, Senior Chief Slabinski stabilized the casualties and continued the fight against the enemy until the hill was secured and his team was extracted. By his undaunted courage, bold initiative, leadership, and devotion to duty, Senior Chief Slabinski reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Biography

MASTER CHIEF SPECIAL WARFARE OPERATOR (SEAL) BRITT K. SLABINSKI

Britt Slabinski is from Northampton, MA. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout at age 14 and upon graduation from high school in 1988 enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Slabinski attended boot camp in Orlando, FL. Upon completion, he received orders to attend Radioman Class “A” School in San Diego, CA. There, he trained on the basics of naval communications graduating in spring 1989. Fulfilling a life-long dream to be a U.S. Navy SEAL, he qualified and was accepted into Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S) at Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, CA. He graduated in January 1990 with BUD/S Class 164.

Slabinski’s operational assignments include SEAL Team FOUR, 1990 to 1993; Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG), 1993 to 2006; and Command Master Chief of Naval Special Warfare Tactical Development and Evaluation Squadron TWO, 2006 to 2008. He was the Senior Enlisted Advisor of the Joint Special Operations Command, Washington, DC Office, 2008 to 2010 and Command Master Chief, Naval Special Warfare Group TWO, 2010 to 2012. Slabinski retired after serving as Director of Naval Special Warfare Safety Assurance and Analysis Program. He has completed 9 overseas deployments and 15 combat deployments in support of the Global War on Terrorism, including Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM.

Slabinski has various military and civilian qualifications including Naval Special Warfare Scout Sniper, Military Free Fall Parachute Jump Master, and has an Emergency Medical Technician/Paramedic National Certification. He is a graduate of the U.S. Navy Senior Enlisted Academy and Command Leadership School.

Slabinski’s military decorations include the Navy Cross, Navy/Marine Corps Medal; Bronze Star with Valor (five awards), Combat Action Ribbon (two awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Joint Service Commendation Medal (two awards), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards), Good Conduct Medal (eight awards), and numerous other personal and unit awards and decorations.

Slabinski retired in June 2014 after 25 years of service and is self-employed as a corporate consultant. He has one son who is also an Eagle Scout.

As we enter Memorial Day weekend, where we commemorate the war dead of America, including the one-sixth of the population who died to restore the Union and free the slaves in the 1860s we should ponder George Orwell’s words back in 1942:

We sleep soundly in our beds, because rough men stand ready in the night to do violence on those who would harm us

Trump, OODA Loops, and Chaos

Michael Walsh wrote a column in The New York Post last week. It’s a good one. A couple excerpts.

And yet, the economy is humming, hosts of regulations have been rolled back, the unemployment rate is down, job openings are soaring, taxes have been cut and black joblessness is at an all-time low. Prototypes for the wall along the Mexican border are being tested, raids by ICE are rounding up dangerous illegal aliens and the “travel ban” against several Muslim nations was argued last month before the Supreme Court, where the president’s authority over immigration will be upheld.

In foreign affairs, the two Koreas are talking to each other, with a summit between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un slated for June in Singapore, the ISIS “caliphate” has been effectively destroyed and just last week Trump yanked the carpets out from under the Iranian mullahs and canceled the nuclear deal negotiated — but never submitted to the Senate for ratification — by the Obama administration.

Indeed so. As I said in a comment last week, when you write with your finger on the beach, you have to hold back the tide.

The truth is, as much as they hate Trump’s policies, the president’s enemies hate the man even more. Donald Trump offends the establishment on a personal, visceral level. His opponents are the same folks who idolized Adlai Stevenson and thought Ike was just a dolt who somehow won World War II. Who worshipped John F. Kennedy (but were repelled by LBJ), hated Nixon, thought Reagan was an amiable dunce and erected shrines to Obama. They are the Ivy Leaguers, the credentialists, the Georgetown establishment for whom there is only one right way to conduct a presidency, and that is the Harvard-Democratic-groupthink way.

What Trump understands, however, is what many great leaders have understood: that “chaos,” not consensus, is the way ideas are tried and tested. That if someone or something isn’t working, scrap it and try something else. Results are what count, not consistency: Trump’s ability to morph from saber-rattling lunatic to charming glad-hander infuriates them because they see it as phony.

To me, this isn’t so much chaos, as it is the president’s learning curve and getting the right people in the right slots to make his vision work. George Marshall all through the thirties kept lists of officers he thought could lead American armies in war. Of the men on that list – well only Fredenhall who lost at El Guettar didn’t work out. The rest, well, you know the names as well as I do, Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Hodges, MacArthur, and many more, thanks to Marshall’s superb planning. Trump didn’t have that opportunity.

Nor was he especially familiar with international diplomacy, any more than you and I are, so there has been a steep learning curve for him, not helped by the hostility here and abroad, which he shares with Eisenhower and Reagan. Pretty good company, I’d say.

Over the course of my life, I picked up the concept of the OODA Loop. It was developed by an Air Force officer, Colonel John Boyd, and it defines the lifeblood of competition, not only in the furball of aerial combat, that was COL Boyd’s milieu but in American business. I wrote about it here, but here are some of the basics.

  • Observe: This means mostly that you’ve been paying attention to all sorts of things. You know what’s going on in the world and what your opponent might be up to.
  • Orientation: This is your background, specialized knowledge and genetic make up and all sorts of other things that your mind uses to filter information. For instance, if you tell me on the phone that the light in your kitchen doesn’t work and that there is a burning smell; I’d tell you to turn off your electricity , and if the smoke smell persists, call the fire department. And since that’s my business, I’ll be there as soon as I can. If my specialty was something else, I’d likely tell you something else. A lot of orientation is experience. To use the Air Force again, if memory serves during WW II they found that if you survived 5 missions you were far more likely that the gross statistics showed, to finish your tour.
  • Decide: Make a decision, define the mission or whatever you choose to call it. This is where a lot of problems happen. It seems that it rarely happens that we get to make a decision on our own anymore. We have so much support infrastructure and it cost so damned much, that we think we always need more information or to consult or whatever. In my Doolittle example above; that’s the message to Pearl or Washington or a council of war. Any of these slow you down. One of the problems our opponent’s have (either big businesses or in the military realm) is that they usually have to get permission to act; often at a ridiculously high level.
  • Action: Do it and do it fast and then do something else. Keep doing things so fast that the opposition can’t ever keep up.

If you read that article, and the ones referred in it, you’ll know that is why America is so formidable, in business and in war, it’s the reaction time, multiple things going on so close together that they all run into each other. In other words, from outside, when done well, it looks like chaos. It also looks like Donald Trump’s America.

What is the Washington way? Well, Jessica once wrote about The Council of Florence, which was attempting to heal the Great Schism between the East and the West. That post made me fall off my chair laughing because for us it was about something else, something contemporary. It also describes ‘the Washington Way’ very well. This is too long already, but I’ll give you a taste.

There was a crisis, that was why they were meeting. Unless action was taken, then something unpleasant, and possibly worse would happen. It had taken time to get to this point. Those present were, of course, only protecting the dignity of their offices, and no one should think that any asperity in their conversational ripostes was anything to do with personal pride or arrogance, these men were, they all agreed, humble men, servants of the servants of God – and as such it behoved them to guard fiercely the dignity of the office of which they were but stewards.

So, talks about talks had produced a meeting in which there would now be an opportunity for all those present to talk.  As one might have expected from such educated and even intellectual men, the talk was of high quality; had there been an olympiad for such things, giving out the gold would have been a very difficult task; it would certainly have involved more talks to ensure that the criteria established were so finely tuned that they would be able to pick up the echo the nuance of the inference which would surely bring the prize. Still, there was not, so at least there was one less thing to discuss.

Do read it all, and see if it sounds familiar to you. How did that council work out? Well…

In this way, seven months passed most pleasantly in the Italian city of Ferrara. Unfortunately, money was running out to pay for all these hungry thinkers, and there was plague in the area. So they decamped to the even more pleasant city of Florence in January, and seven months later came to an agreement on a formula of union between Rome and Constantinople. But when the Easterners got home, they were reminded that no one voice, indeed not even so many learned theologians and bishops, spoke for the Orthodox, so after all that, there was no union. Still that was fine, as the Westerners deposed their Pope anyway.

Fourteen years later the Ottomans massacred thousands of inhabitants of Constantinople and sold thousands more into slavery. A century later Western Christendom began to splinter into many fragments.

It’s the American (although not the Washington) Way

Lead, Follow, or get the Hell out of the Way

VE Day and Appeasement

Yesterday was the 73d anniversary of VE Day – the day when Nazi Germany surrendered to the most powerful alliance ever assembled, Great Britain and its Empire, the Soviet Union, and the United States, and a fair number of smaller powers, and governments in exile. It is a great day in the history of freedom, and it’s a shame that we don’t celebrate it more.

But maybe the reason we don’t is that it was a rather unnecessary war, if we had kept the watch in the 20s and 30s, it need never have happened. Imagine a world without any of the horrors of that period, it could easily have been, if, for example, the west had shut Hitler down when he reoccupied the Rhineland in 1936. But we didn’t, and it happened.

In 1938 the British Prime Minister journeyed to Munich and returned with a piece of paper, that sold out Czechoslovakia, which has come to be called appeasement. Somewhat unfairly, in my opinion. Mr. Chamberlain was as patriotic as any Briton could want, but his military cupboard was pretty bare, if he had gone to war over the Sudetenland, it is very likely that he would have lost, and left Britain occupied as well. That would have precluded the Allies winning the war, no matter what the New World, in all its power and might, might do.

The next year was different, a new Prime Minister, one of the greatest war leaders of the English speaking peoples was in charge, and the guarantee was given to Poland. And so, once again, as so often, Tommy Atkins paid in blood for his leaders lack of preparation.

But that war ended on May 8th, 1945, and the lesson was learned, and the Soviet Empire was in time destroyed, without destroying the world. But history did not end, as some claimed. It is well to remember what Churchill wrote about Nazi rule for Collier’s magazine in 1937…

To relax their grip may be at the same time to release avenging forces. Dictators and those who immediately sustain them cannot quit their offices with the easy disdain—or more often relief—with which an American President of a British Prime Minister submits himself to an adverse popular verdict. For a dictator the choice may well be between the throne or the grave. The character of these men who have raised themselves from obscurity to these positions of fierce, dazzling authority does not permit us to believe that they would bow their heads meekly to the stroke of fate. One has the feeling they would go down or conquer fighting, and play the fearful stakes which are in their hands. . .

Thus we are confronted with a situation in Europe abhorrent to its peoples, including the great mass of German and Italian peoples, in which bands of competent, determined men under ruthless leadership find themselves unable to go or to stop. It may well be that the choice before Germany is a choice between an internal and an external explosion. But it is not Germany that will really choose. It is only that band of politicians who have obtained this enormous power, whose movements are guided by two or three men, who will decide the supreme issue of peace or war. To this horrible decision they cannot come unbiased. Economic and political ruin may stare them in the face, and the only means they have to escape may be victory in the field. They have the power to make war. They have the incentive to make war; nay, it may well be almost compulsion.

Very wise words indeed, and have application beyond Nazi Germany.

Yesterday, the President ended the so-called agreement with Iran. It was an agreement that never should have been made, as President Obama was told by a huge proportion of Congress, which is why it was an agreement and not a treaty, the Senate would have decisively defeated it. In addition, there is a summit coming up with North Korea. Both of these countries are in the exact situation that Sir Winston describes above.

There are reports of additional air force units of British, French, and American origin moving into position around Syria. They may well be needed.

For Iran, like North Korea is a failed state, who has denied its people butter to buy guns, and is attempting to expand militarily. It is fairly obvious that such is a very bad idea, for us all, and especially for our ally Israel. Then there is the risk of nuclear weapons in the hands of a rogue state. This was, of course, the original impetus of the Manhatten Project, to beat Hitler’s henchmen to the bomb. And so once again, the valley is darkened by the shadow of death, and there are rumors of war, and there could well be war.

But once again, the west has made their bed, and will have to pay the price, or lose. It is ancient wisdom amongst our people, and few put it better than Rudyard Kipling did,

It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
  To call upon a neighbour and to say: --
"We invaded you last night--we are quite prepared to fight,
  Unless you pay us cash to go away."

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
  And the people who ask it explain
That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
  And then  you'll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
  To puff and look important and to say: --
"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
  We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
  But we've  proved it again and  again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
  You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
  For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
  You will find it better policy to say: --

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
  No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
  And the nation that pays it is lost!"
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