Thursday, August 29, 2002

Bush v. Churchill? I don't find that unimaginable ... there are several historical parallels; we can disagree about whether or not they're the most important characteristics. Churchill was prone to keeping his own council and not playing well with other European leaders. As I recall Churchill was also pushed out of office once the need for his militancy and unilateralism were perceived as undesirable. Churchill was strongly in favor of tax cuts and hated socialism.
Churchill's view was that the government should follow policies which lowered taxes and increased the number of rich people so they could pay more in taxes, the same policies which resulted in unprecedented prosperity in the United States during the last twenty years of the twentieth century. (from Winston Churchill dot-org)

Unlike our own GWB, however, Churchill tried the multi-national thing and went home unsatisfied:
No one would take heed of his reiterated warnings of the folly of attempting to appease HITLER and of the necessity to bring together a "Grand Alliance" against the aggressor powers before it was too late. Baldwin and Chamberlain were too solidly entrenched in power to shift. Churchill tried to rally the right-wing Conservatives against Baldwin's liberal Indian policy, and he backed Edward VIII against Baldwin at the time of the king's abdication in 1936. (from Grolier's Encyclopedia)

Churchill also (finally) gave that up:
COLONIALISM was not the only aspect of Churchill’s Victorian image. His apparent support for preferential trade within the British Empire appeared to Americans as just the sort of restrictive policy that caused wars, and his willingness to make territorial agreements without regard for the wishes of the inhabitants of the places concerned — the Baltic States is one example — reinforced American beliefs that he was another European power politician. After all, American leaders remained firm in their conviction that World War II was primarily the result of a failure in leadership on the part of the liberal nations in Europe. Even Cordell Hull and Roosevelt, both of whom assailed American isolationists in bitter terms, placed the blame for Hitler and Mussolini on the Europeans, who had rejected Wilsonian principles and opted for narrow, selfish policies which made it possible for the United States to reject the Versailles Treaty. Churchill likewise condemned the weak European leadership between the wars, which fit his image in America as the best of wartime partners. But the Prime Minister did not share their critique of the peace settlement, and the Americans worried openly that Churchill was not suited for peacemaking. (from a article)
So finally, we cover in one fell swoop the steel protectionism, unilateral action, regime change, contempt for European diplomats, and peacemaking as an end in itself.

It's only now that we think that Churchill was a great man; he was a joke to the intelligentsia of the time. All that said, if GWB doesn't start shooting Iraqis soon then I'm going to lose patience.

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