Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bush = Chaimberlain?

You know, Dubya often likes to compare himself to Winston Churchill. He likes to wrap himself in the flag and declare himself a courageous "Wartime President". However, Lynn Olson shatters this Bush = Churchill image in today's Washington Post. If anything, Bush may be more like the infamous Neville Chamberlain than he'd like to admit. Want to see how? Read this article.

1 comment:

Jubal said...

An interesting op-ed, but I think the author's angle is an example of the "Rorschach test" analogy she describes.

I think Chamberlain's conduct of British foreign policy was a disaster. But that deploring Chamberlain's appeasement doesn't mean we can ignore the facts of that era -- Olson makes some statements that don't stand up.

For example:

"Chamberlain...ignor[ed] appeals from Churchill and others to fashion a "Grand Alliance" of nations to thwart the threat that Hitler posed to the continent."

The "Grand Aliiance" Olson is referring to was Churchill's proposal to ring Nazi Germany with a anti-German treaty consisting of France, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, the USSR and Czechoslovakia. But there was never any real possibility of creating such an alliance.

For one thing, it's highly unlikely Stalin would have entered into such an alliance with Britain. His history had been cooperation with the Nazis and distrust of the "capitalist imperialists." The British -- under Chamberlain -- did try to persuade the Stalin to join an anti-Nazi alliance with Britain and France in 1939. Stalin chose instead to sign the WWII-precipitating Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.

Stalin couldn't effectively deter Germany without the right to station, or at least transship Soviet troops thorugh Poland -- something the Poles would never have allowed.

And nearly forgotten is that Poland and Romania were complicit in Nazi Germany's destruction of Czechoslovakia in 1938. They went along with it because Hitler promised -- and delivered -- to Poland and Romania portions of Czech territory they coveted. It's difficult to see those nations joining an alliance with a country on which they had such strong territorial designs.

Olson also says:

"Unlike Bush and Chamberlain, Churchill was never in favor of his country going it alone."

That's not an accurate characterization of any of these three men.

Churchill, for example, wrote in a public letter in March 1938 that "the preservation of the peace of the world must be largely dependent on the strength of our own country."

...he also strongly supported using the newborn League of Nations -- the forerunner to today's United Nations -- to provide one-for-all-and-all-for-one security to smaller countries.

In the above referenced letter of March 1938, Churchill said the League "may some day be the salvation of the world. But we should not be promoting the cause of peace by pretending that the League can in its present weakened condition guarantee collective security."

Just as Olson thinks Churchill would care for Bush's Iraq policy, I don't think Churchill would care for how Olson has posthumously -- and I think erroneously -- impressed him into promoting her anti-Bush opinion.