Skip to comments.Winston Churchill, Neocon?
Posted on 02/26/2005 9:55:47 AM PST by quidnunc
Douglas J. Feith was becoming excited. After spending an afternoon discussing the war in Iraq with him, I asked what books had most influenced him. Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy and a prominent neoconservative, raced across his large library and began pulling down gilt-edged volumes on the British Empire. Behind his desk loomed a bust of Winston Churchill.
It was a telling moment. In England right-wing historians are portraying the last lion as a drunk, a dilettante, an incorrigible bungler who squandered the opportunity to cut a separate peace with Hitler that would have preserved the British Empire. On the American right, by contrast, Churchill idolatry has reached its finest hour. George W. Bush, who has said ''I loved Churchill's stand on principle,'' installed a bronze bust of him in the Oval Office after becoming president. On Jan. 21, 2005, Bush issued a letter with ''greetings to all those observing the 40th anniversary of the passing of Sir Winston Churchill.'' The Weekly Standard named Churchill ''Man of the Century.'' So did the columnist Charles Krauthammer, who in December 2002 delivered the third annual Churchill Dinner speech sponsored by conservative Hillsdale College; its president, Larry P. Arnn, also happens to belong to the International Churchill Society. William J. Luti, a leading neoconservative in the Pentagon, recently told me, ''Churchill was the first neocon.'' Apart from Michael Lind writing in the British magazine The Spectator, however, the Churchill phenomenon has received scant attention. Yet to a remarkable extent, the neoconservative establishment is claiming Churchill (who has just had a museum dedicated to him in London) as a founding father.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Well I only read the thesis and conclusion but actually you'll see a lot of neocons that like FDR and just look at Teddy Roosevelt if you want to see an interventionist republican on par with Bush.
Neocon seems more and more to be a word of derision.
I wonder if GWB agrees with Winston's take on Islam?:
"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property - either as a child, a wife, or a concubine - must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men."
- Sir Winston Churchill
I had forgotten this quote...
ping to self for further thought
Always knew I liked Churchill
Probably. But he certainly can't say so.
Now, if the topic is British intervention in World War ONE, that's a different story. Niall Ferguson makes a very good case that the UK blew it by jumping in. And while I come close to buying it (and do buy the fact that the UK's ambiguous pre-war policies tempted Kaiser Bill, just like ours will tempt the PRC to move on Taiwan), NF's argument fails to address what a victory-addled Wilhelm II would've done next after winning on the Continent. Does anyone really believe that Imperial Germany, under the Kaiser, would've been satiated with mere continental dominance? No. You'd get a Napoleon scenario. The Royal Navy probably would've been forced to pre-empt, a la Copenhagen, and attack the German fleet after which they would've been at war with Germany anyway -- only w/o allies and w/o a base in Europe. They would've been reduced to nibbling on the edges or buying the Kaiser off, for a while, with pieces of their Empire. Or maybe seeking an alliance with the US. The Tuchman thesis re: WWI is nonsense. It wasn't an accident. Each player chose a rational course, as the great new history Cataclysm points out.
Did ANYONE bother to read this? :)
From what I've read, the Kaiser was correct to believe that Germany was being encircled in the years leading to WWI.
On a happier note, I love to listen to Churchill's inspiring, moving, and often brilliant speaches during his rise to power and throughout WWII.
It is doubtful that England will ever have another like him.
Yes, although I disagree with it. I do not think that Germany in 1914 was intent upon dominating the continent at all. She felt forced to act to prevent Russia clobbering Austria, over Austria clobbering Serbia. The Russian-French alliance put Germany in a very difficult position. Sorry to offer such an abbreviated commentary.
World War I was a tragedy of immense proportions, from which the West has still not really recovered.
By the way, on the subject of the thread, Churchill was a great man, and it is an insult to compare him to the "Neocons." But as with their adoption of Leo Strauss, they appear to individually lack the personal confidence or esteem necessary to peddle their ideology without trying to find gurus.
However, Churchill, as his father before him, was a Liberal. He was behind the confiscatory taxes imposed in 1910, as a member of the Asquith Government--a tax that should have triggered an uprising under Magna Carta, but didn't. He became a Conservative after the virtual collapse of the Liberals as a Second Party, because he was not so "Liberal," as to join Labour.
Churchill was, however, of that species of Liberal, like Chamberlain, who believed in the Empire, as opposed to Gladstone, who was a puritanical critic of the Empire. And he had a good deal of personal courage.
William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site
Ping to post 7.
i said this before, but, i really think we ought to drop neo conservative and bring back radical republican as the word to describe us. neo and conservative is almost an oxy moron.
John Charmley (who calls himself a "Thatcherite Historian") and Alan Clark (former Conservative MP for Kensington & Chelsea and a minister in Thatcher's cabinet), both argued that Churchill ought to have stopped fighting with Hitler after the Battle of Britain had ended and Hitler had invaded the USSR. Clark would have been happy for Churchill to sign a peace pact with Hitler (following a Chamberlain-like appeasement strategy), but Charmley declines to go into specifics about how Churchill should have disengaged.
Here is more on Charmley:
His campaign - currently waged from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, home of the U.S. Churchill Memorial - is to expose Winston Churchill as destroyer of Britain's greatness, so power - driven and irrational that he failed to disengage from World War II after Hitler invaded Russia, condemning his country to bankruptcy, socialist malaise, loss of Empire and client status to the United States. Charmley denies he ever suggested making peace with Hitler, though how Churchill could have "disengaged" without a deal of some kind is difficult to imagine. Article
And on Clark:
Alan Clark, MP, the political sponsor of certain ideas in this book, does publish some speculations on this point. Hitler, Clark writes, told Martin Bormann in 1945 that he, Hitler, admired the British for their valor in the Battle of Britain and the fact that they had "triumphed over a Latin race." Clark thinks this is significant. He also thinks that Hitler's "national interest" would have helped to keep him in check. He might have been induced to demilitarize Norway and keep his army out of the French seaboard and the Low Countries. "The game," Clark continues, "might have been played endlessly."' Article
Churchill in many ways was a prophet for his time, because he had an acute knowledge of history. So, he was able to sound the warning bells when Hitler was on the horizon. He was able to do the same near the end of World War II, when he sounded similar warnings about Stalin and Soviet Communism (the Iron Curtin speech). I read Carlo d'Este's book on Gen. George Patton and it mentions in there how Chruchill argued that the English/Americans should have pushed futher into Eastern Europe to prevent those areas from becoming Soviet satellites. However (as with the rise of Hitler), no one paid heed to his warnings, thanks largely to the appeasment at any cost crowd who always portrayed him as a warmonger.
Prussia, the dominant part of Germany at the time, was victorious over France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The main result was that Germany became unified under Prussian leadership and that some eastern provinces of France were taken over by Germany. Most likely, a win by Germany in September/October 1914 after a short victorious campaign would have resulted in a modest enlargement of Germany in both the east and west, a dominance of the Balkans by the Austro-Hungarians, and no Russian communist revolution. It would have been far preferable to what actually happened.
** "It is doubtful that England will ever have another like him."
It is doubtful that the world will have another like him.
What other country has ever produced the equal of Winston Churchill?
I believe America has seen some.
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”.
But yes, great men such as Churchill come in measures of time not marked in years, but in centuries. I can only hope we see his like again if Europe is overrun.
Oops. I was browsing through some FR threads I had open whilst also looking at a few bookmarked ones I had. I got them mixed up. I didn’t meant to post in a two-year dead thread. If a mod wants to delete my posts, or something to that extent, that’s fine.
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