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An example of moral masochism: in the latest issue of the leading journal Commentaire, the French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut castigates the Histoire mondiale de la France (The global history of France), an ambitious collaborative work that was greeted with rapture by the French intellectual establishment. For Finkielkraut, by contrast, this “breviary of political correctness and submission” is a denial of French culture, a preemptive cringe towards Islamism that “replaces identity with indebtedness”. The fraudulence of this pseudo-cosmopolitanism is revealed by the authors’ failure to mention European immigrants who have enriched French culture, in favour of Muslim role models, such as the multiethnic French football team that won the World Cup in 1998. This “global history” ignores almost all of the greatest French writers, artists and composers; one of the few whom it does mention, Balzac, is chided for his cultural nationalism. It is impossible for immigrants to identify with a French civilisation whose specificity is denied by an academic elite desperate to resolve the “crisis of living together”. “Quelle misère!” Finkielkraut exclaims, as well he might.

What about the Atlantic alliance, which was Churchill’s most important legacy. Are we likely to leave this precious bond to our posterity? President Trump has made his commitment to Nato, in particular to its crucial Article Five which requires the alliance to come to the aid of any member under attack, conditional on all other states contributing a minimum of 2 per cent of GDP to defence. To grasp how damaging this shift in policy may prove to be, one might recall the motto of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas: “All for one, one for all.” Supposing D’Artagnan had said to Athos, Porthos and Aramis: “But I’m the youngest, cleverest and bravest of our brotherhood. I won’t risk my life unless your duelling comes up to my standard.” Does anyone think the famous pact would have lasted long?

But the fault is not only on the American side, nor is it exclusively Trump’s doing. European leaders, especially on the Left, have exploited his unpopularity and latent anti-Americanism has resurfaced. Giving the EU a military dimension was always a bad idea; if such a European force were to operate independently of Nato, it could stretch the alliance’s already inadequate deterrence capabilities to breaking point. Yet that is precisely what is being seriously proposed in Brussels, Paris and Berlin. Worse, Angela Merkel has been canvassing support for a bid to isolate Trump on the issue of climate change. Not only is this unlikely to succeed — Canada’s Justin Trudeau has already hedged his bets — but even if a German-led coalition of the willing were to freeze out the Trump administration, what a pyrrhic victory that would be. Europe has always needed the United States far more than the other way round, as the history of the last century demonstrates. If two world wars and the Cold War were not enough to convince Europe that it is a danger to itself without a strong American presence, will the present dangers posed by Putin’s Russia and Islamist terrorism suffice?

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amcdonald
September 15th, 2017
12:09 PM
Freedom Day June 24 2016 The glorious chaotic dawn of our Brexit victory Julie Burchill Kate Hoey Gilbert & George John Lydon Ringo Starr ("Don`t tell Bob Geldof") Morrissey Brexitannia not Remainia We scored 17.4 million goals Remainia scored 16.1 million goals A clear win by Brexitannia The Toeies are still the Nasty Party,the gruel- propaganda party reduced to delusions of adequacy. It`s Julie Burchill not Winston Churchill . It`s Camille Paglia not Hilary Clinton in the USA. I'm popular culture it`s Ringo Starr not Bob Geldof. The Lady of Burma is being compared to Hitler by the Left for not barking for Islam .

Lawrence James
September 4th, 2017
12:09 PM
'Democracies do not fight one another ?'The Confederate States of America v the United States of America . . . Britain against the Boer republics . . . the North German Confederation against France in 1870 ?

Stephen Blendell
August 30th, 2017
7:08 PM
For those who might be interested, there is now one authoritative treatise on liberty, its history and the various types of liberty."Liberty's Progress?" by Prof Gerard Casey has just been published - coincidentally to coincide with this edition of Standpoint!

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