Friday, January 23, 2015
Leadership: Churchill vs. Obama
January 24, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill's death. He died at the age of 90 and is widely recognized as the most influential politician of the first half of the 20th century.
Perhaps the Churchill lesson we can learned from the most for our modern age is Churchill's warning voice against the evils of Nazi Germany. While other leaders from the European democracies promoted appeasement with Hitler, Churchill argued for the destruction of Nazism. A modern Churchill would argue for the similar destruction of Muslim Fascism.
Unfortunately, current world leadership is lacking in a Churchillian figure, with no worse example than Barack Obama. Obama has gone so out of his way to appease Muslims that he can be rightly compared to Neville Chamberlain who was duped by Hitler more than once.
Once engaged in war, Churchill was relentless in defeating the Nazis. The British bombing strategy of German was particularly brutal. Obama wants nothing more than to avoid fighting evil. By not negotiating a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq he created the opportunity for ISIL to become a much worse terrorist threat than Al Qaeda ever was. He has been soft on taking action to reduce the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons. His actions in Syria to support freedom fighters with ties to the West has been too little and too late. His actions to support Ukraine against invasion have been weak.
At the conclusion of Churchill's service as war prime minister, the world was safe from Nazi terror. By comparison, Muslim terrorism has not been eliminated during Obama's presidency (not that it was ever his goal) and continues to be a major threat with targets world wide.
Obama's disdain for Churchill goes back to one of his first acts as president. President Bush had displayed a bust of Churchill in the Oval Office, a gift from Great Britain after 9-11. Presidents should be able to decorate their office as they like it, but Obama did more than remove the Churchill bust. He sent it back to the British government. Ouch! Talk about sending a signal. Would any other world leader make the incredible blunder of returning a bust of George Washington?
Obama will never have to worry about being compared to Churchill. His leadership skills are widely recognized as lacking. Last year Fortune Magazine listed the 50 greatest leaders of the world which included worthy selections like Pope Francis and Angela Merkel, even Bill Clinton. Embarrassingly missing from the list was Barack Obama. Fifty is pretty big list, and he couldn't find a way to make the list at 49 or 50?
When reading the final William Manchester volume biography of Churchill, I found a fascinating story related to Churchill's death. About a dozen years before he died, Church was shaving when his secretary Jock Colville brought a document to his attention. Churchill told him, "Today is the twenty-fourth of January. It is the day my father died. It is the day that I shall die too." His father had died on January 24, 1895. Churchill suffered a stroke on January 12, 1965. He lingered for twelve days, but just as he predicted, he died on January 24.
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