Recently I’ve been reading a parallel biography of US President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that explores the keys to these men’s larger-than-life legacies. The title of this book is simple: Greatness – the very concept the author is arguing that these two men embodied in their respective countries in their respective eras.
Greatness requires a clear and unshakable set of convictions, based on one’s wisdom to understand the world and circumstances around them, and the constant courage to act on those convictions for the public good.
Reagan and Churchill were great men because they saw the grave threats facing their countries, and Western Civilization generally, by Nazism and Communism.
The wisdom of these great men led them to the unalterable conviction that these grave and evil ideologies could neither be contained, nor negotiated with, and they used their terms of office to transcend these threats – not tinker with them.
It’s interesting to note how the world widely revers these two men now, since many of their contemporaries criticized them as crazy kooks and warmongers. Winston Churchill was derided by his predecessor Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain for not wanting to negotiate with Adolf Hitler, while Reagan was routinely criticized by foreign policy establishment figures like Nixon’s Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for being a hard-liner against Soviet aggression.
The very thing about both leaders that many of their contemporaries criticized ended up defining their greatness; their unwillingness to compromise their principles was the key to their legacies.
The storm clouds are once again gathering against Western Civilization, against free people from Israel to America. The threat of an emerging Islamic caliphate known as ISIS and a potentially nuclear-armed Iran pose palpable, existential threats to our very way of life.
Left unchecked, these totalitarians will spread and impose their ideology of hate no less ferociously than Hitler or Stalin. We now need great leaders to stand down this emerging threat, and we find very few of them on the national stage here at home. Fortunately, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stepped into the mantle of greatness, warning the world about the coming wrath of a nuclear-armed Iran and the foolishness of negotiations that would allow them to retain nuclear capabilities.
Here in America, meanwhile, President Barack Obama is picking up the mantle of Chamberlain and Kissinger, treating Netanyahu as a warmonger and an annoyance to his liberal sensibilities. All the while, the threats to our country, to Israel, and to freedom gain steam and are aided by Obama’s insistence on negotiating with terrorist regimes, like Chamberlain negotiated with Hitler, in hopes of avoiding confrontation.
History is clear: It will be Netanyahu, not Obama, who will be remembered as a great man who saved his country from danger. Obama’s foreign policy is as feckless as it is foolishly naive.
It is my hope that Netanyahu is reelected in Israel next month, and that the next American President is more interested in carrying the mantle of Reagan, than claiming the legacy of Chamberlain. If not, the West may well be facing a twilight more definitive than the dawn of Nazism or the march of Communism.
Tuesday, February 10 ()Josh Kimbrell, February 10, 2015
The threat of an emerging Islamic caliphate known as ISIS and a potentially nuclear-armed Iran pose palpable, existential threats to our very way of life. History is clear: It will be Netanyahu, not Obama, who will be remembered as a great man who saved his country from danger. Obama's foreign policy is as feckless as it is foolishly naive.
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