Trump’s Churchill chance at peace

March 11, 2018

This past Monday, readers around the world opened their papers and clicked on their screens to see the results of the 90th Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences awards presented the night before. And thanks to the incessant politicization by both the host, late night sage of everything left Jimmy Kimmel, and a parade of virtue signaling moneyed elites who literally do think the Earth revolves around them, the Oscars as we more commonly know it,  had the lowest viewership rating since the Nielsen company began tracking it in 1974.

Yet among the list of winners was one that stood out just as bold today as the character of over seven decades past that he portrayed. The Actor was Gary Oldman, the character was Winston Churchill and the subject was the movie Darkest Hour.

A film described by its official trailer as “…Winston Churchill… must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation.

Just a year and a half earlier, then Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had held up his “peace for our time” Munich Agreement that the experts of the day hailed as a stroke of genius that would avert a needless war. What it actually did was to cede without consultation or warning a sizable chunk of Czechoslovakia to Germany.

For years, Churchill had been warning of the looming threat from Hitler if he was not confronted early. And for years he was ignored and scoffed at by the learned “establishment” of the day. Yet still he persisted, still he prepared, convinced that if war was to be averted, it would come from strength, not appeasement.

On September 1, 1939 Adolf Hitler sent his armies into Poland, Mr. Churchill was sadly proven right, and over the next five and a half years what we now know as World War II saw the light of tens of millions of human souls disappear from this Earth.

Fast forward to January, 2017 and one outgoing President, Barack Obama relays to his incoming counterpart that North Korea is his biggest challenge and poses the largest threat to the nation.  To a lesser observer of history this might have come as a surprise, but not to one Donald Trump.  As CNN has documented, Trump’s recognition that North Korea was a threat to world peace goes back as far as 1999.  He has been warning of the danger from the rogue regime long before Mr. Obama received his premature Nobel Peace Prize.

Over the past year, as the beltway media and establishment experts cringed at his tweets to North Korea’s newly minted dictator Kim Jong Un and told any sheep within earshot how World War III was now inevitable, President Trump and staff were behind the scenes deploying a strategy of sanctions and pressure to cripple the regime where it really hurt:  it’s pocketbook.

A pocketbook that in light of recent events, must be being pinched harder than we thought.  Via a uniquely Trump “speak loudly and carry an even bigger stick” approach, an opening has occurred that just weeks ago seemed impossible.

Speaking through an announcement by the South Korean foreign minister Thursday evening, Kim Jong Un has extended an invitation and President Trump has accepted a face to face meeting to directly discuss denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

Now before you reach for those pens or rush to your keyboard to get those “how dare you compare Trump to Churchill” letters churning, take a breath and grab a cup of perspective.  I’m not comparing the man Trump to the man Churchill.  I’m merely relaying similarity of circumstances and the lesson of history regarding dictators and appeasement.

Sir Winston never had the chance to negotiate with Hitler from the strength that he knew was needed.  He instead was given the task of saving the world from the rubble of his predecessor’s appeasement.  Mr. Trump however now has the chance to prevent war in the manner Churchill never could:  Peacefully and with the power to enforce it.

It is far too early to know the final outcome of Kim’s overture.  It may be just another of the many smokescreens he and his predecessors have deployed in the past.  Or, it truly could be a “right place at the right time” moment.

Whether you’re a hater or supporter of this President, on this one issue, let us all come together as Americans, united in thought and prayer that perhaps, just perhaps, peace at last has a fighting chance.

PUBLISHER’s NOTE: A version of this column first appeared in the Sunday print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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