by DAVID FLINT – WITH the launch of a war of aggression in the Ukraine by Russian dictator Putin, it is time now to make a serious reassessment of the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain.
Who would have thought that this much-maligned man, condemned correctly for his appeasement of Hitler at Munich, stands head and shoulders above the US and other Western leaders today?
Chamberlain’s calm unadorned message on September 3, 1939, is, for me at least, still chilling to hear: “I am speaking to you from the cabinet room at 10 Downing Street. This morning the British ambassador in Berlin handed the German government a final note stating that unless we heard from them by 11 o’clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.”
Contrast Chamberlain’s behaviour and that of the leaders of France, Australia and the Dominions then with Western leaders today.
Chamberlain and his generation would never have fallen under the spell of a collective madness similar to those which affected speculators involved in Tulip Mania or the South Sea Bubble.
Today’s madness particularly afflicts Western leaders and other elites.
It is based not only on elevating the increasingly discredited theory of significant man-made global warming to the status of a papally endorsed religious dogma among Catholics.
It also involves the absolute acceptance of a seriously economically destructive, yet fake solution – net-zero CO2 emissions.
In a world in which daily weather forecasts are notoriously unreliable, this solution ludicrously claims its temperature predictability to be accurate, many decades hence, within a proportion of a degree.
Even if both the theory and the solution were correct, most government commitments are notoriously unreliable.
Worse, the crucial commitment by size, that by China and Xi Jingping, is undoubtedly as good as Xi’s solemn promise to Barack Obama not to militarise the South China Sea.
The action of Western political leaders and other elites in running down and indeed, ruining Western economies is a gross betrayal of their people.
It is as disgraceful and as deceitful as the dependence of Western Europe and the US on Russian energy while they claim to be serious about sanctions.
The second of Chamberlain’s qualities is that although he was misled by Hitler into accepting his assurance that after the Sudetenland he had no further territorial ambitions in Europe, he was not afraid to change course and, if necessary, even to go to war.
While he made a mistake or, more probably, gambled on the hope that Hitler was being truthful, once he realised he had been misled he behaved with great honour.
He did what Western leaders have singularly failed to do in relation to the Ukraine.
They should have done what President Trump had done in relation to hostile powers.
They should have ruled a line in the sand, something which must now be effected in relation to Taiwan.
It should have been made clear to Putin, as it must be to Xi, that the United States and its allies will react seriously and without fear in the event of aggression.
Chamberlain’s track record in the months following the Munich agreement on September 30, 1938, demonstrates what an honourable leader should do and what Biden and other leaders have failed to do.
Six months later, on March 15, 1939, Germany occupied most of what was left of Czechoslovakia. Soon after, on March 21, Hitler demanded Poland hand over the free city of Danzig.
Within ten days of that demand, Britain and France offered Poland a guarantee of her territorial integrity.
This was reinforced on July 10. When, on August 23, Germany and the USSR announced the surprise Molotov-Von Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact, the UK and France knew Germany had a guarantee that the Soviet Union would not stop any German aggression against Poland.
What they did not know were secret clauses that on a German move against Poland, the Soviets would have a free hand to take Eastern Poland, the Baltic States and Finland.
The British and French could have then gone soft on their guarantee, as modern politicians would. They did not and instead honoured their guarantees to the full.
Returning to today, Western leaders have long abandoned any moral obligation to the Ukraine.
Such an obligation certainly arose on the collapse of the Soviet Union.
At that time, the Ukraine surrendered the third largest nuclear stockpile in the world to Russia in return for assurances from Russia, the US and the UK in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994.
But when Russia annexed the Crimea in breach of the Memorandum in 2014, neither the US nor the UK took any effective measures.
When Russia began her mobilisation at the frontier prior to the present war, the US, the UK and other Western powers should have guaranteed the territorial integrity of the Ukraine as Chamberlain did to Poland.
Not having the stomach to do this, the very last thing they should have done was to authorise a “minor incursion” as Biden did, nor to say what they would not do, that is put boots on the ground.
This is part of a foolish tendency these days to give information to the enemy. It is surely elementary to keep the enemy guessing.
The US and her allies should have at the very least armed Ukraine to the hilt, providing her with real time intelligence and adopting real and not just fake sanctions such as seizing some plutocrat’s yacht.
The only really effective sanction is for the US and Europe to stop their massive subsidies of Putin by buying enormous amounts of Russian oil and gas.
For the US, this means going back on Biden’s reversal of Trump’s measures to make the US energy independent
For Europe it is going back to coal and nuclear energy.
For both it means acting with courage, principle and honour.PC