America – no place for statesmen.
I have been reading the brilliant first volume of Nigel Hamilton’s magisterial biography of Roosevelt*. Here was a great American, statesman, leader and commander in chief pondering in 1942, as Churchill, ever flawed could not**, the long arc of the world’s future even as the full on war with Germany and Japan was just starting. Already he was creating his United Nations. His eyes were on a win/win, on helping his neighbours, resolving differences and being accountable to the generations yet unborne.
We have fallen a long way since then.
Not in our learning – American Universities still lead the world. Not in technology, not in our general standard of living. Indeed in so many ways we are even more strongly the go to place for all. But we have no statesmen, certainly no Roosevelt. Instead we have Trump and Bannon, supported by the craven amorality of the Republicans and the dithering Democrats lacking in confidence and identity. America now stands for beggaring our neighbours, for a win/lose confrontation with the emerging super power in China and for political myopia.
Decoupling the two economies of the US and China is looking increasingly likely – precisely when the real world issues – climate change, health, education and poverty – demand a global response. We are moving to destroy the life enhancing opportunity for mutual collaboration that really could take the world to a new transformative stage and we are employing the discredited politics of evil men.
“Peace through strength”, “America first”, “Go back home”… do people not recognise the chilling echo of Nazi slogans when they hear them?
Have a good day, James.
*” The Mantle of Command ” by Nigel Hamilton.
** See my talk on “Churchill”