Chamberlain on Hitler: “I have met a man with whom I can do business.”
May to Trump: “Today’s talks I think are a significant moment for President Trump and I to build our relationship and I look forward to continuing to work with you.”
Chamberlain on Hitler’s annexing the Sudetenland: “A quarrel in a faraway country, between people of whom we know nothing.”
May on Trump’s banning people from Muslim countries from entering the US: “The United States is responsible for the United States’ policy on refugees. The United Kingdom is responsible for the United Kingdom’s policy on refugees.”
A Downing Street source has just said: “We will always find ourselves in agreement on some things and disagreement on other things.”
Well. That’s all right, then.
Mike, I have to admit that I am enjoying watching you discover that you would indeed like there to be some limits to the power of the executive branch of the US government.
Hell, I’ll admit it- I like you, but I’m also enjoying watching you become completely deranged over Trump (and you have, demonstrably, become completely deranged when it comes to Trump.)
I don’t like Trump, of course, but… where were you when Obama declared that that the President of the US has the right to order the assassination of any person, anywhere in the world, for any reason? I don’t recall you frothing at the mouth on your blog about _that_, and it’s so far past anything Trump has done, when it comes to assertions of executive power. On the other hand, peeps, congratulations on having handed Trump the right to assassinate people because you liked Obama ;).
Sure, Trump scares me. Just like Obama scared me. But Mike- it’s clear that you find anyone who disagrees with you about politics terrifying and not worth even acknowledging. You make that very clear in your posts.
That’s not just obnoxious, but a recipe for never learning anything. I doubt you will ever learn anything about politics again, but I imagine you will be a reliable partisan for the rest of your life. Good luck with that.
Mike – that’s a pretty weak parallel you could make with any low-key diplomatic statement. Exactly what are you expecting her to say, on meeting the President of the US? “Hi, whilst my job description pretty much mandates me not fucking over my entire country just for the sake of a few moments of wearing my heart on my sleeve, I have decided to forgo the diplomatic niceties and declare Donald Trump to be a cunt. Donald, you sir, are a cunt. Now – I expect Mr Trump, will, on hearing my brave words, immediately change his tune. Immigration will no longer concern him. The wall will not be built, free trade with the world will resume and Trump will become a signed up member of the glorious left. The man standing to me left is changing colour – I think it’s working already!”
Her job is not to reenact the Richard Curtis fantasy Prime Minister speech from Love Actually, but to try and find a diplomatic way to work with the country with all the gold and missiles. That is exactly what her job requires. Protest for the sake of it is jolly fine, but she’s not in opposition – she has to find a way to make deals that primarily benefit this country. If in four years Donald Trump has indeed annexed the sudetenland, and begun an ethnic pogrom involving cattle trucks and gas chambers I will return here and admit your visionary stance was the right one – otherwise it seems a conciliatory approach may be the smartest diplomatic route.
In the meantime – have you considered that your love of taking the imagined moral high ground allied with no concern whatsoever for the dirty business of practical policy makes you a perfect fit for the Liberal Democrats? ;-)
You’ve lost me, right out of the gate. When have I ever suggested that I wanted US presidents to be all-powerful? It doesn’t sound like something I would advocate.
I think that is not just false, but obviously false. When I am writing about politics per se, my posts are careful and considered: see for example Very basic politics #1: three ways to deal with the deficit, Election results #4: why were the Liberal Democrats wiped out?, My comments on the Government’s call for evidence on Freedom Of Information and What is the Conservative Party actually for?.
What you are in fact describing is my reaction to Trump — which, as I have explained — is not really a political one. Trump is something entirely new in my lifetime: a dictator in a democracy, a hair-trigger narcissist who has somehow been given the keys to the kingdom and is actively undermining the foundations of a free society. That is why my reaction to him is completely different to my reaction to — for example — David Cameron, whose policies I significantly disagreed with. As I pointed out in a comment on that same post, if a Democrat president had been elected and started behaving the way Trump is behaving, I would be just as alarmed as I am now.
What I expect from any leader with a backbone would have been for May to respond to this executive order by denouncing it — as have many other Conservative MPs, including the leader of the the Scottish Conservatives, many other heads of state around the world, many US state governors and several Republican (as well as Democrat of course) representatives and senators.
The problem is, once he has done these things, it’s too late. Surely the lesson of history is that the Nazis needed to be opposed before all those things happened. It’s no good chanting “never again”, then standing by and nodding approvingly during the early stages of it happening again.
The best summary I’ve seen is this tweet: “Remember sitting in history, thinking “If I was alive then, I would’ve…” — You’re alive now. Whatever you’re doing is what you would’ve done.”
Oh, last thing, Tagore:
Don’t you find it ironic that you wrote that in the week that I changed my mind on Jeremy Corbyn, and on the VERY DAY that I joined the Liberal Democrats? If anything, you should be accusing me of vacillating.
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Your interpretation of Hitler’s rise to power is at variance with mine. “opposing” the Nazis was actually quite popular – they received plenty of opprobrium before invading Poland. The mistake was not a lack of vocal condenmation but the unwillingness to build up armed forces and to pre-emptively strike their military production lines that were operating in defiance of the armistice. Are you suggesting we should be building up our airforce in readiness for a land invasion of America? If Chamberlain had condemned Hitler it wouldn’t have made a tiny spec of difference. You seem to believe differently, but you are perhaps wrong in this case. Whatever mental disorder Trump suffers from (it’s not psychopathy) I don’t think it involves retiring gracefully in the face of angry rhetoric.
We disagree on a number of issues clearly. You believe in God, and I favour evidence. You think Trump is a psychopath and analogous to Hitler, I think he’s a twat. Fine – I don’t expect a meeting of minds on these subjects, but I’m willing to be pursuaded if you can provide some detail that I’ve missed. Hitler was a dictator with a glorious thousand year term limit – Trump has four years. Maybe if everybody indulges in enough hyperbolic virtue signalling that will be extended to eight. But that’s it. Obama blocked Iraqi refugees for six months and I don’t recall this level of breast beating at the time. Do you consider it likely (I am genuinely curious) that at some point, without enough vocal opposition, Trump will begin murdering Jews (or whoever) using gas chambers? For all Trump’s many, many faults, he exists within a system of quite effective checks and balances. He was democratically elected, the flaws of the US system notwithstanding, and has a lot of support. What he doesn’t have however is enough support to overturn the US constitution and begin a programme of genocide from a position of absolute power. That would be Hitler.
But as I say, he *is* a twat. So the more he is opposed by marches, online referendums, angry 140 character polemics and virtuous hollywood types, the more he will push back. Stop feeding the ape. May’s approach is far smarter, not a sentence I thought I’d write about the woman. She has secured concessions on Nato and British-Muslim citizens from the Trump team, which is exactly what her job entails. If she stood up to roundly condemn Trump to his face, instead of criticising his policy in a separate interview – what exactly do you think that would achieve? Please answer this question, if no other. I’m looking for actual concrete results here.
“grossly inadequate” and “quite wrong” – perhaps a little firey. I’d like to change them to “at variance with mine” and “perhaps wrong in this case”, if I may.
I can edit your comment to make those changes if you wish? (Though if you wanted to keep “quite wrong”, I think that is perfectly supportable given the historical context you introduce.)
Certainly – edit away. If I’m implicitly suggesting that hyperbolic rhetoric is counter-productive then I should certainly attempt to keep my arguments civil myself.
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I made the edits. As soon as I know you’ve seen this (leave a one-word comment) I will delete these meta-comments and respond to your main comment.
Hitler was a dictator with a glorious thousand year term limit – Trump has four years.
But Hitler wasn’t elected as a dictator with a thousand year term limit. He was chosen as a Chancellor in a coalition government that still failed to get a majority at several general elections but which then used “emergency powers” to suspend those laws and effectively give himself (and his partners) full power.
The real test will be whether, when something like 9/11 happens, the Trump (sorry, Bannon) administration will proclaim a similar state of emergency (bearing in mind that even the Bush administration didn’t go that far.) At which point all bets are off.
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