— by Polydamas
Lost among the fake news that had been widely circulated by the mainstream media since Donald Trump assumed the presidency is an essential kernel of truth whose meaning has eluded most commentators.
On January 21, 2017, Time’s White House correspondent Zeke Miller tweeted that the bust of British statesman and World War II Prime Minister Winston Churchill was back in the Oval Office, “The Winston Churchill bust is back in the Oval Office”. He then sent out a pool report saying, “The MLK bust was no longer on display.” Predictably, the left threw a frothing hissy fit over the false allegation that Donald Trump had removed the bust of civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office in order to make room for Churchill’s bust. The mainstream media did not miss the opportunity to pounce and to reinforce its narrative that the White House is occupied by a despicable racist and the left must wage a guerilla war to free it.
Later, after the damage was done, Zeke Miller issued a correction: “The MLK bust is still in the Oval Office. It was obscured by an agent and door” and “wh aide confirms the MLK bust is still there. I looked for it in the oval 2x & didn’t see it. My apologies to my colleagues.” Of course, Zeke Miller was happy to take a figurative bullet for his liberal team. His scoop already received many re-tweets and it became “click-bait” with Google remuneration making it increasingly profitable the more it was disseminated. Moreover, the mainstream media knows well that its narrative was advanced because many people who read the original report never read the correction and continue to believe the absolute worst of Donald Trump and of his administration.
There may be a third plausible explanation. In his 1899 book, “The River War”, Sir Winston Churchill made the following observation:
“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity.
The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities – but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”
The same observations about Islam are as true in every way today as when they were originally made 116 years ago by Sir Winston Churchill. They are just as true after the discovery of petroleum in the Middle East, which enriched beyond belief the sheiks and potentates of the kleptocracies that sprung after World War I. Having grown up in a Muslim household and in the Muslim country of Indonesia, Barack Obama was likely well aware of Winston Churchill’s pronouncements about Islam. Banishing Winston Churchill’s bust from the Oval Office was Barack Obama’s form of defiance and condemnation of a man he considered to be a dead white and privileged European male and his racist, Islamophobic ramblings.
Karl Marx, whom leftists revere, is credited with the saying “History repeats itself, first as strategy, second as farce”. On September 29, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain rushed to sign the Munich agreement with Germany’s Chancellor Adolf Hitler, futilely appeasing Nazi Germany by allowing it to annex Czechoslovakia and emboldening its subsequent aggression against Europe. Chamberlain returned to England and proclaimed that the agreement was “peace with honour” and “peace for our time”. After World War II began, Great Britain, under the leadership of his successor Winston Churchill, suffered greatly and sacrificed much blood in an effort to undo the consequences of Chamberlain’s wrongheaded decision.
The tragedy that was Munich was repeated as a farce, with even deadlier potential consequences. In 2009, when Barack Obama became President, he exiled the bust and the animating spirit of Winston Churchill from the White House. Like Neville Chamberlain, he appeased Muslim terror extremists with his apology tour to the Middle East. He encouraged and facilitated the “Arab Spring” that destabilized the region, toppled stable Arab autocrats like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s Mu’ammar Qaddafi, and replaced them with fundamentalist Islamists. He allowed the cancer known as Islamic State to grow and metastasize on his watch. And, top it all, he paid billions of dollars in tribute to Iran’s mullahs and ensured that it would succeed in developing its offensive nuclear capabilities.
Donald Trump replaced Barack Obama just as Winston Churchill succeeded Neville Chamberlain. Trump’s literal return of Winston Chamberlain’s bust to the Oval Office is also a figurative return to foreign policies based on hard reality and the repudiation of leftist appeasement and Utopian fantasies of “peace for our time”. Donald Trump’s inaugural address vow to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth” could not be more fitting and timely.
A bust of the former prime minister once voted the greatest Briton in history, which was loaned to George W Bush from the Government’s art collection after the September 11 attacks, has now been formally handed back.
The bronze by Sir Jacob Epstein, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds if it were ever sold on the open market, enjoyed pride of place in the Oval Office during President Bush’s tenure.
But when British officials offered to let Mr Obama to hang onto the bust for a further four years, the White House said: “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Diplomats were at first reluctant to discuss the whereabouts of the Churchill bronze, after its ejection from the seat of American power. But the British Embassy in Washington has now confirmed that it sits in the palatial residence of ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald, just down the road from Vice President Joe Biden’s official residence. It is not clear whether the ambassador plans to keep it in Washington or send it back to London.
American politicians have made quoting Churchill, whose mother was American, something of an art form, but not Mr Obama, who prefers to cite the words and works of his hero Abraham Lincoln. Indeed a bust of Mr Lincoln now sits in the Oval Office where Epstein’s Churchill once ruled the roost.
Churchill has less happy connotations for Mr Obama than those American politicians who celebrate his wartime leadership. It was during Churchill’s second premiership that Britain suppressed Kenya’s Mau Mau rebellion. Among Kenyans allegedly tortured by the colonial regime included one Hussein Onyango Obama, the President’s grandfather.
The rejection of the bust has left some British officials nervously reading the runes to see how much influence the UK can wield with the new regime in Washington.
Now it is likely that Gordon Brown will offer a alternative symbol of Anglo-American fealty when he visits Washington to meet Mr Obama for the first time since he became President. Diplomats are still working to finalise a date for the visit which is expected in the final week of this month or early in March.
One suggestion, given Mr Obama’s interest in the Lincoln era, is that Mr Brown should offer an artefact relating to the career of John Bright, the 19th Century MP and political reformer who became the most prominent British supporter of Lincoln’s Union forces during the American Civil War.
A British Embassy spokesman said: “The bust of Sir Winston Churchill by Sir Jacob Epstein was uniquely lent to a foreign head of state, President George W Bush, from the Government Art Collection in the wake of 9/11 as a signal of the strong transatlantic relationship.
“It was lent for the first term of office of President Bush. When the President was elected for his second and final term, the loan was extended until January 2009.
“The new President has decided not to continue this loan and the bust has now been returned. It is on display at the Ambassador’s Residence.”