In 1946, Winston Churchill gave his heroic "Iron Curtain" speech in Missouri. This week, sixty years later, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan delivered his own speech in Independence, Missouri.
Whereas Churchill used his Missouri speech to praise American supremacy and moral leadership, Annan used his Missouri speech to lambaste America for that same supremacy. The contrast in wisdom, bravery and clarity could scarcely be more stark.
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In Churchill's words, the world could sleep securely with the knowledge that America transcended other military powers and possessed an atomic monopoly:
"The United States stands at this time at the pinnacle of world power... No one country has slept less well in their beds because [atomic] knowledge, and the method and the raw materials to apply it, are presently retained in American hands... We should possess so formidable a superiority as to impose effective deterrents upon its employment, or threat of employment, by others."
Annan, on the other hand, lamented American preeminence:
"None of our global institutions can accomplish much when the U.S. remains aloof... Security must be collective and indivisible... No nation can make itself secure by seeking supremacy over all others... We all have to recognize, no matter how great our strength, that we must deny ourselves the license to do always as we please..."
Even more dramatically, Churchill's crystal-clear exceptionalism and Annan's muddled collectivism differ. According to Churchill, America and Britain provide a unique example for the world:
"We cannot be blind to the fact that the liberties enjoyed by individual citizens throughout the United States and throughout the British Empire are not valid in a considerable number of countries... We must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones the great principles of freedom and the rights of man, which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world, and which through the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and the English Common Law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence... This is a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States of America... If there is to be a fraternal association of the kind that I have described, with all the strength and security which both of our countries can derive from it, let us make sure that great fact is known to the world, and that it plays its part in steadying and stabilizing the foundations of peace."
In contrast, Annan demanded equalization and collectivization, through which America must bow to pedestrian nations:
"Governments must be accountable for their actions in the international arena, as well as in the domestic one... As things stand, accountability between states is highly skewed. Poor and weak states are easily held to account, because they need assistance. But large and powerful states, whose actions have the greatest impact on others, can be constrained only by their own people, working through their domestic institutions... And that makes it very important to organize those institutions in a fair and democratic way, giving the poor and weak some influence over the actions of the rich and the strong... New members should be added [to the Security Council], on a permanent or long-term basis, to give greater representation to parts of the world which have limited voice today."
In other words, according to Annan, the United States should be even more accountable to the collective of anti-Semitic, anti-democratic minions, including Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, North Korea's Kim Jong Il and Cuba's Castro brothers.
Just as remarkably, Churchill bravely forewarned that free nations must challenge the growing Communist menace with strength and vigilance, not weakness and appeasement. These words are no less inspiring today:
"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent... The Communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge and peril to Christian civilization... But we should be most unwise not to face them squarely while time remains... I have felt bound to portray the shadow which, alike in the West and in the East, falls upon the world... Our difficulties and dangers will not be removed by closing our eyes to them. They will not be removed by mere waiting to see what happens. Nor will they be removed by a policy of appeasement. What is needed is a settlement, and the longer this is delayed, the more difficult it will be, and the greater our dangers will become. I am convinced that there is nothing for which they have less respect than for weakness, especially military weakness. For that reason, the old doctrine of balance of power is unsound. We cannot afford, if we can help it, to work on narrow margins, offering temptations to a trial of strength. If the Western democracies stand together in strict adherence to these principles, no one is likely to molest them. If, however, they become divided or falter in their duty, and if these all-important years are allowed to slip away, then indeed catastrophe may overwhelm us all. Last time I saw it all coming, and I cried aloud to my own fellow countrymen and to the world, but no one paid any attention."
In bleak contrast, Annan concluded with gratuitous paeans to global-warming alarmism, and took one final cheap shot at President Bush:
"We must do more, and urgently, to prevent or slow down climate change... When [America] appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused... When power, especially military force, is used, the world will consider it legitimate only when convinced that it is being used for the right purpose – for broadly-shared aims – in accordance with broadly-accepted norms... More than ever, today Americans, like the rest of humanity, need a functioning global system through which the world's peoples can face global challenges together. And in order to function, the system still cries out for far-sighted American leadership in the Truman tradition. I hope and pray that the American leaders of today, and tomorrow, will provide it."
Given the U.N.'s corruption and inaction in the face of tyranny, Annan's words constitute the height of hypocrisy. What a difference sixty years makes.December 14, 2006