Bush’s World

The Washington Post offers us an interesting and disturbing glimpse into the private life of President Bush; it is an odd life of isolation, and, one has to imagine, a kind of desperation as well. From the article:

After reading Andrew Roberts’s “A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900,” Bush brought in the author and a dozen other scholars to talk about the lessons. “What can I learn from history?” Bush asked Roberts, according to [Irwin M.] Stelzer, the Hudson Institute scholar, who participated…

…Much of the discussion focused on the nature of good and evil, a perennial theme for Bush, who casts the struggle against Islamic extremists in black-and-white terms. Michael Novak, a theologian who participated, said it was clear that Bush weathers his difficulties because he sees himself as doing the Lord’s work.

Reassuring, no? Read the story here, and then look here to see why Lynne Olson, the author of a recent book about Winston Churchill, thinks that Dubya, who idolizes Churchill, actually has more in common with Neville Chamberlain than Sir Winston.

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  1. I read Ms. Olsen’s sprightly essay and I will keep an eye open for her book. For me, my ‘studies’ of WWII indicate the absolute and crucial need for Lady Luck in making or breaking an historical reputation. It isn’t just necessary to be right, it is absolutely necessary to be right at the right time! For example, if Churchill had been PM in 1938 he would almost certainly have gone to war with Germany there and then. Given our wretched weakness in 1939, any attempt to go to war a year earlier might have been disastrous and Churchill’s contemporary reputation as an untrustworthy hothead would have been validated! I do not seek to defend Chamberlain’s record, but it is clear to me, at any rate, that no-one had ever had to deal with a Hitler since the days of Napoleon. Such a psychological phenomenon was quite beyond the ken of a provincial English politician, and more-over, a politician whose whole life was embedded in the folk memory of the mud, blood and slaughter of Flanders which he was desperately, and honorably, trying to avoid.

    Posted July 3, 2007 at 2:37 pm | Permalink
  2. I should have added that I have nothing useful to say concerning George W’s reputation. As Chou En Lai (I think) was reported to have replied to some one who asked what influence the French revolution had had on history: Its too early to tell!

    Posted July 3, 2007 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
  3. Malcolm says

    Hi David,

    I think that had it been up to Churchill, Hitler would have been resisted by the combined nations of Europe at least as early as his occupation of the Rhineland in 1936, which would have stopped him cold, most likely, and cost him the confidence of his generals.

    Posted July 3, 2007 at 3:03 pm | Permalink