McCain: The New Churchill?

As Michael Lind pointed out in a brilliant essay published by The Nation almost exactly four years ago, Winston Churchill has been an icon of neo-conservatism for as long as it has existed. Thus, when the neo-conservatives had more confidence in George W. Bush — particularly on the eve of the Iraq invasion and immediately after — they had no hesitation in comparing him to their hero, particularly because they knew that that’s how Bush himself has conceived his own historical role vis-a-vis “Islamo-fascism” in it many forms and that flattery can be very helpful in influencing the president.

So, it’s no surprise that, in their rush to ingratiate themselves with John McCain — with whom, as I’ve noted in a recent post, they already have strong ties anyway — they are now comparing him to the Great Man. In an article entitled “The Model for McCain?” that appeared on the Weekly Standard’s website last week, Michael Makovsky, a Churchill biographer who previously worked in Douglas Feith’s intelligence manipulation office and is now — bizarrely enough — the foreign policy director of the “Bipartisan Policy Center” — points out the many fascinating similarities between Churchill and McCain, concluding that, while “McCain certainly has not reached Churchill’s heights, …he can legitimately claim to be the most Churchillian among the Republicans of his day.” The courtship is well underway.

Michael is the younger brother of David Makovsky, the director of the Washington Institute for Near Policy (WINEP). He also played a key role in re-”organizing” Iraq’s oil sector during the initial phases of the occupation.

Visit for the latest news analysis and commentary from Inter Press News Service’s Washington bureau chief Jim Lobe.

Author: Jim Lobe

Visit for the latest news analysis and commentary from Inter Press News Service's Washington bureau chief Jim Lobe.

34 thoughts on “McCain: The New Churchill?”

  1. The other day John McCain was talking about “tamper-proof biometric identification. How tamper proof is he talking about? How indelible will it have to be? Where will we have to keep this identification so that it can’t be stolen and still be readily available when we are asked for our papers. I know; we could have it tattooed on our right hand or better yet on our foreheads so that we don’t have to put our bags down when we go out shopping to spend our economic stimulus check (our patriotic duty) at Wal-Mart, buying stuff made in China of course.

    Rev 13:16-18
    16 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead,
    17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.
    18 This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.


    1. What’s wrong with a tamper proof I.D. card? Maybe it would stop some of the illegal immigrants from voting. They already do it as Disney World. I was there recently and now you have to get your finger scanned so they can match the ticket to your finger. Seems like Disney World is more adept at security than our federal government.

  2. Churchill? Advocate of genocide and concentration camps in the Boer War? Of using poison gas as a terrorist tactic upon the Kurds and other defenseless villagers in Mesopotamia? Of civilian firebombing, as at Dresden?

    Erstwhile admirer of Hitler, eager collaborator with Stalin?

    How is comparing an imperialist, warmonger, and bezerker like McCain to Churchill in any way inappropriate to either, save McCain is no more than a tenth of the stylist and speaker?

    1. Churchill may have had his faults but if it was not for him, and people like him, you would not have the freedom to run your mouth off and spew your rubbish on this blog. So have some gratitude.

      1. How to put this as politely as possible?

        Ah, it cannot be done without rudeness.

        Keep up your nonsense. It was no Churchill who fought the American war of independence nor wrote the Bill of Rights.

      2. Churchill may have had his faults but if it was not for him, and people like him, you would not have the freedom to run your mouth off and spew your rubbish on this blog. So have some gratitude.

        You’re not one of those “we would all be speaking German” fools, are you? Tell me: how would that have happened, realistically?

  3. Eisenhower’s memoirs are instructive–reading between the lines, Churchill is a millstone around his neck.

    Monte Cassino? Churchill wanted British in command for a victory in the press.

    The British nearly botched it, and American Texans came close to open revolt under their command, which sent pointless multitudes to slaughter.

    Finally Juin with Berbers took the rear and Free Poles took the rubbble as Germans retreated.

    Back in Britain Churchill had his victory parade, and not even one Pole was invited to march.

    And to that great man, all of us owe the privilege of spewing rubbish?

    Or has it gone so far now that it is a conspiracy of truth?

  4. In retrospect, it is a great wonder that even an alliance of Russian and American could beat German in Europe with the British and Churchill on their side.

  5. Indeed, McCain as Churchill may bode well if it comes to that.

    Given the outside chance that McCain wins, the American empire under his tutelage is soon as dead as the British imperium under Churchill.

  6. Tim,
    If Hitler had won the Second World War, you or some one like you would have said ” Hitler may have his faults but he did this and this….”
    Churchill was no different from Hitler. They were both Imperialists. Churchill glowed with pleasure over holding half the world through the cunning and chicanery of his forebears. Hitler did the same thing. Instead of having Empires elsewhere, he wanted an Empire in his backyard. Any difference?
    They were also both racists of the worst kind. Hitler believed the Jews, Homosexuals, gypsies and the disabled were to be exterminated because he wanted Aryan purity to be preserved. Churchill believed his “Island Race” were to be the natural owners of the earth. He called the Arabs “dogmangerish” because they would not let a “superior race” (the Jews) live on their lands. Churchill, because he was not educated, had a very biased view of history. When Churchill’s ancestors were walking around in skins, the Arabs were giving the world their learning in Mathematics and Science.
    Both Hitler and Churchill practised genocide. This desire to practice genocide seems to follow the twin philosophies of Imperialism and Racism almost like night follows day. You have had the horrors of Hitlerian genocide drummed into you in the selective education that you have had. Churchill practised the same sort of genocide, albeit in the sophisticated way that Britain developed over many years. Some examples were given to you by others on this blog. Let me tell you about the artificial famines that the British created in India. The last one occurred in 1943 in Begal. When the administrators in India wrote to Churchill about the starving millions, his reply was “Why is Gandhi not dead?” At a conservative estimate 1 miilion people died in that famine.

  7. If McCain wins the election the world better hold on to its hat. A crisis looms right around the corner with Russia. At this point the Russians must be feeling treated as second class citizens.
    McCain has already stated he wants to boot the Russians out of the G8.
    Maybe a new missile base in Kosovo?

    Well Churchill sided with the monarchy forces in the Balkans during WW2, but it was the Communists under Tito who won the war there.
    Now the Germans are back in the Balkans calling the shots. Ironic!

  8. Churchill to Eisenhower on the eve of the D-Day landing, 31 May 1944:

    “It will not be possible for the British Government to agree to an indefinite diplomatic ban after D-Day.

    Unless you are able to show some new facts, we should not be able to prolong it [diplomacy ban]….

    It was we who first suggested this ban, and we did so to reinforce the security measures for which you asked.

    The object was to prevent D-Day direction, method, etc, from leaking out.

    Now a request is put forward to maintain this ban for a long time after D-Day in the interests of cover.

    You probably have no idea of the enormous inconvenience and friction which this system has caused….”

    Eisenhower, quite rightly, wanted to insure security even after the actual day of the landing.

    The last paragraph of Churchill quoted above addressed to the man commanding the landing at Normady, which even with a beachhead remained chancy for weeks, speaks volumes.


  9. Based on what I know of him, Churchill was a relatively sane man. That can not be said of John McCain, who is the most psychologically unfit candidate for the Presidency in a long time. McCain has no chance, so it’s a moot point.

    1. Churchill “comparatively sane”? It is an interesting question. In fact, it was Major-General J.F.C. Fuller who called Churchill a “beserker”, and considered him fit bookend to Hitler.

      I have always ultimately concluded, whatever line of analysis brought me there, that Hitler was insane, if only in his disconnection from reality, especially at the end.

      Of the four–Hitler, Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt–if Hitler is definitely insane, Churchill stands close to him, though whether there is a clear border between sane and insane I am not sure.

      Ralph Raico’s Rethinking Churchill is, merely by the way, available online at google.

  10. “In more recent decades, the Churchill legend has been adopted by an internationalist establishment for which it furnishes the perfect symbol and an inexhaustible vein of high-toned blather. Churchill has become, in Christopher Hitchen’s phrase, a ‘totem’ of the American establishment, not only the scions of the New Deal, but the neo-conservative
    apparatus as well–politicians like Newt Gingrich and Dan Quayle, corporate ‘knights’ and other denizens of the Reagan and Bush Cabinets, the editors and writers of the Wall Street Journal, and a legion of ‘conservative’ columnists
    led by William Safire and William Buckley….In the next century, it is not impossible that his bulldog likeness will feature in the logo of the New World Order….”

    [Ralph Raico]

    Apparently what is avaialble of Racio’s REthinking Churchill is a google preview.

    1. Indeed, Gallipoli, which some British historians are still trying to make into a great victory in the retreat.

      He was a slightly better artist than Hitler, but only because what he mimicked was more current.

      Both grandiose incompetents, and similarly vicious.

  11. Another good take on the British at the time of Churchill is Gabriel Kolko’s The Politics of War. Kolko is somewhat flawed as a historian, because he’s a bit too much of a Communist apologist, but IIRC in that book he presents lots of evidence that the British spent a lot of energy during WWII worrying about their empire and really dragged their feet when in came to invading Europe via France. (US comes off much better than Britain.)

  12. Churchill died as a very frustrated man beause he had lived long enough to realize he had lost his beloved empire. McCain can repeat the British leader’s “We will never surrender” but he and we should realize the enemies in 1940 were functioning nations with which you could negotiate a truce if you so desired or else accept their surrender as we later did. No such options exist when fighting this present enemy which consists of globally dispersed religious zealots. Mcain and his fellow unrepentant warriors should be forced to tell us how they will defeat this enemy. Who will they negotiate with? It took centuries before human intelligence diminished the power of religion in Europe. So far that has not happened in Islam because our foreign policies have made their adherents rally around the extremists as we saw when the Soviet people rallied around the brutal dictator, Joseph Stalin, when Germany attacked.

  13. I can not add anything more to Eugene’s exposé of Winston Churchill except to point out his despicable spawning of the Cold War with his Iron Curtain speech which, when carefully analyzed, is but a declaration of Anglo-Saxon supremacy. I would advise all to review it.

    But more urgent is the application of Churchillian realpolitik in Kosovo. The US, England, Germany, France and Italy are about to recognize an independent Kosovo. This flies in the face of all international law and conventions not to mention th fundamental principles formulated in the Charter of the United Nations. If this aberration is allowed to stand, then there will be no limit in the US sponsored calculated chaos that is becoming the trademark of Western imperialism in the post-Soviet era. The next victim in their sights is Lebanon.

    Will Russia oppose this dismemberment of their ally with more than just talk? China, whose embassy was purposefully bombed during the NATO air assault on Belgrade, seems to be more combative in its opposition to Kosovo becoming an American territory (notice there are as many American Flags being displayed as Kosovar emblems). Let us stay tuned.

    1. It seems “independence” is a cover for imperial domination. A medley of domestic issues, from taxation to terrorism, will be handled by a International Civilian Representative- European Security and Defense Policy- International Military Presence triad- that is to say, by unelected bureaucrats appointed by foreign powers. The Kosovars will have less say in their own affairs than they would if they had simply remained part of Serbia. The relevant counterpunch article is here:

      One quibble: Churchill didn’t actually spawn the Cold War. This was the result of a sustained American drive for German partition, in particular when the west unilaterally imposed a currency reform. The idea was, apparently, to lure western Europe into NATO using a reconstituted German state as a bugbear. To this end all attempts at reestablishing the quadripartite arrangement by the USSR were torpedoed. Britain was too emasculated by that point to have much say in the matter.

      1. Yes and no. Churchill was certainly foursquare behind traditional British enmity toward Russia–now reasserting itself–and “Iron Curtain” was for him surely, as with all the rest of his politics, a useful flourish with ready-made dupes in the United States and the rest of the English-speaking world.

  14. If Churchill had seen and heard any of the “neo-conservatives”, or most other “politicians” from our times not least McCain and mrs. Toothpaste-smile, he would have ordered them jailed or sent to the madhouse immidiatly. And so would any other democratic politician from the times before Television (Truman was no democrat, just a silly atomic massmurderer, a war criminal). I mean, Churchill had some character. After all it was Churchill who uttered these words (in 1940): “Better to perish than to live as slaves.” Churchill didn’t enter politics for the money, he wasn’t a religious idiot believing that anything can be bought for money. He stood up against his entire nation, when they all believed in “peace in our times” with the nazis marching for war and butchering. It was then, in 1938, that Brecht wrote: “Great men are writing aggreements. Little man, write your will”. This still holds, and even more.

    Of course Churchill was cruel, as was many other imperial leaders, but by far not as cruel as Hitler or Stalin, and much more intelligent and reasonable. What he did was in essence defense. He would never have attacked Iraq or Afghanistan, he would never have armed Bin Laden, he was no idiot, and no CIA barbarian. He spoke of attacking Soviet Russia in 1945-46, but that was only political theatre, probably forced upon England by the petty-bourgeois atomic madman Truman. Churchill certainly would have stopped Israel shortly after the war in 1967.

  15. The kosovar fascists will soon emerge as what they are, and clinch with the serbian fascists etc. But as far as this doesn’t interfere with the oil pipeline through southern Kosovo (which is the reason why the US have their big military base Camp Bondsteel exactly there, Clinton as one of the big investors, “foreign policy” today is more private, corrupt business than anything else) nobody will really care. Putin is making some theatre for home use, nothing more, the chinese are concerned with the olympic games, having to work very hard indeed, and probably in vain, to avoid them being a demonstration of the enormous pollution and drought problems in China, especially in the Beijing region. Albanian and kosovar fascists have their tradition from Mussolini’s Balkan adventure, including the fascist “Greater Albania”, which may well reemerge. But when the polar sea ice melts entirely already this summer, I think all of this will soon be completely forgotten. The wars for water will begin instead, maybe combined with the developing oil wars in the middle east, which are on the brink of getting atomic.

    The chances that mankind in any civilized form will survive the next century are maybe one in a hundred, given what we know about history and the complete inability of men to overcome their dominant psychopaths.

  16. I can’t believe some people would actually compare Winston Churchill to Adolph Hitler. That is a perverted and twisted comparison. And so what if he thought the British race was superior? They probably are! Look at all the great things British civilization has brought to the world; due process of law, the English Common Laws, jury trials, habeas corpus etc.

    I wonder how many people who lambaste Churchill live under totalitarian rule? How many of you who are so quick to excoriate American and British “imperialism” live either in America (which of course was founded by the British) or in lands that still recognize “Her Majesty” as their sovereign?

    I wonder why a lot of people living in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, China, Cuba, or North Korea are posting on this blog? Oh yes, that’s right because they live under oppresive regimes that don’t respect freedom of speech.

    1. Tim R- The accomplishments of the British are the products of history, not biology. As you’ve just wrecked my irony meter, I leave it to others to point out the hilarity of coupling a belief in racial superiority and the meliorative power of western imperialism with protests over Hitler comparisons. However:

      I wonder how many people who lambaste Churchill live under totalitarian rule? How many of you who are so quick to excoriate American and British “imperialism” live either in America (which of course was founded by the British) or in lands that still recognize “Her Majesty” as their sovereign?

      The status of the British sovereign is a purely nominal one. This in no way reflects British contributions to the development of the Commonwealth, whose illustrious record includes such “civilizing” efforts as creating famine in Ireland and India through the continued export of foodstuffs in the face of drought and disease and crushing incipient local industry. The British Raj generated some of the most horrible starvation in history- putting Churchill’s quip that “all great famines are manmade” in an entirely new light and making your extravagant praise for the British Empire a sick, sick joke. Moreover, I note in typical neoconservative fashion you conflate the categories of external brutality and internal repression, when historically the link between the two has been tenuous at most. Belgium was an internally free country, and one of the most externally savage (google “Congo Free State” to see what I mean). Semantic errors of this nature can only be calculated to obfuscate. They also betray a totalitarian attitude toward dissent- every time freedom of speech is used for its intended purpose- that is, highlighting the iniquities of present governments- you respond with hysteria. How odd it is that you embody the same authoritarian ethic you assail so vigorously in non-Western states.

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