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Trump and Churchill's Parallels

After winning at the BAFTAs, Gary Oldman should rightly also win the Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hour. The picture surely deserves consideration for best film as well.

The film depicts the utter failure of the Neville Chamberlain government, and the rise to power of Prime Minister Churchill. It portrays May 1940, when the Nazis were sweeping through Western Europe, and Chamberlain has lost because he proved to be perilously unprepared and tried to placate Hitler.

At the time, Churchill eluded to a single purpose: namely, the national interest. The nation needed a leader. This was the same question asked in 2016 when Donald Trump assumed the presidency of the United States: What is in America’s interest after decades of failed policies?

The UK establishment, depicted by Lord Halifax, is interested in just one thing: appeasement. Throwing in the towel in defeat. Similarly, in the U.S. even the Republican Party opposed Trump. Both Churchill and Trump are best seen as anti-establishment figures who unexpectedly came to power in a time of crisis. Only one man, Winston Churchill, proved capable of winning in his day. Just like Trump, it took uncommon courage and a willingness to completely redirect the ship of state -- to "drain the swamp."

While there are many differences in the specifics of time and place, from an airliner view Trump's and Churchill's qualities match. While Neville Chamberlain had been practicing strategic patience, the Nazis were taking Europe. The leadership assumed Britain would always exist, as if granted that right by God. Churchill saw the evil forces in the world, bent on destruction of Western civilization and he vowed to fight. Compare that to Trump's urgency with ISIS and North Korea. Soon after he took office he dropped a MOAB on ISIS, then surrounded and eradicated them. Not leaving them to fight another day. With North Korea, the thought of a million Americans perishing at the hands of an evil dictator did not sit well. He has spoken of "ending this threat" rather than appeasing and letting "Rocket Man" grow stronger.

It took the same fortitude as Churchill to go to this uncomfortable place. Pundits claim Trump will kill us all in nuclear war; actually it’s just the opposite: Fight now or die later. The survival of Churchill’s Britain and Trump's U.S.A depended on this direction being taken.

Upon entering office, Churchill inherited a nation with a deteriorating military, unprepared for war. And he immediately ramped that up, just as Trump has done.  Why has the U.S. dithered for so long on missile defense? On taking care of the troops? Trump put General Mattis in charge, added to the budget, and discarded the politically correct rules of engagement. He came ready to recognize and defeat evil in any form.