Baker is Chamberlain

By Ted Belman

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich delivered an address to a Jewish National Fund meeting Nov. 15 . In it he says America is Sleepwalking into a Nightmare.

…we tend to understate what a serious and conscientious and thoughtful effort appeasement was and that it was the direct and deliberate policy of very powerful and very willful people. We tend to think of it as a psychological weakness, as though Chamberlain was somehow craven. He wasn’t craven. Chamberlain had a very clear vision of the world, and he was very ruthless domestically. And they believed so deeply in avoiding war with Germany that as late as the spring of 1940, when they are six months or seven months into they war, they are dropping leaflets instead of bombs on the Rohr, and they are urging the British news media not to publish anti-German stories because they don’t want to offend the German people. And you read this book, “Troublesome Young Men,” and it makes you want to weep because, interestingly, the younger Tories who were most opposed to appeasement were the combat veterans of World War I, who had lost all of their friends in the war but who understood that the failure of appeasement would result in a worse war and that the longer you lied about reality, the greater the disaster.

And they were severely punished and isolated by Chamberlain and the Conservative machine, and as I read that, I realized that that’s really where we are today. Our current problem is tragic. You have an administration whose policy is inadequate being opposed by a political Left whose policy is worse, and you have nobody prepared to talk about the policy we need. Because we are told if you are for a strong America, you should back the Bush policy even if it’s inadequate, and so you end up making an argument in favor of something that can’t work. So your choice is to defend something which isn’t working or to oppose it by being for an even weaker policy. So this is a catastrophe for this country and a catastrophe for freedom around the world. Because we have refused to be honest about the scale of the problem.


I always liked Newt and still do.

December 14, 2007 | 25 Comments »

25 Comments / 25 Comments


  2. Jeremiah, in your post 21, you stated the following:

    I didn’t see even one concrete solution proposed, with a price-tag and plan-of-action attached to it…..So, Newt, when you say “I suggest we defeat our enemies…” I wish you would be a lot more specific about what you mean, who is going to do the defeating, who’s going to pay the costs, and what’s going to happen once the job is done.

    You have raised good questions Jeremiah that are worth exploring. Before doing so however, to ensure we are talking about the same things, please answer my question thus put in my posts 4 and 17:

    3. Finally, other then saying because you hold a left wing view that you don’t like or agree with Gingrich, what if anything can you present in the way of an argument, supported by historical and current fact and circumstance and the logic you claim to possess, that will refute any one or more of the points Gingrich made in his speech above posted?

    Once I have a sense of where you stand as regards what Gingrich did say, I would be happy to engage you in discussing Gingrich’s views in relation to the questions you have raised in your post 21.

  3. As I recall, Newt left office under a very dark cloud. Censured for ethics violations, conflicts of interest, that sort of thing. God save America is it ever knowingly ignores such faults and allows such people into the Presidency.

  4. Newt’s speech ends with: “I suggest we defeat our enemies and create a different situation long before they have that power.”

    In the preceding several pages he has catalogued many of the very serious problems he sees in America and in the world.

    But I didn’t see even one concrete solution proposed, with a price-tag and plan-of-action attached to it.

    I suggest we defeat our enemies… OK, sounds good — let’s assume we can even agree on who our enemies really are — who is going to defeat them? The slimmed down, smart and fast professional army that America has been trying to build for the last couple of decades? Or are we going to conscript people? And how likely is that to work?

    And who is going to pay? America already has the largest military budget in the world — and it still can’t find Osama bin Laden. Over one trillion dollars so far in Iraq — I don’t mind admitting that I think every single penny of it has been wasted and that the world was no less safe and America no less powerful when Saddam was the butcher of Baghdad than it has been since we moved in to “clean things up.”

    Who will pay, Newt? The dollar is the weakest it has been in more than a generation. The economy appears to be stumbling toward recession, and if one considers the buying power of today’s dollar, as compared with even a year ago, it can be said to be in recession. Our once dominant industries — automobiles, aircraft, chemicals — now survive from quarter to quarter. We are still unexcelled at innovation, but even there others are catching up fast. All the while, Republicans (though not Bush-Cheney) are traditionally advocates of small minimalist governments with small minimalist budgets.

    So, Newt, when you say “I suggest we defeat our enemies…” I wish you would be a lot more specific about what you mean, who is going to do the defeating, who’s going to pay the costs, and what’s going to happen once the job is done.

  5. Charles and Laura, I have my own theory on why Newt didn’t enter the race. I simply believe he was blackmailed. I believe somebody had the goods on him that would not have enhanced his chances if made public before the elections. I still believe he wanted the job. George Soros and Company?

  6. I am not going to take the time to unknot the tangled threads of Gingrich’s screed, because I think he has only marginally more influence than, and not nearly as much intelligence, as Baker. Whether Gingrich is absolutely right or absolutely wrong is immaterial. Who’s listening to him? I don’t think these alte kochers count for all that much — Margaret Thatcher, George Bush, Sr., John Major, Mikael Gorbachev, Henry Kissinger. Simply by keeping his mouth shut (most of the time) The Duke of Edinburgh wields more influence. All these people, whether one loves them or hates them, are has beens. If they all died tonight, the course of the world would not change a bit. You can include Jimmy Carter in that category as well, though I agree he has more influence than many of them. That is solely by virtue of his energy and activity. Apparently he doesn’t like golf and so far hasn’t suffered a debilitating illness. A proven anti-Semite? Get serious: Adolph Eichmann was a proven anti-Semite. Father Caughlin was a proven anti-Semite. But you can’t actually prove (at least so far not yet) that Pius XII was an anti-Semite, though everyone assumes he was. And you certainly can’t prove that Jimmy Carter is an anti-Semite, either. He isn’t. He is tired of Israel’s more outlandish and illegal behavior, but so are lots of us, including a great many Jews both inside and outside Israel. Next you’ll be telling me that Hannah Arendt was a proven anti-Semite. That Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is a proven anti-Semite. Or that Tzipi Livni is a proven anti-Semite. These terms lose their meaning when used to mean “anyone who doesn’t share the Far Right Israeli Agenda”.

    Living in Poland it is not easy to keep up with the minutiae of American political life. I can’t vote in a primary from here, and so will get more deeping into the details when I am faced with a choice. If the choice comes does to Hillary or Rudy, as it is currently predicted to do, I am going to have a real problem. Since 1968 I have voted in every Presidential election — considering it a citizen’s duty, not just a privilege — but faced with Hillary or Rudy I might just renounce my citizenship and call it quits. The Brits, whetever their faults, still manage to attract brilliant and principled people into politics. The USA at best gets one or the other, but not both, and too frequently neither. (Examples: Reagan – principled but dim; Bush Sr – fairly intelligent and fairly principled, but not outstanding at either; Clinton – said to be brilliant, not at all principled; Bush, Jr. – very ordinary intelligence, unscrupulous).

    Anyway, since I haven’t been keeping up with all the dodging and weaving in Washington and elsewhere, imagine my surprise and delight when I saw this blurb in JTA:

    Let me know what you think.

  7. I agree Laura; that’s why I asked Ted to post it.

    That Newt’s speech is such a breath of fresh air is a sad statement on the comparative level of ignorance and deliberate obfuscation of the facts by most of our governing officials (elected and unelected).

    In a way, I’m glad that Newt didn’t run for president as he might have felt compelled to censor his beliefs under the pressure of accommodating Muslim constituents and the multi-culti clique.

    Personally, I pray for a Republican president with Newt Gingrich as either Chief of Staff, Secretary of Defense or for a real coup, Secretary of State.

  8. Jeremiah, you did not respond to my question seriously posed, which I repeat here:

    3. Finally, other then saying because you hold a left wing view that you don’t like or agree with Gingrich, what if anything can you present in the way of an argument, supported by historical and current fact and circumstance and the logic you claim to possess, that will refute any one or more of the points Gingrich made in his speech above posted?

    You are of course under no obligation to answer that question, but I thought it would be interesting to see how a self avowed left winger would answer.

    As for your comments about Baker, I am inclined to agree that he is not an advisor upon whom Pres. Bush exclusively relies for his understanding of the Middle East.

    That said, Baker’s views have been roundly condemned by a number of well informed contributors here and a number of experts who have written extensively in condemning Baker’s views and the views of other Presidential advisers who share some or all of Baker’s views.

    Add to that, the extent Baker advises the President at all, immediately puts him in a conflict of interest given he represented the Saudis before and after he took office with the administration and he former firm, Baker Botts still represents the Saudis.

    As for Jimmy Carter though he is an appeaser, a proven anti-semite and as much the fool today as he was when he was President, people still are listening to what he has to say.

  9. Now, before I head off to bed, let me propose that instead of calling me names or saying things about me that are completely irrelevant (and often untrue), we try to stay focused on the issues. If anyone wishes to address my postings, then address my postings. Give up on the childish stuff about being ugly and stupid and whatever else you introduce because you don’t want to take the time and make the effort to deal with the topic.

  10. Let’s see. As I recall… James Baker returned from the dead when Bush was pushed into a political corner, his military leaders (both active and retired) were calling him incompetent and misguided in public, people were marching in front of the White House everyday demanding that he “Bring our boys home,” his approval ratings were lower than those of any other modern President(though not as low as Olmert’s), people too closely associated with him, such as Scooter Libby, were being tried and convicted of serious breaches of Federal Law, his Attorney General had lost the respect of nearly everyone in the Justice Department and Washington at large and was being skewered (truly skewered) for his unsubtle attempts to tear up the Constitution, and many of the world’s leaders and much the world’s press were demanding that Guantanamo be shut as quickly as possible. Not helping matters at all, your father’s old friend and self-proclaimed military genius, Donald Rumsfeld, was looking worse than an amateur, and the CIA was looking like it couldn’t spot a terrorist if he walked through the door with a sign on this head.

    As President of the USA and leader of the free World, as well as former owner of a major league baseball team and former member of Skull & Bones, what are you going to do? First, because you don’t have the brain of squirrel yourself, you call your father. Dad suggests a bipartisan panel of experts co-chaired by loyal Bush retainer Baker. Great idea, Dad! The committee meets and meets; it interviews a few dozen people, listens soberly, writes up a very anodyne report that says only what various rather dry and technical people have been writing in Foreign Affairs for years. The report is released and it says — shock, horror — you should be talking to everyone, you should be listening to everyone. You should stop thinking that you — from thousands of miles away, from a culture different to that of all the major protagonists, notoriously lazy, uneducated, and badly briefed, and with a brain addled by years of alcohol and cocaine abuse (not to mention choking on pretzels), followed by more years of Texas Methodist tent meetings — have any answers. And you should ratchet everything down before you bankrupt the country for nothing. A subtext of the report is: you should stop listening to Dick Cheney.

    None of it is very new advice. Nor does it, by itself, change policy one bit. Policy did eventually change — later — but because of circumstances, and because of the relentless criticism and disapproval that even Presidents are not immune to (if they were, even Nixon would have weathered the storm), not because of anything said or written by James Baker, who even before the clouds cleared had gone back to the old folks home. If more than 2000 people of influence in America, able to make and enforce important decisions, actually read the Report, I’d be amazed. Half of them waited to see what the New York Times and Washington Post said it contained. And the other half waited to see what David Horowitz and Israpendit said it contained. In terms of seismic importance, it was about a 2 on the Richter Scale. No real damage done. No changes brought about — except cosmetic changes. Rummy goes, eventually. Gonzales goes, embarrassingly. But nothing changes.

    To say that James Baker or Henry Kissinger wield any power in this country at this time is not convincing. You might as well be saying that Gerald Ford wields power. In one of the most curious reversals of modern political history, Jimmy Carter wields far more power than James Baker. I know, on this website he’s an appeaser, too. Or worse, he’s actually on their payroll. Well maybe, but his books sell and people listen to him and like to be photographed with him. He gives a lot more interviews on a lot more radio and television programs than James Baker ever did or ever will.

    Talk to everyone. Listen to everyone. Not bad advice. Rulers who have accepted this advice had generally faired better than those who haven’t. Even everyone’s towering anti-appeasement hero, Winston Churchill, wrote that “Jaw Jaw is better than War War.”

    Bill Narvey either didn’t like or didn’t understand the point I was making about appeasement (and for which I got out the history books). Appeasement is rarely if ever something a leader chooses. It is something foist upon him by necessity or expedience. Expedience may not, in the view of many of us, be an honorable reason. But since when have politicians been honorable men? (I include Newt and Pat.) As I said in my first posting, America is currently fighting two conventional wars and two unconventional wars. The cost is staggering, and it isn’t being paid — since Bush refuses to put up taxes, it will be left to future generations to pay for his lack of management skills.

    The USA is not going to fight another war now or any time soon — not against Iran, or Syria, or North Korea , or Cuba, and certainly not against Islam in general, or against anyone or anything else. Because there is no military left in reserve. And no money in the black hole that is the US budget to ramp up a stronger military. (This is not a great situation for the USA to be in, considering that the government is supposed to protect the people and has arguably left the people defenseless by deploying American troups hither and yon. The last war that the US unquestionably won was the invasion of Panama. Wow. Before that Granada. Double Wow. Before that you have to go back to the Allied efforts against the Nazis and Japan. For whatever reasons, the USA is simply not a warrior nation. It’s a live and let live nation — some might say an appeaser nation. It takes an emotionally wrenching catastrophe — like Pearl Harbor or the WTC — and a great and persuasive leader — like Roosevelt, but most definitely not like Bush,Jr., to get America riled up.

  11. Obsession the Whole movie:
    Pt 1
    Pt 3
    Pt 4
    Pt 5
    pt 6
    Pt 7

    Arab antisemitism and the Nazi:

    Influence of the Nazis in todays ME :


    All Humanistc liberals should watch these clips!

  12. Anyone who doesn’t understand that Baker wields tremendous influence either hasn’t read the ISG report or doesn’t understand this president.

    yamit says

    In the coming conflict there will be no innocents as those that passively allowed it to happen will not be left off the hook! they will share a major portion for the blame.

    There are those that fall somewhere between combatants and innocents — partisans like writers at the BBC who have an audience of millions and relentlessly demonize Israel in a deliberate effort to soften the world up for the liquidation of the one Jewish national state. They too, will be judged.

  13. Never give in–never, never, never,
    never, in nothing great or small, large or
    petty, never give in except to convictions
    of honour and good sense. Never yield
    to force; never yield to the apparently
    overwhelming might of the enemy.”
    Winston Churchill

  14. Now what do we need?

    We need first of all to recognize this is a real war. Our enemies are peaceful when they’re weak, are ruthless when they’re strong, demand mercy when they’re losing, show no mercy when they’re winning. They understand exactly what this is, and anybody who reads Sun Tzu will understand exactly what we’re living through. This is a total war. One side is going to win. One side is going to lose. You’ll be able to tell who won and who lost by who’s still standing. Most of Islam is not in this war, but most of Islam isn’t going to stop this war. They’re just going to sit to one side and tell you how sorry they are that this happened. We had better design grand strategies that are radically bigger and radically tougher and radically more honest than anything currently going on, and that includes winning the argument in Europe, and it includes winning the argument in the rest of the world. And it includes being very clear, and I’ll just give you one simple example because we’re now muscle-bound by our own inability to talk honestly.

    There is no way to defeat such an enemy if you refuse to acknowledge that he is the enemy.
    This is an enemy who thinks in terms of generations if not milleniums and the west thinks in terms of today and tomorrow but not further. The difference today from past generations with this enemy is the accumulation of wealth they now have and the availability of weapons than can kill millions in seconds. In the coming conflict there will be no innocents as those that passively allowed it to happen will not be left off the hook! they will share a major portion for the blame.

  15. Ed; check his web site he does look as stupid as he thinks and writes its a perfect match! He has a nice dog though.
    This nut is an pseudo intellectual true believer. His parents were in all probability either commies or anarchists and probably laid a heavy number on him to which he has never recovered from. If he isn’t the center of attention he has a small tantrum and takes his toys and goes home crying or pesters you until you run from him just to keep some semblance of personal sanity.

    I always liked Newt and was disappointed in him not seeking Republican nomination. That being said I don’t like Gore and less every day, that being said I put them both in the same boat, As they say in Mexico (MANY BONES NO MEAT) IF THEY REALLY CARED WHY DON’T THEY TRY TO SAVE!

  16. James Baker holds no position of authority in the USA today like Henry Kissinger holds no position of authority in the USA today.

    Nicolas Copernicus proved to many of us that planet Earth is not the center of man’s conceptual universe.

    I’m waiting to hear that William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal are only writers.

    Kol tuv,

  17. On 15 November, the day of Neut Gingrich’s speech, America’s “big ticket” problems, ie health care spiraling costs and the Social Security programs, were being positively addressed.

    By 15 November, America’s security apparatus, the Defense Department, the intel agencies and the new Homeland Security Dept, were modernized.

    Speaker Gingrich refused to address why the transition is takeing so long. Middle America refuses to accept rationing eg medical care entitlements, and also refuses to participate in the military.

    I’m impressed at the speed of the programs even with the non-cooperation of the population.

    Kol tuv,

  18. Jeremiah Wails (Andrew), I have the following points to make:

    1. You state:

    Appeasement is a shibboleth of the American Right, and the Israeli right along with them. Calling someone an appeaser is like the glory days of Joe McCarthy, when calling someone a Communist could end his career.

    Appeasement is not a shibboleth at all when used to characterize the motives behind the actions of Western nations that seek to ignore the harangue of accusations of blame against the West for the failings of a number of Muslim nations by their own hand and the accommodation of demands made by many Muslims and Muslim nations, which appeasement is displayed both domestically and on the world stage.

    That there is substance to the accusation of Western appeasement, there is therefore no parallel as you contend, with calling people communists during the McCarthy era.

    Furthermore, contrary to what you say, that

    “No on wants to be known as an appeaser”

    , the fact is that Western leaders who engage in these policies and attitudes of appeasement continue to do it in spite of being accused of being appeasers. Obviously that accusation does not have the stigma that the accusation in American politics of being a liberal did, which accusation came out of Mike Dukakis’ run for the Presidency.

    2. Your brief run through the war years of Britain as to who said and believed what was perhaps at most intersting, but what was the point?

    3. Finally, other then saying because you hold a left wing view that you don’t like or agree with Gingrich, what if anything can you present in the way of an argument, supported by historical and current fact and circumstance and the logic you claim to possess, that will refute any one or more of the points Gingrich made in his speech above posted?

  19. Jeremiah Walls, If you look one half as stupid as you write and think, you would be in a mental institution.

    You are an appeaser, no doubt about that. You are willing to sacrifice lives and free countries just so that you and your very liberal friends feel that being a Dhimmi is OK so long as you do not have to fight for your liberties. How naive!

    You can enjoy your liberties because brave people before your time, laid their neck on the line and thousands have died to protect you. Reading your garbage has nausiated me. The fact that your statement has been printed is proof that someone was protecting your rights. Should you have had control of a web page such as Israpundit, you would never have allowed Newt’s message to be published in it.

    So go away and spread your cowardice elsewhere.

  20. Newt basically states what I stated in my last comment; the “right” is not in control anywhere, there currently exists the “left” and the extreme “left”. The conflict of “Right” and “left” between those in political positions of authority is in large an illusion.

    If you are willing to give up anything and everything for peace you won’t have it.

  21. Is Newt Gingrich still alive and walking around (not to mention still telling everyone that “if only they had listened to him…”)? Will wonders never cease? In my position as counterpoise to Ted’s reflex Right Wing view, I offer my reflex Left Wing view: I never liked Newt and I still don’t. I always mix him up with Pat Buchanan, another one I don’t like.

    Newt is a very clever man, a clear writer and (by American standards, which are not high) an excellent public speaker. He is also a true expert on the US political history of the 20th century. The farther away from things that happened in Washington, the more diffuse and unreliable his apparent expertise becomes. As for diplomatic or military history, those are “tool boxes” for him but not areas of expertise (though I am told he is very knowledgeable about the American Civil War). By tool box, I mean something one reaches into from time to time to grab a “tool” with which to make a particular point.

    Appeasement is a shibboleth of the American Right, and the Israeli right along with them. Calling someone an appeaser is like the glory days of Joe McCarthy, when calling someone a Communist could end his career. For quite a while the world Liberal was used the same way, but then the American Right discovered that quite a large number of people proudly identify themselves as Liberals. They needed something stronger. Appeaser. No on wants to be known as an appeaser. And, frankly, no one thinks he is an appearser. It may even be suggested that — using the term as it was used in the 1930s — no one is an appeaser.

    Everyone hates Neville Chamberlain. It’s easy. He was so far out of his depth that almost no one thought he should have the job. The tories wanted Austin Chamberlian (Neville’s much more capable brother) or Lord Halifax to have the job. The king wanted Halifax, but Halifax would not accept. Winston, well on in years, a notorious crank, and an even more notorious drunk, was the choice of the newspapers. It seems that for once the newspapers got it right, but look back on it, it’s a miracle that they did. Winston, who had held every important job in government (and had been a member of more than one party), had done a terrible job of most of them. Galipoli is the most famous of his blunders prior to the WW2. But it turned out that he was a man of and for his time. And he had the ear and mostly the respect of Roosevelt.

    “What” if is not history, but it can be interesting. What if Winston had been PM at the time of the Anschluss and the Munich Conference? Would they have turned out very differently, or at all differently?
    I doubt it — at the time Winston had the bluster, but he didn’t have the bombers. He would not have attacked Germany, because he would not have been able to. And he would not have persuaded the French because the French, then as now, do whatever they want, but above all they try to preserve their precious patrimony at all costs (which is why Paris still contains most of its ancient buildings while most other European capitals contain few if any). Furthermore, the French have long had a simple formula for making diplomatic decisions: do whatever is opposite to what the English want them to do.

    So if you really want to point the finger at someone who could have done something but didn’t, point it at Daladier and the French Army, in 1938 the largest army in Europe by far.

    However, in the world today I don’t see anyone acting in the pattern of appeasement, as understood from the ’30s. The USA is fighting two conventional wars, and two other unconventional wars (the War on Terrorism, and the War on Drugs). Britain is helping far beyond its proportional committment — as they British like to say, the “punch above their weight.” NATO, Japan, a good portion of the developed world (though not Canada) are fighting in wars that, in a conventional sense, have nothing to do with them. They are not fighting for ideals, I suggest; they are fighting for peace, because — to put it bluntly — peace is good business. War is good business for the few — peace is good business for the many.

    I wrote to Ted to ask him who Baker is. He just wrote back to tell me James Baker. That’s reaching rather far into the past for a bogeyman, isn’t it? It’s been almost 20 years since James Baker held a position of authority in the USA. Even if he made every mistake in the book in his time, twenty years should have been enough time to correct most of them. The left will thank Bill Clinton for correcting some. The right will thank the George and Dick Show for correcting some. But, seriously, does James Baker or his policies have any real meaning today? I don’t think so.

Comments are closed.