November 30, 1874 is the birthdate of the greatest statesman in history. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Reagan deemed him so. Just his indomitable leadership in World War II rallying a beleaguered Britain to triumph over Nazi tyranny would alone earn him this unique distinction.
But the world is not aware that Churchill was a modern Nostradamus in his prophetic wisdom. Among other things, he predicted two World Wars and the Cold War. Even today’s headlines are the stuff of predictions he made close to a century ago. In 1905, he foresaw the creation of the Israeli State. Churchill was the first non-Jewish Zionist. Twelve years before the Balfour Declaration, in 1917, Churchill called for a Jewish State. It was not as if he represented New York’s Lower East Side or Miami populated by Jews.
Then in 1921, in a speech to the House of Commons, he spoke of a militant Islam sect, the Wahabis, more violent than any in history, which would kill their own sisters for wearing the wrong attire. These fierce zealots would terrorize the West with bomb-carrying Jihadists who would burn embassies and destroy buildings by their passion to sacrifice their lives for guarantee of Islam heaven. Winston Churchill II would read his grandfather’s speech to President George W. Bush in the White House in 2007. If Churchill didn’t exactly predict 9/11, he described its radical extremist perpetrators.
President Nixon once told me that Churchill was the only leader who seemed to have a crystal ball. He had “the mind of an historian and courage of a soldier.” A scholar of history, he could see patterns replicating themselves. Like a soldier, Churchill would risk political death by telling the people what they didn’t want to hear. Spineless politicians or cover-your-ass bureaucrats will never state the ugly truths. Churchill, however, didn’t worry about repercussions. He didn’t talk in euphemisms or evasions. He delivered the unvarnished facts.
The English did not want to hear, after the decimation of a whole generation in World War I, the need to arm for another war threat by the Germans in the 1930’s.
A decade later, Americans and British turned deaf ears to Churchill’s warning that their recent ally, the Soviet Union threatened the democracies of Europe. Even The Wall Street Journal—no left-wing newspaper—denounced Churchill’s Iron Curtain Address. Eleanor Roosevelt called Churchill a “war monger.”
In that same year, 1946, Churchill told Europeans gathering in an assembly in Zurich that Germany, whose armies had only recently devastated their countries, had to be welcomed back into its community for the future prosperity of Europe. Boos accompanied his unwelcome message. The Europeans were appalled that their World War II hero would suggest such an idea.
For those who ask what relevance Churchill’s predictions have to today’s world, they should keep in mind that he predicted the Energy Crisis in 1929. He warned that the West needed new sources of fuel to escape from being beholden to the oil oligarchies of the Middle East. And then in 1957, this writer heard Churchill state that the U.N. was a feckless organization, maimed by a congenital deformity—the Soviet veto— and that it was increasingly dominated by one-party autocratic states. One only has to note President Calderon who stuffs ballot boxes and jails dissidents in Columbia while his country serves on the U.N. Human Rights Commission; or even worse, President Assad of Syria who is slaughtering thousands of his citizens while his country joins Columbia on that Human Rights Commission that is attacking the U.S. for, among other things, using capital punishment and the many African-Americans serving in prison.
On his 138th birthday, the world should not only recognize Churchill’s championship of freedom, but also study his many predictions that still endanger our liberties and freedoms.
James C. Humes , a former White House speechwriter, is the author of the new book, Churchill: The Prophetic Statesman, Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2012.