September 14, 2019
“MAN is a pattern-seeking mammal,” a friend once declared to me. He was commenting on my predilection to explain away current social phenomena along principles or patterns proven true in bygone eras. History, in my perception, does not take place in a vacuum as a spontaneous happening, as in the case of a sudden inexplicable big bang that gave birth to a universe. As I taught my history class years ago, history is made. And the makers of history are creatures who just can’t shake off biases endemic in their particular social standpoints.
I, too, am a pattern-seeking mammal, and I must be particularly grateful to colleague Yen Makabenta for taking up the methodology of proclaiming truth out of the sheer force of analogy: two events happening far off from each other in time strike up a oneness in principle of occurrence, such that what is true in one must be true, too, in the other. In his column the other day, Yen drew a parallel between President Duterte’s string of five visits to China over the past three years and the succession of three visits that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain made to Germany in the lead-up to World War 2.
Here is how Yen put it: “As the nation now sits down to review what DU30’s fifth visit to China has accomplished in our relations with Beijing, I put it to Congress and our people that we should lock heads together to reflect on how this invites comparison to the three flying visits that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain made to Germany in 1938 in his efforts to avert war with that country.
“As we know of course, war could not be averted. And it quickly turned into World War 2.”
Well, I’ve had my own readings on that particular episode of Chamberlain’s sorties to strike up peace with Hitler, and it is rather unsettling for me to see someone concluding that because Chamberlain seemingly failed to stop Hitler’s attacks against Britain and France in 1939, Duterte, by sheer force of analogy, will himself fail to stop President Xi Jinping from eventually attacking the Philippines. In logic, it’s called a fallacy of the fourth term.
Nothing has been made to make Duterte correspond to Chamberlain, in much the same way that Xi must correspond to Hitler. Only when the elements of analogy achieve that level of correspondence to one another can they be made to act to achieve a logical conclusion.
Are the elements in Yen’s analogy in correct correspondence to one another?
Did, to begin with, Chamberlain act wrongly in his peace overtures to Hitler? Did Hitler, for his part, have the intention to attack Britain so that it was futile for Chamberlain to even hope to make peace with Germany?
A discussion by an eminent author, Paul Craig Roberts, of two books by David Irving, Hitler’s War and Churchill’s War: The Struggle for Power, provides revealing insights on the issue.
I quote at length:
“Churchill was focused on war with Germany, which he intended for years preceding the war. But Hitler didn’t want any war with Britain or with France, and never intended to invade Britain. The invasion threat was a chimera conjured up by Churchill to unite England behind him. Hitler expressed his view that the British Empire was essential for order in the world, and that in its absence Europeans would lose their world supremacy. After Germany’s rout of the French and British armies, Hitler offered an extraordinarily generous peace to Britain. He said he wanted nothing from Britain but the return of Germany’s colonies. He committed the German military to the defense of the British Empire, and said he would reconstitute both Polish and Czech states and leave them to their own discretion. He told his associates that defeat of the British Empire would do nothing for Germany and everything for Bolshevik Russia and Japan.
“Winston Churchill kept Hitler’s peace offers as secret as he could and succeeded in his efforts to block any peace. Churchill wanted war, largely it appears, for his own glory.”
The US hand
But what could be condemnable due to its relevance to the simmering tension in the South China Sea is this disclosure by the Roberts’ discussion of the Irving books that contrary to popular war propaganda, the United States entered the war not after the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 but right in that stage in 1938 when Chamberlain was desperately shuttling back and forth between Britain and Munich to negotiate peace.
Roberts delineates the matter thus:
“Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) slyly encouraged Churchill in his war, but without making any commitment in Britain’s behalf. Roosevelt knew that the war would achieve his own aim of bankrupting Britain and destroying the British Empire, and that the US dollar would inherit the powerful position from the British pound of being the world’s reserve currency.
“Once Churchill had trapped Britain in a war she could not win on her own, FDR began doling out bits of aid in exchange for extremely high prices — for example, 60 outdated and largely useless US destroyers for British naval bases in the Atlantic. FDR delayed Lend-Lease until desperate Britain had turned over $22,000 million of British gold plus $42 million in gold Britain had in South Africa. Then began the forced sell-off of British overseas investments. For example, the British-owned Viscose Company, which was worth $125 million in 1940 dollars, had no debts and held $40 million in government bonds, was sold to the House of Morgan for $37 million. It was such an act of thievery that the British eventually got about two-thirds of the company’s value to hand over to Washington in payment for war munitions. American aid was also ‘conditional on Britain dismantling the system of Imperial preference anchored in the Ottawa agreement of 1932.’ For Cordell Hull, American aid was ‘a knife to open that oyster shell, the Empire.’ Churchill saw it coming, but he was too far in to do anything but plead with FDR: It would be wrong, Churchill wrote to Roosevelt, if ‘Great Britain were to be divested of all saleable assets so that after the victory was won with our blood, civilization saved, and the time gained for the United States to be fully armed against all eventualities, we should stand stripped to the bone.’
“A long essay could be written about how Roosevelt stripped Britain of her assets and world power. Irving writes that in an era of gangster statesmen, Churchill was not in Roosevelt’s league.”
So, as early as the lead-up to World War 2, America was there to start trouble, to manipulate the acquisition of gains from Britain. In the heightening of the war hysteria in the Philippines over the South China Sea, who is once again ready to start war to strip the country of its oil resources to the bone? The US did it through its petroleum companies in exhausting Malampaya of its natural gas; she is determined to do it one more time with oil in the West Philippine Sea, our share of the South China Sea.
If there is any correspondence at all between elements of the Chamberlain peace initiatives to Germany in 1938 and Duterte’s hobnobbing with China now, it is that in both cases the US black hand is omnipresent.
Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net