The Corner

A Churchillian Phrase and Today’s World

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Taiwan — first, because that’s always a good thing to do; second, because they’ve just had an election. A woman, Tsai Ing-wen, was elected president. She is a member of the Democratic Progressive Party, and therefore an advocate of Taiwan’s democracy, sovereignty, and distinctiveness. That distinctiveness includes a free economy, i.e., capitalism.

Her election, of course, was greeted by fury from the Chinese Communist Party. Fury and threats. Tsai responded coolly. She will not provoke Beijing, and she will not be reckless about Taiwan’s independence. By the same token, she is unwilling to see her country swallowed by the Communist behemoth.

Taiwan is a free China. It shows the world, especially the Chinese, what a democratic China is. And that, needless to say, is intolerable to the CCP.

Last night, I was reading Volume I of Churchill’s History of the English-Speaking Peoples (as one does). I wanted a dose of the Norman invasion. And here is Churchill’s first sentence on the subject: “England, distracted by faction and rivalry at home, had for a long time lain under rapacious glare from overseas.”

As usual, Churchill gives you a phrase (whether the phrase pre-existed him or not). Taiwan lies under rapacious glare from the CCP. And we could go on. Ukraine too lies under rapacious glare. So do the Baltics, probably. And then, Israel (although that is more an annihilationist glare).

Taiwan, Ukraine, Israel: You can tell a lot about people when they’re for these three countries. And when they’re against them.

By the way, this seems to be Andrew Roberts Week for me. Yesterday, I quoted his column on Trump and Mussolini (similarities between the two). And it was Andrew who convinced me to read the Churchill volumes. When they were reissued, he praised and vouched for their continuing worth. And he had himself written a sequel: A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900.

P.S. In America, the word “glare” is a constant: “the rockets’ red glare.” Although apparently Key used the singular: “rocket’s red glare.” And he indicated just one bomb, too: “bomb bursting in air.” Who knows?

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