“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” –George Santayana
Above is Santayana’s famous aphorism. I wonder what he would say about those who choose not to remember it?
Seventy years ago Tuesday, September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland and began World War II. This was a war that took the lives of millions upon millions of people, devastated a continent, and nearly wiped God’s chosen people from the the earth.
To remember this awful anniversary the leaders of the world gathered in Poland. There you would find Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, France’s Sarkozy, Italy’s Berlusconi, and of course James Jones. You know James Jones, right? Well, you should, because this is who was representing the United States.
James Jones, Gen. James L. Jones actually, is Obama’s National Security Advisor. You would be right in surmising that Gen. Jones is pretty far down on the list of people you would expect to represent the U.S. on such an historic occasion. But guess what, he wasn’t even the first choice for the gig. The first choice is someone who isn’t even on the totem pole, former Clinton Defense Secretary William J. Perry. The message to our friends the Poles: We. Don’t. Care.
The Washington Times tells the sad story.
The Polish government sent out the invitation three months ago to the White House, but an answer was received only on Wednesday, a mere five days before the ceremony. Repeated attempts over the summer by the Poles to contact the White House and the State Department met with a long period of silence. One White House aide actually replied that everyone was on vacation until after Labor Day, which caused a Polish official to say he apologized that Adolf Hitler had invaded his country on Sept. 1.
The initial answer from the White House almost defied belief. The head of the official U.S. delegation was not to be a member of the Obama administration but former Clinton Defense Secretary William J. Perry. Over the weekend, a change was announced, and the U.S. delegation is to be headed by National Security Adviser Gen. James L. Jones. Gen. Jones will head the U.S. delegation, rather than President Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. or Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Gen. Jones will stand alongside Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Anyone want to play “who doesn’t belong in this picture?”
The lack of understanding of European history and sensitivities was not lost on the Polish chattering classes. They have been in a justifiable uproar over this mother of all snubs, feeling a mixture of humiliation and neglect. For an administration that pledged to prioritize public diplomacy, this treatment of an ally was appalling. Unsurprisingly, popular opinion of the United States took a serious nose dive in Poland.
Look, I can maybe understand if the President didn’t go, even though I think he should have. But honestly, what the heck was Joe Biden doing that is so important that he couldn’t break away for a few days huh? Or at the very least Hillary. I mean, Hillary just spent a week yelling at students in the the Congo … THE CONGO! But she couldn’t be spared for a memorial marking the start of the greatest conflagration the world has ever known?
Of course, they could have and should have. Our enemies get ex-Presidents (Bubba). Our friends, James Jones. This has clearly damaged relations with a good and strategically placed friend of the United States. The amateurs in the White House are historically ignorant, insensitive, and dangerous.
With friends like these…