Most Americans believe Nazi Germany was defeated because “we were the Good Guys and they were the Bad Guys.”
The United States–and its allies, Great Britain and the Soviet Union–won the war for reasons that had nothing to do with the rightness of their cause.
- Nazi Germany–i.e., its Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler–made a series of disastrous decisions. Chief among these: Attacking its ally, the Soviet Union and declaring war on the United States;
- The greater material resources of the Soviet Union and the United States; and
- The Allies waged war as brutally as the Germans.
On this last point:
- From D-Day to the fall of Berlin, captured Waffen-SS soldiers were often shot out of hand.
- When American troops came under fire in the German city of Aachen, Lt. Col. Derrill Daniel brought in a self-propelled 155mm artillery piece and opened up on a theater housing German soldiers. After the city surrendered, a German colonel labeled the use of the 155 “barbarous” and demanded that it be outlawed.
German soldiers at Stalingrad
- During the battle of Stalingrad in 1942, Wilhelm Hoffman, a young German soldier and diarist, was appalled that the Russians refused to surrender. He wrote: “You don’t see them at all, they have established themselves in houses and cellars and are firing on all sides, including from our rear–barbarians, they use gangster methods….”
In short: The Allies won because they dared to meet the brutality of a Heinz Guderian with that of a George S. Patton.
This is a lesson that has been totally lost on the liberals of the Democratic Party. Which explains why they lost most of the Presidential elections of the 20th century.
It also explains why President Barack Obama has found most of his legislative agenda stymied by Right-wing Republicans.
Consider this latest example:
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has warned Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that he will place a hold on one of President Obama’s appellate court nominees.
David Barron has been nominated to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. And Paul objects to this because Barron authored memos justifying the killing of an American citizen by a drone in Yemen.
The September 30, 2011 drone strike killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric notorious on the Internet for encouraging Muslims to attack the United States.
So President Obama authorized a drone stroke against him, thus removing that danger.
Paul is demanding that the Justice Department release the memos Barron crafted justifying the drone policy.
Imagine how Republicans would depict Paul–or a Democratic Senator–if he behaved in a similar manner with a Republican President:
“Rand Paul: A traitor who supports terrorists. He sides with America’s enemies against its own lawfully elected President.”
To Bepublicans, “lawfully elected” applies only to Republican Presidents. A Democrat who runs against a Republican is automatically considered a traitor.
And a Democrat who defeats a Republican is automatically considered a usurper, and thus deserves to be slandered and obstructed, if not impeached.
Unable to defeat Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, Republicans tried in 1998 to impeach him for getting oral sex in the White House.
Similarly, 2012 Presidential candidate Herman Cain, asked in a conference call with bloggers why Republicans couldn’t just impeach President Obama, replied:
“That’s a great question and it is a great–it would be a great thing to do but because the Senate is controlled by Democrats we would never be able to get the Senate first to take up that action.”
In Renegade: The Making of a President, Richard Wolffe chronicled Obama’s successful 2008 bid for the White House.
Among his revelations: Obama, a believer in rationality and decency, felt more comfortable in responding to attacks on his character than in making them on the character of his enemies.
A graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, Obama is easily one of the most academically gifted Presidents in United States history.
But for all this, he failed–from the onset of his Presidency–to grasp and apply this fundamental lesson taught by Niccolo Machiavelli, the father of modern political science.
In The Prince Machiavelli warns:
From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved than feared, or feared more than loved.
The reply is, that one ought to be both feared and loved, but as it is difficult for the two to go together, it is much safer to be feared than loved….
And men have less scruple in offending one who makes himself loved than one who makes himself feared; for love is held by a chain of obligations which, men being selfish, is broken whenever it serves their purpose; but fear is maintained by a dread of punishment which never fails.
Because Obama has failed to heed this advice, his enemies–which is what Republicans consider themselves to be–have felt free to demonize and obstruct him at every turn.
Nor is Obama alone in failing to learn Machiavelli’s lesson.
For Democrats to win elective victories and enact their agenda, they must find theiir own George Patton to take on the Waffen-SS generals among Republican ranks.