Editor's Note: This column was coauthored by Bob Morrison.
First Lady Michelle Obama recently appeared on the Web holding a sign: #BringBackOurGirls. She was presumably acting with the full approval of her husband. President Barack Obama is the Commander-in-Chief of what was once repected as a Super Power. In London, Prime Minister David Cameron similarlyresorted to the Internet to express the concern of a nation once known as Great Britain. These fatuous responses to the kidnapping of nearly three hundred Christian girls by the Islamist Boko Haram in Nigeria have met with widespread derision, as they should.
But these empty gestures by the White House and Number 10 Downing Street are worse than futile—they are dangerous. They reveal for all the world to see the spinelessless of Western leaders “at the Summit.” Could Mr. Obama and Mr. Cameron really think such infantile gestures will move the hard-bitten jihadistswho have displayed the poor abducted girls in burkas and chanting Islamic slogans? Will the girls be raped? Will they be genitally mutilated? It is terrible to contemplate their fate.
Winston Churchill invented the term Summit Conference. And he expressed the view that “jaw jaw is better than war war.” That’s almost always true. Churchill, of course, was a powerful figure and he felt supreme confidence in his ability to impress his ideas on his allies--even in the midst of war strategy meetings “at the summit.”
But there is also a danger at the summit. Churchill recognized this when he wrote of his almost having met Adolf Hitler in Munich in 1932. They were in the same hotel at the same time. Hitler’s lapdog, Ernst “Putzi” Hanfstaengl, tried to bring the two powerful orators together at the same table. The Harvard-educated Putzi played piano and served as an English-speaking go-between for Hitler and an assortment of visiting dignitaries. Churchill was then out of office, but Hitler and his Nazis were a rising force in Germany.
The two men never met in Munich, or anywhere else. And Churchill later reflected that it was a good thing. Had he met Hitler then, there would have been too great a disparity in their power and authority.