Chrystia Freeland raised some eyebrows when she quoted Adolf Hitler in a conversation devoted to the current political realities in Washington.
It’s rarely a good idea to reference the Nazi dictator. Few humans, with the arguable exception of Joseph Stalin, rival his crimes. Comparing anyone or anything to Hitler usually serves only to identify the accuser as lacking perspective or historical knowledge, and undermines whatever cause they’re arguing by demonstrating that fault.
Freeland’s case may be an exception, however. The foreign minister, who easily holds the most difficult portfolio in Canada, encompassing both the NAFTA trade talks and the general chaos engendered by the Trump White House, made her remarks in an interview with The New York Times. That alone would be enough to have heads exploding in conservative circles, as the Times has plunged into a single-minded jihad against all things Trump.
U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions about the summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un during a press conference in Singapore on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 in Singapore.
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U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions about his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a press conference in Singapore on Tuesday, June 12, 2018.
In the article, Freeland quotes Hitler boasting of the secret to his rise to power: “Our political problems appeared complicated. The German people could make nothing of them. … I, on the other hand … reduced them to the simplest terms. The masses realized this and followed me.”
Freeland, reported the Times, “leaned forward, a look of concern in her eyes. ‘How do you attract voters and public support compared with the flashiness of exciting, chaotic, fact-ignoring populism?’ she asked. ‘The reason Hitler won was because all of the other politicians were giving complicated and difficult explanations about difficult things. Hitler just told people simple things that they wanted to hear.’ ”
She didn’t specifically identify the U.S. president, but the inference is clear. Trump’s rise relates directly to his success at dismissing complex issues and relations as simple matters he can easily fix. His aggressive nature impresses angry audiences as strength and determination. He encourages a vision of America against the world, of a right-thinking nation surrounded by enemies. So virulent is the danger, apparently, that even Canada can be presented as a threat. As a Wall Street Journal article noted this week: “It finally happened: U.S. President Donald Trump picked a fight with the nicest people on Earth.”
Trump’s Washington isn’t anything like the Nazi horror, of course, but Freeland wasn’t suggesting it was. It just happened Hitler was the one who made the remarks she’d come across. Her allusion was to the danger of demagoguery, to the abandonment of standards of political discourse and international engagement, to the deep problems that ensue when one rule book is thrown out for no rules at all.
Freeland is no neophyte in …read more
Source:: Nationalpost – News