US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used the D-Day anniversary to compare China to Nazi Germany and retcon WWII into a global struggle for democracy. He wasn’t the only revisionist pseudo-historian of the 1944 Normandy landings.
Every country has a touchy subject. For the US, it’s racism. For China, it’s the territory seized by outside powers back in the sunset days of the Qing Dynasty. Ironically, earlier in the day, Pompeo told China to go to hell for commenting on riots in the US.
Speaking with the Daily Caller on Saturday – the 76th anniversary of the Western Allies landing in occupied France – Pompeo compared the current government of China with Nazi Germany,
“The promises that the Chinese Communist Party had made in their treaty with the United Kingdom that they broke when they made the decision to deny Hong Kong people the freedoms that they had been promised were similar to some of the promises that were broken back in the days when Germany advanced against the rest of Europe,” he said.
Not to sound like one of the persnickety mainstream media “fact-checkers” constantly nitpicking the Trump administration, but this literally makes zero sense. Britain and France did not declare war on Nazi Germany over Adolf Hitler’s “broken promises,” but when he invaded Poland. After all, London and Paris were perfectly fine feeding him Czechoslovakia in Munich the year before.
Moreover, comparisons to Nazi Germany are downright insulting to China, which suffered up to 20 million deaths between 1937 and 1945 fighting off Imperial Japan – the country that actually got the US involved in WWII by attacking Pearl Harbor.
Britain ceded Hong Kong back to China in 1997, after a 99-year lease colonial arrangement. London first took possession of the city in 1842, as spoils of the first Opium War.
This stunning lack of self-awareness is neither new nor unique, sadly. Just last month, the Trump administration erased the Soviet Union from celebrations of Victory Day over Nazi Germany. Pompeo did the same thing in the Saturday interview, saying that the Normandy landings were a vindication of American founding ideals “when tyranny came, when the bad actors had taken over Europe and were on the verge on taking over the world.”
Pompeo kept going, saying that Americans landed in Normandy “to defend freedom all across the globe,” and crediting “people who believed in democracy” with winning the war. He even drew a line between 1944 and the current US policy, saying the Trump administration strives to “make sure that every nation that was part of that coalition to protect the democracy and freedom around the world understands it has a continuing obligation to assist in the global effort to maintain that freedom and democracy in as many nations as possible.”
The WWII allies declared they fought for freedom all right, but “democracy”? Hogwash, as they say in Kansas.
Pompeo was not alone in using the anniversary of Normandy landings to lend legitimacy to his efforts at “diplomacy.” Those out on the streets of Washington DC and other US cities that same day sought to appropriate it for their own ends.
In their retelling, D-Day became an act of “Antifa soldiers from around the world” who “helped win the fight against Hitler” – implying that modern-day activists declaring “I am Antifa” and marching against the Trump administration are their true spiritual and physical heirs.
Ironically, their description of D-Day is somewhat closer to the truth than Pompeo’s: it wasn’t just Americans involved in Operation Overlord, and the Normandy landings were indeed “helping” defeat the Third Reich, because the Soviet Union accounted for the lion’s share of that fight. It’s still revisionism, however.
The men who braved a hail of bullets to land in Normandy that June morning did a brave and noble thing, for which they deserve credit and eternal memory. What they absolutely don’t deserve is to be used as pawns in modern political games, at home or overseas. If you have any decency remaining, let them rest in peace.
By Nebojsa Malic