Not dead yet, nor should it be
As we see it, the 75th anniversary of D-Day could hardly have come at a better time — not just for President Trump’s election chances, but also for the West’s ultimate survival.
Consider: Less than a year ago, in November, at the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, French President Emmanuel Macron called nationalism “a betrayal of patriotism” and “the opposite of patriotism.” He did everything but employ the word “proto-fascist.”
At the time, we wondered from where Mr. Macron was coming. Sure, we knew the French leader was a confirmed “globalist,” a one-worlder. But the unit of coalition for most, if not all, people remains the nation-state. To be loyal to what essentially is your home, how can that be a “betrayal of patriotism”? Love of country, we always thought, was the essence of patriotism.
Enter Donald Trump. If Pointe du Hoc was made for the speechifying of Ronald Reagan, a natural orator, then the bluffs of Normandy offered a perfect backdrop for Mr. Trump, a sincere screamer. And, as we said, the opportunity to scream, sincerely, could hardly have come at a better time, for his speech served as a reminder, explicitly, that nationalism authored the downfall of the Third Reich, and, implicitly, that more of it is needed if the West is going to weather the attacks leveled against it today.
Lest no one leave the Normandy beaches last week without a clear sense of his drift, Mr. Trump rhetorically lifted the lamp of nationalism at every turn — initially speaking of the alliance of “citizens of free and independent nations” and then breaking each of the people down with a fitting trait or adjective: the “nobility and fortitude” of the British, the “honor and loyalty” of the Canadians, the “gallant” French commandos, the “fighting” Poles, the “intrepid” Aussies, and so on.
Of course, Mr. Trump saved his final words for the Americans who led what he did not shirk from calling a “crusade”: The president knew, he said, “that they carried on their shoulders not just the pack of a soldier, but the fate of the world.”
A fate that, despite their sacrifice and heroism, still hangs in the balance.