“The news from France is very bad and I grieve for the gallant French people who have fallen into this terrible misfortune. Nothing will alter our feelings towards them or our faith that the genius of France will rise again.”
—Winston S. Churchill, 4 June 1940
With every murderous threat to civilization we are asked: “Where are our Churchills?” There isn’t one, and we should not expect one. Churchills are rare. They appear in extremis. The threat in 1940 was, if this is any consolation, more serious than the threat today.
There are however ways to look at the problem as Churchill did, learning from and applying his approaches—which seem to figure in the thinking of French President François Hollande, a partisan socialist suddenly become the de facto leader of the Free World. Churchill implored his countrymen “not to fall below the level of events.” M. Hollande has risen to the level. Mr. Obama has not, but events may have a way of floating him along with them.