Saturday, September 6, 2014

Winston Churchill: The Only Head Of State To Win The Nobel Literature Prize?

Even though he’s more famous for his exemplary statesmanship and leadership during the darkest days of World War II – did you also know that Winston Churchill is, so far, the only incumbent head-of-state who was awarded the Nobel Literature Prize? 

By: Ringo Bones 

To most of us, Winston Churchill is better known for his exemplary statesmanship that not only prevented the whole of the U.K. from falling into the clutches of Adolf Hitler’s NAZIs during World War II, but also for his leadership that eventually made freedom and the rule of law reign again across Europe that resulted in an Allied victory during the Second World War. But did you also know that Winston Churchill is, so far, the only incumbent head-of-state that won the Nobel Literature Prize? 

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, English statesman and writer was born at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England on November 30, 1874, the son of Lord Randolph Churchill and his American wife, Jennie, Jerome. Educated at Harrow at Sandhurst, Winston Churchill entered the British Army as a subaltern in the Fourth Hussars in 1895. Soon afterwards while on leave, he participated in the Spanish campaign against Cuban insurrectionists as a correspondent; then, after a peaceful term of garrison life in the south of India, he attached himself, again as a correspondent, to a British force operating on the Northwest Frontier.
Returning to England in 1897, Churchill wanted to go to go to the Balkans where hostilities were under way, but instead made his way to Egypt and joined a Lancers regiment in Lord Kitchener’s army. Though Kitchener disliked Churchill because of his practice of combining journalism with soldiering, the young officer was not dismayed. He took a distinguished part in a famous cavalry charge at Omdurman and at the close of field operations resigned from the army to devote himself to politics, making an unsuccessful attempt to enter Parliament. 

Even though the Dardanelles Campaign / Gallipoli Campaign eventually became his “Waterloo” during his stint as the First Lord of the Admiralty in the British Royal Navy, Winston Churchill nonetheless became the Conservative Prime Minister of U.K. after defeating then U.K. PM Neville Chamberlain. Though the Dunkirk evacuation of May 27 to June 4, 1940 – code-named Operation Dynamo – seems like the “darkest hour” of World War II, Britain stood by Winston Churchill in lieu of his blood, toil, sweat and tears speech.
Even though the July 10 to October 31, 1940 Battle of Britain became Britain’s  “Finest Hour” of World War II after the 3 months and 3 weeks long battle for air superiority of the British airspace resulted in a decisive British victory, the “Battle of Britain” has an unusual distinction in that it gained its name prior to being fought. The name is derived from a famous speech delivered by the then Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the House of Commons more than three weeks prior to the generally accepted date for the start of the battle. Nevertheless, the decisive victory of the Battle of Britain eventually bolstered the statesmanship of Winston Churchill that led to the success of the D-Day landings in June 6, 1944, 4 years and 2 days after the last day of the Dunkirk evacuation. 

By July 1945, the British people elected a majority of Labour Party members to the House of Commons and Clement Attlee became Prime Minister. After his defeat in the polls, Churchill resumed his position as a leader of the opposition. He visited the United States in 1946 and in a speech at Fulton, Missouri, gave wide currency to the term “Iron Curtain” as describing the wall of secrecy behind which the then Soviet government operated. 

With a narrow Conservative Party victory in the general elections of October 1951, Winston Churchill once more became Prime Minister. Not only was Churchill knighted by Queen Elizabeth II back in 1953, Churchill was also awarded the Nobel Literature Prize on that year on his “historical and biographical description and brilliant oratory, making him the only incumbent head-of-state so far that was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. 

In April 1955, after more than 50 years of a distinguished political career, Sir Winston Churchill tendered to the queen his resignation as Prime Minister. He died in London on January 24, 1964. Following a state funeral service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, he was buried near Blenheim Palace. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Zbigniew Brzezinski: Overlooked Nobel Peace Prize Laureate?

Even though he his past achievements made him a worthy nominee – even a laureate – why is it that Zbigniew Brzezinski was never considered for the Nobel Peace Prize? 

By: Ringo Bones 

For as long as I lived, I’ve yet to hear on a major news program “Zbigniew Brzezinski” and “Nobel Peace Prize” uttered on the same sentence. And this day and age, it seems like former US President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor can’t get ahead of the line of both Malala Yousafzai and Rebiya Kadeer for the Nobel Peace Prize. Sadly, it seems that no one of very powerful political influence these days have ever raised the idea of giving Brzezinski the Nobel Peace Prize even though he genuinely deserves it based on his accomplishments during the last 40 years. 

The highlight of Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski’s statesmanship was when he served as the 10th US National Security Adviser under then US President Jimmy Carter from January 20, 1977 to January 20, 1981. If you ask me, the 1978 Camp David Accords between the then Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and then Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (that eventually made Sadat and Begin Nobel Peace Prize Laureates back in 1978) would not have happened without the “guidance” of Brzezinski. 

Now one of President Barack Obama’s main advisors on foreign politics and currently the Robert E. Osgood Professor of American Foreign Policy at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. A scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a member of various boards and councils, Brzezinski also appears frequently as an expert on the PBS program The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, ABC News’ This Week with Christiane Amanpour, MSNBC’s Morning Joe where his daughter Mika Brzezinski is co anchor and on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS. 

Born in Warsaw, Poland back in March 28, 1928, Zbigniew Brzezinski mainly grew up traveling wherever his father’s job, Tadeusz Brzezinski a Polish diplomat who was posted in Germany from 1931 to 1935, takes him. Zbigniew Brzezinski thus spent some of his earliest years witnessing the rise of the NAZIs. From 1936 to 1938 Tadeusz Brzezinski was posted to the then Soviet Union during Joseph Stalin’s Great Purge. In 1938, Tadeusz Brzezinski was posted to Canada. World War II had a profound effect on the young, impressionable Zbigniew Brzezinski who stated in an interview: “The extraordinary violence that was perpetrated against Poland did affect my perception of the world, and made me much more sensitive to the fact that a great ideal of world politics is a fundamental struggle.” 

As a statesman and political critic during his service as a National Security Advisor with the then US President Jimmy Carter and even on an advisory capacity during the Reagan years, Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “hawkish” East-West focus is tempered by his pragmatism to work with the preexisting geopolitical situation at the time by using the preexisting geopolitical climate to his advantage in establishing peace treaties.  Zbigniew Brzezinski also has a knack for “peacefully” defeating an enemy by providing much needed human rights to an oppressed and marginalized citizenry of a typical despotic nation-state of the time. Even though Sadat and Begin won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 and Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 “for his decades of uniting efforts to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights and to promote economic and social development”. It seems that Zbigniew Brzezinski got left out of the Nobel Peace Prize that his colleagues who worked hard to make the 1980s relatively peaceful geopolitically eventually won.