Is This What D-Day Was For?

Seventy years ago, on June 6 1944, the Western Allies launched the largest amphibious operation in history, landing hundreds of thousands of men and tanks onto the beaches of Normandy. American, British, Canadian, Australian and various "Free Forces" (Czech, French, Polish, etc.) took part in the operation, backed by the British and US naval and air power. Facing them were second-line German garrison troops, albeit commanded by the formidable Field Marshal Rommel.

After weeks of vicious fighting, the Allies trapped and destroyed most of the German armor in the Falaise pocket. Paris was freed on August 25. On September 12, the forces that landed in Normandy linked up with the smaller expedition that had landed in the south of France (Operation Dragoon) on August 15. But the Allied advance was checked in mid-September in the failed attempt to go "a bridge too far," then hammered in December in the "Battle of the Bulge."

It detracts nothing from the magnificent valor of Allied troops fighting in France to put their effort in the broader context of the war. By the time of the Normandy landings, the Soviet Union had fought the Axis invaders for almost four years. Though the Germans had nearly reached Moscow in December 1941, they were thrown back. An entire German army was destroyed at Stalingrad in February 1943, and the last German offensive on the Eastern Front failed at Kursk in August that year. On June 22, 1944– deliberately chosen as the anniversary of the 1941 German attack – the Soviets launched "Operation Bagration," inflicting a Stalingrad-level defeat on the Germans and reaching Warsaw by August 19.

A Different War

Yet according to Barack Obama, none of that ever happened. It was Normandy where "the tide was turned in that common struggle for freedom," as the American Emperor told the assembled crowd at the American Cemetery and Memorial, in what sounded more like a campaign speech than remembrance for the fallen.

Obama called Normandy "democracy’s beachhead," claimed the battle there ensured the "survival of liberty at its moment of maximum peril," and urged his audience to "draw strength from a moment when free nations beat back the forces of oppression and gave new hope to the world" as they "carry on the struggle for liberty and universal human rights." (The Daily Mail)

In Obama’s reinterpretation of World War Two, the joint struggle with the Soviets to defeat Hitler’s European empire became a grand American crusade for democracy, human rights, multiculturalism and immigration. Is that why less than 50 years after fighting Hitler, the U.S. was helping his allies in the Balkans? Why Washington repeated the Munich travesty seventy years later, even while trumpeting "No more Munichs!" to justify its belligerence around the world? Why sixty years after Hitler attacked Poland, NATO attacked Yugoslavia without provocation or cause? And why ignorant Anglo-American leaders accuse Russia (!) of "acting like Hitler," even as they back Hitlerites in Ukraine?

After all that, the Emperor has the sheer gall to say the "United States of America is [sic] and will remain the greatest force for freedom the world has ever known." Wow.

Kings of Delusionland

Unfortunately, the Normandy speech was not a singular instance of Imperial detachment from reality. On May 28, Obama delivered a commencement address to the US Army’s newest officers at West Point, where he argued America would remain an empire forever. "America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will," he said, adding:

"So the United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century past, and it will be true for the century to come."

But as Srdja Trifkovic explained, that "has never been true, it is not true now, and it never will be true. Madeleine Albright’s famous dictum was an arrogant statement by an immigrant ignorant of American history and a sign of her well-attested instability."

To Obama’s contention that the question is not whether America will lead, but how, Trifkovic replied that it’s unclear how, if at all, America will secure its own peace and prosperity, let alone "extend" them "around the globe," as the Emperor wants to do.

Yet even that was not good enough for the imperialist establishment, which bemoaned the lost golden days of Bush Senior and Bill Clinton and feared Obama was too timid. A good example of this is David Brooks of the New York Times, who much prefers the (not so) "brilliant" rants of Robert Kagan, or the "invade all the things" fantasies of that weaponizer of human rights, Samantha Power. Brooks actually envisioned the world as America’s garden, in need of frequent "assertive tending," and called for Obama and his successors to use the "logic of menace and force" in dealing with "autocrats" – whom he called "primitives." In this he echoed British imperialist Robert Cooper, who in 2002 called for "liberal imperialism" that would "keep the law but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle."

Keep the law? What law? Fight the dangers to international order? What order? Fight for "democracy" against the "autocrats"? So long as "democracy" means whatever they say it means, and an "autocrat" is Someone Else who declares the intent to rule by pen and phone, but never "us".

Ancien Regime

What is one to make of this insistence on American exceptionalism (and exemptionalism), which has long since stopped bordering on delusional and crossed right over into Behind-the-Looking-Glass land? Could it be that the establishment of the Atlantic Empire is trying to conjure and maintain the illusion of their omnipotence and destiny by protesting too much?

What "prosperity," exactly, do the advocates of Empire offer, not just to the world but to their own people? There is no end in sight to the economic downturn of the West. The gutted industries won’t spring back up overnight, and the trillions in toxic loans and bailouts thereof will come up for payment at some point. One can’t kick the can down the road if the road ends in a ravine. Meanwhile, the "isolated" Russia and China are making trade deals, Syria is winning the war against the Western-backed jihadists, and those loyal to the Kiev junta will soon realize pretty Western promises can’t buy them food, or gas.

Though the mainstream media have tried to dismiss the recent elections for the European Parliament as a victory of the "far right" and "racists", throughout the West itself there is a growing frustration with the insulated caste of political overlords, who think "prosperity" is making the world a better place for Goldman Sachs – and by extension, themselves – while regarding the people they are supposed to serve with contempt, much like the French aristocrats of the Ancien Régime, or the colonial administrators of George III.

Those who landed on the beaches of Normandy in June 1944 weren’t fighting and dying for an American Empire, or the world revolution – but for an America defined by those who rebelled against King George and absolutist monarchy. Yet here their country is, seven decades later: a carnival of rust, going broke on a worldwide crusade to spread "democracy", allied with the Nazis and their heirs, being ruled by pen and by phone, and being subjected to chickenhawks croaking, "Empire today, Empire tomorrow, Empire forever!"

Author: Nebojsa Malic

Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia, and Serbian politics. His exclusive column for debuted in November 2000.