Recently, when Penick Village screened our PBS documentary on the Marshall Plan, I was reminded again of how America exercised her greatness as it “changed the world” — in the words from the documentary.
With cooperation between Republicans and Democrats, among European countries, and between the U.S. and Europe, liberal democracies and thriving economies replaced the devastated and broken world of 1947. Thanks to Secretary of State George Marshall’s leadership, America won the peace.
Marshall knew that the U.S. needed Germany to end its wars and to become the linchpin in a peaceful and prosperous Europe, a Europe ready to side with the U.S. as a trading and military partner. America succeeded with calm, measured and intelligent leadership, both American and European. And the Marshall Plan succeeded in isolating the USSR and sowing the seeds of its eventual collapse.
As President Trump employs opposite strategies, it’s good to remember how the Marshall Plan changed the world. Trump threatens and retreats. He urged Congress to enact new protections for Dreamers hours after deciding to revoke protections. He bullied Iran and the next day wanted to be Iran’s best friend. He threatened immigration raids and then delayed. He wants to be seen as strong, but with a background only in business together with quick mood shifts and bumbling leadership, he shows weakness, indecision, and untrustworthiness.
I wish he could study Marshall’s leadership principles. I would love to send him our documentary so that he could learn how to win peace and friends through cooperation.
Eric Christenson, Southern Pines