United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a head-tilting comparison of himself and President Joe Biden to notable World War II figures.
In a video released to Twitter following his meeting with Biden on Thursday, Johnson dove into the history of former U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill and former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt negotiating the Atlantic Charter.
“In 1941, Churchill and Roosevelt faced the question of how the world could recover from the devastation of the Second World War, which was then going on,” Johnson said.
“They came together to agree the Atlantic Charter, which forms the basis, not just of [the North Atlantic Treaty Organization], but of the United Nations at well. The world is a very different place in 2021, but the values we share are the same,” he added.
“And I’m pleased that today with President Biden, we’ve agreed a new Atlantic Charter to address the greatest challenges of our time. Building back better from the pandemic. Defending our democracy. Stopping climate change. And protecting our security,” he concluded.
Eighty years ago Churchill and Roosevelt stood together promising a better future. Today @POTUS Joe Biden and I do the same 🇬🇧🇺🇸
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) June 10, 2021
The New Atlantic Charter the prime minister referenced is a document signed by the two leaders that centers around eight goals.
These goals include defending “the principles” of “democracy,” dealing with “global challenges together,” opposing “interference through disinformation or other malign influence,” maintaining “collective security” and defending against health crises and environmental issues.
“Our revitalised Atlantic Charter, building on the commitments and aspirations set out eighty years ago, affirms our ongoing commitment to sustaining our enduring values and defending them against new and old challenges,” the charter states. “We commit to working closely with all partners who share our democratic values and to countering the efforts of those who seek to undermine our alliances and institutions.”
With all due respect to both the prime minister and the president, this video paired with the name “The New Atlantic Charter,” comes across as a bit self-righteous and superfluous.
It is definitely one of the more bearable World War II comparisons made in the current political climate, but it is still largely inaccurate.
While it is true that there is an urgent path to recovery needed in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, likening the combating of a virus to the defeat of the evil Axis powers — under the leadership of the likes of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini who helped contribute to the slaughter of 75 million people in World War II — is not warranted.
The clip is also clearly an attempt to appease the Biden administration.
While Johnson earned the reputation of being the British version of former President Donald Trump because of Brexit, he used Biden’s “build back better” motto — meaning that Johnson will do whatever it takes to get on Biden’s good side.
To his credit, it is important that the United States and the United Kingdom continue their close alliance and that their shared values are highlighted.
International relations have always been dicey, and countries that embrace freedom need to stick together.
Regardless, both leaders are not at the same level of historical relevance as Churchill and Roosevelt — whether that is for better or for worse.
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