When traveling through Europe accompanied by a copy of Martin Gilbert’s magisterial one-volume biography, “Churchill: A Life,” you cannot ignore the parallels between today and the 1930s. With the enemies of freedom prowling along on the periphery of civilization and the economy wobbling, the West once again finds itself at an existential crossroads. This time, there is no Winston Churchill to set us upon the road toward victory.
Europe is different from when I first lived there in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was not as superficially wealthy then, although this time I rarely wandered far from where the tourists congregate. On the outside, at least, you would hardly see the rot of debt and welfare-state mismanagement even in Italy and Spain. The people were well dressed. The cafés were expensive but still packed. The cars are fairly new and have shockingly little body damage, when you consider the insanity that overtakes Europeans when they slide behind a steering wheel.