1997 Onwards -
Below is the text of Sir John Major’s “Churchill Speech”, made at St Louis, Missouri, United States, on Tuesday 6th May 2008.
SIR JOHN MAJOR:
76 years ago, Churchill spoke in the St. Louis Woman’s Club. He was out of office and out of favour.
He could not know that -
For Churchill -
And it is appropriate: for in the long history of the British nation, Winston Churchill stands as one of our greatest leaders, alongside Henry II, Elizabeth I and Cromwell.
In the most savage war in history, he rallied the British Empire as it stood alone against Nazi Germany until -
That gift for language was part of his genius. He used it to inspire, to praise, to condemn and to mock. And, of course, to write. Like Shakespeare, Churchill invented new words by adding suffixes and prefixes: unwisdom and unsordid, for example, were unknown words until he invented them.
Because Churchill is such a figure of myth and legend it is easy to forget that he held power in the lifetime of our parents. He is not a hero from the distant past. His world was the forerunner of ours. At Yalta, he helped shape that world -
In March 1946, he was invited by President Truman to speak at Westminster College, Fulton, and -
The speech is remembered for his sombre warning -
Nations, said Churchill, would need to be shielded from war and tyranny in a world menaced by poverty and privation. He urged a unity of purpose for the US and Great Britain and forecast -
He was trenchant that we should not trust any third country with the technology of the Atom bomb, and he welcomed the birth of the United Nations as a clearing house to prevent war.
Since then, time has moved on. Were Churchill here tonight, he would look to the future and -
Let me start by reviewing some of the structures Churchill knew.
NATO has served us supremely well. Its founding purpose was to defend democracy against the Soviet Union. And so it did. But the Soviet Union no longer exists. Even so, it would be folly to let NATO wither for lack of a clear-
So, too, the United Nations. Today, it is widely derided -
Its basic aim -
Certainly, it is in need of reform. When it was founded, the US, Britain, Russia, China and France appointed themselves as Permanent Members of the Security Council. But sixty years ago, the UN had fewer than 50 Members. Today it has over 190, and the continued tenure of the same nations is no longer acceptable to much of the world. Yet the Permanent Five remain in place.
Unsurprisingly, nations like Japan, Germany, India, Brazil, now seek to join them. They have a powerful case -
Reform of international bodies is vital to the future. It’s not only NATO and the UN that need to be updated. So do the Financial Institutions and -
The G8 -
It’s also instructive to note what Churchill did not talk about at Fulton: the rise of terrorism; the danger of an Islamic Jihad to divide Christian and Muslim; the unstoppable advance of science; and the prospect of near-
In the sixty years since his speech, Churchill’s loathing of Communism has been totally vindicated. It was one of the most miserable creeds Man has devised. Around the world, it led to bloodshed, violence, repression and economic failure. Soviet-
Whatever perils face us now, they pale beside the risk of massive nuclear exchanges between NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries. Now -
The American Goliath -
As a young man, Churchill went to war on a horse in Sudan and South Africa. He lived through an age in which Man learned how to kill his fellows in great numbers, and with great efficiency, on land, in the air and under water. Fifty years of science led to the sophistication of the Atomic Bomb. But that wasn’t the end of Man’s inventiveness. The destructive power of today’s nuclear weapons dwarf those Churchill knew and yet -
Both World Wars began in Europe. Today, the European Union extends from Ireland in the West to the very borders of Russia in the East, and military conflict between its Members is inconceivable. One worrying side effect of this new amity -
The main enemy of our lifetime, the Soviet Union, has gone. But the major portion of it -
The last century was a nightmare for Russia. Tens of millions were killed in the First World War, and yet more in the Revolution and the Civil War that followed.
The famine of 1921, and the terror campaigns of the 1930s, claimed many more lives even before the Second World War robbed Russia of 70% of her young men between 18 and 32.
Fifty years of repressive Government followed these horrors. So did economic stagnation, the Cold War and the decline and collapse of Communism as a philosophy -
Until 1990, the Soviet Union -
Today, we watch Russia warily as she becomes a newly oil-
Should we worry about this? I don’t think so -
It is probable that America spends as much on her military as the rest of the world combined. Certainly, she spends three times as much each year, as Russia and China added together.
As a result, Russia is so far behind the US in capability, that any serious threat is negligible. The once Mighty Bear now has very blunt teeth.
Nor is China a threat compared to the old Soviet Union. Although she, too, is spending far more on re-
The gap is widening, not narrowing. In any major conflict, America has -
It is also universal. Every nation has a stake in this. In its different guises, terrorism has hit West and East as New York, London, Madrid, Moscow, Tokyo and Bali can testify. All bear the scars and the fatalities of terrorist atrocities.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, the impact of the phenomenon is seen on a wider canvas.
The failure to find WMD in Iraq was a disaster. It strengthened international opposition to the War and weakened support for anti-
This is hopeless: it leaves the military burden unfairly distributed.
It may take a long time to diminish the potency of terror. But one thing is certain: action against it will be more effective if it is international -
The battle is against Islamic terrorism, but not Islam. If it were, we would be engulfed in a mighty conflict. Instead, we face highly motivated fanatical groups intent on the destruction of everything that does not fit within their philosophy.
After 9/11, America went into Afghanistan to get rid of Al Qaeda training camps: she -
Al Qaeda and the Taliban are different organisations, with few direct links. Yet they have a similar “inspiration”: both are fundamentalist, ideologically-
And this emphasises the complexity of any anti-
In Iraq, much has improved too, but it is difficult to see an orderly withdrawal of troops in under 3-
If Iraq becomes a stable country, with a form of democracy that survives, it will be a triumph. The War may have been launched under false pretences; it may have done immense short-
Let me turn now to economics:
Churchill’s world of yesterday has long gone. He did not foresee the scale of the competitive challenge posed today by China, India, Brazil, Russia. Nor did he imagine the end of a Western economic dominance that had stretched back over two hundred years. But -
We, in the West, need to understand the scale of what is happening.
It is not my purpose this evening to discuss the financial problems of the Markets -
Energy prices have soared as demand has grown from the developing world. Once, emerging nations had a spurt of growth and fell away. Now, their growth continues. So, too -
If one billion Indians -
In this new world, all Governments are losing economic influence to the free market. Historic weapons, such as exchange or capital or import controls, are almost derelict. Competition in the global labour market continues to transfer manufacturing to low-
Some people attribute the huge growth of emerging nations simply to the demand for raw materials, cost-
Outsourcing is growing rapidly. It is no longer restricted to manufacturing and call centres. Tax, accounting, financial, advertising and some legal services, can all be electronically delivered from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world.
So, too, computer programming; architectural design; medical records; financial analysis; and research and development in the knowledge-
An American economist (Alan Blinder), estimates that out-
Don't imagine for a moment that I exaggerate. For the first time since 1820, world growth comes predominantly from the East. This will continue. Emerging nations hold 70% of the world's foreign exchange reserves. They consume over 50% of energy and 80% of growth of energy over recent years. Their dynamism is striking. They are re forming the world market, and changing trade and investment patterns.
China now manufactures 80% of the world's photocopiers; 60-
In order to compete in the future, mature States must develop new science and new services. This is important socially and economically. Let me offer an example.
America, Japan and the UK are leaders in investment in the knowledge-
This is likely to prove worthwhile. Demand is soaring for healthy food, pesticides, the control and destruction of pollution, forensic medicine, genetic engineering and new and better drugs to combat disease.
Biotechnology may be in its infancy, but is already a $30 billion a year industry, with unlimited potential.
Successful innovation may enable scientists to combine computer chip technology with pharmaceutical research to target drugs to treat specific parts of the body. Imagine the benefits to patients if chemotherapy could be so targeted in cancer treatment, that it caused only minimal side-
Some commercial applications of Bio and Nano science are already apparent: the technology has revolutionised aspects of dentistry, dressings for burns, and better protection from the sun.
Already, advances in engineering techniques have given us insulin pumps for diabetes; cochlea implants for deafness; and there are realistic prospects of repairing nerve cells for those suffering from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. It may soon even be possible to replace heart muscle cells.
These are innovations which -
But soon, what was once fantasy will be an everyday reality.
And that concept -
Let me try and bring all this together. As the years unfold, change will invade every aspect of our lives.
In Churchill's maturity, one hundred years ago, the UK, France and Russia controlled 80% of the world's surface and much of the world's economy. No longer: today, the age of Regal Empire has gone and the age of Commercial Empire is with us.
All over the world, young people dress as they do on the streets of New York and London. Over 200 million Chinese -
Investment across nations minimises the risk of significant military conflict. Science is raising the quality of life. In the last 40 years -
Despite the perils and frustrations of our world -
Despite garish headlines, since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, the confrontation of NATO and the Warsaw Pact has gone. The world is safer. The risk of widespread warfare has lessened.
Despite some tensions, international relations are more benign than for decades. China and the US have huge inter-
Sometimes, I think, we should be more aware -
We need to look at the future with a critical and honest eye, and see how it is -