Putin Expands his Empire

Having reduced Ukraine, Putin begins his putative campaign against Estonia. The seizure of an Estonian official on spy charges is just the opening shot of the next phase Putin’s campaign to reestablish the Soviet Union, in fact if not in name.

Our own President may have brought Estonia higher on Putin’s list by his recent visit and claims of defense when, of course, the united States has neither the will nor the means to defend Estonia against Russia.

As with Hitler, western division and ambiguity only increases Putin’s imperial urges.

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Ukraine: Obama Says, Putin Does

When all is said and done, more is said than done,” said Lou Holtz.

That apparently describes the end of American policy toward the Ukraine in its lopsided confrontation with Russia’s bully. Putin has apparently dictated terms of a ceasefire for that beleaguered republic.

So much for the value of America assurances in eastern Europe. The Baltic states and nations of the former Warsaw Pact will undoubtedly take note. Even NATO may wonder about American resolve.

Shades of 1956.

Shades of 1956

Now, as in 1956, the America administration was distracted by three crises, hindering it from effectively leading the country.

Then, as now, center stage was taken by a crisis in the Middle East: the AngloFrenchIsraeli seizure of the Suez Canal, after it had been nationalized by Egypt. The European crisis was the Hungarian effort to throw off the iron grip of the Soviet Union. The Hungarian people bravely attempted to free themselves from Soviet hegemony, AKA the Warsaw Pact. The third crisis was domestic, though the public of that time did not realize its severity: President Eisenhower had suffered a major heart attack. (A detailed analysis may be found in David A Nichols, Eisenhower 1956)

Today, political paralysis may stymie effective American leadership in the current Middle East and Ukraine conflicts. If that happens, Ukraine (and more of the former Soviet Union) may slid back under Russian control and the entire Middle East may dissolve into chaos and bloodshed.

No Wonder No One Trusts America.

For the last fifty years, America’s allies have learned that we aren’t dependable. We abandoned the Shah of Iran, after we engineered the coup which brought him to power. We declared victory in Southeast Asia and abandoned South Vietnam.

Russian tanks are showing up in Ukraine. Tanks. You know, those really big military things. Things which your neighborhood revolutionary—even in Europe—is not apt Continue reading

Putin Set to Score

As usual Putin is having it both ways. He publicly says he’ll respect the Ukraine election results, but behind the scenes his surrogates are still trying to dismember the country. Should they fail, he will moan that he has been “forced” to intervene for the sake of peace and safety … and add the former Ukraine to his burgeoning empire.

Is anyone paying attention?

“It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again”

I’m feeling like Yogi Berra.

In the 1930s Hitler dismembered and subjected the countries surrounding Germany starting with the ethnic German peoples in Czechoslovakia and Poland. Then he annexed or subjugated whole Germanic countries, like Austria, creating a Greater Germany. Now Putin uses the same approach to create a Greater Russia. (It ended badly for the world last time.)

Crimea was only added to Ukraine in 1954 by Nikita Khrushchev, a Ukrainian. The transfer was a “symbolic gesture” marking the 300th anniversary of Ukraine becoming a part of the Russian Empire. A quarter of the population are Muslims, so Russia may be making another Chechnya.

Interesting that Russia is so supportive of Muslim nations internationally but so repressive to Muslim people at home.

Teddy Roosevelt, famously advised, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Modern politicians do the opposite. The USA won’t go to the mat over Crimea, so we should temper our words to our intended actions, which seem to be . . . nothing.

War of Words

“History teaches, perhaps, very few clear lessons. But surely one such lesson learned by the world at great cost is that aggression, unopposed, becomes a contagious disease,” said Jimmy Carter in 1980, responding to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. A Washington Post headline reads, “Forget Reagan–we’re starting to miss Carter.”

“President Obama and European leaders are ratcheting up their rhetoric against Russia. Too bad Vladimir Putin is a man of action who hasn’t seen anything worth stopping his assault on Ukraine,” opined the Wall Street Journal.

Will Rogers said one way to prevent war was to ban peace conferences, because we use them to substitute words for action. We’re certainly trying to talk Russia to sleep. (That, and cancelling a few visas.)

All our talk may have the Russians oligarchs “concerned” but not Vlad the Imperialist.