Shades of Nazi Germany's Fuhrer Adolf Hitler! The parallels between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Twentieth Century's mass murderer of so many millions, while seeking world domination by his adopted nation, are indeed eerie. Even the recent stress on Olympic success resonates: Putin strove for medals in Sochi to show Russian athletic superiority; Hitler tried, unsuccessfully, to use the 1936 Berlin Olympics to prove Aryan supremacy. And just as Hitler hated the Jews, Putin detests homosexuals. Above all, though their times are eighty years apart in history, when it comes to Hitler's Fatherland and Putin's Motherland, they are cut from the same cloth of attempted world domination.
Which brings us to the current major crisis for Ukraine -- and for all of us. Again, the parallels are uncanny. Hitler broke the Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, through a series of aggressive military moves, including the annexation of his own homeland, Austria, in March, 1938, followed by the successful invasion of Poland on September 1,1939. Russian President Vladimir Putin has violated various international treaties, standards, and laws by sending troops into the Crimea region of Ukraine, which has ethnic ties to Russia -- but nevertheless is part of a separate sovereign nation. Like Hitler's invasions, Putin's incursion into Crimea has been rubber-stamped by his own parliament.
Philosopher George Santayana often said that those who fail to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat it. One of the most important lessons of World War II is that failure to take forceful and effective action in the early days of a conflict inevitably leads to increased and often-intolerable conflicts later. Dictators and pseudo-dictators always test the waters before jumping in wholeheartedly. When Adolf Hitler tested those waters in the 1930's, the world looked the other way at his incursions and invasions. It was even said that the terms of the Treaty of Versailles had been so harsh against Germany that the rise of a dictator preaching Aryan supremacy while practicing war was understandable. Understandable, perhaps -- but those practices should have been totally unacceptable.
That process of "turning a blind eye" to Hitler's territorial aspirations came close to leaving the entire world blinded. While we may not yet be certain of all of Vladimir Putin's territorial and other aspirations, they undoubtedly exist, and are undoubtedly hostile to world peace and the best interests of humanity. Anyone who thinks Putin will stop upon gaining control of the Crimea region of Ukraine is an incurable optimist. The West has but two choices: stop Putin now, or risk one more World War later, and a potential thermonuclear war this time.
When Albert Einstein was asked what weapons would be used in the next major war, he responded that he did not know the answer to that question, but in the war after that one, the weapons would be sticks and stones. We cannot allow Vladimir Putin, or anyone else, to use threats and bullying tactics -- combined with our timidity -- to cause that doomsday outcome. The time to stop this 21st Century Adolf Hitler is here and now. "Later" is likely to be too late.
"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it."Adolf Hitler
Famous Last Words: "Force has proved ineffective
and pointless!" PutinWe need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos.The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not." Vladimir Putin
“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”― Archibald MacLeish
A Plea for Caution From Russia
What Putin Has to Say to Americans
By VLADIMIR V. PUTIN
MOSCOW — RECENT events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies.
Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organization — the United Nations — was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.
The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades.
No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.
The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.
From the outset, Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future. We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law. We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not. Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.
No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.
It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”
But force has proved ineffective and pointless. Afghanistan is reeling, and no one can say what will happen after international forces withdraw. Libya is divided into tribes and clans. In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day. In the United States, many draw an analogy between Iraq and Syria, and ask why their government would want to repeat recent mistakes.
No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect.
The world reacts by asking: if you cannot count on international law, then you must find other ways to ensure your security. Thus a growing number of countries seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction. This is logical: if you have the bomb, no one will touch you. We are left with talk of the need to strengthen nonproliferation, when in reality this is being eroded.
We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.
A new opportunity to avoid military action has emerged in the past few days. The United States, Russia and all members of the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government’s willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction. Judging by the statements of President Obama, the United States sees this as an alternative to military action.
I welcome the president’s interest in continuing the dialogue with Russia on Syria. We must work together to keep this hope alive, as we agreed to at the Group of 8 meeting in Lough Erne in Northern Ireland in June, and steer the discussion back toward negotiations.
If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.
My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.
Vladimir V. Putin is the president of Russia.