Hitler’s Playbook

The Russian invasion of Ukraine (map from New York Times)

Welcome to 1939. This is how World War 2 started. Hitler began gobbling up pieces of Europe. Now, Putin is working from the same playbook. Like 1939, some politicians admired and supported this dictator. Can you say “Donald Trump?” In 1939 it was Oswald Mosley in England. Appeasement was the initial response to Hitler.

Sadly, we had no good choices for president in 2020. Biden is a political hack who was a weak veep under Obama. He isn’t any better now. Trump is an insane autocrat who nearly killed our country during his unfortunate reign. Since he is a fan and friend of Putin, he would be rooting the Russian troops on to victory.

There is a real problem that transcends political lines. Russia is testing the West to see how far they can go before NATO sends in troops. At this point, the US has far more military strength than Russia. Given our unfortunate experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, we have no taste for more military action. Putin knows this. He has been cultivating friendship with China. Trump makes China the enemy. Right now, China is neutral. As an economy as big as ours, if it throws support to Russia, I think world war is inevitable.

I’m not worried about nuclear armageddon. There is no military value in turning the earth into a radioactive wasteland. I am very worried about a conventional war with Russia. I’m sure that Putin is worried about one too. Like Hitler, he believes that as long as his enemies think that the strategic value of going to war is too small, he can keep nibbling away at eastern Europe. It worked for Hitler.

Apparently, Biden’s strategy is to put economic pressure on Russia. He believes that if the richest people feel economic pain, they will make Putin stop. I doubt it. He’s known that we will do this. I’m sure he plans to gobble up another chunk of territory and then announce that he is done and stop attacking. He will get the West to agree not to offer NATO membership to Ukraine. That’s what he needs.

“Republicans are expected to seize on additional domestic economic hardships to criticize Mr. Biden and Democrats. A strong faction of the Republican Party — led by President Donald J. Trump that includes the Fox News host Tucker Carlson — has been praising Russia, downplaying the importance of defending Ukraine and criticizing Mr. Biden for many policies. Some analysts say Mr. Putin sees such political division as a strategic advantage.” (New York Times, Thursday, February 24)

Of course, there is a chance that Russia won’t stop and will annex Ukraine as Putin attempts to recreate the USSR. He has nothing to lose if he decides that NATO won’t respond with force. The economy in Russia isn’t good anyway. Sanctions won’t hurt him. He doesn’t care about his people any more than he cares about the suffering in Ukraine.

Putin warned about interference saying, “Russia is a powerful nuclear state.” NATO is an alliance of more powerful nuclear states. Putin knows this. He has such a huge force ready to attack Ukraine because he can take half the country in a day or two. The West is slow to respond. By the time we take any serious steps, he will have swallowed Ukraine whole.

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