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1936, the Sequel
Townhall.com ^ | March 5, 2014 | Paul Greenberg

Posted on 03/05/2014 8:39:31 AM PST by Kaslin

What an Oscar-winning production: No sooner had the Olympic torch been doused at Sochi than Russian troops, in uniform and out, began landing in Crimea. The script was as familiar as "Casablanca" as key points are seized, highways blocked, airports occupied, parliament buildings taken over, and the flag of the once and future Occupying Power raised everywhere.

Not since the 1936 Olympics in Berlin has aggression been so glamorously presaged, the mailed fist wrapped in such a velveteen glove. Even the excuse for this barely concealed act of aggression is borrowed from the Nazi Anschluss with Austria: An oppressed people has appealed to the fatherland for protection. And it had responded by sending help to assure their rights. The statements out of the Kremlin these days sound like poor translations from the German. What next -- a plebiscite in Crimea rigged to ratify this takeover? That would be another page out of Herr Hitler's playbook in Austria.

The courses at this poisonous banquet have been served in the customary order: First the Olympian appetizers, then the barely concealed aggression. The whole show lacks only a filmmaker of genius like Leni Riefenstahl to record this "Triumph of the Will" for posterity, or a poet like Ezra Pound to sing a song of surrender.

. .

The past isn't dead; it's not even past. It keeps being revived, like a show that may have flopped the first time out but is worth another try. Call it "Springtime for Hitler," and it's working well enough. War-weary Americans so long for peace that we've been willing to settle for appeasement by a different name, at least till now. The truth becomes harder and harder to ignore, but there will always be those who try.

. .

The more things don't change, the less the "leaders" of the Western democracies seem to have learned as they fumble and fume at these late developments, nonplussed as their dream of a post-Cold War world dissolves before their unbelieving eyes. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Didn't they assure us it wouldn't be like this? They must have forgotten to tell the Russians.

. .

The unforgiving past is back, and those who don't remember it are still condemned to repeat it, again and again, like a recurring nightmare from which we seem to have learned nothing. And so the John Kerrys of the world skitter to and fro, from Geneva to Kiev and back, offering futile words that cannot hope to match forceful deeds.

He has a great gift, our secretary of state, that of compressing the greatest amount of words into the smallest amount of thought. Like appeasement, now showing under the title Reset. And we're all supposed to pretend that what he's saying matters as we go down the same old road, passing old ruins and now new ones in the making as the remake of this costume drama continues. All our current president needs is a wing collar, a black umbrella, and a microphone into which he can proclaim Peace in Our Time, and an Oscar would be assured.

Once again the West marks time as aggressors march on, and one outpost of freedom after another crumbles before the Tide of the Future, which looks suspiciously like the tide of the past. The forces of freedom await a leader -- if not another Churchill, then at least a Reagan, but none is in sight. And so one red line after another is crossed without any real response, or even real shame on the part of those who drew it in disappearing ink.

. .

The latest national "defense" budget our president proposes shrinks American land forces down to pre-World War II levels, but it isn't supposed to matter. Chuck Hagel, our esteemed secretary of defense, said so. Not since a forgettable like Louis Johnson was in charge of stripping away American defenses preparatory to the Korean War has incompetence been so obvious. And dangerous. Some still don't see any connection between an increasingly disarmed America and an increasingly disorderly world. And the rest of us are supposed to be shocked, shocked to learn that old aggressors are moving into the vacuum left by another Grand American Retreat from the world.

. .

Let there be no mistaking what is happening. "This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time."

Those words were spoken in the House of Commons in 1938 by a long-ignored parliamentarian whose foresight would not be recognized till he was called on to take the helm years later in what would prove his and Britain's finest hour. But, sad to say, those words are just as relevant now. Others will now rise to echo them, but it will not matter if the spirit behind them is not rekindled.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Russia
KEYWORDS: coldwar; nazigermany

1 posted on 03/05/2014 8:39:32 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Ukraine is not a vital interest of the US. Its a country historically in Russia’s backyard. This is not even Eastern Europe.

People who imagine Russia will sacrifice its interests at the behest of a Western demarche are living in a dream world. We forget its a nuclear superpower.

And if the Bear wants to sit there, how are we going to push him off? The neo faux Cold Warriors have lost all touch with reality.


2 posted on 03/05/2014 8:44:49 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: Kaslin

Was just listening on FOX to some Council on Foreign Relations hack spewing his talking points.


3 posted on 03/05/2014 8:47:46 AM PST by headstamp 2 (What would Scooby do?)
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To: goldstategop

So when they move into Eastern Ukraine, then Western Ukraine and then Poland, will you then get the picture?


4 posted on 03/05/2014 8:51:34 AM PST by pugmama
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To: Kaslin; xzins

If Putin can just keep the appeasing Obama and the feckless EU from taking any military action, then the Soviet Union will rise from the ashes.

Putin has already signaled that Poland and Lithuania are next in line.

But what is anyone going to do about it?

Economic sanctions? And who is ready to enforce them?

And the Chinese are preparing to take back Formosa.

The similarities to what happened in the 1930’s are obvious to anyone except people like Obama, Kerry, Clinton and Hagel.


5 posted on 03/05/2014 8:56:10 AM PST by P-Marlowe (There can be no Victory without a fight and no battle without wounds)
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To: pugmama

Who says they are? People are simply guessing.

And no one knows what Putin’s next move on the chessboard will be.

In the meantime, he can count on inevitable Western divisions and time to do the work for him.


6 posted on 03/05/2014 8:57:04 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: P-Marlowe

Neither Poland and Lithuania want a return to the Soviet. My guess is they’ll fight.

The Crimea, on the other hand...Russians were their grandparents. The same with the Ukraine. I’m betting they become a Putin client state shortly.


7 posted on 03/05/2014 9:05:52 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: pugmama

Remember the image of Obummer clapping at the Olympic opening ceremony when the hammer and sickle were brought out.
Just think about THAT for a moment.


8 posted on 03/05/2014 9:11:39 AM PST by 9422WMR (: " Tolerance is the virtue of a man who has no convictions".)
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To: Kaslin
The "playbook" was actually Hitler's occupation of the Sudetenland (not the Anschluss of Austria) a majority German speaking part of the then nation of Czechoslovakia (in and of itself an artificial creation of the WWI victors made up if two distinct nationalities, Czech and Slovak).

Hitler was always playing a bigger and longer term game. By acquiring the Sudetenland he took out the very strong defenses the Czech's had along their border with Germany. That made taking the rest of the country a walkover. And having Czechoslovakia's northern border completely outflanked Poland, the next bite of the pie and the final straw for Britain and France. Stalin went along a) because there was really nothing he could do to stop Hitler, and b) being handed the eastern half of a country that was even more troublesome to Russia than it ever was to Germany made for an extremely nice (however temporary) bribe.

We'll have to wait and see if Putin carries through with the rest of the playbook and gobbles up all of the Ukraine and not just the Crimea Peninsula, which is mainly Russian speaking and was, until the 1950's, part of Russia. But with the Crimea dangling out there with no land connection to the Rodina, another WWII analogy comes to mind ... German speaking East Prussia (now part of Poland and then separated from Der Vaterland by a Baltic Sea facing section of Polish territory). Putin may go forward in steps by demanding a Sea of Azov coast corridor.

9 posted on 03/05/2014 9:20:53 AM PST by katana (Just my opinions)
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To: goldstategop
This is not even Eastern Europe.

I'd disagree with that, but so what? It's just semantics. Putin and Crimea is a problem for the Europeans, and we should butt out. But we probably won't.

10 posted on 03/05/2014 9:22:20 AM PST by Cyber Liberty (H.L. Mencken: "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.")
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To: xzins

Poland could very well retake Western Ukraine if the region is threatened by the Russians.


11 posted on 03/05/2014 9:22:25 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator

It’s been like a millennium since Poland was ever lucky with its military. Don’t know why but bad karma has always gotten them in one way or another.

I wouldn’t advise they try for even a square mile of the Ukraine. Instead, they should be focused on an inpenetrable ABM shield.


12 posted on 03/05/2014 9:28:29 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: xzins
It’s been like a millennium since Poland was ever lucky with its military.

1920.

13 posted on 03/05/2014 9:29:22 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: xzins

So if Putin sends tanks and infantry into Poland and Lithuania in order to ensure the safety of Russians and Ukranians from the training bases that Putin claims are there, is there anyone who can or will stop him?

Do these countries have a standing army that can defend against an invasion? Do these countries have Citizen soldiers with sufficient arms to hold off a takeover of their country by a Russian puppet regime?

In the end, the only defense against tyranny is a well armed citizenry.

Any country that takes arms from their citizens is inviting either an invasion or the establishment of a brutal tyranny.


14 posted on 03/05/2014 9:31:13 AM PST by P-Marlowe (There can be no Victory without a fight and no battle without wounds)
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To: dfwgator

Actually the Polish Special Forces (GROM) kicked considerable a**, and did so quietly and with very little fanfare in both Afghanistan and Iraq.


15 posted on 03/05/2014 9:34:17 AM PST by tanknetter
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To: tanknetter

I agree they would be a tough match for the Russians. Especially since they’ll be more motivated...They’ve been itching for a fight since 1945.


16 posted on 03/05/2014 9:37:11 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: Kaslin

He has a great gift, our secretary of state, that of compressing the greatest amount of words into the smallest amount of thought.

I would have put it the other way round.
A great gift, that of expanding the smallist amount
of thought into the greatest amount of words...


17 posted on 03/05/2014 9:39:23 AM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: katana

Mourir pour Dantzig?


18 posted on 03/05/2014 9:40:40 AM PST by Argus
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To: Argus

Yes, indeed, “Why Die for Dantzig” was a rallying cry for French appeasement in 1939. But I’m not sure I can disagree if it is rephrased to say “Why Die for the Crimea?”.


19 posted on 03/05/2014 10:01:22 AM PST by katana (Just my opinions)
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To: xzins
The Crimea, on the other hand...Russians were their grandparents. The same with the Ukraine. I’m betting they become a Putin client state shortly.

Russians are their grandparents? The 78% of the country that's ethnic Ukrainian? No, actually Russians starved their grandparents killing millions.

Yunukovich promised when he ran that Ukraine would become a client of Europe and not Russia.

Yanuk lied to get elected.

As a result 75% of the reps in Parliament impeached him.

20 posted on 03/05/2014 10:01:36 AM PST by FreeReign
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To: dfwgator

Except for that... :>)


21 posted on 03/05/2014 10:03:17 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: katana

Why Die for the Rhineland.

This was Putin’s equivalent to marching into the Rhineland.

Had Hitler stopped there, nobody would have cared.....Will Putin stop in Crimea, that remains to be seen.


22 posted on 03/05/2014 10:04:28 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator

Plenty of payback for Stalin’ s witholding support for Warsaw against the Germans.


23 posted on 03/05/2014 10:06:31 AM PST by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: P-Marlowe

Lech Walesa had lots of friends. I’m guessing they’d not lie down.

As far as our 2nd amendment, I think we’re among the few places in the world with such a realistic view of human depravity. I’d like to believe individuals have armed, but I wouldn’t put money on it.

I was in Poland in about 1998 with a friend, a US Chaplain who was a Pole who had become a naturalized US Citizen. We visited his home; his brother had been jailed due to his participation in the Solidarity movement....famous in their home town and had become its mayor. That family has absolutely no desire to come under the Soviets again.


24 posted on 03/05/2014 10:08:15 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: goldstategop
Ukraine is not a vital interest of the US. Its a country historically in Russia’s backyard. This is not even Eastern Europe.

In contrast, we invaded Grenada to "save" a few medical students and Panama to overthrow a dictator. I'm not losing sleep over the Ukraine.

25 posted on 03/05/2014 10:13:28 AM PST by Labyrinthos
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To: pugmama

Poland will not go down easy or without massive rooskie casualties. Poland loves Liberty more than 53% of Americans do.


26 posted on 03/05/2014 10:15:20 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS! BETTER DEAD THAN RED!)
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To: tanknetter

You are 100% correct sir... they are certified bad-asses.


27 posted on 03/05/2014 10:18:33 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS! BETTER DEAD THAN RED!)
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To: LibLieSlayer

The old joke was who does a Pole shoot first, a German soldier or a Russian soldier.

The German, of course....Business before pleasure.


28 posted on 03/05/2014 10:20:10 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: FreeReign

What I meant is that the Ukraine has been a client of Russia since about the time of Peter the Great. In other words, they’re used to Russia.

In fact, “Fiddler on the Roof” is set somewhere near Kiev by the author of the Tevye stories, Kiev being where the student, Perchik has just come from.


29 posted on 03/05/2014 10:33:03 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: dfwgator

Now that is a gud1!


30 posted on 03/05/2014 10:47:10 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS! BETTER DEAD THAN RED!)
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