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Published on: March 15, 2014
Advantage: Russia
Putin: The Mask Comes Off, But Will Anybody Care?

Russia appears to be deliberately fomenting more violence in Ukraine, possibly in advance of an invasion. Putin is no Hitler, but Hitler would recognize his moves.

Violence is spreading throughout Ukraine on a course that looks exactly like conscious and deliberate Russian preparation for a wider war. Without telepathic powers it is impossible to know what is going on in the mind of the one man who can control developments in Ukraine, but overnight the chances of additional Russian military action against its helpless neighbor appeared to grow. On Friday in Donetsk conflict between pro-and anti-Russia groups left one man dead and 26 injured. Now in Kharkiv two more are dead in a similar way as clashes spread through the city. Pro-Russian groups, including, it is said, “rent-a-mob” demonstrators bussed in from Russia, seem to be behind the violence.

Moreover, there were scattered signs today that the next step is already upon us. Unconfirmed reports from local sources claim Russian troops landed in the Kherson region today—and were repelled. The story is starting to get picked up by news agencies, but rumors run rife at times like this. If true, it would mark the first direct military action by Russia outside Crimea and would be a major escalation of the most serious European international crisis since the Yugoslav wars. Here’s how the FT is reporting it:

Ukraine’s foreign ministry described the events as a “military invasion by Russia” and called on Russia to “immediately withdraw its military forces from the territory of Ukraine”.

“Ukraine reserves the right to use all necessary measures to stop the military invasion by Russia,” the ministry added in a statement.

If that is what is happening, and the preponderance of evidence suggests that it is, Putin appears to be following the Adolf Hitler strategy manual pretty much to the letter.

Putin is no Hitler, and from the standpoint of power he isn’t even a Brezhnev.  Still, his actions in Ukraine have been following Adolf’s playbook pretty closely. Adolf wanted to tear up the Treaty of Versailles. Putin is attempting to rip up the post-Cold War settlement in Europe and Central Asia. Like Hitler’s Germany, Putin’s Russia is much weaker than its opponents, so it can’t achieve its goal through a direct military challenge against its primary enemies. Like Hitler’s Germany, Putin’s Russia must be clever until it grows strong, and it must play on its enemies’ hesitations, divisions and weaknesses until and unless it is ready to take them on head to head.

“Keep them guessing” is rule number one. Nobody was better than Hitler at playing with his enemies’ minds. For every warlike speech, there was an invitation to a peace conference. For every uncompromising demand, there was a promise of lasting tranquillity once that last little troublesome problem had been negotiated safely away. He was so successful at it (and Stalin, too was good at this game) in part because his opponents so desperately wanted peace. French politicians like Leon Blum and British leaders like Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain were as hungry for peace (it was the Depression after all, and both countries had suffered immensely in World War One) as Barack Obama and Francois Hollande are today. Commendably and properly, they wanted to fix their domestic economies, create a more just society at home, repair their infrastructure and cut their defense budgets. They were not in the mood for trouble overseas, and so a cold blooded con man found them to be easy marks.

Putin has played on western illusions very successfully for a very long time. Remember all those ‘experts’ (many, alas, in government service) who thought that the Medvedev presidency represented a real shift in Russian politics? How shocked and disappointed people were when Putin stepped smoothly back into the top job? It is the oldest trick in the book: bait and switch. Humiliate John Kerry by making him cool his heels for three hours in the Kremlin, and then dangle hope of a cooperative relationship. Hold out a ‘helping hand’ when the Obama administration has gotten itself into an embarrassing predicament over its Syria red line, then kick Uncle Sam in the teeth at Geneva.

There was never a good reason to believe any of Putin’s talk of peace and cooperation. After the Cold War, America and its allies jammed NATO expansion down Russia’s throat. The European Union worked to expand right up to Russia’s frontiers while making it crystal clear that Russia could never be a member. Putin is no Hitler, but neither is he a Konrad Adenauer, determined to accept defeat and to cooperate wholeheartedly in building his country’s future within the lines drawn by the victors. And the US made Adenauer’s Germany a much better offer than it made Putin’s Russia. You would have to be living in what the Germans call das Wolkenkuckkucksheim, cloud-cuckoo-land, to believe that a man like Putin would passively accept the post-Cold War order.

But cloud-cuckoo-land is exactly where many westerners live, in a resolutely post-historical world where foreign policy is about development, human rights, non-proliferation and trade. If Putin tells us he lives there too, we are hungry to believe him. We don’t want to live in a difficult world. Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers were having a fabulous time in cloud-cuckoo-land back in the 1930s and many of them clung to their illusions until the last possible moment. We want to live in a stable and secure world order but we don’t want to make the sacrifices world order requires—and so we will gaze deeply into the eyes of anybody who is willing to tell us what we most want to hear.

Hitler’s situation was like Putin’s in another way. Like Russia now, Germany in the 1930s was weaker than its western opponents, but its leader had much more power to change course. Hitler’s Germany was an opportunistic predator; it could move quickly, change direction on a dime, and lay plans in secret. His western opponents ran democratic governments where everything moved very slowly, secrets were regularly published in the press and big foreign policy moves were telegraphed well in advance. Hitler used what he had, and took advantage of his supreme personal power and control of the press to make Germany a much more aggressive and dynamic international actor than his lazy, contented and slow-moving opponents. Hitler could move at speed that made his rivals’ heads spin and frequently left them gaping in flat footed amazement at his quick strikes and rapid changes of course. He knew that surprise was one of his chief advantages and he used it to the hilt.

President Putin is not a stupid man. He knows that Russia faces stronger but slower moving opponents. He knows that deception, misdirection and surprise are among his most effective tools. We must expect him to use them often and to use them well. The west ended up looking utterly flatfooted and clueless as Putin moved into Crimea just as it did in 2008 when he moved into Georgia. That is the way Russia wants it.

This use of surprise, by the way, can be very far reaching. Hitler stunned the west by signing his famous non-aggression pact with Stalin, dividing eastern Europe between them. He then surprised Stalin again by attacking him in June of 1941. For people like Hitler and, in his very different way, Putin, blitzkrieg is a tactic for diplomacy and not just for war. We would be total fools not to suppose that Putin and his closest associates are looking for game changing diplomatic moves that would spoil America’s day.

Putin is using another one of Hitler’s favorite methods in Ukraine: turn your ethnic minorities in other countries into a Trojan horse— whether or not that is what those people actually want. Hitler did this with the Sudeten Germans in what is now the Czech Republic. The FT again:

Russia said on Saturday it was looking at requests for help from civilians in Ukraine, a statement which appeared to resemble those made two weeks ago in justification of its military incursion into Crimea.

“Russia is receiving numerous requests for protecting civilians. These requests will be given consideration,” the foreign ministry said. It added a string of claims that Ukrainian militants and mercenaries were threatening civilians, which could not immediately be verified.

There is nothing here that couldn’t have been taken directly out of Adolf’s Guide for Aspiring Hegemons.

Using another instrument that Putin shares with the German, a well tuned, centrally controlled and well funded state propaganda machine with international outlets, you then elevate the ‘mistreatment’ of that minority into a major issue. You scream and rant and rave, demand redress, and fill the airwaves with your warnings and your laments. You can always organize at least some of them to march and wave flags. When the other country’s police (or, better yet, angry counter-mobs) respond, you raise the temperature. Oppression! Murder! Genocide!

It worked for Hitler in the Munich crisis, and it is exactly the card Putin has played in Crimea and perhaps will play in other parts of the ex-Soviet space. After using the German minority in Czechoslovakia as a tool, Hitler gave the west a brief respite (more soft talk about peace) before turning to his next target: Poland. Once again, it was the German minority that gave him his opening. Polish thugs were trampling on their rights. Their protests were being crushed by heartless barbarians. Babies were being ripped from their mothers’ wombs by bloodthirsty Polish mobs. Whatever.

Again, it was Hitler’s propagandist Goebbels who taught the world an important lesson: when you lie, go big. This has been exactly what Russian propaganda over Ukraine has done. And if it works here, we can expect to see the same kind of thing tried elsewhere: in Central Asia, perhaps, when Putin decides the time has come to reunite the Russian motherland with the gas and oil wealth of countries like Kazakhstan. The Baltic republics, already familiar with Putin’s play of the Russian minority card, are braced for more trouble, and well they should be.

This is why the latest news from eastern Ukraine is so ominous: in the Adolf Hitler playbook, stirring up ethnic strife is something you do when the time has come to intervene. If Putin’s plan was to send troops into eastern Ukraine, we’d see Russian speakers in the streets protesting, sometimes with violence, and demanding ‘protection’.  “Defending Russian nationals from fascist mobs when the Ukrainian government is unwilling or unable to do so” is just the kind of fig leaf Putin needs; as of today, he’s got it.

But when dealing with a calculating player who has read people like Sun Tzu and Machiavelli, studied under the grandmasters of the old KGB and knows how Adolf did it, we shouldn’t be too confident that we know what’s coming next. Deception, disinformation and disguise are vital to Putin’s kind of foreign policy, and it is very much in his interest to keep us off-base and baffled as much as he can. With that caveat, it’s worth noting what the three likeliest alternatives are.

First, the violence could be a preparation for an invasion that has already been decided in the Kremlin. This is unlikely to happen before the referendum in Crimea — Russia won’t want to upstage its own propaganda spectacle. Let a thumping majority (however acquired) vote for annexation, and then more violence takes place in eastern Ukraine… then boom. More riots, more incursions, more referendums.

Second, it could be that no invasion is intended or wanted at this time. Instead, Russia wants both to demonstrate its power to create crises inside Ukraine and to make the country as ungovernable as possible. A number of western commentators have been consoling themselves with the ‘Putin is trapped’ approach to Ukraine, but looking at the west’s situation the trap may be on our end. We are the ones who now have some kind of obligation to keep Ukraine’s corrupt and incompetent government alive and to keep its chronically lame, oligarch-dominated economy from withering away. We are also the ones who will be blamed if (when) economic miracles fail to occur.

We can also be blackmailed. Are we going to pay Gazprom’s outrageous gas bill for Ukraine, or are we going to let the country freeze in the dark next winter? If the West has taken on the role of paymaster and protector of the Ukrainian state, do we expect Putin to make this any cheaper or easier for us?

Meanwhile, unrest in the east can make Ukraine a much, much more expensive and difficult client for the west — and also increases the nervousness in the Baltic republics and former Warsaw Pact countries. Putin may think that a destabilized Ukraine where he can stir the pot at will is a pretty good thing for Russia — and he can quietly wait to see what develops as he plans his next steps. If nothing else, Ukraine’s is going to make people in places like Kazakhstan pay a lot more attention to Russia’s wishes than before. Let Ukraine simmer and flip your Soviet reconstruction focus to the east. The west didn’t lift a finger to protect Ukraine; the Kazhaks and others will feel very much left alone in a small room with a large bear.

Third, it’s also possible that Moscow is moving opportunistically. It may not have a long term plan, but sees the advantages of stirring things up in eastern Ukraine. Scaring Ukraine and the west is a good thing in itself. And who knows— it may turn out that further opportunities develop.

Any one of these scenarios is plausible, and any one of them offers Putin the prospect of a clear, prestige-enhancing win. The second two look like the smartest plays from the Kremlin’s point of view, but the west would be foolish to assume that Putin calculates the odds in the same ways we do.

We must hope that western leaders finally wake up to the nature of the opponent they face. Putin, I say again, is no Hitler. He isn’t as powerful as Hitler and he isn’t as evil as Hitler. Compared to Stalin, he’s a choirboy. But he’s a smart and able adversary of the west who believes that world politics is a zero sum game. He believes that Russia can only survive and thrive by reconstituting a great power between China and Germany, and that this can only be done by rolling back the post-Cold War expansion of western power across the old Warsaw Pact and the former Soviet Union.

Dealing effectively with Putin doesn’t require a new Cold War. American foreign policy doesn’t have to become, and shouldn’t become Russo-centric. But unless we take counsel with our allies and put the kind of intellectual and political energy into blocking Russian moves that Russia puts into thinking them through and making them, the world will become a significantly uglier place and it will be much harder to get some important things done.

The biggest cost to Putin of his Crimean adventure may not be the western sanctions, but rather the way that his Ukraine policy makes it harder for him to go back to gulling a complacent west. Not that he won’t try. Once he’s taken as much of Ukraine as he thinks he can get at this point, he is likely to launch a peace offensive, aiming to separate the Germans and the other Europeans from the Americans and let time weaken the outrage that now rolls through the west. Unfortunately, there will be people who are ready to be gulled yet again, but the quick vision the world has seen of the real nature of Putin’s policy and his ruthlessness will make at least some of the people harder to fool once more.

show comments
  • Pete

    “President Putin is not a stupid man. He knows that Russia faces stronger but slower moving opponents.”

    From the boxing ring to the battlefield, the axiom that holds is that ‘speed kills.’

    • Nick

      “He knows that Russia faces stronger but slower moving opponents.”

      That’s “increasingly weakened” not stronger, and “glacially” instead of “slower”. :-)

      • Boritz

        Those that make things happen…
        Those that watch things happen…
        Those that wonder what happened…

        Cast your vote for America.

        • Nick

          I do. Regretfully, I live in California, so that vote is hidden in a box and dumped in the bay.

          • Scott Furley

            we could bomb russia with all the discarded vote boxes and then set them on fire. that would show those mother f**kers

      • Scott Furley

        you would have to go to the scrap yard and tow all the aircraft out of the new mexico desert over to russia. so glacially is being optimisitc

      • ttoe

        Obama’s not an opponent to Putin, he’s a punchline.

        In all reality, Obama probably supports Putin. I mean they pretty much agree on a fundamental ideological level.

    • Scott Furley

      who are these stronger and slower moving opponents? are you referring to the a-10 warthogs that all just got sent to the scrap yard? yes they are extremely slow moving since the engines were scrapped and the proceeds sent to shore up obamacare funding and bailouts. slow moving is definitely the strategy since we would have to cancel the obamacare entitlement spending, rebuild the air force and send it over there. so this will take about 20 years.

      pete you are an idiot.

      • Quartermaster

        The A-10s have not been scrapped yet.

  • Atanu Maulik

    Thanks Putin for smashing the Post-historical bubble world where the EUrocrats and American liberals lived. Now even Obama and Merkel can see Russia from their houses.

    • Jim__L

      I’ll believe it when I see our defense budget back up to the point that we have an effective deterrent against Putin’s style of play.

      • Scott Furley

        we would be lucky if we can deter the bahamas with this defense budget. the a-10 warthog just got sent to the scrap yard and we just hired a bunch of fags into the army. are we going to butt f*ck the russians out of crimea?

      • Andrew Allison

        The US defense budget is the same as it was at the end of the cold war and, ergo, more than necessary and more than enough to deter Putin. The problem is that it’s being misspent and the Administration is spineless.

        • harley2002

          Problem is we have gutless Generals in the Pentagon who don’t care about the troops they command and just bend over for whatever the poser in DC wants. As far as the ones he fired who disagreed with him they are just as gutless. Where are they on the TV telling how what he is doing will hurt this country and our military. They are just as spineless as the rest. To worried about losing THERE government handout just like the rest of the government workers are at FBI, CIA, NSA etc. that impose their wrath on us.

          • Andrew Allison

            The first duty of the High Command is to their country, the second to their troops. Unhappily, it is dreadfully bloated with chair-polishers who, as you suggest. care only for their jobs. Those who feel that the policies imposed upon them are wrong have a duty to resign, and to make public their concerns..

          • ttoe

            That’s not necessarily true. Remember how many replacements Obama has done of the senior-most members of each branch, especially the Army? Yeah, Obama probably got stood up to a few times, and you know Obama don’t like anyone who’s not a yes-man.

        • ttoe

          Yeah, that’s pathetic and grossly inadequate. We have a much larger population now, and much higher, massively more expensive military technologies.

          The day we were struggling desperately to keep our head above water against a virtually stone-age enemy like Iraq, that should have told us something. Don’t get me wrong, I think Bush did an excellent job in losing as few of our soldiers as possible in that war, but we should never ever have been struggling that much just to fight such a rather ill-equipped and rather small enemy.

          • Jim__L

            We were struggling to keep our head above water against the Leftist mainstream media, who thinks that nothing unfortunate should ever happen to anyone, and that all money in the country should be spent making exactly as they direct in pursuit of utopia.

      • ttoe

        Obama and the Democrats are still calling for defense cuts, even in spite of what’s going on.

  • Anthony

    “The glare of power bothers people. They feel more at ease with the myth of the meek inheriting the land. They turn aside and pretend. That power poisons and submission sanctifies. What opportunities for blessed exploitations! …flutter not in the never-never nebulosities of open-ended possibilities. Design action increments within your capability of executing and adhere to a schedule for closure.”

  • Lyle7

    My prayers go out to the people of Ukraine and those in Russia who stand against Putin.

    • Scott Furley

      they more need your money than prayers because they robbed it all. ukraine is about as junk bond as you can be.

      • vlad k

        Yes, you’re right – America should waste as much money in Ukraine as possible.
        America has already spent 5 billion dollars in Ukraine for “democracy” – in fact, America spent 5 billion dollars to reunite Crimea with Russia. Good deal!
        Let’s spend more and more! Ukraine and Russia are waiting for another 5 billion dollars.

  • AD_Rtr_OS

    What’s happened to the Printer Friendly versions?

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: All
    RE: If Putin Isn’t Hitler….

    ….he certainly has learned from the ‘master’.

    This Crimea/Ukraine thing looks like Sudetenland/Czechoslovakia.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    P.S. South Ostia/Georgia was Putin’s version of Hitler’s occupation of the Rhineland.

  • Jim__L

    “Commendably and properly, they wanted to fix their domestic economies,
    create a more just society at home, repair their infrastructure and cut
    their defense budgets.”

    In the face of a threat like Hitler, these moves were not proper. So improper, in fact, that they could not be accurately described as “commendable” either. Cutting defense is neither wise nor virtuous.

    National defense is one of the few areas properly under the purview of the Federal government. Everything else needs to be left to the states. America will not be able to survive and prosper without serious reforms of this kind.

    • disqus_mfERPWUv3H

      Agree. The Feds need to take care of defense, their only mandated charge in the Constitution.

      • harley2002

        Good point but when you have a President and most of the Congress who act like there is no Constitution what good is your point.

        • ttoe

          Because the ultimate power lies within the people, within those who give their consent to be governed.

          Enough people agree with disqus up there and people like Obama will lose their place of power.

    • lfstevens

      We may need to spend more, but we surely need to spend better. Why are we still building manned aircraft? Why aren’t we closing useless bases? Where is our cyberwar arm?

      • Jim__L

        Unless they’ve gotten a hell of a lot better in the last two years, I can tell you drones aren’t really ready to take on full responsibility for absolutely everything in the sky. Bases unfortunately are political footballs, though we close some occasionally. As for cyberwar, that’s not likely to be talked about much in public.

        • lfstevens

          We have lots of manned aircraft and have air superiority in every theater. We should not scrap what we have, but for the future, no more pilots.

          • Jim__L

            Maybe so; but maybe not in my lifetime.

            Computers just aren’t as smart as most people think.

  • amcalabrese

    Putin is a fascist thug. No doubt. But where is the American interest in all of this. There is a European interest but increasingly our interests and their interests are at odd.

    What is wrong with staying out?

    • Insufficiently Sensitive

      The precedent, and the likelihood of its example spreading worldwide, minus any serious leadership from the USA.

      • amcalabrese

        Spread where exactly? If Putin moves against a NATO ally, then we have to get involved. But Ukraine is not a NATO ally.

        • Insufficiently Sensitive

          NATO membership is irrelevant. If all the petty tyrants worldwide see the US as a deflated balloon, such incursions may well flare up like popcorn. The stupidity of loftily ignoring such a trend and its logical consequences shouldn’t just end at the onset of a large alliance of eager thugs at our own borders.

          • amcalabrese

            NATO is the only relevance here as we are not required to defend attacks on fellow NATO members (leaving aside the question of NATO’s continued relevance)

            Cannot we mind our own business for once?

          • Fred

            Large numbers of Americans said exactly that in the 1930s. Czechoslovakia and Poland are European problems. Who cares if Japan occupies a few islands in the Pacific and a little bit of China. That’s an Asian problem. We can’t be the world’s policeman. How did that work out for us? I’m sure that’s what Bill Clinton was thinking when Sudan offered him Osama bin Laden in the late 90s. That’s a Middle Eastern/North African problem. We should just mind our own business. We can’t be the world’s policeman. How did that work out for us? Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

          • Scott Furley

            no more money it was all spent on entitlements. sorry fred face the facts.

          • Fred

            I get it, but that’s too sad to be funny.

          • Andrew Allison

            As noted above, the US Defense budget is the same as it was at the end of the Cold War.

          • Ralph Furley

            moron personal costs are doubled in the defense budget so that means defense expenditure is half as half as much in the defense budget compared to 1991. quit quoting statistics you know nothing about and look at the spending for what it is today instead of trying to back up your stupid theories with phony comparisons. the military is devastated. look at the total number of ships, planes and troops compared to the end of the cold war if you want to compare something. there is too much spending on entitlements and debts and you are a big mouth idiot andrew allsion

          • Quartermaster

            IN absolute numbers, perhaps. But certainly not in buying power. No where close.

          • Andrew Allison

            Measured in 2013 dollars. In other words, the buying power is exactly the same. The fact that the DoD wastes an inordinate amount of it’s budget on a ridiculously bloated high command and grossly over-budget and under-performing weapons is just another argument for decreasing, not increasing the budget. We need a lean and mean DoD not the overweight and flabby one we are burdened with.

          • Quartermaster

            If we had the same buying power, then cuts would not be coming. Even with Zer0 in the White House.

            I can certainly agree with the top heavy structure, however. The DOD budget also get larded with a lot of non-DOD spending. You would not believe the spending that goes on that is not defense related.

          • Andrew Allison

            There’s a different way of looking at it: even given Putin’s excellent (from his perspective) Crimean adventure, there’s absolutely no justification for a defense budget equal to that at the end of the cold war. The US could, if it had the spine, crush any threat.
            And, being the spouse of a former DoD employee, I intimately familiar with the fraud waste and abuse endemic within DoD. [/grin]

          • Andrew Allison

            Nope, in constant (2013) dollars. The fact that DoD is wasting a huge part of it’s budget on ineffective weapons and command structure is a different topic.

          • amcalabrese

            And maybe more Americans should have demanded we mind our own business in 1917 and then 1038 would never have happened. It is not our war. We are not the world’s policeman and should not be. Our involvement in places the past few decades has not ended happily. Let’s tend our own gardens and let the rest of the world tend theirs.

          • Insufficiently Sensitive

            ‘Our own business’ isn’t restricted to merely this week’s news. Unlike the Obama administration, folks who’ve read history understand that our inaction in today’s situation is loaded with nasty implications for the future. For our own benefit, as well as that of other weaker nations, petty thuggery of the Putin example needs resistance sooner rather than later, after it’s metastasized. It IS our business to take action to ward off that metastasization, or it’ll be your kids who get caught up eventually in the biggest, most vicious conflict yet to come.

          • Scott Furley

            have you seen the new defense budget presented by hagel? sorry, putin is not our interest anymore, out interest can be the bahamas and maybe the mexican border at this juncture.

          • amcalabrese

            I understand history of that region which is why I think nothing good can come to my country of getting involved in it. Let’s start with Crimea. Crimea was never part of Ukraine. It was Greek, then Roman, then Turkish, then Russian. It is part of Ukraine because Khrushchev was on his way to lunch one day and needed to say something to some reporters. The case for Crimea being part of Russia is stronger than the case for Kosovo to be independent (though the case for Kosovo independence is fairly strong).

            Ukraine has rarely been an independent state. Since the fall of Kievian Rus (which was at a time when Ukraine and Russia were really part of an Eastern Slav civilization), Ukraine has been part of someone else, with three brief periods in the 17th, 20th and 21st centuries. They are trying to create a nation where one never existed,

            Look, given the choice between Putin and the Euromaidan, of course sympathies are with Euromaidan . But that is not a basis of a foreign policy. Let’s stay out. It is Europe’s neighbor, they will gain from a Western facing Ukraine, let them take the lead and prove the EU is better for things other than providing a retirement job for washed up European politicians

          • Andrew Allison

            We are required to defend fellow NATO members, but not non-members. Ironically, after Russia annexes Crimea, Ukraine will become eligible for NATO. If only the half-wits “leading” the West could figure this out . . . .

          • Scott Furley

            NATO membership irrelevent? hhmmmm interesting

        • Andrew Allison

          Just for the record, in 1994 the USA committed to the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Not that we’ll honor that commitment, but that’s the problem. From Syrian “Red Lines” to Ukrainian treaty obligations the US has show itself to untrustworthy.

          • amcalabrese

            The Budapest Memorandum does not actually require us to do anything beyond consult with the UK and Russia. It does not require us to do any more than we have done.

          • Andrew Allison

            The memorandum included security assurances against threats or use of
            force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine as well as those of Belarus and Kazakhstan. As a result Ukraine gave up the world’s third largest nuclear weapons stockpile between 1994 and 1996.[2][3]

          • Andrew Allison

            On the contrary, the Budapest Memorandum included security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine as well as those of Belarus and Kazakhstan.

      • Scott Furley

        the russian army spreading worldwide? hmmm not sure about that

    • Scott Furley

      there is no european interest they said keep ukraine out of NATO because it is not their interest. The Europeans have all siad its their interest for Obama to stop tapping their phones, that is what pi**sses them off.

      • Andrew Allison

        Ukraine will not be eligble for NATO membership until Crimea (and hence the Russian bases there) is annexed to Russia.

    • Andrew Allison

      “Putin is a fascist thug.” As was Yanukovych, and are the current presidents of Ukraine and Crimea. The American interest is that the demonstration of our powerlessness does not bode well for the future.

  • Lawrence

    Good analysis of the events as they seem to have unfolded; the parallels between Crimea now and Sudetenland then are truly striking. And while Putin might seem paranoid to us, let’s remember that he rose into power during Russia’s post-Soviet implosion, caused at least partially by our attempts at influence not just with NATO and EU expansion, but also “Big Bang” economic reform. Imagine that pure free-market privatization in a land without institutions could result eventually in a top-heavy gangster state. Who’da thunk it? Possibly an additional, and ironic, explanation for why Putin sees geopolitics as a zero-sum game.

    But if the US is England/France in this historical model to Putin’s Germany, who then is America? I’d suggest China in that role: to quote a great Chinese philosopher “We don’t want no trouble!” China wants to expand free from other great power interference in their maritime back yard (like the US in Central America. Back then. Ahem) and can’t be bothered/doesn’t want to be bothered with events in Europe. But if Putin really does have his eyes on Kazakhstan the equation in Beijing changes. Do the Chinese, realpolitikers to a fault, really want to end up being the ones hemmed in and threatened by a resurgent Russia? Doubtful.

    Maybe the US can be Churchill to China’s FDR (Stretching the analogy to and possibly beyond breaking point) and encourage some less passive reaction to this indisputable assault on the concept of territorial integrity?

    In the end, the basic analysis and comparison to Hitler’s 1938-39 strategy holds. And the lesson is if Ukraine fights invasion AND gets actual material military support from allies in the West, Putin will back off and further attempts at expansion will probably be more akin to “Great Game” era Russian foreign policy than to WW2 German militarism. It’d behoove us in the West though to ensure that Ukraine itself also reforms politically and economically to prevent it becoming a plaything of purely homegrown oligarchs rather than Putin-approved ones. Beside being a bad thing for Ukrainians themselves, that would merely store up further inevitable crises. So both soldiers (for the moment) and CPAs/technocrats (for the future) needed. And, as soon as this particular crises blows over, institution-building rather than chaotic privatization.

    • Scott Furley

      sudentland was forcibly removed from the austrian empire, wheras crimea was let go in the dissolution of the USSR. so they are not parallel

  • Nick

    Hitler was no Hitler when he started either.

    • chance

      Hitler was always Hitler and the people behind Hilter knew what he was going to really do when elected. Same with the people that put Obama into power they knew what he was going to do it is the people that were duped by the liberal media. The last 5 years have been a disaster for this country in economics and our world stature.
      Obama has succeeded we our now seen as a second rate power by many.

      • Scott Furley

        i think hitler was a hitler when he started, then he was not hitler for a while then he was hitler again. at the end then he was also not hitler. where are you two going with this thread?

        • Nick

          Hitler gained power over time. Had he stopped after his eastern “acquisitions” Germany would almost certainly still be a Nazi nation. We view Hitler as the guy who ripped the world apart. There are lot of those types out there. My thesis is that you don’t know you have a “Hitler” until its too late to stop him, because early on, you make excuses. Chamberlain thought he could negotiate with Hitler, and then made “Peace in our time.” So no, Hitler was not always “Hilter”. Prior to 1939, he was the minister of one of the great powers of the last 500 years in Europe, and there were few that saw him as a Napoleon in waiting.

          Sadly, there are a lot of Napoleons/Hitlers out there, but we treat them like they just need a few more rounds of negotiations. Luckily, most of them don’t have the industrial power to do more than terrorize their own people. Nukes can and do change that equation. See NK and Iran as examples.

          • Scott Furley

            no youre totally right. hitler definatley was not a hitler at first, then became a hitler in 1939. however i disagree slightly in that hitler was a hitler briefly in 1924-27 and then became a hitler again in 1934 during the summer up until oktoberfest. but the real question here for you to answer is, was hitler a hitler in 1943? and im talking about the first 6 months of 1943, because everyone knows hitler was not a hitler in the latter of 1943. the other question that arises now also was whether napolean was a napolean during his exile on elba island, and whether he was fully a naploean during waterloo, or did we just think he was being napolean and we were getting fooled at the time.

          • Nick

            I like you! You remind me of my hyper younger self. Thank God there was no internet then!

      • ttoe

        That’s not true. Look at what liberals believe. When it comes down to it, they don’t support autocracy any more than we do. It’s just that liberals are the bunch in this nation who are easily brainwashed, thus they are told to support that which they would not otherwise support, and they obey.

        They call themselves liberals for a reason, because that’s what they believe. They act like fascists because they’re easily brainwashed, and refuse to think for themselves long enough to realize that they aren’t the smart ones.

    • Evan Dickinson

      Ya exactly. People didn’t look at Hitler and say “evil incarnate!” until after the war started.

      I think we’ve been conditioned by cartoons and bad movies to expect bad guys to label themselves as evil.

      • ttoe

        Give government the capability, ie. vote like a liberal, and soon our would-be Hitlers will become actual Hitlers.

    • ttoe

      Neither was the Nazi Party the horrendous thing it was when it first started either.

  • InTheCourseOfHumanEvents

    …Putin has nuclear bombs. This is a tool Hitler never had at the ready. I noticed that Mead did not mention that tidbit… But a well placed explosion could really shake things up in the geo-political sphere…

    • Scott Furley

      hitler had plenty of conventional bombs that could be equally destructive, but if europeans and russians nuke each other then the fallout spreads back on the people who launch them. so its not really a legitimate strategic option

    • Beric

      Putin won’t use them, but just having them definitely gives the West… pause.

  • Boritz

    Can I use Ameritrade to buy shares in Gazprom? Anyone know?

    • Scott Furley

      no they just do domestic trades. but good investment idea you have i would invest also.

  • miketompkins52

    great piece except for the fact that the western part of Ukraine supported the nazi invasion and it was the Ukrainian secret police that killed some 350k Ukrainian jews and the fact that even today there are neo facist elements within the separatist movement. i’m going to remember all of this wonderful support for a independent people longing to be free when my beloved south tells our government that it would like to chart it’s own course, last timed we tired that ya’ll burned atlanta to the ground. anybody remember ivan the terrible, he was the retired auto worker they tired to deport for war grimes but he died before they could deport him. he was Ukrainian.

    Kiev and Crimea have been part of russia for 400 years, they owe russia 38 billion dollars are we going to support someone stupid enough to borrow 38 billion from a payday lender. typical for america we loves us some stupid poor people. hey i know lets occupy their country and spend 15 years changing their hearts and minds, that’s worked so well in Afghanistan.

    it’s hard to project power when your 17 trillion dollars in debt and your actively debasing the worlds reserve currency, and your force structure is now entirely dependent on national guard troops.

    putin strong like bull obama weak like kitten and the enemy of my enemy is my friend

    • Scott Furley

      ok if the is great piece, please summarise to me what is the point. i got tired of reading it half way through

  • chance

    WHAT THE MASK IS OFF?????? did not Mitt in the 2012 debate tell our President that Russia was a real threat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Did Bo not say the cold war was over???????????????
    Did not Sarah Palin in 2008 say that Ukraine would be next?????
    OUR President resides in La La Land.

    • Scott Furley

      good point yes what is this mask being removed? someone needs to remove this writer from his desk

    • avery12

      Yes and so does our electorate. America can only move as fast as its slowest witted members, alas.

  • Jerome Ogden

    “Putin is attempting to rip up the post-Cold War settlement in Europe and Central Asia.”
    I would phrase that differently: “Putin is responding to the West’s ripping up the post-Cold War settlement by expanding NATO to Russia’s borders, despite repeated assurances it would not do so in return for Gorbachev permitting German reunification.”

    Also, re Putin’s “rent-a-mob” tactic, did we not spend $5 billion to “rent-a(pro-EU/US)-mob” to overthrow the democratically-elected but pro-Russian government in Ukraine?

    • Scott Furley

      good points

  • BJOSEPHS

    The Baltic States might be next. They have a large Russian population , ice free sea ports, & are next to the Russian enclave of Kalingrad. Putin would say they are isolated from the motherland and endangered by fascists.

  • silver fox

    socialists are terrified of the human nature theory. it continues to predict what they cannot. and it continues to poke its face through all the political masks of liberalism, socialism, communism, progressivism, anarchism, Catholicism, Islamism and on and on and on…….and human nature simply cannot be legislated, threatened or medicated out of existence. In short, all socialists can do about human nature is continue to lie about it and like the churches of old, make us all anxious and guilty about being one……a human that is. but to do that they have to be in power…….ta da!

    • Fred

      Catholicism? As they used to say on Sesame Street, “One of these things is not like the others.” Do you actually know anything at all about Catholicism?

      • silver fox

        priest ever ask you how many times you jerked off? ever catch a priest watching you over the shower curtain take a shower? ever get punched in the head by a priest? Catholicism is early atavistic socialism you fool, and because of that the Russian commies were terrified of its power to compete in the ideological arena with them. Know anything about the current pope? do I know anything about Catholicism? Why did god make you? Do you know the next ten questions in the Baltimore catechism? Yeah, I do know….a tad. So shut the fk up and mind your own business dk munch. You clearly do not know what socialism is.

        • Fred

          I’ve seen people confuse invective with argument before, but never like this. In any case, the answers to your questions are: No. No. No. Yes. No. To show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven, and Yes. I know exactly what socialism is, and I therefore know that Obama is much more of a European style social democrat than a socialist and Pope Frances’s economic views are much more closely akin to feudal paternalism than to socialism. I’m sorry if you had a bad experience with a priest, but condemning Catholicism for that is like condemning the police because some of them take bribes or wanting to dismantle government because some officials abuse their power. You are a very angry, narrow-minded, and bigoted fellow whose ignorance and verbal viciousness are very hard to take seriously.

          • silver fox

            sorry….stopped reading at invective……I use invective with moron. the dialog with morons has long since ended dk wad. go back to the dorm and play with your mother’s bra some more. I’ll send her home shortly.

          • Quartermaster

            Morons use invective because it’s all they have. You’ve proven what you are by your idiotic reaction to someone that did not give to you what you hurled back.

          • Fred

            Thank you, Quartermaster. I really don’t know why I bothered to respond to him. I should have figured by his initial response that he was too irrational to have a fruitful conversation with. Oh well, live and learn. There’s a reason they say “Don’t feed the trolls.”

      • Rich Shepard

        Last I checked Catholicism advocated freedom of the individual.

  • rakesh wahi

    very confused article-Putin has legitimate grievances and Putin is Hitler lite. How many american students were “threatened” in Grenada?
    Why would Putin stand back and let an agreement to replace the government be flouted and then be faced with a mob appointed government?

    • mfgillia

      And Hitler also had legitimate grievances as the article pointed out.

      • Insufficiently Sensitive

        So anyone with a legitimate grievance can invade the neighbors, enslave central Europeans, bomb British civilians and kill every Jew he can catch? Is that your rule of the day?

        • Scott Furley

          um senstive, im not sure if you had history in high school if you were home schooled, but Britain delcared war on Germany

          • Insufficiently Sensitive

            That’s really cute. Your history books don’t precede that date, do they.

          • Rich Shepard

            Umm, Scott, Hitler declared war on Poland and murdered their citizens. I guess you don’t give a you know what until your country is attacked? I got it, eff Poland, eff Spain, eff the rest of Europe and then when Britain is attacked then it’s okay? Hitler signed an agreement not to attack Poland, he broke that agreement and murdered countless Poles. I guess the Poles had it coming huh? Hitler knew d*mn well what he was doing. He knew he was attacking an ally of Britain.

            Putin knows d*mn well what he is doing. Stalin coerced these countries into compliance, he murdered many of the citizenry of these countries and encouraged Russian to emigrate to these countries. Wow, guess what built in Russian minorities to protect.

            Here’s the fellow traveler/useful idiot line. Well the U.S. isn’t perfect. Last time I checked we didn’t populate other countries with our citizens and send the natives to Siberia to be imprisoned or murdered. Last time I checked we didn’t force sham elections in countries. Last time I checked we didn’t go about systematically destroying the freedoms of our own citizens (except now under Obama) and destroy all freedoms of any countries we had military actions in. If anything, they’ve had more freedom.

            I guess Putin couldn’t have it be a 100% vote in favor of Crimea uniting with Russia, that would have been totally in your face. So, I guess we are suppose to believe that 96% of all citizens–including non-Russian–in the Crimea want to become part of Russia and authoritarian control under Putin? He could have made it a little more believable by stacking the vote at 70/30 in favor. It doesn’t matter it was all about Putin taking what he felt was Russia’s.

          • Ralph Furley

            Here is the facts you omitted in your analysis. Not sure if you knew them.

            1)Britain declared war on Germany even though they had no military means to fight Germany or defend Poland. This was an error to fight Germany.

            2)Half of Poland was part of the Prussian German empire, and was only forceably removed from it in 1918 by The United States in Britain. This was a mistake to do this.

            3)During the “phony war” of 1940, Germany repeatadly told Britain it wanted no war with them. It asked over and over for peace and said it had no problem with Britain, wanted no part of war with Britain. Churchill refused and wanted a big World War 2 instead. There are plenty of historical documents which show this.

            4)Recently Polish president Lach Walensa said the Poland would be better off in union again with Germany, because they are weak on their own. Communist Poland from 1945-1989 in contrast was a miserable place.

            And regarding Crimea.

            As someone who lived in several European socialist countries over many years, you must understand that once the United States turned heavy socialist i.e. offering huge entitlements like Obamacare and endless food stamps and year long unemployment while trying to raise minimum wages, we abdicate the right to reign in on any growing regional military powers like Russia.

            All of our money is spent in the US, there’s nothing we can do about Crimea or Ukraine. We abdicated the moral authority you speak of.

            You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

            Any socialist county I lived in that made the choice to turn inward and give massive handouts and get rid of the military (1990s Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland) all no longer can do anything on the world stage because no one would listen to them. The United States is also in that boat now.

            Let me ask you one simple question to see if you know what I mean. When you saw the recent unveiling of the Hagel Budget, which greatly reducing our already weakening military in favor of entitlements, do you really think we have any influence whatsoever on Russia or Crimea or Ukraine or the E.U? Why would any of these entities listen to us whatsoever.

            Yes you speak with moral clarity of the plight of the Crimeans. But your country has no large military to speak of to enforce any of your moral objections. Don’t you agree with that?

            I am not just blaming the socialization of the United States under Obama and the Congress for this new fact of life. I will also give Bush the blame by chewing up the military in Iraq and Afghanistan and leaving it emptied of funds and fresh healthy troops who are not all in Walter Reed costing the nation billions in physical therapy.

            As someone who has served in the US Army in Germany for a while, I can tell you that the forces we have there are now so tiny, so miniscule, we have really no influence whatsoever to tell Russia what to do or the new Ukrainain government what to do. Maybe 20,000 (combat) guys and 100 aircraft tops, and 50 tanks or so. I didnt look up those numbers so dont quote me on those.

            They have no ability to fight the 900,000 man strong Russian army.

            That is why the United States head army General is clearly telegraphing this week to the Russains that we are drawing our red line at the NATO borders.

            Thats all we can do, and Ukraine lies outside of these borders.

            So your criticisms of Russia, while perhaps valid, will fall completely on deaf ears coming from a citizen of a former power with no influence on the East European and Asian continents.

    • Scott Furley

      good call it is very confused article

  • Scott Furley

    this article is too long nad confusing and poorly written. also hitler tore up the league of nations because it suffocated germany and was robbing germany, it is not be compared with post cold war treaties. overall this a very lame article it just is written like a college kid who has a thesis do tomorrow morning and it wasn’t started yet.

  • rakesh wahi

    We had an opportunity to denounce the mobocracy -instead we have embraced it. Yanukovych could have been replaced in an election.

  • disqus_mfERPWUv3H

    I wouldn’t bet that the Obamas and Kerrys of the world will wake up. They are in a deep coma of progressive thinking that will not be purged by the likes of Putin. Their world of unicorns and rainbows is the only reality they know.

  • mikekelley10

    And here we sit with the weakest Administration of my lifetime (I’m 60).

  • Jack Crow

    Actually, it’s we Americans who learned from Hitler and started using his tactics with GLADIO in Italy soon after the war (killing innocent Italians to frame communists). There’s good reason to believe the US backed the coup that just happened in Kiev where members of parliament were chased away with death threats, never came back or came back to vote “properly”, and the remaining rump parliament has been illegally acting like it has authority despite the lack of representation from the east, south and Crimea.

    And then you wonder why the Crimea wants to secede.

    The author is smart but uses the same flawed reasoning that may get us all killed soon. It reasons that we need to have WW3 now and all die in order to “prevent” the actions of someone who has not himself written anything like “Mein Kampf” and who already controlled all of Ukraine just 2 weeks ago.

    Hitler didn’t go into the Sudetenland two weeks after it was taken away from the Germans forceably by an American backed coup. He would have had more of excuse to do so but even as it happened, Hitler wasn’t wrong and shouldn’t have been stopped for wanting the Alsace, Sudetenland and Danzig back (the foolish Versailles Treaty), he needed to be stopped because of what everyone knew his future plans were and the Munich meeting should have been a good excuse (not reason) to stop him.

    So one has to show good evidence that Putin isn’t just doing what he and other Russians say he’s doing which is just making sure that Ukraine, the equivalent of Canada to the US, doesn’t become a NATO country with a neo-Nazi backbone.

    Did you know that a Ukrainian tank column just tried to turn back from the border after some locals asked them not to fight their brothers? The commander agreed but than some “political commissars” jumped out of the second tank with no rank insignia and ordered the tank commander not to turn around! The neo-Nazis have clearly been assigned to make sure Ukrainian military units stay loyal!!!! That my friends is more reminiscient of Hitler than the Russians.

    The Russians in this case are more reminiscent of the Soviets in WW2.

    I was a neocon most of my life but this coup we just undertook in Ukraine two weeks ago was insane (like Egypt and Syria were insane, but this is suicidal if we continue acting like it’s our business. The author, above, is frighteningly acting like we Americans somehow ‘own’ Ukraine now with his “if we broke it, we have to fix it” mentality which should not apply to us if we were supposedly so innocent about what happened in that “revolution” two weeks ago.

    The author is basically confirming, what all Americans know deep down inside, that “we” Americans were behind the coup in Kiev because we’re acting now like we own it somehow.

  • harley2002

    Putin is old KGB. He wants the Soviet Union and Russian power back simple as that. He does see our weakness with Obama as president. The public announcement that Obama is cutting our military forces and benefits
    to the troops while upping benefits to illegal aliens and welfare recipients
    gives the troop moral a big hit. It also shows Obama has no interest in America’s
    defense at all unless it is sending some drone in to bomb a few people Drones
    will not stop a toughened Russian military advancing on the ground. Be prepared
    for Putin to keep on the move and Iran with Nukes and the Fanatic Muslims taking
    over the Middle East. Also be prepared for the Prompter President to spew out
    useless speeches. The propaganda media will slobber all over Obama still
    telling us how wonderful he is. Putin is one thing tough cares about HIS
    country and his troops are dedicated tough SOB’s. Obama is weak hates America
    and actively undermining this country that is a fact.

    • Ralph Furley

      putin is old KGB, and george HW bush is old CIA. eisenhower is old Army and Kerry is old Navy. George Bush JR. is old national guard. krushshev is old Red Army. do you see the flaw in your logic now moron? just looking up peoples resumes doesnt mean jack sh**t

      • cleo48

        So tell us… what in this political issue DOES have a negative meaning from your point of view?

        • Quartermaster

          He has no idea. His post betrays a man that is utterly clueless (Khrushchev, for example, was a Zampolits, not Red Army). He’s already plumbed the depths of his knowledge.

  • cleo48

    Putin never had a mask. This guy engineered and re-engineered his position as president. Nobody but Obama and the US media could fail to see the intent. Surprise guys. When Putin is massing troops at the Polish border, perhaps Obam-o will take THAT seriously, but I doubt it.

    • DickNixon

      Whatever happens there will happen BEFORE Barry Bambam leaves the White House. Putin wants to strike while the opposition is easy.

  • lfstevens

    Hitler was building his war machine while he played for the Sudetenland, etc., while the West (ex Churchill) looked away. What are the other elements of Putin’s gambit? It wouldn’t surprise to see him expand “a little” beyond Crimea’s borders, under the umbrella of protecting Russians. He can foment unrest in Ukraine, while he moves his “pro-Russian” forces to the East. He has a plan, while everyone else just reacts. This will get much worse before it gets better.

    • lfstevens

      Whoa. 11 metaphors in one post. I need an editor.

  • CCBanks

    Once you brought up HITLER I stopped reading. I like Putin because he makes Obama look like OPUSSY!

  • pabarge

    Walter Russell Mead voted for Barack Obama. Never forget this.

    • Zimriel

      Bingo. I’ll not take lessons in America’s national interest from a man who voted for a Marxist.

    • Andrew Allison

      Do not forget that he has admitted it was a mistake.

  • storibund

    Watching Puting soundly kicking the butts of the NWO-backing western oligarchs is delicious in the extreme.

    Having Barry and his administration being exposed as the gutless clueless wusses they are is just icing on the cake.

  • tantorsea7

    Mr. Mead, our country has bombed, invaded, and subverted sovereign countries for the last 50 years at the rate of one country every forty months. Our most recent feats have been bombing Lybia, deposing its ruler, and causing a chaos that has led to the burning of our embassy in Benghazi and the killing of an ambassador and other americans. In Iraq we bombed and deposed another guy and created a similar ongoing chaos that has resulted in the destruction of the Christian population of Iraq. We are doing the same in Syria by supporting the Islamists. In Serbia we bombed to smithereens a nation that had not attacked us and approved a referendum that gave independence to Kosovo from Serbia, to which it had belonged for centuries. Now we dont like a referendum in Ukraine. l Give us a break. Let us attend to our own borders, which are a joke and our problems since we have a 17 trillion debt and growing and our inner cities are dominated by a series of urban subclass gangs numbering in the thousands. In Chicago alone, the Vice Lords gang, just one gang, numbers 70000 according to the Chicago Crime Commission.

  • Brutus

    I just don’t see Russia (or Germany) as cynically “turn[ing] ethnic minorities in other countries into a Trojan horse” to gain in power. Russians who live under the Ukrainian state are still Russians, and it is very plausible that they and the Ukrainians would have different aspirations, making it impossible for them to live successfully in the same state. Separation is the best guarantee of long term peace.

    Let us not repeat Britain’s mistake in Poland by giving a war guarantee to the Ukrainians.

    • Andrew Allison

      Too late. We did so in 1994. The issue is: what are the implications of our failure to honor our obligation.

      • CFL68

        I haven’t read the agreement, but I think it was more of a ‘I promise not to attack you’ than a ‘I promise to defend you’ type of thing.

        There is a big difference.

        I may be wrong though.

        • Andrew Allison

          The memorandum included security assurances against threats or use of
          force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine as well as those of Belarus and Kazakhstan. As a result Ukraine gave up the world’s third largest nuclear weapons stockpile between 1994 and 1996.

  • Jack Hays

    Is this what more flexibility looks like?

  • Tim Kreber

    “Commendably and properly, they wanted to fix their domestic economies, create a more just society at home, repair their infrastructure and cut their defense budgets. They were not in the mood for trouble overseas…”

    If you want peace, prepare for war. If you want war, chase “peace”.

    Commendably and properly? Are you kidding me? Our soldiers are the ones that ultimately pay the price because politicians gut our military to pass out welfare freebies so they can get re-elected. Ask our troops that rotted in POW camps in the Philippines in WW2 if they thought policies were “commendable and proper” that left them holding the bag with no hope. Ask our troops fighting the North Koreans with obsolete equipment and low levels of training how our “commendable and proper” policies helped them.

    If you are arguing that such policies are “commendable and proper”, then you’ve learned nothing despite all your academic credentials. History has shown us time and again that it’s your “commendable and proper” policies that collapse whenever they have to face reality. BTW, reality can come in many forms: arithmetic and dictators are just a few examples.

    • CFL68

      Dude, the US spends more on military than all potential adversaries combined, several times over. It isn’t our lack of spending.

      • http://www.thefoxnation.com/ keltic1

        A lot of that money the military spends is to RENT bases & other political interests abroad & NOT actually for troops & hardware.
        There must be a better way to get the most for OUR hard earned money.

  • DiaKrieg

    Speaking of similarities between Putin and Hitler, remember the 1936 Berlin Olympics?

  • oparoberts

    Despite Mr Mead’s comments that Putin is no Hitler, I’m not reassured. I am more persuaded by the parallels of action Putin/Hitler. Mr Mead even says Putin surely doesn’t see things the way we do or how we think he sees them……..he may well see himself as an “Anointed one”: we know how that works.

  • DickNixon

    Mask? He was wearing a mask? Gee, I hadn’t noticed.

  • Yev

    You guys are all idiots. I have relatives that live in Ukraine. The reason that those morons that got beaten so badly that one died is because the new self appointed government that has taken control sent them there to take control over that territory, and the citizens of that region didn’t wanna take any of their shit. America helped orchestrate the whole thing. If you don’t believe me, here is an audio recording of the American ambassadors talking about who to place as leaders in government:

    All this is geopolitics. American government doesn’t give a shit about people from different countries. If it did, it would go and try to help the African governments too. But you know what? The US doesn’t have any use for them!! So they don’t go there. The people in Ukraine have purposefully been distracted with this whole Russian “invasion” BS in order to make everyone forget about the elections that are supposed to happen in May, cause they don’t want to hold them. They want the people who appointed themselves into government to remain there. Because they serve their purpose.

    By the way, the EU agreement is BS too. It will require that Ukraine relinquish it’s ownership of the gas and oil pipelines that provide a major source of income. It will require that it raise its standards of agricultural products, which Ukraine doesn’t have the technological capability to do, prohibit subsidizing of agriculture, while allowing other European countries to subsidize, and remove any taxes from European imported products. This will effectively destroy the Ukrainian agricultural economy. YAY FOR FREEDOM!!!

  • CFL68

    Really fascinating to watch toxic partisans play their game 24x7x365 regardless of what is happening in the world.

    And they pretend such gravity and knowledge.

    It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad for the USA.

  • sentry1

    As a teenager might say, “Well…duh.”

    Get this administration and all of their congressional lapdogs out of office ASAP!!!

  • Rich Shepard

    Putin figures he has the better part of three years before we get real leadership. We are in for a rough ride over the next three years.

  • GameTime

    Putin never had a mask on. Those looking at him and talking to him were so full of themselves they they failed to notice that he’s always been a weasel. The “rent-a-mobs” are straight out of the West’s/U.S’s playbook for drumming up the appearance of public opposition or support in foreign countries and here in our own country.

    Putin played Obama like a fine violin. He never would have tried this and succeeded with anyone else in the White House, including Mitt Romney. Hey, Obama, Jimmy Carter’s 70’s called and they want their bad economy/no jobs/weak foreign policy back.

  • vrichards

    Nato shud be disbanded.

  • Scott Locklin

    Godwin’s law still applies: Putin is no more “Hitler” than Sam Houston was when he took Texas, no matter how many times you say, “Hitler.” I mean, the dopes that our Gauleiter Nuland put in charge of continental Ukraine sure look a lot more like Hitler than a bunch of people voting to not be underneath Kiev.

  • jwc99

    The sad truth is that the west is weak and divided, despite great wealth and military power. It’s leaders are peacetime leaders who seem to believe all disputes can now be settled with a signature and a handshake with a lawyer present. Putin is making them look like gullible fools. Obama and Co.still opine about Russia not choosing a dark path etc. It’s to late for that, they have already chosen. It was never a choice for them. Putin doesn’t care what the west thinks and will keep pushing. Dark times are ahead. Putin will be ready if the EU begins to unravel, due to economic weakness, er maybe caused by an energy crisis, to regain eastern Europe.

  • Oksana Patrakova

    Пора уже проститутке Европе и давно уже не лидером Америке понять, что Россия не пустой звук!

  • Oksana Patrakova

    Введя санкции России, Европа потеряет последний шанс на восстановление своей, без того уже пошатнувшейся экономики.

  • Oksana Patrakova

    Учите историю, Господа!

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