How History Repeats Itself

I apologize in advance for the blatantly political tone of this piece but I am flabbergasted by what I see happening on the eastern periphery of Europe and the anemic reaction to state on state aggression by the rest of the world.

I read this piece by Justin Logan from the Cato Institute this morning and was struck immediately on how similar in tone this piece is to the rhetoric of the pre-WWII America Firsters.  Is Estonia Worth a War?

I just ask myself are people so blind or so willing to seek peace at any cost that they will not stand up to tyranny until the cost of stopping it is orders of magnitude greater than if they had stood up for principle at the beginning?  The same kinds of arguments against involvement in WWII were made by isolationists in the US and appeasers abroad as Hitler’s Germany slowly re-armed and swallowed its neighbors in the years prior to WWII.

Largely the same process is in action in Russia today.  Whereas Germany felt slighted and unjustly treated after WWI modern Russia feels slighted and mistreated after the unsatisfactory (from their perspective) end to the Cold War.  It is interesting that roughly a generation passed between 1918 and 1939 and roughly a generation has passed between 1989 and 2014.  Russia was stripped of large swaths of territory in the wake of the fall of communism and Germany was stripped of territory, actually split into two separate blocks by the Danzig Corridor, in the wake of Versailles.  The German people felt they were not defeated, (hence the popularity of the stab in the back myth), while many Russians today feel that they were betrayed from within by Gorbachev and Co.  Hitler was an ideologue that fed on and amplified public perceptions of being unjustly handled by the Allies and Putin has done the same in Russia.  As Germany expanded it was only weakly opposed by the Allied powers and we are seeing the same sort of reaction in the West to Putin’s actions.

History seems to be repeating itself before our eyes as yet another European ideologue and dictator forges ahead towards war and an attempt to dominate its neighbors.  Is the West going to stand idly by and allow it to happen again until the cost of stopping it is immeasurably higher?  The stakes are higher this time around because Russia is a nuclear power.  The time to stop Putin and Russia is now and a serious demonstration of Western resolve would achieve without bloodshed what will costs thousands, if not millions of lives later on.

Has the West learned nothing from history other than that War is bad?  There are things worse than war, and if the Western leadership does not find their spine soon they will see what those things are.

 

  • andrew

    Gulf War I/II. Perfect example of seizing assets before their was an enemy that could fight back.

    • http://www.military-history.us/ Cincinnatus

      I neither example did asset seizure settle the underlying crisis. My point is that sanctions do not stop aggressors, they may slow them down but they have never stopped an aggressor.

    • andrew

      We just havent seized enough of their assets yet.

    • http://www.military-history.us/ Cincinnatus

      And meanwhile, the pro-russian faction gains more and more confidence because sanctions are not stopping or even appreciably slowing down the level of Russian support they are receiving.

    • andrew

      The ultimate sanction needs to be applied than-seperate the man from his manhood and only give it back on the condition that he behaves and disarms. I would like to see the oligarchs in chains right now; with surgical gloves ready for the operation.

    • andrew

      Twist a pig’s arm, watch him squeal.

  • Andrew

    I’m flabbergasted by the fact that Russian oligarchs have not had their assets seized yet. Do you know that young Englishmen living in London pay almost 80% of their salary on rent?? Last time I was there I payed over 4 pounds for a water. This is what happens when billionaires own the city and price everyone else out of regular living.

    These monsters on the Thames are laughing at all of us, and if we twisted their elbows enough they’d put Putin in his place, but we don’t put any pressure on them.

    The entire world has embraced mercenary logic and we are all slaves to money, which is the only thing that matters to 99% of the people. Europeans are just as bad as Americans, if not worse.

    Money is the only narcotic that matters to us. Our cities are brothels, open sewers, no one cares as long as they get their next fix. They don’t care that the puppet-masters have rigged the game in their own favor, and that nobody hates capitalism more than the billionaires that run the world.

    Tyrants like to see their wheat fields at a steady length and take a scythe to any head that stands over the rest.

    • http://www.military-history.us/ Cincinnatus

      Seizing foreign assets is going to achieve what? It has not worked with any other country, what makes you think it would work with Russia?

    • andreforcordelia@yahoo.com

      Oh it has worked before alright. And it will work again when the time is right. Actually there will be no alternative. Unless you want to eat cake forever.

    • http://www.military-history.us/ Cincinnatus

      When has seizing assets worked? What foreign policy crisis has it averted?

    • Andrew

      Asset seizure is one of oldest form of warfare on earth. From the Trojan War, to Vegetius’ strategy in Roman times, to World War Two. Taking away the assets of the enemy has always been a potent weapon in warfare. I dare anyone to say this is incorrect.
      Unless of course you like the idea of a fifth column running things from Zurich and London…

    • http://www.military-history.us/ Cincinnatus

      I say again: “When has seizing assets worked? What foreign policy crisis has it averted?”
      I am not saying asset seizure is not a tactic, nor am I saying it has never been used. I am denying its efficacy.

    • notAnOligarch(yet)

      So then you are denying one of the two forms of warfare, according to Clausewitz.

      Seizure of assets works every single time it happens, and it doesn’t avert anything. Its fighting fire with fire, not placating the enemy. Its called an eye-for-an-eye, the take Crimea, we should take something from them and make it as painful as possible.

      Busting in Rambo-like and annihilating the pinkos doesn’t always work, either, just ask all the guys who opposed Patton.

      Plus, the godless communists “russians” don’t care if we mow down their underlings, its the bosses that are sensitive to pain.

    • Andrew

      http://www.thenational.ae/world/middle-east/us-will-distribute-seized-iranian-assets-to-terrorism-victims

      So I say, by this logic (actually better logic) that we take all of the oligarch’s money and parachute it into the streets of kiev so people can have it. Lets see who Ukrainians desire at the end of the day.

    • http://www.military-history.us/ Cincinnatus

      Give me an example of asset seizure working. It doesn’t even need to be a modern example.