It is not strength that invites aggression, it is weakness. European leaders tried to appease Hitler by surrendering the Sudetenland in 1938** and that open display of cowardice and weakness inspired the German dictator, who then plunged the world into war. Japan did not bomb Pearl Harbor in 1941 because the United States was strong and ready. It attacked because it perceived America to be weak and unprepared. It expected that a quick and decisive strike would demoralize its enemy and leave it unable to respond. Both Hitler and the Japanese miscalculated, and the cost to them and to the entire world was terrible.
Vladimir Putin invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014 because he perceived that the United States, lead by Barack Obama, was weak and would not respond forcefully, and he was right. That display of weakness and cowardice inspired him, but he did not invade Ukraine during the administration of Donald Trump because he perceived that Trump would respond and in whatever manner was necessary to quell Russia’s violent intentions before they plunged the world into another devastating war. It wasn’t worth the risk when he knew that the entire Deep State was actively engineering a coup against the obstacle to his ambitions. He calculated that Trump would be gone soon enough.
Vladimir Putin has now invaded Ukraine because he perceives that the United States is being led by a doddering old man who can barely find his way to the podium unassisted, who halts in mid-sentence because he loses his train of thought and who makes Barack Obama look like Winston Churchill.
I wonder if Britain, France and Italy had refused to appease Hitler by handing him a big chunk of Czechoslovakia, would World War II still have happened? Possibly, but it is certain that this was the only moment when Europe had any chance to avoid the disastrous war that would leave most of it in ruins. Emboldened by the weakness and cowardice of Britain’s Chamberlain and France’s Daladier (and encouraged by his pal Mussolini from Italy) Hitler decided that no one had the courage to challenge his ambition for the Third Reich. Poland was next, and only then did Britain and France declare war on Germany, but it was too late. If the United States had not entered the war and paid a great price for their freedom, Britain, France and the rest of Europe would today be a part of the Third Reich.
The parallels to our situation today are inescapable. Putin sized up the situation and annexed Crimea in 2014. President Barack Obama provided Ukraine with blankets and offered only bitter complaints in the face of bold Russian aggression. Putin evaluated Donald Trump and decided to wait until Elder Statesman Joe Biden took the reigns of power in the United States. Then he invaded Ukraine. Poland will likely be next.
Everyone is talking about how me must avoid war with Russia. I too wish to avoid war with anyone but it takes two to make peace and only one to make war. I am very much afraid that, because of the weakness and vacillation of our leaders, war with Russia may now be inevitable. Unfortunately, Ukraine must apparently be fed to the bear first.
After British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned to England declaring that the agreement with Hitler had ensured “peace for our time,” Winston Churchill gave a speech before the House of Commons in which he told Chamberlain, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.” Now we watch on the sidelines as the brave Ukrainian people fight alone for their freedom and their lives.
We are choosing dishonor, even though it is probably too late to avoid war.
**Czechoslovakian leaders were not invited to the conference in Munich where their nation was being bartered away. They were given a choice by Britain and France to accept the terms or resist the Nazis on their own. They accepted, but Czech Premier Syrovy protested to the world, “we have been abandoned.” Does that sound familiar?