Why Ukraine? Why Now?
The “I’m shocked, shocked” line from Casablanca is too much a cliché to carry any -- umm -- shock value, but surely it fits Putin’s actions against Ukraine. But the civilized world, mainly the Anglosphere, has long shown its utter indifference to human life by ignoring mass killings on a scale surpassed only by the Nazis and the Communists in the last century. More than a hundred thousand in Syria and still going on; perhaps a million or more in North Korea; millions in Africa, uncounted tens of thousands or more in Iran.
The one place we intervened was Iraq, with six figures in dead civilians at the hands of Saddam Hussein. For our trouble we have gotten nothing but scorn from self-styled humanitarians on the left and at best indifference from most non-ideological Americans and Europeans. With the exception of America, only Israel receives constant condemnation, in their case for inflicting mere inconvenience on a population whose leadership wants every Jew in the world to be killed.
Readers of AT can be excused for yawning at the previous paragraph. “So, what’s new?” is a fair response. However, the recent events in Ukraine seem to turn history upside down. Poor Neville Chamberlain is reviled for appeasing Hitler by ignoring the Anschluss (Austria) and enabling the annexation of Sudetenland (Czechoslovakia). The unprecedented crimes of the Nazis were still a year or two in the future at that time, as was the invasion of Poland. These early actions were eerily similar to Putin’s current crimes. Will genocide follow again? Nobody knows. But the reference to history being turned upside down is based on Russian and Chinese criminal complicity in the murders in Syria, Iran, and North Korea, as well as Iraq in the 1990s.
Is this a new discovery? Does anyone remember the “Axis of Evil”? Surely, even then, Syria was a close fourth place candidate. The scale of the evil perpetrated by these regimes can only occur with the acquiescence of Russian and China. Strong Security Council sanctions backed by military action could have saved millions of lives, but for the two uncivilized permanent members. Only in Iraq, where the open sore of 9/11 and the specter of a Saddam with WMDs permitted President George W. Bush to take action, was that impediment temporarily overcome. Why? It was because the Russians and Chinese had no way to put a ceiling on President Bush’s anger and determination. Unfortunately, the temptation to nation-build coupled with the left wing fifth column that infects Western Civilization sabotaged his efforts.
The right time to call out Russia and China is long past. In return for cheap Chinese crap and Treasury bond purchases well over a trillion dollars, we looked the other way as they backed the monsters in North Korea. When Bush looked into Putin’s soul, did he fail to see Iraq and Iran? Did he fail to see North Korea there too? Bush may have learned his lesson but the invasion of Georgia came as his presidency was unravelling due to the self-inflicted financial crisis.
Meanwhile, President Obama has learned nothing from history. With active Russian support, Iran is virtually a nuclear power. The current North Korean monster Kim has more respect for Dennis Rodman than for Barack Obama. Obama’s first big foreign policy decision was to betray our allies in Eastern Europe in order to curry favor with Putin. We have muddled through five years now with ineffective leadership in the State Department. The Russians and Chinese have learned that they can do what they please as long as they press a reset button at a press conference.
“Shout loudly and carry a wet noodle” is the new American slogan. How many millions more people will be killed by how many more uncivilized beneficiaries of the decline of Western Civilization? The time for action was at the end of the Cold War. The first President Bush and President Clinton could have used the era of good will to eliminate the regimes in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and North Korea. They failed to act. Al Qaeda grew. Al Qaeda struck. For a short time, it appeared that the second President Bush might succeed, but he was betrayed. So let’s blame the loyal neo-cons (aka Jews). HAHAHA! Meanwhile hundreds of thousands die in North Korea and Burma. Millions died in Rwanda on Clinton’s watch.
Enough! It is too painful to document all the lives lost with the primary complicity of Russia and China and the secondary complicity of the West. What makes 2014 Ukraine comparable to 1939 Poland? At least Chamberlain had only a couple of years of minor land-grabbing as compared to decades of murder and genocide. Ironically there is more anti-semitism and more uncivilized behavior in the world today than in 1930s Nazi Germany. Yet Obama and Kerry continue five years of public bashing of not China, not Russia, but Israel. The Arab body count of Russian ally Bashar Assad, an Arab himself, is some 10,000 times the Arab body count in Israel. Never again, never again! Will we ever learn how to implement that noble sentiment?
It’s a sad, sad, sad, sad, sad, sad world. We should try to hold Russia to its explicit treaty obligation to guarantee Ukrainian territorial integrity. At the very least they should be informed that their signature on any treaty, past or future, is now held suspect. We should evaluate whether our own interests are served by those treaties. But going forward, we should develop a policy together with our allies, on how to deal with the horrible human suffering that continues to be inflicted by client states of Russia and China.