The Treaty of Versailles, doling out spoils to the victors at the end of the First World War, was a Carthaginian peace that sliced and diced Germany, surrendering provinces to Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, and cutting homeland ties to seven million ethnic Germans. Three and a half million landed in the western
eastern region of the former Czechoslovakia, then called Sudetenland.
A postwar, impoverished, and decadent Weimar Republic gave rise to Adolf Hitler, who viewed the Sudeten ex-pats as a hindrance to his plans to unify Germany. Demands for their repatriation sounded the alarm for another world war. Fearful European leaders rushed eastward to placate Hitler’s aggression, hastily signing onto the fateful Munich Pact of 1938. The agreement ceded not only Sudetenland to the Third Reich but nearly all of the country’s mining resources, iron production, and electrical grid, putting the Czechs under German domination without firing a shot. So began the Wehrmacht’s two-year march to the Atlantic, leaving history to put numbers on a half-century of wars to end all wars.
With six million European Jews added on to seventy million military and civilian deaths, roughly three percent of all humankind, the free world issued a crucible: never again. Eighty-four years later and those words still ring hollow. Dictators, driven by a lust for militarism and power, trigger regional conflicts and world wars. Petty tyrants seek advantage from them.
Despite his jawboning during the presidential campaign about bringing Vlad Putin to heel, Joe Biden as commander-in-chief has handled him with kid gloves. For Putin, influencing the foreign policy of the Biden administration has hardly tested the mettle of the KGB’s most famous alum.
Determined to keep NATO off his western flank, Putin followed Der Führer’s playbook, seizing the pro-Russian eastern Ukraine provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk and claiming self-determination for its inhabitants as he absorbs them into a Soviet redux. The annexation was almost an open invitation, a “minor incursion” of little interest to the White House.
Emulating Chancellor Bismarck, who unified the German state after three mid-19th-century wars in Europe, Putin crossed his Rubicon in a three-pronged attack on the Ukrainian motherland. The Russian army heaved forward, then sputtered in places and bogged down in the hedgerows and muddied routes to major cities, exposed to Ukrainian forces. Inspirited by the zeal of their leader, city folk got their hackles up, turning into irregulars stockpiling bottle bombs and small arms on apartment windowsills and erecting Czech hedgehogs in town squares. Fearing a plebeian army, Putin has resorted to destroying the urban high ground.
If Putin has underestimated the moxie of his political peer in Ukraine, he is at no such loss with Joe Biden. Still driven by antipathy towards his predecessor, Biden has shown the world a willingness to sacrifice the welfare and security of his own people as payback for the 2016 election.
A tiresome refrain from the Left claims that Donald Trump was a Putin stooge, but the actions of the Biden administration are more categorical, going so far as to achieve both cause and effect in the Ukraine crisis. After destroying much of America’s natural gas and oil production on Inauguration Day, Biden gave three cheers to Russia’s Nordstream 2, then cleared its path of all competition by removing support for the Israeli East Mediterranean pipeline, offering only the long face of John Kerry as an anemic challenge to Putin’s expanding carbon footprint in Europe.
The invasion of Ukraine has put more wind in the sails of the socialist powerplay called the Green New Deal than all the skewed charts and statistics, European conferences, Sandy Cortez premonitions, and papal blessings combined. We’re told that prices at the gas pump will continue to climb because we’ve divested ourselves of Russian oil, although Putin satisfies only three percent of our energy needs and the fruited plain upon which we live covers the largest reserves of oil and gas in the world.
The triumvirate axis of China, Russia, and Iran are all playing off each other to hustle the Biden administration. Biden furthered Russian imperialism and China's treachery by tipping Xi Jinping to American intelligence, then heavily sanctioned the invasion of Ukraine while beseeching Putin for help in normalizing relations with Iran.
In turn, Biden’s need for Putin’s mediation with Iran weakens our resolve towards Ukraine, pulling in the reins short of breaking the back of the Russian economy or preventing the flow of fossil fuels to Europe. If Putin plays along, Biden will relinquish America’s energy needs to the whims of the ayatollahs, throwing away billions of dollars to resurrect the Obama-era JCPOA agreement and threatening the Jewish State by putting fuel in their nuclear warheads. Now willing to sleep with any enemy for oil, Biden’s phone calls to the henchman of Venezuela and the Saudi royals have gone to voicemail and the mullahs in Tehran showed him the back of their hand by raining a dozen missiles on an American consulate and Army outpost in Iraq.
Sadly for this momentous time in American history, Biden is still playing the part of an Amtrak politician, putting in a cinch of a workweek betwixt weekends at his Wilmington lakefront as the nominal leader of a shadow regime chock full of Obama retreads and Sanders’ acolytes. Despite the Botox and hair plugs, his cringe-worthy ramblings in the Briefing Room and faux pas on the world stage serve as a sad example of what advanced age has in store for all of us.
After just one year, the Biden administration has created a progressive utopia that has cultivated a political elite and deprecated the middle class. The sticker shock of inflation follows from an offshore supply chain breakdown further aggravated by vaccine mandates and restrictions on the trucking industry. Energy independence has been lost to our global antagonists, a sign of weakness that likely hastened the Ukraine crisis. Billions of dollars have been set aside to ensure border integrity in countries other than our own. At home, a plague of violent crime and homelessness has lowered a dark curtain over America’s largest cities.
Beltway Republicans are sitting back, self-assured. Down the barrel, they glimpse a sweeping victory in the crosshairs, although they are known to underestimate the Machiavellian plots of their opponents. If history follows suit, the party of the incumbent president faces political headwinds in the midterms, and the de novo Democrat Party has a better chance of hawking snake oil on a soapbox than running on their referendum. Of course, that was before democratically-run elections in America took a turn to the Stalinist school.
The invasion of Ukraine increasingly serves a utility for America’s green putsch, but Joe Biden risks overplaying his hand with a nuclear-powered rival who has taken the measure of five presidents, draws his nationalist fervor from Tsar Alexander and his military doctrine from the warring princes of Germany. History will note unkindly that Putin found his Sudetenland in Eastern Ukraine because he had his Neville Chamberlain in Biden.
Image: Das Bundesarchiv