Can War be Averted With Putin's Communist Mentality?
During World War 2 Stalin didn't care how many troops he lost in battle so long as they gained ground. Neither did other Russian leaders as they threw poorly trained conscripts into the meat grinder in Afghanistan and Chechnya. Now 100,000 Russian troops may be massing on the border with Ukraine. They have already seized Crimea and the parallels with the beginnings of World War 2 are becoming more apparent. At first our leaders were mostly afraid to draw that comparison but it is quickly becoming obvious. World War 2 began when Hitler moved into areas of Czechoslovakia to ostensibly protect German speaking residents. Putin moved into Crimea to ostensibly protect Russian speaking people there. When Hitler did not see any concrete response to what he did he took more land. Now the west has had a response that ruled out military action. Sanctions only. This will hardly scare the leader of a country that is willing to sacrifice the lives of its soldiers so quickly. Thankfully today there was a vote at the United Nations with a 100 to 11 result against Russia's actions in Crimea. We should not be too hopeful though because Putin wants to restore Russia's past glory and the Ukrainian breadbasket is a jewel in the crown. The West has appeared weak in a variety of areas lately. In Syria there has not been any direct action to end the rebellion against Assad, and no hard action against the Egyptian military's coup against the democratically elected government. The dictators of the world have concluded that NATO is a paper tiger and will not oppose unilateral seizures of territory or violations of the sovereignty of neighbouring countries. NATO could place some troops in Ukraine to participate in exercises with the Ukrainian military and other regional countries currently threatened by possible Russian land grabs. It could be that the possibility of an escalation to combat with NATO forces may be enough to deter Putin. Or it might further inflame Putin's rage at what he observes as western encroachment on a country that he believes should stay in Russia's sphere of influence. With some justification, but we have to hope that Putin will step back and finally realize that the cold war is over. And so should be the era the gunboat diplomacy he used to seize Crimea.