Vladimir Putin couldn’t wait until the rest of the world departed Sochi at the conclusion of his Nazi-style Olympics in which he tried to show the rest of the world that Russia was an advanced and civilized nation that was ready to assume a leadership role on the 21 century. Vladimir Putin wanted everyone gone as soon as possible so he could begin his campaign of aggression against the Ukraine, an independent nation that emerged from the shambles of the old Soviet Union. Putin has tried to take conflict to a new level by inserting Russian soldiers into the struggle by simply removing their insignias and badges. When the Ukraine calls him out on this, he states that these are not Russian troops at all. I suppose that in the old USSR, that this type of lie would be believed, but the rest of the world sees right through this deceit. Putin has his own grand designs of rebuilding the USSR with himself in control. This is something that the TRUE civilized world finds unacceptable.
Putin has the advantage of geography. Ukraine is next to the new Russian Empire headed by Putin. No amount of protests from the rest of the world can make up for that. Without a concerted effort that would invite a broader conflict, there is no way that the rest of the world can assist Ukraine militarily to defend itself. Despite the fact that this would play right into Putin’s hands at home with his own terrified domestic audience, it would play upon the historic Russian fear of being the victims of aggression. The rest of the world will have to find another way to counteract this aggression because there is no stomach for a wider war between Russia and NATO. Since Ukraine is NOT a member of NATO, the treaty does not apply to them.
There is an historical parallel to this. Nazi Germany began by taking small steps of aggression in order to gauge the resistance that would occur. In 1936, Germany “militarized” the Rhineland, a section of land that had been declared military-free at the end of WWI. The other powers failed to react, and in fact, claimed that Germany was only reasserting itself over it’s own territory at that time.
In 2008, as the world prepared to watch the Beijing Olympics, Putin and Russia began a limited war against the tiny country of Georgia. The rest of the world protested, but once again, the situation was geographically in Russia’s favor and nothing was done. Putin learned from this the same lesson that Hitler learned from the Rhineland, and that was that taking unjustified military action against a weaker neighbor that was geographically isolated from any source of help would not risk dire consequences.
Hitler next turned his eyes to Czechoslovakia. He incited the ethnic Germans against their neighbors and then tried to appear as the savior that prevented a wider war by absorbing those ethnic Germans into Germany (and taking their territory of course). This action left Czechoslovakia a ruined state that was later annexed without protestation by the rest of the world.
Putin is now in this phase with Ukraine. He has tried to appear as the “protector” of the Russians living in Ukraine. When the Ukrainians overthrew a corrupt government that was friendly to Russia, Putin began to agitate the ethnic Russians living in Ukraine and inciting fear among them that they were being persecuted. After the fires were lit by Russia, they then put their troops stationed in Ukraine by treaty into action against the Ukrainian government and it’s people. “Spontaneous” rallies called for reunion with Russia. Historical precedent for this is Austria in 1938 by Nazi Germany as well as the Czechoslovakian crisis.
The rest of the world once again failed to act either militarily, or economically against aggression. I am not calling for war, but we have to realize what we are dealing with here. Ukraine is too isolated from sources of help for direct military action, but economic pressure and punishment of Russia is definitely an option.
What do I see when I look at Putin and Russia. I see Hitler and the 4th Reich.