Ukraine & history
It is difficult not to think of Yogi Berra's “déjà vu all over again” remark when reading the news these days.
Vladimir Putin tells the world he has the right to invade Ukraine “to protect” its Russian-speaking population. The same argument was used by Hitler to annex Austria in 1938 and Czechoslovakia in March 1939, and to attack Poland on Sept. 1 of the same year. Under the same pretense, Stalin joined Hitler to invade Poland on Sept. 19, 1939, and the Baltic republics soon afterward.
The situation in Ukraine (and in Georgia six years earlier) tells us history likes to repeat itself more frequently than we would like it to. Only 20 years ago (Budapest Memorandum, Dec. 5, 1994), Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States convinced Ukraine to give up its nukes in return for guarantees of its territorial integrity. Putin's aggression tells the leaders of North Korea, Iran and everyone else that the United Nations, international laws and agreements no longer have any serious meaning in this rapidly changing world.
Ukraine does have a significant number of Russian-speaking citizens (both ethnic Ukrainians and Russians), but I doubt many of them like being used to advance Putin's geopolitical goals. I have similar doubts about Russian-speakers in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and other neighbors of the Russian Federation. Georgia, invaded by Putin in 2008, had a comparable number of ethnically Russian citizens to Canada and a smaller number than the U.S.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Punishment pushback II
- Not taxpayers’ responsibility
- Punishment pushback I
- Help for Tina
- Incomprehensible? That’s Obama
- Don’t blame bus drivers I
- Don’t blame bus drivers II