Negotiating With Putin About The Ukrainian War
In 1938, Hitler threatened to invade Czechoslovakia and had massed much of his German Army along the border. Both the British and France tried to persuade Hitler with many fruitless meetings that Hitler used for public relations media in the summer of that year. Secretly, Hitler never intended to abide with any agreement and he would prove this by invading Poland. The British nor the French were in any position to stop Hitler militarily. Hitler knew this, yet, he really did not want to fight over the border dispute where many ethnic Germans inside Czechoslovakia. He said he wanted those areas to be part of Greater Germany and when he massed his soldiers close to the border, all that England or France could do is appease him and basically agree to his terms. The agreement was signed and Chamberlain celebrated with "Peace in out time". Hitler thought Chamberlain was a pathetic weak person, despising him. But, Hitler knew his new military was not quite ready for war, so he bluffed his way into getting what he wanted.
OMG, does any of this ring true seventy or more years later? Putin is taking a page from Hitler's playbook. History is repeating before our very eyes. Today, NATO and the USA are in the weakest of positions bar economic weapons, which have yet do serious damage that Russians hurt from. Putin, like Hitler, is well liked and public opinion in Russia favors how he is willing to face-off with the West. The Russian economy has taken a hit, yet Putin continues to mass heavy weapons and so called "rebel" forces controlling a good portion of what was the Ukraine. Few believe that the rebel forces are not Russian soldiers without the uniform. Heavy weapons require training and skills and no rebel force could magically just get them.
Despite an agreement being reached in September 2014, none of the terms have been followed by the rebel forces that are pro-Moscow. Putin's army has massed huge amounts of weapons and tanks, clearly to intimidate the tiny Ukrainian forces opposing them. It is a laughing situation because nobody on either side can have a scenario where the Ukraine or NATO can win. So, Putin is having some fun at the expense, so far, of over 5000 deaths. When France and Germany met with Putin it was to find out what his terms were in settling the dispute while remaining strong and NATO defiant about the Ukraine that ironically, neither NATO or the USA, said could be part of NATO. Nobody in the West wants to fight over the Ukraine. Yet, somewhere NATO and the US must actually take a REAL military stand because Putin could do the same thing again near Latvia or other former Russian areas now part of NATO. Putin, in private, might feel as Hitler did about Chamberlain, because Putin is on a mission to make Russia great again!
This poker game is so lopsided in favor of Putin, how could not Putin not just take all of the Ukraine? How much of a green light does he need? There is no doubt, he has thought of this but probably is willing to settle for less so to not alarm the world too much. He actually already has encroached upon it. His test to see how the West will react and what they are willing to do militarily has shown it weak. Heck, NATO is even afraid to provide some real weapons to the Ukraine to even the odds from 20 to 1 to 20 to 5. Afraid because it might provoke Putin more! The West is just playing into his hand even more. Look, even if weapons were provided, the end result is the same. It would require a NATO battalion being stationed in the Ukraine to deter Putin. That is certainly not happening. The West can only hope that Putin will stop on his own accord after he achieves what it is he wants. But, what if Putin thinks this is a green light for more? It certainly did for Hitler. What is to stop him? Maybe he will try for Poland, would NATO really activate to defend one of its own without excessive discussions? Putin is wondering, no doubt.
President's Obama handling of this could not be more pathetic. He refuses to fight and wants others to do it when they actually want the US to lead. Obama is like a professor trying to get his students to take the lead. Whether it is in the Ukraine or against ISIS, the story is the same. The Ukraine is a lost cause now, but it didn't have to be this way.