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Another Madman, Another World War?

Polina, who was nine or 10 years old, was shot dead alongside her parents by Russian Military

Alive one minute, dead the next. Can there ever be a valid reason or excuse for this barbarity? Why should Putin be allowed to be alive when because of his greed for power, this little girl is dead?

It’s not countries that start wars, it’s individuals.

It was March 16th 1935 when Adolf Hitler informed the world he was re-arming Germany in direct breach of the Treaty of Versailles . A modern air force, an army of half a million men, emerged from that declaration and Britain, France, and the League of Nations did nothing to stop it.

The world was too busy partying, enjoying peace after the war to end all wars was won in 1918. Twenty million dead and another twenty-one million wounded was truly something to party about. Meanwhile, Germany steamed ahead with its military buildup, while the West depleted its military, in the sure knowledge it was unlikely to be needed again.

But is was needed again, and the sloth-replicating governments of the rest of Europe and the United States were caught off-guard when Hitler made a fool of the then Prime Minister of Britain, Neville Chamberlain, and with Russian support, invaded Poland and massacred between 150,000 and 200,000 Polish civilians.

When Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia in 2012 the West was busy partying yet again. This time the Cold War was over. The West had won yet again when Reagan and Gorbachev shook hands after signing the INF treaty in late 1987.  The USSR was being demolished and Russia was no longer a threat to the rest of the world. Germany was re-united, the wall had come down. Perestroika and Glasnost were the two words on everyone’s lips in the 1980s and early nineties.

Yet again, the West rested on its laurels, contenting itself with the relatively minor squabbles of Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, to hone it’s ever-depleting militaries.

Putin entrenched his power as a Russian dictator over the years. No-one recognised the burning hatred and frustration in his cold heart at the loss of an empire that could have been his to control. Inflaming that hatred was the knowledge gnawing at his innards, that the United States had broken it’s promises to Gorbachev, and no sooner was he out of power than first Reagan, and later George W Bush, moved missile bases into what were once satellite Russian nations on that country’s border.

If Western governments were aware of the Russian military build-up ordered by Putin, they certainly seemed unconcerned. There couldn’t possibly be a war between two nuclear powers. It would end in mutual destruction. Wasn’t that the whole point of a nuclear deterrent?

The lessons of the 1930s had not been learned. Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 on the pretext of claiming back territory once German.  Putin has now invaded Ukraine on the exact same pretext. Meanwhile, the rest of the world stands by and does nothing but make speeches of condemnation against the aggressor.

In 1939, Britain and France had a treaty of protection with Poland. When Germany, and two weeks later Russia, invaded Poland neither Britain, nor France, made much effort to assist the Poles.

There is no such treaty with Ukraine. It has asked repeatedly to join NATO and been refused on each occasion, no doubt in an effort to appease Putin, rather than for any genuine grievance. Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, are all NATO members. Only Belarus, under the harsh dictator and Putin supporter, Lukashenko, and Ukraine, a democratic nation, are not NATO members verging onto the Russian border.

Putin is now threatening nuclear war against the West, if so much as one Western soldier sets foot in Ukraine. The West sits impotent. Will yet another civilian massacre take place in Ukraine as it did in Poland in 1939?

And when Putin conquers Ukraine and turns his military against Latvia, or Lithuania, or Romania, or maybe for a second time in recent history, against Poland, where will the West be then? It cannot sit on its hands then. According to the NATO pact, “An attack on one is an attack on all.”

When power turned a man into a madman, we saw the effects in a major world war lasting six devastating years. The next one may be over much more quickly.

At least the little nine or ten year old Ukrainian girl, Polina, along with many of her schoolmates, won’t be around to suffer it.

 

 

 

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