Lessons from History by Tom Reynolds
Instead of learning from history, the far left led by Joe Biden wants to destroy it. Perhaps, because a reading of history invalidates their agenda? History is still available, at least for now, for us to learn from it.
In the 1930’s, Hitler, rightly, saw France and England as having weak leadership and consumed by their own internal political problems and America as isolationist. Thus, none of them would be willing or able to respond to Germany’s expansionism. From 1935 until 1939, Axis partners Germany and Italy invaded and conquered countries with only ineffective responses from European and American governments.
Ethiopia (formerly Abyssinia) is a landlocked country in eastern Africa. In October, 1935, Italy’s Mussolini invaded Ethiopia. France and Britain responded by imposing toothless sanctions on Italy.
The Rhineland is a strip of land about 50 kilometers wide on the west bank of the Rhine River. Following the end of World War 1, it was declared a neutral zone separating Belgium and France from Germany; German troops were banned from entering it. Having observed the response to the Ethiopian invasion, Hitler used the toothless Franco-German Pact as an excuse, saying Germany was threatened, and marched German troops into the Rhineland. Britain and France did nothing, even though there were two treaties in effect that had forbidden Germany from doing that.
Austria was an independent German speaking nation bordering southern Germany. After World War 1, it was prevented by treaties from unifying with Germany. In March, 1938, an election was called to decide if Austria wanted to continue as an independent nation. Afraid of a vote not to his liking, Hitler and German troops marched into Austria and annexed the country into Germany. Other nations stood by and did nothing.
After World War 1, the nation of Czechoslovakia was created on Germany’s and Austria’s eastern border. The areas closest to Germany contained many people of German descent and Hitler, falsely, claimed these ethnic Germans were being harshly treated by the Czechoslovakian government. In September 1938, Germany started a low intensity undeclared war on Czechoslovakia. In response, Britain, France and Germany (but not Czechoslovakia) met in Munich where France and Britain ceded the ethnic German provinces that bordered Germany to Hitler, who eventually took over the entire country. Britain’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain made his famous statement “Peace for our time” upon his return from Munich.
In August, 1939, Russia and Germany signed a non-aggression pact that included a secret agreement on dividing Poland, which is a country between Germany’s eastern border and Russia’s western border. On September 1, 1939, Hitler’s troops invaded Poland. Seventeen days later, Stalin’s Russian troops also invaded Poland. World War 2 had begun and more than 60 million people would die, which was more than 2.5% of the world’s population. 418 thousand of them were Americans.
Today’s Ukraine is a country on the southwestern border of Russia and the Crimea is a peninsula in southern Ukraine, which is separated from Russia by a narrow strip of the Black Sea. The Ukraine and Crimea were formerly a part of the Soviet Union. In June, 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Crimea reached an agreement with the Ukraine that Crimea would become a part of the Ukraine as an Autonomous Republic with special economic status. In a 1997 treaty, Russia recognized Ukraine’s borders and its sovereignty over Crimea.
In February, 2014, Russian soldiers took over the Crimean government and elected a pro-Russian Prime Minister who asked for Russia to send more troops. Eventually, a formal agreement was reached between the pro-Russian Crimean government and Russia.
President Barack Obama’s response to the Crimean invasion was several phone calls to Putin warning him of consequences. Then, Obama hoped to bring Putin to his knees by announcing that the U.S. would not send a delegation to the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. Later, Obama imposed economic sanctions which had marginal impact on Russia. Putin managed to not fall to his knees under Obama’s pressure.
As a Senator, Obama was instrumental in getting $48 million to speed up the destruction of conventional weapons held by the Ukraine for defense. Obama claimed in a press release, at the time, that this would guarantee “the safety of the Ukrainian people and people around the world, by keeping them out of conflicts around the world.” In 2014, When the Ukrainian government asked President Obama for weapons, he sent military ration kits instead. One British analyst said that “we went to a knife fight with a baguette”. Did President Obama deny lethal weapons aid to the Ukrainians because it would seem like a repudiation of his former stance? Obama claimed he was giving Putin a face-saving way out; an off-ramp. Putin didn’t take that exit.
Donald Trump was criticized by Democrats for not immediately providing lethal aid to the Ukrainians when, in short order, he did provide arms. The Democrats criticism seems a bit hypocritical in view of Obama’s actions. Putin’s Ukrainian dreams were put on hold while Trump was President.
Obama lite, Joe Biden, is now faced with a Russian invasion of the Ukraine. Like Hitler’s claim for invading Czechoslovakia, Putin claims ethnic Russians are being mistreated. Like Hitler’s rationale for the invasion of the Rhineland, Russia feels threatened. Biden’s response, like Obama’s, was to make a phone call. Reminiscent of Munich, Biden also promised that no NATO nation would be invaded without consequences; Putin has certainly noticed that the Ukraine is not a NATO nation and, like Hitler, he has seen this as a green light to move forward.
Putin has now recognized as independent, two regions in eastern Ukraine that are partly controlled by Russian-backed separatists. President Biden’s initial reaction was limited to issuing a narrow set of sanctions on these areas which would have virtually no effect, since there is almost no financial investment in these areas. Putin has since sent in Russian troops. Biden further clarified that a “minor incursion” would not trigger a response by the United States.
And in the rest of the world:
From 1933 to the start of World War 2 in 1939, Nazi Germany increasingly engaged in internal anti-semitism. Prominent churchmen, intellectuals and politicians throughout the world said little about the persecution of the Jews, even though refugees brought increasingly appalling stories about it.
China is now being accused of committing crimes against humanity and genocide against the Uyghur minority in northwest China. But the Genocide Games, otherwise known as the Winter Olympics, went on as planned in China. And prominent athletes, especially pro basketball players and the NBA, itself, are very critical of the USA but silent on China. Perhaps because China is viewed as a big financial investment opportunity?
Oh yes, and China is sending warplanes into Taiwan’s air space on a regular basis. The U.S. no longer has a mutual defense treaty with Taiwan, which Biden touts as “strategic ambiguity”.
But not to worry, Biden and our military have been focused like a laser on Global Climate Change and Racism as our biggest defense threats, while the FBI is investigating domestic terrorists such as parents who protest at school board meetings.
Does anyone in the world, especially our enemies, view Joe Biden as having the strength to lead the free world in standing up to these crises? Remember, he has been characterized as forever being on the wrong side of history.
In his defense, it should be remembered that Biden did show strength in standing up to Ukraine when he was Vice President. He single-handedly forced Ukraine to stop criminal investigations of his son, Hunter. Great leaders are known for the priorities they set.