Ukraine: What Happens When A Superpower Is No Longer Feared

Leonid Bershidsky of Bloomberg View says he generally avoids drawing any historical comparisons to Nazi Germany, but concedes that events in Ukraine are eerily reflective of the Anschluss, the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938.

He says it is possible “to cling to the hope that Putin, and Russia, are not going to live out the Nazi analogy,” as there has been little violence and Russia-leaning regions have not attempted to secede.

But, he adds, there are grim signs ahead.

“Government-controlled media are already whipping Russians into a patriotic frenzy. The strongest anti-Putin opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has been placed under house arrest. On Sunday, police in Moscow detained several dozen people who attempted to demonstrate against a war with Ukraine.”

Perhaps more worrisome is that Russia no longer fears the United States writes Ben Judah. Instead, they see a nation “distracted” and an administration which prefers to talk about Middle East peace talks and the Asian pivot.

“Back in Moscow, Russia’s hears American weakness out of Embassy Moscow. Once upon a time the Kremlin feared a foreign adventure might trigger Cold War economic sanctions where it hurts: export bans on key parts for its oil industry, even being cut out of its access to the Western banking sector. No more,” contends Judah.

Jonathan Tobin echoes Judah’s analysis in a piece in Commentary magazine in which he argues the situation in Ukraine is a result of the administration’s weakness and should be a warning sign to a Republican Party that is flirting with isolationism.

“But, as we have seen in Syria and now in the Ukraine, there is a price to pay for such weakness and it is not one that will be paid by Bashar Assad or Putin. Nor will others who seek to test the mettle of American resolve, such as the leaders of Iran, fail to observe that the free world is led by a paper tiger. U.S. allies will draw the same conclusion,” Tobin contends.

He continues: “The lessons of the tragedy unfolding in the Crimea are many, but surely the first of them must be that when dictators don’t fear the warnings of the leader of the free world and when America demonstrates that it is war weary and won’t, on almost any account, take firm action, to defend its interests and to restrain aggression, mayhem is almost certainly always going to follow.”


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