The Past Isn’t Past

Is the past really a foreign country?  Did they do things so differently then?  Or is it that the past isn’t dead after all—and isn’t even past?

In Washington, it is always 1939.  But the Crimea isn’t the Sudetenland, and Vladimir Putin isn’t Hitler.  No Blitzkrieg threatens Europe, or even Kiev.  Then it’s the 1950’s, perhaps, and the Cold War relived.  But Putin is no Stalin or even Khrushchev.  The Kiev opposition leaders who became the new powers that be in Ukraine aren’t necessarily brave dissidents or heroic national leaders whiplashed by the ideological currents of the Cold War, but largely the corrupt and distrusted minions of various Ukrainian oligarchs, like the last regime in Kiev.  And the one before that, and so on . . .

At one point, yours truly suggested that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if the Crimea went to Russia.  Ukraine might be all the more stable in the long run without it.  A phone call from Washington: But where will Putin stop?  There’s the Trans-Dniester region, which could be used to threaten Moldova—and what of Rumania?  Georgia?  The “dominoes” will fall . . . and if Putin can threaten Ukraine over the Russian speakers there, what of the Baltic states?

Well, what of them?  Did the West’s...

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