International norms, protocols and law have been crowed out with name calling. It is inflaming a war that is destroying Ukraine and pouring gasoline on all of Europe. Calling Putin "Hitler is like giving children matches and locking them into a small closet full of clothes. Both can only lead to a disaster
This article originally appeared at OpEdNews
International norms, protocols and law have been crowed out with name calling. It is inflaming a war that is destroying Ukraine and pouring gasoline on all of Europe. Calling Putin "Hitler is like giving children matches and locking them into a small closet full of clothes. Both can only lead to a disaster.
The neocon party of war is whipping up the mob mentality. They are taking the American people on another joy-ride that can only end up in another ditch. This time it might result in a mushroom cloud. Even they admit it.
Reportedly in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Secretary of State John Kerry said that "the American government and the administration are fully aware that this confrontation with Russia could lead to a nuclear war". [HERE]
While politicians and the main stream media are having great fun calling Putin "Hitler", it is a very dangerous game. Heads of governments, professional diplomats and respectable journalists should know better. As Richard Sakwa says in his excellent book Frontline Ukraine:
"One of the novelties of the great-power conflict in the early twenty-first century is the intensity with which political leaders of countries are demonized. An unholy alliance of opportunist politicians and subservient media traduce their opponents, ignoring the views of experts and scholars, to portray them as mendacious and untrustworthy. The basis for treating the other as a legitimate political subject is undermined and in the end justifies political and military intervention."
In other words, Sakwa is saying that calling Putin "Hitler" is irresponsible and can easily lead to WW3.
When the stakes are smaller, such as with Manuel Noriega of Panama (1989) and Saddam Hussein (2002), it can be dismissed as propaganda. With the stakes being nuclear war, name calling is irresponsible and unforgivable in 2015 when Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin is the target.
One of the first to invoke Hitler was Hillary Clinton. Clinton said that Putin was just using the excuse of protecting ethnic Russians to annex Crimea and compared it to Hitler saying he was protecting ethnic Germans in Poland:
"Now if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the 30s," Clinton said. [HERE]
In an attempt to be more original, Zbigniew Brzezinski in an op-ed called Putin a "comical imitation of Mussolini and a more menacing reminder of Hitler". [HERE]
Once others saw that Clinton and Brzezinski were not held to account for calling Putin "Hitler", others soon piled on to the name calling bandwagon. Pictures of Putin with a Hitler mustache started popping up everywhere.
Of course one would expect the likes of John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Marco Rubio to call Putin "Hitler". Even some American allies wanted in on the fun too. Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Britain's Prince Charles and P.M. David Cameron all called Putin "Hitler" too.
Once the politicians got the "Hitler" ball rolling, it did not take long for the political pundits and op-ed writers to wax eloquently that Putin is just like Hitler.
Those that should know better, such as Thomas Friedman who writes for the New York Times and Timothy Garton Ash, writing in the Guardian, could not resist though. [See my earlier article: "The Propaganda War"].
Charles Lane, opinion writer for the Washington Post, did an unremarkable comparison of Putin to Hitler: "Is Vladimir Putin Truly a Modern Day Hitler?" The comparison was so weak as to be laughable. But this is not a laughing matter. [HERE]
The Russian people are not laughing. Not only is President Vladimir Putin highly respected by them, they also vividly remember that Hitler killed 20 million of their people. Hitler and WW2 is no laughing matter for Russians. It may take a generation for the Russians to trust the American people again.
Forbes, the magazine about and for the 1%, asked: "Is Vladimir Putin another Adolph Hitler?" It answered its own question in the affirmative.
Forbes warned of the lessons of WW2: "Hitler marched into the Rhineland..the Allies did nothing..Hitler marched into Austria..the Allies did nothing." Forbes says that now, like Neville Chamberlain, "Obama does nothing". [HERE]
TIME magazine says that Putin is the "New Hitler". It even runs a cover with Putin looking like Hitler.
The Observer's Lincoln Mitchell tries a different approach: "Is Vladimir Putin a Wimp or a Russian Hitler?" He says Putin is a wimp, but a dangerous one "who remains popular at home, is an authoritarian, a kleptocrat with no respect for the sovereignty of his neighbors". [HERE]
Russian dissidents, like the darling of the West, Garry Kasparov, is a "Putin is Hitler" parrot [HERE]. He says that Putin is a "one man dictator like Adolph Hitler" and that the West is weak to rule out military force against him. [HERE]
Garry Kasparov is a strong supporter of Israel. He was a rabid neocon for the invasion of Iraq in 2002 and a war monger for a world war in the Middle East: "Baghdad remains the next stop but not the last. We must also have plans for Tehran and Damascus, not to mention Riyadh". [HERE]
When dissident Boris Nemtsov, founder of the "Union of Rightwing Forces" political party in Russia [HERE], was assassinated outside the Kremlin, the main stream media pointed the finger of guilt at Putin before the corpse was even cold. In a celebrative mood over the assassination of Nemtsov, the main stream media says that Putin is acting just like Hitler.
The main stream media has become a barren desert of propaganda, fear mongering and saber rattling. It is hard to find in the main stream media an oasis of intelligent analysis. Responsible journalists have mostly been sidelined. The main stream media has a lot to answer for in this war.
Those that keep screaming "Hitler" have forgotten the real lessons of WW2. All they remember is that appeasement of Hitler lead to more aggression. They have forgotten about WW1, the consequences of that peace and what lead to the rise of Hitler.
The Treaty of Versailles at the end of WW1 laid the seeds for WW2. The treaty made a pariah out of Germany, isolated it and caused financial ruin and suffering for the German people. The U.S. refused to work with an international organization by not ratifying the League of Nations that could have kept the peace. Those should have been the lessons learned from WW2, too.
Another lesson not learned from WW2 is that economic sanctions are financial warfare that can back an adversary's into a corner. Such was the case with Japan in 1941. The U.S. embargoed Japan's oil imports. Japan responded by attacking Pearl Harbor.
The U.S. is now leading the charge to turn Russia into a pariah state, just like the Allies did to Germany after WW1. The U.S. is trying to isolate Russia from Europe, just like the Allies isolated Germany after WW1. The attack on the Ruble is causing financially ruin and suffering for the Russian people, just like the Allies did to the German people after WW1.
The U.S. has sidelined the United Nations, just like it did the League of Nations after WW1. The U.S. has wallowed in triumphalism and looted Russia after the Cold War, just like the Allies did after the defeat of Germany after WW1.
Economic sanctions against Russia are not unlike the embargo against Japan before WW2. The main stream media is a bullhorn for war, just like they have been for every war.
Obama says that he is trying to "change the behavior" of Putin as if Putin is a small child. The one being childish is the U.S. living in a fantasy world of thinking it is exceptional. The one being childish is the U.S. that cries "Hitler" every time it does not get its way. Those that are being childish are those that refuse to learn from history and are calling people names.
Of course what the U.S. party of war really wants is a regime change in Russia. Have they given any thought or concern about what might come after, if Putin is gone? Putin is a moderate. There are hardliners that might take his place. Or Russia and all of Eurasia could be destabilized the way the party of war did to the Middle East.
The U.S. did not learn the lessons of WW2. It should have learned the lessons of Iraq, but did not either. In 2002 the neocons said that Saddam Hussein was "Hitler". They said get rid of Saddam and the Iraqi people will welcome the U.S. as liberators. They said the Middle East would blossom with Western democracy, peace, and secular neoliberal capitalism. Instead the whole Middle East is in chaos. Nobody is held to account. No lessons were learned.
Now the neocons are saying that the problem is Putin: "He is Hitler". Get rid of Putin and the Russian people will welcome the U.S. as liberators, they say. The party of war promises that this time it will work, once Putin is gone: Eurasia will blossom with Western democracy and neoliberal capitalism.
Why should we believe the neocons this time? They are asking us to take an insane gamble with the future of the planet.