Then and now
Readers of this blog know that I’ve been warning about the dangers of nationalists such as Vladimir Putin. Recent events have some disturbing parallels:
Recall this history:
September 1938: Germany demands German speaking areas of Czechoslovakia
March 1939: Germany takes all of Czechoslovakia
September 1939: Germany invades Poland
And recent events:
February 2014: Russia demands Russian speaking areas of Ukraine
March 2022: Russia invades all of Ukraine
April 2022: Russia announces its intention to invade Moldova
People who suggest that, “If we just give Putin what he wants then we can have peace”, might wish to ponder the lessons of 1938. Putin won’t stop until he’s been stopped.
To be sure, Putin is not exactly like Hitler, who was a unique figure in world history. There are many important differences between the two situations. But one thing that does not change is that militaristic nationalistic fascists are a unique threat to world peace. There are other threats out there, but WWIII is likely to begin in the “bloodlands” of Eastern Europe.
PS. I strongly recommend Tyler Cowen’s excellent Bloomberg piece on the nuclear threat.