Monday marked the 75th anniversary of the beginning of WWII. It was September 1st, 1939 that the world saw Adolph Hitler finally shed the charade of "peace in our time" with the West and invaded Poland. The day did not go unnoticed by British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Cameron used the occasion to warn other European leaders that history has a way of repeating itself. He was referring to the historic pre-World War II blunder of appeasement instead of resisting; a veiled reference to Russian belligerence in Ukraine.
The prime minister reminded his audience of Britain’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who in 1938 sold out the West to Adolph Hitler at the infamous Munich Conference. Chamberlain basically gave dictator Adolph Hitler Czechoslovakia in the hopes that would end the tyrant’s territorial aggression. It provided Hitler with an open door to conquer other neighbors.
Cameron urged his counterparts to hold firm with Russia and its meddling in Ukrainian territory. The closed-door session was reported by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. Speaking in Brussels, Cameron said, “We run the risk of repeating the mistakes made in Munich in 1938. We cannot know what will happen next. This time we cannot meet Putin’s demands. He has already taken Crimea and we cannot allow him to take the whole country.”
The comments came as President Obama prepared to embark on his journey to Estonia where he will deliver a speech today intended to solidify the “steadfast” commitment of the United States to the Baltic states on Russia’s border, according to the White House. The Ukraine situation is unique since the country is not a part of NATO. The West has committed itself to their cause, but there are no official obligations.
Cameron and Great Britain are not alone in their anger toward the Russians. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the main mediator with Putin, calls Russian President Vladimir Putin “irrational and unpredictable.” Putin has been swaggering in public lately concerning the Ukraine crisis. “We could take Kiev in two weeks,” he was quoted as saying last week bringing back memories to WWII historians of the many threats Hitler made on the road to Poland in 1939. "It’s best not to mess with us,” Putin added, obviously referring to Russia’s nuclear arsenal.
Meanwhile, NATO officials meeting in Wales this week, are set to propose a new rapid-reaction force of 4,000 soldiers to protect Eastern Europe. One can only imagine the chuckle that brings to a dictator like Putin.
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