In our time together today, our “Take Ten” with Will Luden, we will compare Putin and Hitler, Biden and Chamberlain–and look for today’s Churchill. I normally resist parallels to WWII Germany, but there are too many now to ignore. Russia is following Nazi Germany’s path to expanding its territory, using the same lame excuses backed by significant military strength. In September of 1939, when Germany invaded Poland, France and Britain declared war on Germany. In May of 1940, Britain made Winston Churchil l its Prime Minister. Resisting the powerful appeasers in his own cabinet, Churchill rallied his nation to stand up to Hitler. Eventually, even strongly isolationist America was drawn into the war only by the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941.
Had Britain either negotiated or surrendered, Germany would likely have won WWII. And where do you think we’d be today? We need our own Winston Churchill, or we will lose, and lose big. Where is he? Or she?
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Putin is following part of Hitler’s playbook play by play.
1. Go back with me to the point in history when Adolph Hitler started adding tens of millions of people and entire countries to Nazi Germany without firing a shot. Under the guise of uniting all German speaking peoples, Hitler added the Rhineland, Austria, and the Sudentland, the German speaking part of Czechoslovakia. Putin is adding parts of Ukraine under the guise of uniting all Russia loving people.
2. Hitler exclaimed long and loudly about how Germany needed to build military strength and increase its size and international prestige to assuage the undeserved embarrassment and humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles. Putin is being equally loud and devious when he claims that Russia needs to avenge the underserved embarrassment of the breakup of the Soviet Union.
3. Just as Hitler invaded Poland after creating a false flag attack, Putin created an excuse to invade the rest of Ukraine, the vast bulk of that country’s territory and population.
4. Prediction. When Germany invaded Poland, both Britain and France had had enough, and declared war. No country will find the courage to find a response that will drive Putin out of sovereign Ukraine. There is no Churchill to swim against the tide and stand against Putin. Sanctions will not deter Putin any more than the Treaty of Versailles post WWI, the ultimate in sanctions, kept Germany from rearming. Biden will be the modern version of Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister who hande4d over Czechoslovakia to ol’ Adoplh, believing Hitler’s lie that Chamberlain could trade Czechoslovakia for peace. No other country has the strength to stand up to Russia, even if they could summon the courage to try. If anything is to change, we the voters in the US must force that change. We must take on that responsibility. We, the US, have the required military strength and other resources to take on Putin and his territorial and power and influence ambitions. We lack the desperately needed leadership.
And without America leading, the world lacks leadership on any issue of this magnitude. We need leaders who can see clearly what is unfolding, have the political courage to speak out, even if that means going against popular opinion, and, finally, summon the courage to act when danger looms.
From the WSJ. “As Vladimir Putin considers how much of Ukraine to conquer, it’s worth recalling a moment when a U.S. presidential candidate was ridiculed by his opponent for being right about the Russian autocrat. We’re referring to Mitt Romney, the GOP nominee in 2012, who said at the time that Russia was America’s main geopolitical foe.
“President Obama used the stage of a presidential debate to mock Mr. Romney. ‘Governor Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that al Qaeda’s a threat because a few months ago when you were asked, what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia,’ Mr. Obama said. ‘And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.’
“The media mostly chortled and said how right Mr. Obama was. In April 2012 Joe Biden used a similar attack line in a speech. ‘When we came to office, President Obama reset our relationship with Russia. . . . But just a month ago, Governor Romney called and here again I quote, ‘without question our number one geopolitical foe’ is Russia. As my brother would say, ‘go figure,’ the then Vice President said. ‘Look, I think it’s fair to say when it comes to Russia, based on only what we know he’s said so far, Governor Romney is mired in a Cold War mindset.’” Sadly, very sadly, Romney lost to Obama, and Biden is now our President, our champion squaring off against Putin on behalf of America and the world. With Biden in office, we run the very real danger of returning to the disastrous Cold War, the war we won at great cost in 1991.
Leadership is the indispensable quality that all entities, from families to First World countries, must have in order to survive, to say nothing of thriving. Inspirational leaders from Joan of Arc and Susan B. Anthony to Churchill and Gandhi to Martin Luther King, Jr and Nelson Mandella have all made our world a far better place.
Where are those leaders today? Many, many people, especially politicians, media personalities along with Hollywood and sports figures in the news, hold themselves out to be leaders. Virtually none of them are.
There was a story in the Reader’s Digest years ago recounting the experience of a young woman who had applied to a top college. Her Father was asked to supply information, which included the question, “Is your daughter a leader?” He answered “No”, but added that she was a good follower. The college wrote to both of them, accepting her into that year’s Freshman class. The letter to the Dad included this observation, “We’d like to welcome your daughter to a class of 426 leaders, and one follower.” So many think they are leaders, and so few are.
The US Presidency is arguably the toughest, and certainly the most consequential, job in the world. We need, “Men To Match My Mountains” a book by Irving Stone about the men who matched the challenge of opening the American West. On occasion, we have seen men who matched the then current challenges and were able to step up to the dreadful tasks demanded of the times. George Washington risked everything he owned, including his life, as a traitor to the British Crown, to be part of creating the breakthrough founding documents. He then led the ragtag army that defeated the most powerful military the world had ever seen. Similarly, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, to list a few, rose to the occasion when crises loomed and they steered us through to the other side.
“War is merely the continuation of politics with other means.” Carl von Clausewitz, a Prussian general and military strategist. Our President, Joe Biden, is up against the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who was a successful operative in the Russian KGB, a cross between our CIA and the Gestapo, Nazi Germany’s secret police. Putin was in the KGB for 16 years, rising in the ranks before he left to begin his political career. Putin is tough and focused; more than willing and capable of doing anything to get what he wants for himself and Russia. Joe Biden is a nice guy, and is completely overmatched by his opponent, politically and as a military leader. Our man is way out of his depth, much to our peril.
In the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, the US promised to, “seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine” in the event of an “act of aggression” against the country. In exchange, Ukraine returned all of its 1,800 nuclear weapons, the third largest stockpile in the world, to Russia. The same Russia that is attacking Ukraine today. Now, where are the US promises?
You are watching or listening to this podcast. China is watching and listening as well. To the extent that Putin gets away with his aggression with Ukraine, China will know what it can get away with in its goal of absorbing Taiwan, just as they are completing their takeover of Hong Kong. After promising–promising to nothing of the kind.
We all have the personal responsibility to seek out, work for and vote for the leaders that America lacks, and must have. Speaking of personal responsibility, this principle does not stand alone; the two main and interdependent principles at Revolution 2.0 are:
1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
Where do you stand? What are you going to do? Remember, it does not matter where you stand if you don’t do anything. You can start by subscribing to these episodes, and encouraging others to subscribe with you.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:1.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
This is Will Luden. We’ll talk again soon.