Does history really repeat itself?
If this concept is true then we might be in for some seriously dark days. In 1918 the world celebrated the end of World War I. We now know that the great "War to End All Wars" never really ended at all. Kinetic war with Germany merely paused, giving way to a devastating economic war that effectively galvanized the Germans into something much more frightening. This year is the 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement when the Western World appeased a monster, giving Hitler a collective pass for annexing the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia.
Afterall, it was just a small sliver of land… "let him have it" men like Chamberlain said. But appeasement only encouraged the storm to come. The Great War to End All Wars never ended in 1918. It raged from 1914 to 1945.
But consider this. Did the Cold War ever truly end? The West declared victory in 1991, and I can't help but see parallels between 1991 and 1918. Like Germany in 1918, Russia was dealt with in a very similar way in the 90's. NATO expanded and pushed into the Balkans against Moscow's wishes. The Kremlin went through severe economic disorder, molding it into what we now see today. In 2014 Russia pulled off it's own "Sudetenland" annexation with the seizure of Ukrainian Crimea. When the West paused, Putin went on to seize Eastern Ukraine. The world continued to pause, even turn a blind eye, and as of today over 10,000 Ukrainians have died in this ignored war. No one talks about it. No one wants to acknowledge it's going on.
And given the silence, Russia pushes on. Yesterday Russia fired on and seized three Ukrainian naval ships. Multiple Ukrainian sailors have been wounded. Russia has blockaded the Azov Sea which is a significant financial hub for Ukraine. The Ukrainian military is on high alert. All ships have been put to sea. Today their parliament will vote to initiate martial law, which was called for by the Ukrainian president. We are dangerously close to the breakout of a much larger conflict. All it takes is one escalation. Cooler heads must prevail, but Ukraine's president might be looking for a statement. He's in the middle of an election campaign and losing. What he does next is anyone's guess.
We are dangerously close to the breakout of a much larger conflict. All it takes is one escalation.
The UN Security council has called an emergency meeting. Both the EU and NATO have urged restraint. Meanwhile, the US State Department and President Trump have been eerily silent. Is history repeating itself? Are we appeasing Russia? Do we even have a choice when dealing with a nuclear power in their own backyard?
The next 24 hours will tell us a lot.