May I please shed one tear for Vladimir Putin? Don’t worry. It won’t be too large and it won’t be too wet.
Let’s start with Helsinki. Not Helsinki now, but Helsinki in 1939, in the Winter War, as Soviet Russian troops were ordered by Josef Stalin to roll in and conquer Finland. The odds looked pretty good for the Communists. Here was little Finland, with a population half that of Chicago, up against a Soviet Union with millions of people and territory the size of the moon.
It was epic! The Soviets had just signed a pact with Nazi Germany in which each side promised not to attack the other. That’s not all Josef Stalin did. His mind aflame with paranoia, the Soviet ruler purged, jailed and even executed every Russian general who knew which end of the rifle the bullet came out of. Those generals were replaced with Communist Party hacks, some of whom had done enough service with firing squads to know from which end the bullet emerged, but little else, and the hardy Finns, led by their future President Mannerheim, sliced and diced the Communist invaders in a military upset the whole world noted and applauded. It took endless columns of Russian troops three months until the Finns had to sue for peace. Those Finnish fighters earned the respect of all sentient mankind. The bumbling Soviet invaders were merely Chapter 1 in a long parade of Communist humiliation, disgrace and defeat.
We Americans don’t see Putin as the tailwind of failure. To us he’s the ruler of “the other superpower.”
Vladimir Putin said the collapse of the Soviet Union was the most catastrophic development of the last century. Only for Communist dictators, Vladimir. Putin’s side of the world has given us Xerxes, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Stalin and the like. Being nothing more than a muscular billionaire strongman will never cut it for Putin. He’ll view himself as a failure if he doesn’t reconstruct the Soviet empire. And look at the odds.
Hitler had it easy – in the early going. He was surrounded by weak and cowardly countries who organized against him far too late. Putin rules a Russia that’s economically close to being a failed state. And instead of a Britain and France deciding too late to try to save Poland, Putin’s weakened Russia faces a coalition of 29 NATO members whose resolve no one doubts.
Why is the left so fearful of any coziness between Trump and Putin? Trump holds higher cards. If he plays them right and defangs a Putin hellbent upon achieving renewed Soviet glory, Trump will emerge as the strongest man in the world. And that will be the end of the left’s dreams of power and glory.
Let’s note who represents what. Trump represents free enterprise at its finest, freedom of opportunity and freedom in general. The leaders of the NATO countries represent democracies that have learned the bitter lessons of World War II and will never get sucker-punched by a totalitarian aggressor one by one. The official motto of NATO is “An attack on one is an attack on all.”
And Putin? Putin represents the unprovoked invasion of a democratic neighbor. Putin then declared Crimea again part of Russia. Putin represents unapologetic support of a Syrian war criminal who has welcomed Iranian forces thirsty for Mediterranean waters. Putin represents Russian cyberattacks and meddling in American elections.
Do you remember how evilly colonialism was portrayed, as all the big empires were shattered at the end of World War II? Guess what! Every single former colonial subject nation now welcomes, respects and even reveres its former colonial masters. Go anywhere in what used to be the vast swaths of the earth owned by Britain, France, Holland, Portugal and Belgium and you’ll be astonished to hear how the conversation about those former masters goes.
Putin, on the other hand, represents Communism masquerading as democracy and despised by every former “possession.” That’s why Eastern Europe is so enthusiastic about NATO. That’s why the grocery clerks, the dentists, the students – practically the entire populations – are getting more and more ready to defend themselves in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria. Had enough, Putin? They all hate you and are getting more and more prepared to repel you each day.
Would somebody remind Putin that when Nazi Germany’s troops attacked Soviet Russia they were welcomed as liberators by the people in many areas? These people were motivated, not so much by love of Germans or Nazism, but by hatred of Communism. Millions of Russian troops taken prisoner by the Germans begged for the chance to form a Russian army to join the fight against Communism. Soviet Gen. Vlasov, taken prisoner by the Germans in the first battle for Moscow, volunteered to lead such a unit. Hitler feared that many Russians with guns and capped the Vlasov force at 850,000. The venture ended badly. Hitler sent them to fight the Americans and British at Normandy. Those Russians didn’t want to fight Americans and Brits. They wanted to live like Americans and Brits. They were brokenhearted at this betrayal.
C’mon, Putin. Nobody’s buying your political ointment. What Communist dictatorship ever had a problem with illegal immigration? They want our way, Vladimir, not yours. Do you know who the Stalin crowd can thank for their great victory over Germany? It was the utterly stupid brutality of the Nazi invaders that drew all the Russians into a patriotic fervor to exact revenge on them.
Putin should be reminded of some of this history before he “gives the world 24 hours to get out!”