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Understanding Putin and Understanding Biden

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness.” [Martin Luther King].

One has to question Vladimir Putin’s motivation in seeking a war against neighboring Ukraine. Why now? Had he been engaged in long term or short term planning of the mission? In his speech on February 23, 2022, the eve of the operation, it went beyond the usual Russian leader’s own prejudices.

It resembled the false mythology of the Arabs who claim to be the indigenous owners of the British Palestine. Putin described the current situation of Ukraine as that of a “colony ,with a puppet regime.”  He outwardly denied the very idea of a separate Ukrainian nationality, arguing that, “since time immemorial, the people living in the south-west of what has historically been Russian land have called themselves Russians.” Was he motivated by the previous historical events?

Following the rejection of his Continental System by Czar Alexander 1, French Emperor Napoleon 1, invaded Russia with his Grande Armee on June 24, 1812. The enormous army, featuring more than 500,000 soldiers and staff, was the largest European military force ever assembled to that date.

During the opening months of the invasion, Napoleon was forced to contend with a bitter Russian army in perpetual retreat. Refusing to engage Napoleon’s superior army in a full-scale confrontation, the Russians under General Mikhail Kutuzov burned everything behind them as they retreated deeper and deeper into Russia. On September 7, the indecisive Battle of Borodino was fought, in which both sides suffered terrible losses. On September 14, Napoleon arrived in Moscow intending to find supplies but instead found almost the entire population evacuated, and the Russian army retreated again. Early the next morning, fires broke across the city set by Russian patriots, and the Grande Armée’s winter quarters were destroyed. After waiting a month for a surrender that never came, Napoleon, faced with the onset of the Russian winter, was forced to order his starving army out of Moscow.

During the disastrous retreat, Napoleon’s army suffered continual harassment from a suddenly aggressive and merciless Russian army. Stalked by hunger and the deadly lances of the Cossacks, the decimated army reached the Berezina River late in November but found its route blocked by the Russians. On November 26, Napoleon forced a way across at Stotinka, and when the bulk of his army passed the river three days later, he was forced to burn his makeshift bridges behind him, stranding some 10,000 stragglers on the other side. From there, the retreat became a rout, and on December 8 Napoleon left what remained of his army to return to Paris with a few cohorts. Six days later, the Grande Armée finally escaped Russia, having suffered a loss of more than 400,000 men during the disastrous invasion.

The invasion of Finland in November, 1939 ended in the Russian’s technical victory, as the brave  Fins ultimately surrendered. Psychologically, the mighty Red Army was defeated, having lost in 4 months nearly 200,000 men, 1,100 tanks and 684 aircraft while the Fins, who had no tanks , lost 25,000 men and 61 aircraft.

A faked border incident gave the Soviet Union the excuse to invade Finland. The Red army was  well equipped, poorly led and unable to deal with the Finnish terrain and winter weather.

The Crimean War in 1853, found Russia intending to link its revolution with a communist revolution in Germany, hoping to assist other communist movements in Europe. To be able to provide direct physical support to revolutionaries in the West, the Red Army would have to cross the territory of Poland.

Why did Russia go to war with Poland in 1920?  The reason given was that Russia had to  aid its ‘”blood brothers”, the Ukrainians and Byelorussians, who were trapped in territory that had been illegally annexed by Poland. Hence Poland was squeezed from West and East – trapped between 2 behemoths.

Closer to contemporary’s times, Putin seems to have modeled himself along the lines of Lenin and Stalin. Like Lenin when he invaded Poland, Putin stormed Ukraine consulting no one, deluding himself that his troops would be welcome, only to be met by a nationalist fury for which he did not prepare. [J Post 3/11/2022: Amotz  Asa-El].

Like Stalin when he descended on Finland, Putin failed to  consider his prey’s  ability to fight and its readiness to die.[J Post 3/11/2022: Amotz Asa -El].

Mostly like himself and sadly Vladimir Putin’s primary targets are civilians, children and women. And undoubtedly, he chose this time because of the weakness of America’s and NATO’s weakness.

Eric R Mandel, director of MEPIN [Middle East Political Information Network and the Senior Security Editor for the Jerusalem Report] has penned an important and significant piece on Learning from the invasion. Noting that dictators often mean what they say, he quotes Putin in 2005. “—the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century—Tens of millions of our citizens and fellow country found themselves outside the Russian Federation.” Mandel concludes, “The lesson for the West is that isolationism and appeasement invite expansionism and war.”

Indeed for Biden and his allies, this time resembles the Holocaust period where abandonment of a nation in this case, Ukraine, rules supreme. Roosevelt refuse to bomb the railroad leading to Auschwitz because it would have delayed the conclusion of WWII. Biden refused to allow a “non-fly zone” over Ukraine or “feet on the ground” because it could escalate into WWIII. The absurdity of these so-called leaders is frightening to say the least.

David S Wyman [died March 14, 2018], was a Christian, a Protestant of Yankee and Swedish decent, whose book entitled ,”Abandonment of the Jews” published in 1984″ has been highly acclaimed. To a certain extent removal of the word, “Jews” and replacement with “Ukraine” has distinct meaning.

The words of the late noble Holocaust survivor Ellie Wiesel speaks volumes to the present. In his “Legends of our time”, he said, “At the risk of offending , it must be emphasized that the victims suffered more, and more profoundly, from the indifference of the onlookers than from the brutality of the executioner.”

On 22 April, 1999,Elie Wiesel delivered “The Perils of Indifference ” in a Washington  DC  address before President Clinton. He focused on the word “indifference” with which he has been associated with over the years.

He proceeds, “Of course, indifference can be tempting, more than seductive. It is so much easier to avoid  such rude interruptions to our work, our dreams, our hopes. It is, after all, awkward, troublesome, to be involved in another person’s pain and despair.

Yet, for the person who is indifferent, his or her neighbor are of no consequence. And therefore, their lives are meaningless. Their hidden or even visible anguish is of no interest. Indifference reduces the Other to an abstraction. —-Indifference elicits no response. Indifference is not a beginning, it is an end. And, therefore, indifference is always the friend of the enemy, for it benefits the aggressor, never his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten.—-Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment.

And this is one of the most important lessons of this outgoing century’s wide ranging experiments in good and evil If they knew, we thought, surely those leaders would have  moved heaven and earth to intervene. They would have spoken out with great outrage and conviction. They would have bombed the railways leading to Birkenau.”

Had Elie Wiesel lived to this day, he surely would have been extremely disappointed to have experienced the same disappointment in the repetitive ongoing indifference.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks while concurring with Elie Wiesel adds, “Evil never dies, and like liberty it demands constant vigilance.  We are commanded to remember, not for the sake of the past, but for the sake of the future, and not for revenge, but for  the opposite :a world free of revenge and other forms of violence.”

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.
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