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Russian Bear Eats as Western World Sleeps

Will anyone stop Putin from constructing a new Iron Curtain across the Caucasus and Eastern Europe?

by
Hans A. von Spakovsky

Bio

September 30, 2008 - 6:40 am
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From news reports of the indiscriminate killing of civilians and looting by Russian troops, it is clear that the Russians invaded Georgia the same way the communists have always done it — the way my grandmother and mother experienced it in 1945 when Russian troops rolled into the German city of Breslau where they lived, and the way my Russian father saw it when he fought the Bolshevik takeover of his homeland.  The Russian Army today still wages war the same way the Mongol hordes did — they rape, pillage, loot, and kill everyone in their path, civilian or military.

Where are all of the protesters in Europe and America who were so angry over our going into Iraq?  We got rid of a murderous dictator who had defied the United Nations for years in a war in which American lives have been lost in order to avoid civilian casualties whenever possible.  The protesters can’t be bothered about the Russians taking apart a democratic Georgia and killing innocent civilians.  Why no, it is really Georgia’s own fault for being too aggressive in trying to get uninvited Russian “peacekeepers” (occupation troops) out of its country.  The Russians have taken our full measure, too.  They know now that not only will the West do nothing substantive for fear of confronting the Russians militarily or economically, but the Russians also see that the Europeans are so lacking in will power and incapable militarily that they will do nothing when the Russians make their next moves over the coming years — such as reoccupying the free countries that used to be behind the Iron Curtain, from Moldava where they already have Russian “peacekeepers” to the Ukraine to the Baltic republics, or turning them into puppet states to avoid military occupation.

In fact, in some ways things are even worse today than they were in the 1930s.  The United States, Britain, and France eventually went to war against Hitler’s aggression.  But they did so at tremendous cost in human life and resources — something no one in Europe, and perhaps even the United States, seems willing to do again.  When the Serbs were committing genocide in the 1990s, the Europeans stood by and let it happen, despite their repeated assurances that they would never allow what happened to the Jews to ever happen again in Europe.  It took us coming across the Atlantic Ocean when we finally could no longer stomach the Europeans not lifting a finger to stop wholesale massacres and rapes occurring in their back yard.  At that point, the Europeans finally gave some halfhearted support to our efforts.  I have absolutely no doubt that if the Russians reoccupied the Baltics, the Europeans would wring their hands but not be willing to fight to stop it.  Putin knows he can do just about anything he wants and that the Europeans will not be willing to confront him militarily to stop him, and not economically either given their addiction to Russian oil.

I once asked my grandmother how Hitler, who initially represented a very small political party, had taken control of Germany.  We lived at that time in an old southern home, the kind that had a screen door in the kitchen that opened into the back yard where we played.  My grandmother looked at me and pointed to that door.  She said sometimes you can leave the screen door unlatched and turn your back, and before you know what has happened, a thief has come into your house and taken control.

Well, the screen door is unlatched and Putin has taken Georgia.  Will the West have the courage to punish him for his partial dismemberment of a democratic ally of the West and prevent him from taking the rest of the house?  It depresses me greatly to say that I don’t think the Europeans — and even most Americans — have the will to take the potentially painful steps necessary to stop the reestablishment of the evil Russian Empire.

Ten years from now I fear that there will be a number of former democratic republics in Europe and that the Caucasus will again be behind a new Iron Curtain. Let us hope that the prison, labor, and concentration camps will not be brimming once more.

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Hans A. von Spakovsky is a Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and a former counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Justice Department. He is the coauthor of the book “Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk”.
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