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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

An Interesting Question

I read that Mr Putin is to 'review' the legality of the independence of the Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. One can only wonder at what the NATO/US/EU response will be. Another Munich Accord a´la Chamberlain's 1938 agreement with a certain gentleman with similar ambitions for his country and people? Perhaps everyone should demand a 'review' of Russia's occupation of East Prussia, the so-called Kaliningrad enclave.

Mr Putin plans, apparently, to review the legality of his county's recognition of the three small states who, as historians will know, have been overrun and occupied by just about everyone in  the neighbourhood in the past. Their brief breath of freedom between 1919 and 1939 saw them first occupied by Nazi forces, then by the Soviets. Neither occupying power earned much love or respect. Stalin's deportation of 'natives' was followed by the implanation of native Russians, so now all three countries have fairly large ethnically 'Russian' populations - just as was the case in East Ukraine, parts of Georgia and several other parts of the former Soviet empire Mr Putin has 'reclaimed' in the interests of 'protecting the ethnic Russian population' ...

In 1939 Britain, France and the Empire went to war with Germany over the invasion of Poland. Now the question hangs in the air over whether or not we will stand up for the three small Baltic States. Is their membership of NATO and the EU worth the paper it is presumably written on? Maybe, maybe not.

One problem that I can see is that Russia is far better armed now than NATO, and far less restrained by concerns of 'sovereignty', morality or international sentiment. Should Mr Putin decide the 'recognition' is illegal, what then? Another Ukraine? Very likely, although, with his army already massed on the doorstep, I suspect it will all be over in a matter of hours -- long before any of our western leaders can even get their heads round the question of a response.

Which leaves them with the same option Chamberlain faced in 1938. Oooh, we'll impose 'sanctions' and then more 'sanctions' as we watch Mr Putin roll over Finland, Poland and perhaps even the Eastern States of Germany. Do anything to stop him? Oooh, can't do that, it would be unpopular in the ballot box, and we no longer have the means anyway.

So much for 'Peace' and the 'Peace Dividend'. So much for 'Peace in our time' at any price and at all costs. We seem to have forgotten the important mxim - Si vis pacem; para bellum.

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