News / Europe

Crimea Moves Draw Comparisons to US in Iraq, Nazis in Europe

Crimea Moves Draw Comparisons to US in Iraq, Nazis in Europei
X
Kent Klein
March 07, 2014 11:26 PM
While Moscow still claims the troops who have taken control of much of Crimea are local self-defense forces, their activities have drawn comparisons with Nazi Germany's occupation of Poland and Czechoslovakia, and with the U.S. invasion of Iraq. VOA's Kent Klein reports several experts disagree.

Crimea Moves Draw Comparisons to US in Iraq, Nazis in Europe

Kent Klein
While Moscow still claims the troops who have taken control of much of Crimea are local self-defense forces, their activities have drawn comparisons with Nazi Germany's occupation of Poland and Czechoslovakia, and with the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Several experts disagree, however, on whether those comparisons are accurate.

Is Russian President Vladimir Putin behaving like Adolf Hitler?

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently suggested that Putin's claim that Russia must protect Russian minorities in Ukraine was similar to statements Hitler had made in the 1930's.

" ... when Germany under the Nazis kept talking about how they had to protect German minorities in Poland and Czechoslovakia and elsewhere throughout Europe," said Clinton.

That comparison resonates strongly in Central Europe, according to Atlantic Council senior fellow Jorge Benitez.

"Because at that time, the international community issued just diplomatic condemnations but didn't stand up to protect the integrity and the territory of Czechoslovakia," he said. "So there's very much a lot of pressure on the international community to see, 'How will they respond to Russia's use of force to seize Ukrainian territory in Crimea?'."

Georgetown University professor Anthony Clark Arend mostly agrees, but cautions against comparing any modern leader with Hitler.

"If we accept the fact that, okay, he's like Hitler, then it's going to say to us that we have to respond as we responded to Hitler. We have to act as we acted in World War II, and that's not the case here," said Arend.

According to James Goldgeier, Dean of the School of International Service at Washington's American University, the closest parallels with the situation in Ukraine are Russia's previous military actions in Moldova and Georgia. He said the Russians have removed a part of Ukraine's territory from the control of the central government in Kyiv.

"And this is a highly destabilizing situation for Ukraine, and it makes it difficult for Ukraine to pursue a pro-Western course, just as their actions in Georgia and Moldova have made it difficult for those countries," said Goldgeier.

Georgetown's Arend believes Putin was more concerned with what he saw as unrest on his border. "I don't think that Putin wanted any of this. I don't think that he wanted to destabilize Ukraine. I think, rather, he saw things moving in a way, and felt, 'we gotta act before things get worse.'"

Another possible parallel in Ukraine is with the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Arend contends that also was a violation of international law.

"It was not authorized by the Security Council. The action was not taken in response to either an existing threat or a potential threat against the United States," said Arend.

Benitez said, however, there is a difference. "The United States went in there to remove a regime that was building weapons of mass destruction that the international community believed were there and were going to be used to harm. This is just a blatant power play in the Crimea by the Russian government to seize the territory of another country."

The ultimate resolution of the Ukraine situation will determine how it's seen by history.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Not Again from: Canada
March 09, 2014 3:57 PM
The occupation of territories, on the pretext of helping "one's tribe" goes well back and before the dark ages. It is not something of a recent invention. Quite often, it was used by empires, to expand their territories. The notion of violating borders, of established states, in the 20th was very much the tribal pretext, used by facists states, later on by communist states. The US has not invaded any countries on the pretext that its people, US citizens living in the particular country, were under threat with the sole exception of Grenada, the case of the medical students at the university. Putin's military intervention in the Ukraine, was a situation in which he took advantage of the Ukrainian crisis; and given the fact that overnight the Ukraine's Crimean region was taken over, without even firing a shot; clearly indicates a high level of preparatory planning. It is very unfortunate, but the toppling of Yanukovych, was about the very serious economic crisis, not about a Uk/Ru ethnic conflict.; this Russian expansionist incursion, now may make it about a Ru/Uk ethnic conflict. If it is not resolved diplomatically; it will expand well past the Ukraine, and ethnic Russians we no longer be seen as loyal nationals, much the same as it occurred after the nazis started to expand on the same pretext, all ethnic germans suffered a devastating reaction= wipped out. EU economies will need to rapidly diversify away from any Russian dependance; minorities living in Russia will no longer feel safe; Europe will revert to 19 century nationalism, we are seeing already growing nationalist forces in most EU countries; all in all the region will become more unstable; a nuclear arms race can't be ruled out. It is all about one "prima donna" outmanuvering the other one, as in the old days of stupidity.


by: Anonymous
March 08, 2014 5:51 AM
Arrest Putin!!! He is also feeding the genocide in Syria he is forcing it to happen. War criminal cant be any clearer.


by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
March 08, 2014 4:13 AM
I disapprove any foreign army deployment in any sovereign country. However, who needs such appalling reporting as this and whom are you willing to fool? Such unprofessional “reporting” undermines public trust to mass media all over the world. The reporter was elementary dishonest or was heavily, very heavily biased. Even children know no reporting can be torn off its context. How can the ‘reporter’ hide the facts known by everybody in the world? The deployment in Crimea hasn’t happened as if out of nowhere but had been preceded by unconstitutional overthrow of constitutionally elected president. Constitutional means to remove him from power hadn’t been tried out. Instead there had been launched coup d’état with ultra-nationalist, far-right forces at its the core. So, in order to be honest, the reporting should have started from the ultra-nationalist, far-right coup d’état in Kyiv.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid