News / Europe

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

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

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs