NEO CHAMBERLISM & PUTIN - YES OR NO ? by RUBIN ROTHLER LL.B , LL. M
Several well respected conservative political commentators have argued that parallels abound between the approach of appeasement manifested by Chamberlain towards Hitler during the 1938 Munich Peace Conference, and the current attitude adopted by European leaders towards Putin. Despite many discrepancies, there are similarities to the events of 1938 in current affairs. To be clear, Putin is not another Hitler; Ukraine in 2022 doesn't equate to Czechoslovakia in 1938; and the Western European leaders don't represent a type of constructive Chamberlain. However 1938 does bear some crucial precedents for today. Most notably, is the very miscalculation that Putin can indeed be successfully appeased. As the Wall Street Journal reports: 'He snatched part of Georgia in 2008, and the world did little. He grabbed Crimea in 2014, and Barack Obama said there would be “costs” and Russia was “isolated.” But Western sanctions were weak. Europe watched this aggression and still made itself hostage to Russian energy supplies and blackmail. Europeans, of all people, forgot their own history of the 1930s.' Emulating Stalin's conduct in supplying Germany with oil prior to operation Barbarossa, Putin endeavors to provide China with energy supplies. Just as the League of Nations had degenerated into an impotent joke in the era of Chamberlain and rise of Hitler's Reich in the West, and the expansion of Japan's imperialism in the East, so too the UN is no less farcical in the face of Putin's neo Stalinism in Europe and China's aggression in Asia. In the age of Chamberlainism - Peronist Argentina and Franco's fascism in Spain resisted international ostracization of Hitler, as Pakistan, Mexico, Iran, and Brazil do today. Mussolini's Italy rallied as Hitler's allie, as Byloruss now does similarly.
Putin's assault on Ukraine can be interpreted as a desperate attempt to postpone his own political decline - his popularity naturally wanes after 22 years in power. Although Putin governs a country with a GDP roughly equivalent to the state of Florida, his military is reinvigorated. Before launching the invasion of Ukraine he considered the EU to be divided and weak, wholly unwilling to respond militarily to anything he does. This partly turned out to be a miscalculation. Within several days of the invasion, the EU approved funding to provide Ukraine with weapons. Putin thought that most European nations would be too apprehensive that Russia would cut off their gas supplies to provide Ukraine with substantive support.
Putin's second major miscalculation was to underestimate the stiff resolve of the Ukrainians to stall the Russian advance. Russia is getting bogged down because of poor logistical planning, low army morale and the tenacious Ukrainian resistance. "They planned their logistics on a blitzkrieg," said James Townsend, an adjunct senior fellow in the Center for a New American Security's Transatlantic Security Program. "When they started getting bogged down, they started running into logistics problems," Townsend said. "They've got a long logistics tail. Fuel has been a bit of a big deal and that makes them targets for Ukrainian soldiers going in there with anti-tank weapons." Retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who served as the Army's vice chief of staff and spent several years in Iraq, lauded the tenacity of the Ukrainian resistance. Chiarelli said the Russians made a major tactical mistake by dividing their forces along three main routes of attack. Doing so, Chiarelli said, requires three separate efforts to supply its troops. "I really fault the initial plan of this," Chiarelli said. "It's war on seemingly all fronts, rather than a main effort to capture Kyiv and then move on to some other objectives. It doesn't seem they have the ability to be able to do that. It's extremely difficult when you have so many different locations to support your soldiers."
Due to the high risk of nuclear escalation it would be calamitous for the U.S. to declare war on Russia or dispatch forces to fight in Ukraine or maintain a 'no fly zone'. But as the Japan Times relates 'the Ukraine invasion proves beyond doubt that Mr. Putin’s goal is to restore Greater Russia, blow up NATO, and create trouble for the U.S. around the world. For the sake of global peace and stability, the U.S. and Europe need to put Mr. Putin’s political control in Russia at risk. The enemy isn’t Russia. It is Mr. Putin and his mafia coterie. The real challenge for the West is to summon the will to punish Putin and his friends in the language they understand best — that of money. Economic sanctions against Russia as a country are right, but not remotely sufficient. The only meaningful weapon is an assault upon the fortunes and lifestyles of the Kremlin’s gangster clique, held and invested around the world. We must reluctantly acknowledge that both Russia’s Putin and China’s President Xi Jinping can commit acts of aggression in their own backyards that we are unable to prevent and which are not worth a general war. The least the West can do, however, unless it has altogether forfeited will and principle, is to ensure that the Kremlin’s gangsters and their clans can no longer celebrate their triumphs in New York or London nightclubs, on French ski slopes.'
Biden's lid on domestic fracking took the USA from energy independence under Donald Trump to dependence on energy imports from countries disliking America including Russia. This drove up gasoline prices for working Americans and enabled Putin to finance his war machine. The Biden policies have American consumers subsidizing Putin's invasion of the Ukraine in deliberate tandem with European reliance on Russian natural gas and oil. This was after Biden's halt of American weapons and ordinance to Ukraine in the autumn of last year, in what can only be described as an American Chamberlainism. The impetus for Putin to move aggressively in the face of Biden's displayed weakness and ineptitude in Afghanistan, is augmented by Biden's policy of American consumers paying $6.00 to help pick up the tab for Putin's war. Biden's placation of Putin's Neo-Stalinist militarism is a supercharged version of Obama's demonstrable foreign and defense policy, pandering with weakness to Russia in Syria and Crimea.
The understated factor in the equation is not only the emboldening of China, but also that the Obama-Biden approach towards Putin is mirrored in the Obama-Biden policy towards Iran. Iran, while sponsoring terror and developing an aggressive military armaments capacity has likewise benifited from Biden's policies which increase Iranian oil revenues. This is further assisted by Biden readmitting Iran to the global financial systems. Again we see unilateral concessions without reciprocal guarantees to a dangerous aggressor, and fiscal underwriting of that aggression with the American public battered at the gasoline pump in order to help pick up the tab for Iran and Russia. This is a Chamberlainism better renamed Obamaism and Bidenism. Hitler made the same kind of claims based on ethnic German demography in Danzig (Gdansk), Austria, and Czechoslovakia as Putin made about Crimea and the Eastern Ukraine . Yet, even Chamberlain and the Vichy French did not actively rip off their own citizens in order to financially abet Hitler in the Anschluss annexation of Austria, the seizure of the Sudeten, or the invasion of Poland. It required not a Neville Chamberlain in No. 10 Downing Street, but a Jobama Biden in the White House
for that to transpire; and transpire it has.