The majority of students will be luckily if they earn anywhere near enough to pay back their loans.
The West should send soldiers covertly to Ukraine to stop the Russian invasion. To avoid a nuclear war we should follow the Russian and Soviet examples of pretending they are nothing to do with us.
Russia has waged an undeclared war against Ukraine ever since their illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. During the annexation, Russian forces simply removed all insignia to prevent themselves from being identified, becoming known as the little green men. To avoid armed conflict with Russia, Ukraine simply handed over Crimea without a fight. However, this just embolden President Putin.
Russian soon invaded eastern Ukraine, aiming to create a land bridge from Russia to Crimea. They manufactured a popular uprising of the Ukrainian people in eastern Ukraine to prevent Western intervention. Russia soldiers pretended to be Ukraine’s Separatists fighting against Kiev.
As a result of the manufactured uprising, Western Media were soon fooled into thinking that two tiny Ukraine provinces could fight off the entire Ukrainian army. They believed that a few thousand armed separatists could go head to head in open combat with Ukrainian tanks and aircraft. That somehow a highly trained and equipped army just appeared? With the ability to shoot down modern airlines? Who else other than the Russian military had such equipment and training?
It is therefore not hard to see how the Russians believed that Western media would be deceived into thinking the recent full-scale invasion of Ukraine was a peacekeeping mission. It would be more accurate to call it an escalation of the war that started back in 2014.
This would not be the first time that Moscow has used this method. In the Korean War, Soviet fighter pilots secretly shot down Western aircraft over the skies of North Korea. They were disguised as Chinese or North Korean aircraft to avoid a war breaking out between the nuclear powers.
This makes a complete mockery of President Biden’s refusal to send military aircraft to Ukraine. If the Americans acted just like the Russians, they would send American fighter aircraft, with American pilots pretending to be Ukrainians.
Putin’s nuclear threat
The danger of letting Putin conquer any part of Ukraine is far worse than any of his empty threats of nuclear war. Putin’s sole aim in threatening nuclear war is to deter the West from intervening. At the same time, he does not intend to destroy Russia in a nuclear war. Putin is a cold war warrior who wants to leave a legacy.
Putin’s grand aim is to restore Russian glory, by reincorporating the former territories of the Soviet Union, such as Ukraine. As such, he has called the collapse of the Soviet Union the greatest geopolitical catastrophe. 1 He might even go as far as believing that the former territories of the Warsaw Pact should come back under Russian influence.
If Putin succeeds in Ukraine, what’s to stop him from attempting further expansion? He could even attack one of the Baltic States, who were once a part of the Soviet Union and are currently NATO members. Will the West launch World War Three in their defence or just let them go? Which would mirror how Ukraine handed over Crimea to avoid war with Russia.
Alternatively, if Russia finds Western forces in Ukraine, would they launch World War Three? Putin would be at an impasse, he does not want nuclear war, but he cannot win if western forces remain in Ukraine. So what should he do? Easily, negotiate a face saving peace deal with Ukraine. After all, he is the only one who wants the war in the first place.
Has Putin gone mad?
There is a common misconception that Putin has simply gone mad, since no rational person would ever want war. However, from the western viewpoint have Russian and Soviet leaders ever been sane? Soviet leaders were perfectly willing to invade allies in the Warsaw Pact that slightly deviated from Moscow’s line, such as Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Could you even imagine America invading France for similar reasons?
This is not the only historical precedent, as Russia ever since Tsarist times has tried to gain access to Ukraine’s warm water ports. Britain and France had to halt Russia’s expansion in the same area during the Crimean War of 1853-6. Who says history does not repeat itself! Although, can we avoid repeating the Charge of the Light Brigade?
Putin shares unfortunate parallels with Adolf Hitler
1) Putin’s aim of reconstituting the Soviet Union is very similar to Hitler’s aim of reversing the Versailles Treaty. Germany was forced to sign the Versailles Treaty after its defeat in World War One. The Treaty forced Germany to handover territory to its next-door neighbours, pay reparations, demilitarise the Rhineland, accept war guilt and restricted the German military. The treaty was clearly too harsh on Germany, leading to popular resentment in Germany aiding Hitler’s rise to power.
2) Both Germans in the interwar period and Russians following the collapse of the Soviet Union had bad experiences with democracy and wished to return to traditional authoritarian rule.
The end of communism in Russia resulted in mass unemployment from uncompetitive industries going bust. Leading to a longing for the “good old days” of the Soviet Union.
Likewise, Germany went from being largely ruled by the Kaiser to a fully-fledged liberal democracy after World War One. Unfortunately, German democracy proved unable to keep Germany out of economic hardship, suffering both hyperinflation in 1923 and the Wall Street Crash in 1929. This led Germany to turn away from democracy and towards more extreme forces, such as the Nazis.
3) Both Putin and Hitler were and are willing to use military forces to achieve their territorial aims.
Hitler declared war on:
- Austria in 1938
- Czechoslovakia in 1938-9
- Poland in 1939 (following this Britain and France declared war on Germany)
- Belgium in 1940
- Denmark in 1940
- Norway in 1940
- Netherlands in 1940
- Yugoslavia in 1941
- Greece in 1941
- Soviet Union in 1941
- America in 1941
- Vichy France (German puppet state) in 1942
- Italy in 1943, (Italy changed sides to the Allies)
- Invade Chechnya in the Second Chechen war of 1999-2000
- Invaded Georgia in 2008
- Russian forces sent to Syria in 2015
- Invaded Ukraine in 2014
You could argue that the American lead coalition invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq were just as bad.
However, America was acting in self-defence when it invaded Afghanistan following 9/11. The Taliban who were ruling Afghanistan, provided protection for Al Qaeda who had carried out 9/11.
4) War crimes is another similarity.
This includes growing evidence of large-scale atrocities committed by the Russian soldiers in Ukraine. The scale of civilian deaths are encroaching on gendercide, not to mention Russian shelling of residential areas with no military significance.
That said there is no clear evidence of who ordered all of the atrocities. It is possible that Russian soldiers carried out some of the war crimes on their own authority. However, the bombing of civilian areas can be laid squarely at Putin’s feet.
Sanctions are no substitute for military action
Western sanctions aim to harm Russia’s ability to wage war. However, given the privations people are willing to suffer during wartime, any confidence in sanctions are misplaced. Take the Blitz, where ordinary civilians were willing to risk life and limb to win the war. This is not to mention Russia’s vast quantities of natural resources meaning Russia is energy sufficient and large parts of Europe are dependent on Russian gas.
China, the next aggressor?
The difficulty with China is the following:
1) China is a growing economic superpower, on course to challenge US hegemony.
2) China is an authoritarian dictatorship, governed by the Chinese Communist Party.
3) China has two colonies in all but name, Hong Kong and Tibet, neither want to be under Chinese rule.
4) China has been persecuting minorities such as the Falun Gong and Weger Muslims, with little regard for human rights.
5) China has laid claim to the island of Taiwan and the South China Sea. Taiwan is technically a part of China, but is in fact a fully independent nation. If the Chinese Communist Party gets their way, Taiwan’s democracy will follow that of Hong Kong.
If China sees Russia getting away with using military force, they will be tempted to do the same against Taiwan. On the other hand, if they see Russia’s invasion failing they may think twice.
China therefore wants Russia to win, as it suits their own expansionist aspirations. As such, Chinese state run media has been following Russia’s line on the War being a special military operation.2 Even more worrying is the signing of a partnership with no limits between Russia and China.2 Let us hope this is not like the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, that divided Eastern Europe into Soviet and Nazis spheres of conquest.
The Second Cold War
We are heading for a new Cold War irrespective of whether our leaders like it or not. The West will soon have to contain Russian and Chinese expansion, just as we did during the Cold War. We can do it in either Ukraine or Taiwan, but the sooner the better.
By Arran Wilkins © 2022 (text only)
(1) Osborn, Andrew. And Ostroukh, Andrey. Reuters, Putin rues Soviet collapse as demise of ‘historical Russia’. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/putin-rues-soviet-collapse-demise-historical-russia-2021-12-12/ [Accessed 8th April 2022].
(2) YouTube, CNN, Chinese state media pushes Putin’s lies about Ukraine invasion. (10th March 2022) Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCcpMOvoTWs [Accessed on 16th April 2022].
(Image) Netsyscom. Pixabay. Pixabay License. Available at: https://pixabay.com/photos/sukhoi-35-aircraft-russian-1880484/ [Accessed on 10th April 2022].