We have the most selfish, entitled and clueless set of ruling elites in the world. Imagine how greedy you’d have to be to look at rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine as an American problem to deal with.
The US Establishment believes we are the only country that is allowed to meddle in other countries’ affairs. The idea of another country expanding its influence anywhere in the world is completely unacceptable in the eyes of our ruling class.
It all goes back to this World War 2 mindset that if we sit idly by as some other country out there expands its influence and does at it pleases (in other words, does what we do), then eventually that country is going to take over the whole world.
One of the replies to Walsh’s tweet sums this up well:
Why would this person believe that the Russian military will one day be “at our doorstep”?
Maybe he’s just referring to Western Europe and by “our doorstep” he means Western Europe’s doorstep.
But where’s the evidence that, even if Russia does annex Ukraine, and then the Baltic States, that they are going to want to take over all of Europe? There’s no evidence of that at all.
Just as there was no evidence at all during WW2 that Hitler wanted to take over the whole world. That is a myth that unfortunately a great number of Americans believe to this day.
And many are now buying into this lie that Putin is the new Hitler.
First point: Hitler didn’t want to take over the whole world. The idea that he did is laughable. How could Hitler pose a threat to the US when he couldn’t even overcome Britain, which was only a few hundred miles away across the North Sea? Nazi Germany didn’t even have the sea/air power defeat Britain. And yet for some reason people believe Hitler was going to cross the Atlantic and launch an invasion of the United States. Utter nonsense.
Hitler’s main goal–at least until the war really got underway–was to restore the old German Empire’s borders. After WW1, Germany lost a ton of territory due to the Treaty of Versailles. We know what Germany looks like today:
But this is what Germany looked like prior to the outbreak of WW1:
Notice how there was no Poland. The German empire controlled about half of Poland, and as you can see, the Russian Empire controlled the other half of it. You can see that Warsaw was within the Russian Empire’s borders back in 1914.
After World War 1, this is what Germany’s borders looked like:
You can see that they lost a considerable amount of territory following the end of WW1.
Once Hitler took power in 1933, his goal was to retake the lands that Germany had lost after WW1–and to add areas that had never been under German Empire control, but had large ethnically German populations (the Sudetenland and Austria, for instance).
In 1935, the people of the Saarland (that little bit of territory on the France/Germany border north of Alsace-Lorraine) voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Germany.
The Anschluss (Germany’s annexation of Austria) was not nearly as clean as the annexation of the Saarland, but Austrians are German-speaking, German ethnically and historically German (dating back to the days of the Holy Roman Empire, before the rise of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). Hitler was born in Austria yet considered himself to be fully German.
The Sudetenland (essentially the present-day Czech Republic), which was never a part of the German Empire until Hitler took it over, was considered by Hitler to be a historical part of Germany dating way back.
Now we’re going back further than just 1914, we’re going all the way back to the Holy Roman Empire. The name “Holy Roman Empire” might be a bit misleading, as it would seem to indicate that Italy, rather than Germany, was its center of gravity. But actually, the Holy Roman Empire roughly refers to Germany.
I know we’re getting really deep in history here, but I promise it will all make sense and connect back to the present day situation in Ukraine. Just bear with me here.
To really understand why Hitler was taking over so many territories, you have to understand what his idea of “Germany” was. It wasn’t based on what we know today as Germany. It was based on the lands of the old German Empire and even the Holy Roman Empire.
For nearly 1000 years prior to the 1800s, the country we now know as “Germany” was called the Holy Roman Empire. But it was more than just Germany, though.
It’s a lot easier to understand with a visual:
The boundaries of the HRE changed over time (it lasted for nearly 900 years), but the graphic above, which shows how the boundaries of the HRE changed from 962-1806 overlaid on present-day boundaries, clearly shows that both the Sudetenland and Austria were always part of the Holy Roman Empire–“Germany.”
Hitler probably viewed the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire as the “true” representation of the lands that–again, in his view–“rightfully” belonged to Germany.
If you didn’t understand the history of Germany, it probably looked as if Hitler really was trying to take over the whole world. He just kept taking and taking and taking–first the Saarland, then Austria, then the Sudetenland. You could be forgiven for assuming his appetite for conquest was insatiable and that he sought nothing less than world domination.
Hitler was not exactly wrong in believing these various lands were, in a historical sense, part of Germany. I mean, they were part of the Holy Roman Empire for a thousand years prior to 19th century.
Now I’m not saying that Hitler was actually justified in everything he did or anything like that, I’m just trying to show that there was actually a rational and legitimate basis for his annexations and territorial expansions. It wasn’t simply that he wanted to Conquer All The Things. The lands he annexed had strong historical, linguistic and ethnic ties to Germany. In his eyes, they were Germany.
The point of all this is to show that the borders that we see on the map today have not always looked the same. Americans are not used to this at all. But consider the Mexican-American war of 1846: do you understand just how much territory the US gained from Mexico in winning that war? The treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo gave the US an enormous amount of land:
Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, most of Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California–those states used to be part of Mexico. Everything in white on that map is territory gained by the US after victory in the Mexican-American War.
Those lands used to belong to Mexico, now they belong to America. We just think those lands are self-evidently American because that’s what we have always seen when we look at a map of the US.
In fact, there are people in Mexico and even in the US who believe that those lands rightfully belong to Mexico–it’s called the Chicano Movement, although it was a lot more popular back in the 1960s.
Now obviously there’s not any sort of imminent threat of Mexico launching an invasion of the Western US. (Although some people believe the mass immigration we’re seeing at our Southern Border right now is a sort of “soft invasion” and attempt to reconquer those lost territories, but to me that’s far-fetched. What we’re really seeing at our Southern Border is a refugee crisis given that the Mexican state has been almost completely taken over by brutally violent cartels).
The point I’m trying to make here is that the lines and borders are redrawn all the time, and it generally is based on historical events and wars that resulted in lost territory.
Putin sees Ukraine as a part of Russia. He sees the Baltic States as a part of Russia. He sees BelaRUS as a part of RUSsia (both derive the “rus” in their names from the fact that both nations were founded by the “Rus” peoples).
This is what Russia looked like in 1914 back when it was known as the Russian Empire:
The Russian Empire had Ukraine, it had Georgia, it had the Baltic States–it even had Finland, and half of Poland. It also had Kazakhstan and most of Central Asia.
The Soviet Union included all those territories as well:
Ukraine historically has never been a country until quite recently. It has always been part of Russia–it was part of Russia under the Soviet Union from 1918-1991, and it was part of the Russian Empire before that. Putin views Ukraine not as a country but as region in Western Russia. That’s what people in America don’t understand.
When Russia seized Crimea in 2014, the New Yorker ran an article that attempted to shed light on how Russia viewed Ukraine–although of course the New Yorker piece ultimately takes the side you’d expect it to take (see the Matt Walsh tweet at the top of this post). But this was a good passage:
In 1990, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn emerged from his isolation in Cavendish, Vermont, and issued a vatic manifesto entitled “How to Revitalize Russia.”
….he was not calling for some sort of tsarist revival and imperial maintenance. Rather, he endorsed a hyper-local, Swiss-style democratic politics, a transition to private property, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. “We do not have the energy to run an Empire!” he wrote. “Let us shrug it off. It is crushing us, it is draining us, and it is accelerating our demise.” Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, along with the Caucasian republics, were to make their own way. But on the question of Ukraine he had a different view. Russia must be at the center of a “Russian union,” he declared, and Ukraine was integral to it.
At the time, Ukrainian nationalists, particularly in the western part of the republic, were joining the Baltic states in their bold drive for independence, and had formed a “people’s movement” called Rukh. Leonid Kravchuk, a dreary Communist Party hack who had previously shown nothing but indifference to Ukrainian nationalism, won the Presidency, in 1991, by deciding to stand with Rukh. This was a trend that Solzhenitsyn, in the woods of New England, and so many Russians throughout the Soviet Union, could not easily abide. It defied their sense of history. To them, Ukraine was no more a real nation than Glubbdubdrib or Freedonia. Vladimir Putin, a former officer of the K.G.B., was the first post-Soviet leader to deliver a state prize to Solzhenitsyn, who had spent a lifetime in a death struggle with the K.G.B.; a large part of their common ground was a rough notion of what Russia encompassed. As Putin told the second President Bush, “You have to understand, George. Ukraine is not even a country.”
That last quote of Putin telling George W. Bush that Ukraine is not even a country, was apparently from 2008.
But it shows overall just how Russia views Ukraine: it’s not a country. It’s a part of Russia. The past 30 years have been a lie–and a lie enabled and encouraged by treacherous Westerners at that.
Now I don’t know–after reading that passage above–whether or not Putin wants to annex the Baltic States, or Central Asia, or any of the other ex-Soviet States. But I do know that he wants Ukraine, and that Ukraine is viewed as integral to Russia.
Putin is probably happy having puppet regimes in Central Asia (Kazakhstan notably) as well as in Belarus. That’s probably good enough for him. After all, as Solzhenitsyn pointed out, it takes a lot of energy and vigilance to run an empire. The US is learning this in real time, actually.
Is it really that important to the US to prevent Russia from taking over Ukraine? This is a conflict 5,000 miles away from us between people who have hundreds of years of history with one another.
This does not concern America.
But our ruling class is so greedy and desperate to maintain global hegemony that they have decided this matter between Russia and Ukraine is our business.
That’s really why they’re freaking out over Ukraine: because it would mean some other country is expanding itself influence in the world without our permission.