Jewish World Review March 17, 2014 /15 Adar II, 5774
Back by popular demand: Tyranny
By Paul Greenberg
Ham and eggs, dictators and plebiscites, tyranny and sham elections, they all go together. So it was wholly to be expected, which means it was wholly a surprise to our ever-alert administration, when the latest tsar decided Crimea was ripe for the picking and sent in the Cossacks (sans identifying insignia for now). As usual in these matters, the local bullyboys, formally known in press reports as militias, backed up the not very well disguised Russian troops. With that little formality out of the way, Vlad the Annexer ordered a plebiscite (and its usual result) for immediate delivery, specifically
It was all according to Hoyle, or rather Hitler, whose well-thumbed playbook specified that each conquest, from the remilitarization of the Rhineland in the West to the Anschluss with
The outer signs of democracy must be preserved while its substance is hollowed out. To quote
Once again a popular vote, this time in newly captive Crimea, is staged -- but Tsar Vladimir took no chances with the wording of the ballot. The voters would have only two choices: annexation to the
"Any discussion about the future of
"The steps taken by the legitimate leadership of Crimea," says V. Putin, who sounds a lot like an old Commissar of Nationalities named J. Stalin, "are based on the norms of international law and aim to ensure the legal interests of the population of the peninsula," which is now perfectly free -- to do just what
Once the annexation of Crimea to the Motherland is an accomplished fact, and it's being accomplished every day -- by force -- does anybody think this administration or an equally supine
Then it will be time for the next Russian advance. A slice of
So long as the West has no will to resist aggression, aggression will not be resisted. And it's clear that the current crop of Western "leaders" is a little short of will these days. Indeed, a lot short. They all seem decided only to be undecided, resolved only to be irresolute.
But now and then an exceptional leader, after a long series of provocations, will finally arise with the courage to face facts and tell the old truths once again. Like this voice in the wilderness after the sellout at
"I do not grudge our loyal, brave people, who were ready to do their duty no matter what the cost, who never flinched under the strain of last week -- I do not grudge them the natural, spontaneous outburst of joy and relief when they learned that the hard ordeal would no longer be required of them at the moment; but they should know the truth....
"We are in the presence of a disaster of the first magnitude. Do not let us blind ourselves to that. ... And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time."
Now as in 1938, another little province falls sway to a dictator's will and the old Iron Curtain descends again. Remember it? Who says the Cold War is a thing of the past? Except pollyannas like our president and secretary of state. There is still time to face facts and tell the truth -- and act upon that truth. But not as much time as there was last week or will be next week. For this commander-in-chief went wobbly some time ago. And not until the West's moral disarmament is reversed will its old spirit return. And its old energy.
But what can be done? The position of Leader of the
Messages need to be sent, and not just in empty speeches and meaningless communiqués but by concrete actions: trade restricted, visas withheld, aircraft carriers dispatched. ... Or the West will continue to wallow in its own weakness, inviting more developments like the endless horror in
The bad news is piling up, as it was in 1938, for we have taken a wrong turn and find ourselves on an increasingly dangerous road. The good news is that we can yet turn back.
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Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer prize-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
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