Iterating the Past, Russian moves

I have never understood the use of “reiterate”.   You see it used all the time and hear it on newscasts, etc.  Iterate means to repeat.   Reiterate means to repeat.  Why do we have or need two words with the same meaning.  It would seem to me that iterate is sufficient and “reiterate” is redundant.  Why and when people felt the compulsion to add the “re” to the word is beyond me.   I bet there is some word whiz out there who knows the answer off the top of their head.  Where is John Chardy when you need him?

When comtemplating the current situation with Russia and Georgia it is useful to compare the events of today with those of the past.   There is value there and lessons to be learned.  There are real down to earth markers for us to follow or avoid as the case may be.  Unfortunately each generation seems to think it is unique and that the world they inhabit is different than the world of prior generations.   That is a foolish and misguided view.   They seem to believe that only they and their contemporaries are somehow chosen and brighter, better and more insightful than their predecessors.    Believe it or not the folks of the past had high IQ’s also.    Chamberlain was a very bright man.  Woodrow Wilson might have been our second most intellectual President (after Jefferson who towers a above all others in sheer brain power).

What Russia is doing in Georgia compares I think fairly well to what the Germans did in the mid ’30’s.  First, there was the march into the Rhineland.  Most people have totally forgotten all about that event now but it was important then and has its lessons for us today.  As part of the Treaty of Versaille in 1919 to end WWI, the Germans were required to do several things.   They had to restrict the size of their military and the type of armenments they could employ and further there was a buffer zone created in the Rhineland where the Germans were not allowed to base any military personnel.  The Rhineland was a strip of land bordering the east (German) side of the river and extending north/south for a number of miles.   It was not to deep but it was broad.  The idea was that German troops would have to be far enough away that they could not make a “sneak” attack to the West and France and any movement of their troops would be detected before they could reach the border areas.   Hitler ignored the prohibition in ’36 if memory serves.  His own military was much opposed to it at the time because the Army was not very strong or large and the Wehrmacht feared a military response by the West that would expose the weakness of the German Army and maybe even destroy that fledgling might.   You know what happened of course.  The German troops marched into the Rhineland with bands playing and quite openly.  They wanted the West to know what they were doing.   There were words of outrage from the West.  Threats of further sanctions were made.   Hitler had already stopped making the payments to the West for WWI that were required under the Versaille Treaty.  Nothing happened. 

Well not exactly nothing.  Hitler learned something!   He spent the next couple of years building his military at an accelerated pace and then in ’38 moved into the Sudentenland with his troops.  That was the area in the Czech Republic that had a very significant German population and Germany had alleged the Czechs were mistreating the Germans in that area.  The German troops were “peacekeepers” to use the modern jargon.  Neither Czechaslovakia nor the West tried to remove them.  Once again, threats and nasty words but no concrete action.   Trade with Germany continued by all countries.   There were no embargoes.   Swedish steel, Norweigian food and fish products flowed to Germany and the Germans utilized Swiss banking systems.    The Germans even had a hand in the Spanish Revolution of the mid ’30’s.   As always the French wanted to know what was in it for them before they would even consider any action.   In 1939 you could buy all the French wine you wanted in Berlin.  The list of actions and inactions goes on.   The bottom line is that the world let the aggression go with no adverse consequences to the aggressor.  You recall the ’36 Olympics were held in Berlin.

These few examples and other you can find on your own should be given thought now.   We, now, are not breaking new ground in human behavoir.   Hopefully leaders here and abroad will heed these lessons from the past.   I think we must take some actions against Russia.  I don’t recommend launching the missiles for heaven’s sake but we need to do more than shake our finger at them.   We need to give them a kick in the shin.   Economic sanctions could hurt them more than us.   It will be very hard to get the Germans and the French to go along, but we have to try and persuade them it is in their best interest.  We will get strong pushback from the Russians and the Europeans will probably pay a heavier price than we will.  After all one can do without caviar and vodka much easier than gas to generate electricity and heat.  The appetite of the Russian Bear is not sated yet.  If anyone believes it is they are deluding themselves just like those in the ’30’s.

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Filed under Foreign Affairs, government, history, Politics, War

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