It’s not just Ukraine. I keep hearing, “Why should I care what happens to them? We have enough problems here to worry about.” But what happens on the other side of the world, matters here.
In the 1930’s, Europe tried appeasement first in the hopes of stopping Hitler after he expanded Germany’s territory when he entered the Rhineland and annexed Austria. Britain’s Prime minister not only gave him these properties but even agreed to let him go further and take over the German speaking part of Czechoslovakia- the Sudetenland. All land the Prime Minister had no right to give!
But something as silly as a signature on a piece of paper wasn’t going to stop a despot intent on ruling the world. He violated the Munich Agreement and marched into all of Czechoslovakia. Sound familiar? Six months later in March1939, he invaded Poland.
World war II had officially begun.
Allowing a bully to win just encourages them to take more.
February 2014, Russia invaded and annexed Crimea from Ukraine and there were no significant consequences. In the Dunbas region of Ukraine, Russia backed the Russian separatists, allowing them to attempt to annex more and more of their country.
But all pretense evaporated when an all-out invasion of the entire country started over a week ago. And just like Hitler, a rambling, incoherent speech by Vladimir Putin stated he wouldn’t stop until all of the Soviet Union lands were restored to their homeland as it existed 100 years ago.
Poland, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania are all holding their breaths.
In 1938, the world tried to ignore reality- anytime you have one country claiming another’s borders aren’t sovereign so they can invade anytime they want, no one is safe.
As Albert Einstein once said, the definition of insanity is, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
We tried to stay out of World War II, until it came to our shores when Pearl Harbor was bombarded. Then we were forced to admit what the rest of the world already knew, ignoring a situation in the hopes it won’t affect you never works.
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Sadly this is becoming more and more relevant each day.
The entire world has become so interconnected, all aspects of our survival from food sources and the climate, to government stability and interconnected economies, to illness creating workforce issues that limit production, and intercontinental travel that allows immediate transmission of infectious agents, we can no longer ignore the stark reality – what happens half way across the globe will eventually affect us here.
The pandemic is a perfect example- it began in China December 2019 and rapidly became a world wide pandemic hitting the U.S. just one month later in January 2020.
What is happening in Ukraine will not stay in Ukraine. Whether it’s now or as in the case of Crimea when it was torn from its rightful citizens eight years ago, this is not the end.
Putin made that clear.
Imagine going to bed tonight as Americans and awakening to bombs destroying our lives and homes because someone decided they could get away with such an act. Being told you now must honor another’s dictates or you and your loved ones faced imprisonment or death.
This is what happened to my family just 80 years ago. Most escaped, the others perished in Hitler’s gas chambers.
After the devastation of World War II NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was formed to ensure military threats and destruction would never prevail again. We established strict guidelines to prevent aggression and agreed to stand united to stop anyone who disagreed. Ukraine is not protected by that incredible pact and so it stands alone, throwing molotov cocktails at tanks and cheering on their aged population who are taking up arms to defend their homeland.
I grew up with the Berlin Wall and horrifying images of tanks storming the streets of Czechoslovakia in 1968. I was too young to understand the politics, but I knew they meant the destruction of freedom, democracy and the will of the people.