During WWII, the Soviet casualties amounted to 27 million dead, an enormous amount of human suffering – compared to British losses of 450,000, American losses of 400,000, and German losses of 6.6 million, according to Wikipedia. While the British and Americans like to congratulate themselves on ‘winning the war’, the simple truth is that the Soviets won WWII. They defeated Hitler just as they had defeated Napoleon in 1812. To compare the current leader of Russia, Vladimir Putin, with Adolf Hitler is deeply disrespectful to the memory of those 27 million souls, who died that we might live. The debt we owe them is vast.
Shortly before he died in 1999, I had a conversation with my father and mother, in which I asked them whether their experience of war had led them to become pacifists. My mother replied ‘yes’; but my father’s response was ‘not quite’. Although he absolutely hated war, and was bitterly opposed to Thatcher’s Falklands war, it was clear that he still felt that there can be circumstances in which resorting to armed conflict is justified and necessary. This has become my own view. While I like to style myself as a ‘pacifist’, the truth is that I too consider that there can be a ‘just’ war.
Since the end of WWII, the US and their NATO allies have treated Russia as a rival and a threat, rather than as a friend and ally, to their great shame. The US belief that it is their ‘manifest destiny’ to rule the world has led to a long-term strategy of imperial expansion, directed especially at Russia. The Ukraine is the pivotal territory in this battle for control, since a Ukraine controlled by NATO would pose a direct threat to Russia’s military security, right on its doorstep.
In 2014, the US agents in the Ukraine contrived the overthrow of the democratically elected Ukrainian government, which had been supportive of Moscow; since when, billions of US dollars have flowed in the Ukraine effectively to turn it into a NATO ally, while at the same time corruption has been rampant, and their neo-Nazi militias have killed 14,000 Russian speaking Ukrainians in the east of the country. If the Ukraine were to join NATO, then all the NATO nations would be obliged to defend it against Russian attack. But, for now, they are not legally authorised to do so.
Russia GDP per capita macrotrends
In this window of opportunity, Putin has decided that he has no alternative but to act now, to prevent the Ukraine falling into NATO’s grasp and leaving Russia fatally vulnerable on its European flank. It is this constant drip of undercover aggression on the part of NATO, rather than allowing the Ukraine to remain a truly independent state, that has led to Putin’s retaliation at last – in which he is definitely not the aggressor, despite the media hype.
I would suggest that this is brilliant defensive military strategy on Putin’s part, which has taken extraordinary boldness, courage and flair. It is said that he lacks an awareness of danger – that is, he is completely fearless, and a man dedicated to the love of his country, for whom he has already worked economic miracles over the last twenty years, thereby earning the widespread popularity and respect he enjoys – the most experienced and competent statesman on the world stage.