Lessons To Be Learned
By GORDON HUGHES
It’s just a little over a year ago that the Russian Federation marched across the border and invaded the Ukraine. It’s just a year ago last April that I wrote an article titled “Two Small Giants: Haile Salassie and Volodymyr Zelensky.” I want to use part of that article to illustrate just what has transpired in this year and to say, if I thought the world was in danger then just how much deeper the world is in danger today.
As a child of the ’50s I can vividly remember bomb drills, where we would assume protective positions under our school desks. Then came the Cuban Missile Crisis—a scary time for the globe. Followed by a few localized wars, none of which posed a worldwide threat. What we are now facing is a similar escalation to what we experienced before WWI and WWII. The Spanish philosopher George Santana wrote “those who do not learn from the history are doomed to repeat it.” That said, and we know it to be true, we are looking down a long barrel of an historic precedent. There is the advent of China possibly contributing to Russia‘s war effort. Time will tell. China is increasing its military forces in the Pacific much as Japan did before the last two world conflicts. An aggressive move by a major power. As in the past major powers are aligning themselves on either side of this conflict. Iran, North Korea on Russia’s side and India, a democracy, sitting on the sidelines, NATO and the U.S. on the Ukraine’s side. A similar scenario to WWI when Russia supported Serbia against Austria; then Germany lined up against France, Britain and Russia to protect Austria which led to the First World War. In my article last April I spoke about Haile Salassie going before the League of Nations and pleading to the world for help to save his nation, Ethiopia, against the Italian invasion. Nations lined up to support him for his bravery but literally gave no military support. His nation fell. With that fall the Germans went into the Sudetenland and Japan into China and then came WWII. So what does this bode for today? This time the West is standing up for a nation under duress. The Ukrainians have been remarkable in the resistance to the invaders. Is Russia going to follow Nazi Germany’s war model?
If the West does not support the Ukraine’s territorial integrity will Moldova be next to fall and then the Balkans? We don’t really know. But we do know what history has taught us. Remember George Santana. I for one do not want to see today’s school children seeking shelter under their desks the way we did as children. That said let us learn from history and stop the monster in his tracks before it becomes too late. Let’s hope that today’s leaders can prevent history from repeating itself.