by Lew Rockwell, Lew Rockwell:
Ladies and gentlemen, we face a grave danger. The leader of a major European power wants to make territorial revisions. He is surrounded by hostile powers who threaten him. He does not seek war with other countries but if the hostile powers continue to encircle him, he will fight. A European war looms.
You probably think I’m talking about the current crisis between Russia and the Ukraine, but I’m not. I’m talking about Europe just before World War II began in September 1939. At that time, Hitler wanted small territorial revisions with its Polish neighbor. East Prussia was cut off from the rest of Poland by a band of territory called the Polish Corridor.
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As the great British historian A.J. P. Taylor explains, “The losses of territory to Poland were, for most Germans, the indelible grievance against Versailles. Hitler undertook a daring operation over this grievance when he planned co-operation with Poland. But there was a way out. The actual Germans under Polish rule might be forgotten—or withdrawn; what could not be forgiven was the ‘Polish corridor’ which divided East Prussia from the Reich. Here, too, there was a possible compromise. Germany might be satisfied with a corridor across the corridor—a complicated idea for which there were however many precedents in German history. German feeling could be appeased by the recovery of Danzig. This seemed easy. Danzig was not part of Poland. It was a Free City, with its own autonomous administration under a High Commissioner, appointed by the League of Nations. The Poles themselves, in their false pride as a Great Power, had taken the lead in challenging the League’s authority. Surely, therefore, they would not object if Germany took the League’s place. Moreover, the problem had changed since 1919. Then the port of Danzig had been essential to Poland. Now, with the creation of Gdynia by the Poles, Danzig needed Poland more than the Poles needed Danzig. It should then be easy to arrange for the safeguarding of Poland’s economic interests, and yet to recover Danzig for the Reich.”
The British responded by guaranteeing Poland’s western boundary against Germany. They also issued a guarantee to Romania, even though there had been no threat to that country. As a result of the guarantee, Poland refused to negotiate with Germany. War broke out, and Poland was destroyed. The great Murray Rothbard tells us what happened: “And as a direct result, Poland was destroyed. Hitler’s ‘demands’ on the Poles were almost non-existent; as Taylor points out, the Weimar Republic would have scorned the terms as a sell-out of vital German interests. Hitler at most wanted a ‘corridor through the Corridor’ and the return of heavily-German (and pro-German) Danzig; in return for which he would guarantee the rest. Poland resolutely refused to yield’ one inch of Polish soil,’ and refused even to negotiate with the Germans, and this down to the last minute.”
Murray draws an important lesson from what happened then. This lesson provides the key to keeping us out of a nuclear war today. And of course a nuclear war would destroy the world. Here is what Murray says: “[Polish Foreign Minister Józef] Beck clearly knew that Britain and France could not actually save Poland from attack. He relied to the end on those great shibboleths of all ‘hard-liners’ and other ‘crackpot realists’ everywhere: X is ‘bluffing’; X will back down if met by toughness, resolution, and the resolve not to give an inch. (Just as in the case of Finland, when the ‘X is bluffing’ line of the hard-liners is shown to be sheer absurdity, and X has already attacked, the ‘hard-liner’ turns, self-contradictorily, to the dictum that not ‘one inch of sacred soil’ will be given up, no peace while the enemy is on our soil, etc., which completes the ruin of the country by its ‘hard-line’ rulers. This is what Beck did to Poland.) As Taylor shows, Hitler had originally not the slightest intention to invade or conquer Poland; instead, Danzig and other minor rectifications would be gotten out of the way, and then Poland would be a comfortable ally, perhaps for an eventual invasion of Soviet Russia. But Beck’s irrational toughness blocked the path.”
Now we have the background we need to understand what’s going on today. Russia is surrounded by a hostile NATO alliance. The propagandists for brain-dead Biden like to say that Putin had Ukraine surrounded. But in fact, the US and its NATO satellites had Russia surrounded. In the years before the current crisis, we had ample opportunity to reach a compromise settlement. Instead, we kept the option of membership in NATO open to Ukraine and overthrew a Ukrainian President who was pro-Russian. “At the Kremlin. . . in November 2021] Putin drew his red line:
‘The threat on our western borders is … rising, as we have said multiple times. … In our dialogue with the United States and its allies, we will insist on developing concrete agreements prohibiting any further eastward expansion of NATO and the placement there of weapons systems in the immediate vicinity of Russian territory.’
A story in The New York Times exposes what brain-dead Biden and the gang of neo-cons that controls him have in store for us. According to an item that was published April 26, “When Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III declared Monday at the end of a stealth visit to Ukraine that America’s goal is to see Russia so ‘weakened’ that it would no longer have the power to invade a neighboring state, he was acknowledging a transformation of the conflict, from a battle over control of Ukraine to one that pits Washington more directly against Moscow. . . in word and deed, the United States has been gradually pushing in the direction of undercutting the Russian military.
It has imposed sanctions that were explicitly designed to stop Russia’s military from developing and manufacturing new weapons. It has worked — with mixed success — to cut off the oil and gas revenues that drive its war machine. . . over the longer term, Mr. Austin’s description of America’s strategic goal is bound to reinforce President Vladimir V. Putin’s oft-stated belief that the war is really about the West’s desire to choke off Russian power and destabilize his government. And by casting the American goal as a weakened Russian military, Mr. Austin and others in the Biden administration are becoming more explicit about the future they see: years of continuous contest for power and influence with Moscow that in some ways resembles what President John F. Kennedy termed the ‘long twilight struggle’ of the Cold War.
Mr. Austin’s comments, bolstered by statements by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken about the various ways in which Mr. Putin has ‘already lost’ in the struggle over Ukraine, reflect a decision made by the Biden administration and its closest allies, several officials said on Monday, to talk more openly and optimistically about the possibility of Ukrainian victory in the next few months as the battle moves to the Russian-speaking south and east, where Mr. Putin’s military should, in theory, have an advantage.
At a moment when American intelligence officials are reporting that Mr. Putin thinks he is winning the war, the strategy is to drive home the narrative that Russia’s military adventure will be ruinous, and that it is a conflict Mr. Putin cannot afford to sustain.”
Let’s make sure we understand this. Critics of US policy have pointed out for a long time that America has surrounded Russia with nuclear bases. It helped overthrow a pro-Russian government in the Ukraine. Naturally, this made Putin nervous. He does not want an invasion of Russia though the Ukraine, as happened in World War II, when Russia lost millions of lives. Now, the brain dead Biden gang of neocons is saying to Putin, “You are exactly right! We do want to degrade Russia to a minor power and use the Ukraine as a base for attack!”