Geopolitics

Is it 1938 — or 2003?

By William Falk, The Week

It’s 1938 again, and the greatest risk the West faces is not a third world war but appeasement in the face of Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. No, it’s 1964 or 2003, and the U.S. must not again make the mistake of being stampeded into a foolish war like Vietnam or Iraq. Actually, it’s 1995, and we have a moral duty to intervene militarily to prevent further slaughter, just as we did in Bosnia. Or it’s 2011, and ousting Putin as we did Moammar Gadhafi may lead to chaos and dire unintended consequences. Take your pick. Human beings are wired to make comparisons, and in deciding how to best respond to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, it’s natural to fall back on historical analogies. But which moment in history is most relevant? That’s tricky business. The choice generally reflects the prior biases and agenda of the chooser, and can thus serve to mislead rather than to illuminate.

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Categories: Geopolitics

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