Biden’s surprise trip to Kyiv on February 20th involving a 10-hour train ride from Poland, arriving just before Putin gives his state of the war address on February 21st and just days before the first anniversary of Putin brutal invasion of Ukraine offers both sides powerful symbolism.
Biden’s message “We will be here as long as it takes” as he warmly greeted President Zelensky and his wife was a masterful political move and will be seen by both sides as highly symbolic!
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) February 20, 2023
NEWS: Biden in Kyiv https://t.co/0lJkgqaYFn
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) February 20, 2023
Will this trip create a major war escalation? To be determined.
However, does this war now offer repetitions of history in both WWI and WWII? Read on.
Number One Example: Remember Hitler’s fatal mistake? After signing a non-aggression pact with Stalin in 1939, Hitler decided to let his planned UK invasion wait and invaded the USSR in 1941.
You can read about this historical echo in WWll history here.
“As the German columns advanced across the seemingly infinite spaces of the steppes towards their distant objectives, including a city named Stalingrad, the victory in the East that had once seemed so certain receded even further from sight.”
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers against the Soviet Union (USSR), Poland and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe (Baltics), and Southeast Europe (Balkans) from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It was known as the Great Patriotic War in the Soviet Union.
The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome in the European theatre of operations in World War II, eventually serving as the main reason for the defeat of Nazi Germany and the Axis nations.”
In Russia today they don't celebrate the end of world war 2 but that of the great patriotic war. The war started in 1941. The reason? Russia was an ally to Nazi Germany until 1941. https://t.co/xCZJ3Dryoa
— 🏺⳩Bailadoros 🇬🇷🇦🇺 (@Bailadoros) May 1, 2022
Brutal!! Far exceeding Ukraine casualties on both sides so far.
Number Two Example: A second possible echo of history as in WWI: A stalemate like the Verdun battle of WWI. The two sides got aligned trench to trench and in that horrible stalemate incurred losses which made subsequent US entry into the war more tolerable.
The Battle of Verdun (French: Bataille de Verdun [bataj də vɛʁdœ̃]; German: Schlacht um Verdun [ʃlaxt ʔʊm ˈvɛɐ̯dœ̃]) was fought from 21 February to 18 December 1916 on the Western Front in France. The battle was the longest of the First World War and took place on the hills north of Verdun-sur-Meuse.
Read the full ghastly story here. Almost 1 million deaths and casualties.
Is this again an historical echo as the US and NATO step up to stop Putin?
The stopping of Hitler at Stalingrad has been etched in the minds of military historians ever since. Bogged down in Winter and confronting Soviet willingness to sacrifice endlessly its soldiers, German troops withdrew, having given the UK and the US (after Pearl Harbor) impetus for the big war in Europe, which ended Hitler and then the Japanese with the Atomic Bomb.
As his desperation deepens will Putin risk tactical nukes. Will UK provision of jets and escalation of NATO armaments be key triggers for that possible decision?
Is Putin using nukes of any kind as mad as Hitler became as pressure accelerated after his defeats. Might such use finally awaken the world to recognize its WWIII potential for world destruction.
Possible Number Three Example?: After Verdun the exhausted sides made the entry of the USA into WWI decisive in ending that war. Not yet of course. Is this again an historical echo as the US and NATO have stepped up to stop Putin??
Is the 6th Mass Extinction argument finally being understood, at least in partial terms??
Beyond the unknowable above, my point is simple: Putin can’t use USSR WWII Stalingrad strategy against Ukraine and win! And now neither side can afford to lose!
Read here the Wall Street Journal story about present Russian troop deaths in Ukraine for little or no gain:
BAKHMUT, Ukraine—Ukrainian artillery fire mangled the platoon of Russian soldiers advancing on this besieged city. Guided by a live video feed from an aerial drone, the guns cut down the first group of 20, a reconnaissance officer recalled. Then a further group of 20 were knocked out, followed by 10 more.
Later that same day in January, another 20 Russian soldiers trudged forward along the same path and managed to dig in at a new position in a wood a little closer to Bakhmut.
“I just don’t know when they’ll run out,” said the 33-year-old officer, Maj. Yuriy Harkaviy, who goes by the nom de guerre Skala, or the Rock. “Everywhere is already strewn with corpses.”
After months of retreats, Russia is gaining some ground in the east of Ukraine with a familiar tactic from the Soviet Red Army in World War II: the deployment of waves of Russian humans from the so-called Wagner group with scant regard for their lives.”
But the arrival of new weapons from the US and NATO allies in a timely manner would likely change the situation.
While a good piece (the WSJ has had excellent on the ground reporting of this war) it misrepresents Soviet experience in WW2. Bad movies aside, Russia’s greatest triumphs over Germany weren’t through human wave attacks but tactics and strategy. https://t.co/mUccVXfWtG
— Scott Jennings (@Lum_) February 8, 2023
The US and NATO know Ukraine must be saved or NATO and the world is imperiled!
Putin must know he has lost and yet will seem for now intractable in his pursuit of victory.
Recovery of Crimea’s loss in 2014 to Russia maybe well prove the key means to an eventual truce, but not yet even has Putin’s pending defeat must already have Putin in deep trouble at home.
Allies in China and elsewhere have their own woes and Putin’s brutal unprovoked invasion has already will made his PR image universally untenable worldwide.
Caveat: Both US parties back present our policy and Biden’s pursuit of reelection makes GOP charges of Biden’s being a weak older man vs any younger neo-Trumper won’t in my view win for the GOP in 2024.
Fascinating how history offers meaningful echoing lessons too often unheeded by the losing successor leaders.
“What Can Be Done Now to Save Habitable Life on Planet Earth?”: https://t.co/fHuh0CG6JD
“We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?”: https://t.co/TA4j7cp1tE
“From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013”: https://t.co/lkC2t3E1A9 pic.twitter.com/bQsL2mLBcO
— Church and State (@ChurchAndStateN) November 1, 2021
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