Crimea is Russian. What now?

Still exists, doesn’t amount to much as a unit. Kinda like the Commonwealth of Nations.

So? I am sure Iraq would jump at the chance to join NATO, hell they share a border with NATO.

The question is not whether Russia would feel better or not, its the interests of the US and of the major NATO countries. They are now committed to defending ethnically mixed countries bordering a continent spanning expansionist minded superpower. The terrain is flat and there are no real natural obstacles between Belarussia and the Elbe as the Wehrmacht found out.

The lesson of WW1 and 2. Don’t go about making alliances and guarentees which commit to war unless you are fully prepared to fight them.

That’s the lesson you take from WW2? Are you of the opinion that the Western Allies should have just, you know, let Germany help itself to Poland? That would have been a better outcome? :confused:

I would have thought the more cogent lesson was “when a power is bent on conquests based on blood-and-soil nationalism, it is better to stand firm against them than to appease them, because their appetite feeds on success”.

Amen to that.

The fate of the Ukraine is entirely irrelevant to the safety and well-being of Americans, and it’s outrageous to me that we would spend a penny- much less, potentially waste American lives- defending a bunch of Eastern European countries which have no relevance to us, from Russia.

And in any case, it’s not like we have had a particularly good record of honouring the sovereignty of our southern neighbors over the last century, either.

False. Russia’s life expectancy has been increasing since around 2004, at quite a rapid clip. It’s 65 years for men right now, compared to 59 years in 2004.

Most other social indicators (economic growth rate, unemployment, birth rate, etc.) are better than ten years ago, too. Russia is a more unequal society than it used to be, but still less so than the United States.

  1. The W Allies could do and did sweet fuck all to protect Poland…unless you are posting from some bizzaro universe.

  2. The real reason they went to war was since a German attack in the West was inevitable and everybody knew it. Poland was just the excuse and if Germany took Poland she would become much stronger before any attack in France and the low Countries, especially if she was permitted time and space to digest her winnings, which in the event she got due to less than steller strategy on the UK/French side.

  3. Do you think the US has interests in the defence of UK? Yes. France. Sure. Germany? Yup. Do you think that the US poplace would support a war to protect them? Most definitely. Do you really think that the same can be said for Hungary, the Balts, Bulgaria etc?

Obviously. But that’s not why they gave guarantees to Poland. They did that because, belatedly, they realized Hitler had to be stopped, that waffling and appeasing only encouraged him.

Maybe if they had not appeased him earlier, he would have stopped.

Wrong. Hitler’s strategic interest was always without question invasion of Eastern, not Western, Europe. It is in Eastern Europe that he saw the future of Germany - displacing the “slavic hordes” he so hated.

The attack on Westen Europe (and alliance with Soviet Russia) was mandated by the Western Allies. In Hitler’s world, it was a distraction imposed on him. He made concerted attempts at peace with the UK, exactly because he did not really care about conquest of the UK - compliance was all he really wanted from them (though he’d take conquest if necessary).

If the West had allowed Hitler to help himself to Poland, chances are he’d never have allied himself with the Soviets and WW2 would have been a Nazi-Soviet war …

The only reason the US would “support a war to protect them” is the legacy of the last European War, diring which isolationists in the US most definitely did not “support a war to protect them”. And look how well isolationism worked then.

The “interests” the US, or rather everyone in the West has (and why are you confining the analysis to the US? I’m not American), is in preventing a new all-out war - which appeasement of an aggressor makes more, not less, likely - that being the real “lesson” of WW2.

The problem with this argument is that the conquest of Western Europe wouldn’t have been an “if necessary” thing for Nazi Germany, even if Hitler’s #1 goal was to invade Russia, unless you want us to share in your belief that the major Western powers would have stood by as the power that had previously invaded Poland turned its gaze towards the east. War between the Allies and Nazi Germany was inevitable as long as Nazi expansion continued. The early appeasement was almost certainly ill-advised, but that doesn’t mean it would have lasted forever.

Hitler may have sued for peace with the UK, but that’s after he had already steamrolled France out of the equation and thought he had broken the British will to fight. If anything, the German war machine’s strengths (which coincided with the weakness of the French military that let them be overrun so quickly and utterly) made them more likely to begin in the west, rather than force themselves to fight a REAL two-front war against two vigorous, mobilized enemies. What he did do was try to divide and conquer.

Whether or not he only wanted compliance from France and the UK isn’t really relevant, because he was only going to get that via 1. conquering them or 2. bludgeoning them and sapping their will/ability to carry on the fight against him.

Calling the western powers a “distraction” for Hitler is like calling your need for food a distraction - sure, it may not be what you WANT to satisfy most, all things being equal - but you still can’t ignore it without starving.

Wikipedia is an exceptionally poor resource for anything of substance.
Here are some with far greater credibility:

See…anybody can edit Wikipedia. That means other than say…finding out where the location of a a town is or who won a game…it’s largely useless as a source for factual information.

Huh? Why was Western intervention “inevitable” in a war between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia? They were both hated in the West, and rightly. It is not obvious that the West could not (or would not) have simply sat out such a conflict.

Don’t understand the argument. WHAT “two-front war”? WHAT “vigorous, mobilized enemies”? A war between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia would have been a ONE front war, and NO ONE was “vigorous” or “mobilized” other than the Nazis.

Not so. There was zero appetite in the West for war, other than that it was seen as a necessity having offered guarantees to Poland. In a world where the West sat by and allowed Germany and the Soviets to divvy up Poland, and the Nazis refrained from attacking West (instead carrying out their real plan to attack the Soviets) a subsequent Nazi/Soviet war would most likely not have drawn in the West, who hated both equally and whose populations had zero appetite for a new world war - particularly one in defence of Soviet Russia. It would have been politically impossible.

It wouldn’t have been an intervention in a war between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, it would have been exactly what it turned out to be - intervention in a war between Nazi Germany (along with a few friends, of course) versus the world. Just because he didn’t

Two fronts - western vs. the Allies and eastern vs. the Soviets. Except unlike the real WWII, where Hitler had pretty much wrapped up victory in the west before he went east.

You’ll recall that it took less than a year of real two-front fighting before Nazi Germany was done, the Normandy invasion marking the opening of a real second front, and that was after the Nazis had dismantled France in one go and spent the rest of the time pummeling the British. The French army would have been a major factor, as would a British force that wasn’t simply holed up on their island.

The west’s appetite for war may not have been Crusade-level, but it was not “zero” and would have grown stronger

If Hitler had, as you said, mounted no offensive into western Europe and simply invaded Russia, and at any point there was concern that he might win, the Allied powers would have had no choice but to attack him, especially with the tantalizing opportunity to stab him in the metaphorical back while his forces were committed in Russia.

Are you suggesting that this hypothetical Nazi Germany vs. Russia war would have resulted in an emphatic defeat for the Nazis? If don’t think you are, but that would render this argument kind of pointless. I think we can assume that Hitler expected some kind of victory in Russia, especially because we know that real-life Nazi Germany, after taking care of business initially in the west, went ahead and invaded anyway. Note, by emphatic I mean “the war ends with T-34s rolling into Berlin” defeat, not a stalemate or a Nazi retreat. I ask this because there just isn’t evidence that further Nazi expansion, including an invasion of Russia, would have been tolerated by the Allied powers. Best-case scenario, Hitler is defeated by the Soviets. Worst-case scenario? Hitler somehow pulls it off and becomes an exponentially greater threat to the west. Regardless, Hitler knew that conflict with the Allies was inevitable as long as he continued down that path.

Your initial premise was that Hitler’s appetite was fed by success. I would argue that his desire for more success was fed by lack of defeat.

I also suspect there is some historical revisionism here with respect to American attitudes towards late 30s/early 40s Russia. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the USSR didn’t become our #1 foe, blood enemy, archrival etc. until after the fall of Hitler. I don’t think it’s fair to ascertain the US’ attitude towards a Nazi vs. Soviet war as you do - a nation’s strategic interest sometimes makes for strange bedfellows.

Maybe when Ukraine gets the taste of EU medicine that Yanukovich was attempting to sweeten last Fall - the tension will be directed at the new Ukraine government that handed economic autonomy to the EU and the IMF. So I believe current internatiobal tensions to be short-lived. And Russia is not intent on taking more and more. That is hyped up hysteria to ease the agony of being defeated.

What now?

The next stage is for the Ukrainian government to consolidate its authority over the rest of its territory which is clearly under threat. They have an unenviable task with a nasty mix of oligarchs controlling the levers of the economy and nationalists vying for political control. It is unstable and I would expect Mr Putin to try to ensure it stays that way.

The West will offer credit and loans, to try and help Ukraine rebuild its economy.

The EU countries will become determined to wean themselves off dependency on the Russian gas pipelines. But this will take time.

Russia will look for new markets for its Oil and Gas, especially China.

The US will probably start selling liquified natural gas directly to the Baltic states to protect them from Mr Putin turning off the tap. But these are small states.

Germany has a particularly difficult energy question to deal with. They are supposed to close the last of their nuclear power plants by 2022 and they depend on Russia for 30% of their gas and the environmental lobby really do not like fracking.

It is quite a chess game. I am not at all sure why Putin has done this. The Russian economy is bound to suffer. Presumably he thinks he can ride it out.

I am guessing a West leaning Ukrainian government ejecting one of his pet oligarchs was too much to bear, in what he regards as Russias backyard. He wanted to undermine it as much as possible. He has certainly done that.

Now Crimea is Russian. The peninsula will never return to Ukrainian jurisdiction in your lifetime or mine.

There was an interesting interview by Terri Gross on Fresh Air with political scientist Kimberly Marten, a professor of political science at Barnard College, the deputy director for development at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies, and a faculty member at Columbia’s Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies.

She reminded me of my Political Science prof in college who really knew what was going on in the old Soviet Union. If you want to listen here’s the link to “How Crimea’s Annexation Plays To Russians’ Soviet Nostalgia”:

Thank you for that link. Very illuminating.

Doubt that. Nations have their historical errors. Russias is trying to match the military buildup capacity of the west. That collapsed the Soviet Union, which was stronger than Russia, and facing a smaller west. It will collapse todays Russia harder. Last collapse, the shanghaied territories ran to NATO the moment the Soviet hand slipped on their chain.

I suspect when the next one comes, having belonged to the Ukraine once will be a very convenient excuse to get away from Russia.