Better Red than Dead

Being ruled by Russia starts to look not so bad.

As if we didn't have enough things to worry about, now we have the possibility of some idiot accidentally starting World War Three.  The London Telegraph reports that:

The Kremlin admitted on Thursday that targets included non-Isil targets - something it had previously denied - and that its aim was to shore the regime “in its weak spots”.  The White House last night said the failure to discriminate between Isil and other rebel groups was a “grave miscalculation.”

You don't say.  It's been a long time since Russian bombs killed American troops and the people of the United States wouldn't take much more kindly to it today than they did the last time.

Good thing that the Syrian rebels Russia bombed, while armed by the U.S., aren't actually Americans - oh, whoops, Mr. Obama just sent 50 of our special operations tropps to Syria to help out.  As we pointed out the other day, that is exactly how we got into what became the Vietnam War.

We honestly have no clue what game Mr. Obama is playing in the Middle East, except to note with Scott Walker that

Everywhere in the world that Hillary Clinton has touched is worse off today than it was before she and the president took office.

Vladimir Putin Is No Dummy

We can't be sure what game Mr. Putin is playing either.  However, we do know one thing that motivates him very strongly: an overpowering desire to rebuild the lost Soviet Empire.  Mr. Putin has many times said that the fall of the USSR was "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century."  He's taken back the Crimea, he wants back the various Wierdistans (why, we can't imagine), he wants the Baltic States, and he'd really like Eastern Europe if he could get it.

Well, he can't - today.  The Baltics joined NATO at the earliest possible moment, as did Poland and everybody else who could wheedle their way in.  For seventy years, NATO has stood for the world's most powerful defense: "an attack on one is an attack on all."  Even an expansionist Russia would not lightly start a full-on war with America and Europe combined.

The way things are looking, though, he may not have to.  Eastern Europe suffered under Soviet Communism for decades, but Russia isn't Communist anymore.  It's a bit authoritarian, true, and one could argue that its crony-capitalist system is somewhat fascistic, but Russia certainly is not murdering people wholesale these days.

What's more, 1989 proved something that wasn't obvious at the time: that it is possible for a nation to be conquered and ruled by Russia, and yet for the nation and culture to survive the experience and return to independent life.

Now, under normal circumstances, no nation wants to be conquered by anybody.  Given the choice, however, having Russia as overlord may not actually be as bad as some of the other possibilities.

Submission to Something

Consider the people of everywhere touched by the Arab Spring.  The Libyans thought they were badly done by Qadaffi, but any of the sane ones left standing would devoutly wish to have their old dictator back.  Bashir Assad of Syria is no prizewinner but he's nothing like the barbarians of ISIS.  Even Saddam Hussein, for most Iraqis, was able to provide a halfway-safe, sort-of civilized, kinda unified nation instead of the bloodthirsty, explosive chaos Iraq is today, the sole exception being "Kurdistan" which nobody recognizes and the Turks are now bombing.

Blame the mess on Mr. Bush if you like, or on Mr. Obama if you'd rather.  Either way, the Middle East is more dangerous, more violent, and more desperate than it's been since before the Europeans ran the place under colonial administrations.

So anyone who can get out is getting out, in droves.  Literally hundreds of thousands of Muslims are trekking across Turkey to mainland Europe.  Many of them die, but many of them make it, and there are more on the way.  It is estimated that by the end of the year 1.5 million will have arrived.

Can Europe simply absorb them?  Remember, these are Muslims; there is no place on earth where Muslims have been successfully absorbed in large numbers.  Sure enough, Islamic violence against women and Christians has been brought to the most civilized countries on earth which are desperately ill-equipped to deal with it.

Five years ago, would anyone have dreamed that Germany could be "sliding towards anarchy and civil war"?  Yet that's what the leadership of one of Germany's political parties says; they ought to know, since they live there.

Thousands of Germans, Austrians, and others have been protesting the national suicide their leaders are bringing about by permitting this invasion.  Hungary's leaders, more responsive, have closed their borders; other nations may follow suit.

But when you are dealing with literally millions of people, simply putting a customs official at the border crossing isn't going to accomplish much.  Barbed wire helps, but not for too long - somebody's bound to have some wire cutters.  Even a wall would stem the tide only briefly.

No, the only way to stop an invasion of millions is with military force.  Are any of the European nations prepared to massacre what will certainly be portrayed (untruthfully) as unarmed women and children?

Failing that, there is one other way left.  If Putin's Russia can restore strongmen to their thrones in the Middle East, he'll control them, and they'll control the spigot of rampaging Muslims.  After all, this technique worked for 50 years; it only stopped working when we decided to do some regime changing without thinking about what we were changing the regimes to.

What price will he exact from Europe for performing this noble service?  Whatever it is, it will be less than the price of a Muslim invasion, because history shows there's no coming back from that.

Read other articles by Hobbes or other articles on Foreign Affairs.
Reader Comments

Putin is not that stupid to get himself played in West's hand.His bombardment in Syria has a direct influence on large scale immigration of Syrian people.THAT MIGHT BE HIS AIM -to destabilize West . Just count the asylums seekers from those Islamic countries where West has created an imbalance through militancy on one pretext or the other;it's
enough to understand by West;the real root cause of the problem.

November 4, 2015 2:29 AM

Am no less than a 74 years old Hydro Power engineer who does some brain storming of limited capacity and capability on the only issue being confronted by our planet - PEACE.

November 4, 2015 2:42 AM

I take issue with the notion that Assad and Hussein were "far less barbaric" than ISIS and al-Qaeda. Based on what data?

Both killed hundreds of thousands of their own people. Both used weapons of mass destruction (gas). Both had ongoing torture camps. Both persecuted minorities and religious groups.

There is a troubling double standard by Western nations who have no problem with mass-murdering secular leaders but who fulminate about mass-murdering Muslim leaders. Why is mass murder by secular governments, with many more notches in their belt, more terrible than Muslim camps?

November 9, 2015 11:11 AM
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