About a week ago I heard some fool fund manager on CNBC say Ukraine was a non-event and has no possible impact on the markets. A couple of days ago I heard Obama say we have new sanctions teed up. Then I saw the news of 50,000 top quality Russian troops only miles from the border, Russian fighter aircraft flying over Ukraine, and the seizure of international monitors. Putin seeing no real response from Obama and Europe just ramped up the threats. This past week I toured the Holocaust museum in Washington. Aside from it reminding people of the incredible level of deep depravity the human race is capable of, there was a section on the history leading up to the war. For those of you too young to have studied this in history, Hitler ran the same script in 1938. It was all part of a greater plan to take over all of Europe. Sudetenland was the German speaking part of Czechoslovakia then. Hitler claimed the Czech government was threatening his people in Sudetenland and he would intervene unless he got his demands met. Hitler brought in his newly formed army up to the border. The Europeans and the US immediately expressed upset and called a peace conference in Geneva with Hitler. To make a long story short, the western countries did not want war so they gave him Sudetenland and Chamberlain made his famous “peace in our time” speech.  Hitler saw the weakness of the western governments and knew he could then move ahead to invade other countries. More importantly, he saw that the US was not going to do anything because it had become isolationist since 1918, and would do anything to stay out of a war, and had diminished the armed forces. Six months later Hitler seized all of Czechoslovakia and went on to Hungry and Poland, and WWII was underway. Thirty million died thanks to “peace in our time”. The Holocaust happened. What struck me about the history posted in the museum is that you can substitute Putin for Hitler and leave every word the same describing the lead up to the seizure of Czechoslovakia, and the peace conference in Geneva, and the statements from Europe and the US, and you perfectly describe what is happening right now in Ukraine. You do not have to change a single word other than swap Putin for Hitler.

Just reread history. Go on line and type in Sudetenland. Germany lost its empire and was humiliated at the end of WWI. Some lands it controlled were taken away. Then there was the depression and people in Germany grew desperate to feed themselves properly. Along comes Hitler to say I will put the empire back together better than ever.  I will make your life much better.  I will restore your pride in being German. At the same time he rebuilt the army into a huge machine. He had the opposition arrested or killed. After the Berlin Wall, Russia lost its empire, and hard liner nationalists like Putin chafed at this awful feeling of loss. Putin says it. The army had diminished to nothing. Putin began to rebuild and retrain it, and equip it with top quality weapons.  Putin brought back pride in the Russian people. He had opponents arrested or killed. In 2008 he seized part of Georgia with no real consequence. The he began to establish allies in Iran, and other places. He essentially gained control of Ukraine through a puppet leader. All the while he watched as Obama cut defense spending, and he and Hillary espoused a non intervention, no war foreign policy. He watched Obama fold on Iran, Syria, follow up in Libya, Benghazi, and then lie about it, and then have complete failure in the Mideast peace talks, and a failure to back the winners in Egypt. In short, it became clear Obama would do nothing if Putin seized land. He pulled out the Hitler script for 1938 and followed it to the letter. All that happened was a few buddies got sanctioned. So he ramped it up even more. He knows the Europeans are following the Neville Chamberlain script.

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