They say that history doesn’t repeat itself but rather goes spiral.
I think this is an accurate assumption. Let’s take the classical case of the 1938 Munich Treaty and what came afterwards. Britain and France struck a deal with Nazi Germany, selling out Czechoslovakia for some abstract ‘peace’ that Neville Chamberlain had brought back home.
We all know what happened on September 1, 1939, given that in 1938, Britain and France were militarily stronger than Germany. They could have stopped Hitler right there to prevent a world war.
The only thing they needed was will. Something Churchill had when he came to power.
What is happening in Ukraine reminds me a bit of what happened in 1938, though not directly. The West couldn’t prevent Putin from starting the war. The West also didn’t believe that Ukraine would stand and not collapse in the first week of the war.
However, now that Ukraine has withstood with the help of the West, we have the same old story of a lack of will to achieve a result. It was time for smart action… but no such action followed.
The United States could have defeated Putin on the battlefield simply by delivering more weapons, including smart weapons, to Ukraine. In my mind, such a strategic choice would not just liberate Ukraine but also endanger the Putin regime to a degree that would possibly end it.
A regime change caused by Putin’s initial unprovoked aggression would, in my mind, have been a perfect thing for my country.
All of this could have been done, but the lack of will in the summer of 2022, when it became clear that Ukraine was willing to defeat Putin, curtailed such intentions.
Now we have the spiralling trick of history: there’s a war of attrition in Ukraine, and we’re having Putin’s regime survive.
Yes, the West did support Ukraine to the point that they won’t lose the war. However, step 2 still needs to be completed: defeating Putin’s regime as the source of trouble. Let us not forget that Putin’s continued reign in Russia, again, contradicts my country’s core national interest of sustainable development and growth, based on more democracy within and cooperation with the West on the foreign track.
We are probably not doomed to repeat our mistakes literally, but we are doomed to produce updated versions.
Are we doomed to repeat the past?
On every level, the answer, sadly, is yes, we are.
You would think that intelligent world leaders would study history, to help them understand why events happened the way they did. Anyone can use solid evidence to piece together an accurate picture of what occurred in the past, and more importantly, why it happened.
Studying the past helps you make better decisions, giving you knowledge and perception you simply cannot get from everyday life. There are literally thousands of years’ worth of information upon which to draw.
Armed conflict drives most world events. (I often wonder how different the world would be if important battles had gone the other way. What if the Persians had conquered Greece? What if Britain was invaded in 1940? The world would be such a different place.)
Unfortunately, wherever you look, whether it’s Muslims against Jews, whites against blacks, dictatorship against democracy, the answer is always same old, same old. We simply never learn.
In Britain, we had the “Windrush scandal”, people who were wrongly detained, denied legal rights, threatened with deportation, and wrongly deported from the UK by the Home Office. It was embarrassing to see the Home Office show ignorance and thoughtlessness throughout that process.
You would think we might learn from that. Oh no, just a few years on, the British government decided they would immediately deport all refugees, fleeing death and destruction, to that safe haven and bastion of human rights, Rwanda. It was declared illegal by the highest court in the land. So now, the government is introducing emergency legislation to change the law to allow them to do. Another scandal awaits……
The fact we are doomed to repeat past mistakes, for all sorts of underwhelming reasons, will ensure that our species will not last that much longer. All rather depressing really.
Are we doomed to repeat the past?
Well, this time it looks like the answer is yes. Rupert Murdock & Donald Trump have already changed the trajectory of politics. Murdock & Trump have injected hate into the nation’s discourse. It now appears that senior leadership of one of our political parties believes its acceptable to hurl insults and commit physical assaults.
According to CNN, Joe Biden said: “There comes a time,” he said, “maybe every six to eight generations, where the world changes in a very short time.” That is happening now, he said. “What happens in the next two, three years (is) going to determine what the world looks like for the next five or six decades.”
Turn on the TV and you will hear that “we are in uncharted territory.” It’s almost a mantra… and it’s all bullshit. Example: In 1940 Charles Lindberg’s wife, Anne, wrote the number one non-fiction book of the year. The Wave of the Future: A Confession of Faith, which basically said the US should enter World War II on Germany’s side. She had also written in a letter that Hitler was “a very great man.” Remind you of anyone?
Of course, the Americans were not alone in hate’s warm embrace: ALL Great Patriotic War memorials throughout Russia will look to a Westerner like they got the dates wrong. When did the invasion of Poland take place again? Can you name the man who killed more Russians than Hitler? Some Russians can’t. Italy’s another story.
Do you ever wonder what it would feel like to be alive in the 1930’s? Would it feel like today? It’s like half the world has gone crazy and nobody has a clue what to do about it.
Are we doomed to repeat the past? If you only look at the record the answer would be yes. Most alive today think there have only been two world wars. Folks can tell you that Napoleon’s men shot the nose off the Great Sphinx for target practice but don’t really seem to understand what that means. The British and French in particular have fought across almost every continent several times. The first world war the Americans fought in was what we call The French & Indian War; I believe Roger would call it The Seven Years War. As colonists, we fought in places from Cuba to Quebec for His Majesty.
We are clearly repeating the past but are we doomed to a major war? The answer seems to be up to one person: Xi. Right now, I’d vote no war. China is having serious problems and would have trouble financing a real world-wide war. They must import food and oil or their economy will completely collapse in about six months. Maybe China could take Taiwan but the US Navy is no joke and would be a force in the Indian Ocean (oil route). No oil equals game over and that’s why India and China are pumping out aircraft carriers as fast as they can.
I know, I know; Putin & Netanyahu think all this revolves around them and their problems. Putin will be lucky if China doesn’t take the Russian Far East (Outer Manchuria) and Netanyahu will be lucky to stay out of prison. Supporting players in a major Bollywood drama.