Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Ukraine = Poland, “that little corner of the world”

"The fact that Putin has seized Crimea, a Russian-speaking zone of Ukraine, once part of Russia, where many of the citizens prefer to be part of Russia and where Russia has a major naval base, is not like taking Poland."

--Thomas Friedman, New York Times

I find it beyond belief that Tom Friedman could write such a sentence. Friedman knows better, but he is cynically counting on his audience--the supposedly-sophisticated New York Times readership and their syndicated counterparts elsewhere in the country's wealth pockets--not knowing enough about Europe in 1939 to call him on it. Danzig was at the time a German-speaking zone in Poland, once part of Germany, where most citizens preferred to be part of Germany and near where Germany had a major naval base.

Had Friedman uttered the word “Danzig,” his sentence justifying Russian seizure of Crimea would have immediately sunk, having struck against thoughts of Crimea's parallel to Danzig and Hitler’s conquest of Poland. So Friedman deliberately avoided saying Danzig, instead rolling on to write thoughtlessly:
that little corner of the world is always going to mean more, much more, to Putin than to us, and we should refrain from making threats on which we’re not going to deliver.
“that little corner of the world”?! That’s the way the West treated Czechoslovakia when it gave up the Sudetenland at Munich in September 1938, paving the way for Hitler to grab the rest of that unfortunate nation six months later.

But concerning Danzig, in March 1939 according to Wikipedia:
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, [sought] a deal with Hitler regarding Danzig (and possibly the Polish Corridor), and Hitler hoped for the same. Chamberlain and his supporters believed war could be avoided and hoped Germany would agree to leave the rest of Poland alone.
Yes Mr. Friedman. The parallel between Putin in 2014 and Hitler 75 years earlier seems almost exact.

No comments: