Alex Massie

Did you know Putin is really (another) Hitler?

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How about this for an opening sentence?

The details of who did what to precipitate Russia's war against Georgia are not very important.

Who, you ask, is this clown? None other than Robert Kagan, writing today in the Washington Post. His second sentence is also a doozy:

Do you recall the precise details of the Sudeten Crisis that led to Nazi Germany's invasion of Czechoslovakia?

And how about this?

Historians will come to view Aug. 8, 2008, as a turning point no less significant than Nov. 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell. Russia's attack on sovereign Georgian territory marked the official return of history, indeed to an almost 19th-century style of great-power competition, complete with virulent nationalisms, battles for resources, struggles over spheres of influence and territory, and even -- though it shocks our 21st-century sensibilities -- the use of military power to obtain geopolitical objectives.

Isn't this also, of course, a rather good description of the United States' invasion of Iraq? An invasion for which Mr Kagan prepared much of the intellectual justification...

Anyway, all these comparisons of the state of Russia today with that of Nazi Germany do rather make one wonder how many "modern-day Hitlers" the world can accommodate at any one time? What's the over/under on that?

[Via James Poulos whose article at Comment is Free I also recommend.]

UPDATE: Matt Yglesias, ensconced in his new digs, also responds to Kagan:

It seems to me that rather than specifically informing us of each and every time something happens in the world that reminds neocons of the Sudetenland crisis, maybe they should let us know on those rare occasions when a world event doesn’t spark a Munich analogy.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articleInternationalforeign policyrussia