Glenn K. Beaton is a writer and columnist living in Colorado. He has been a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, RealClearPolitics, Powerline, Instapundit, American Thinker, Fox News and numerous other print, radio and television outlets.
World War I was no picnic for the Germans. About two million German soldiers were killed and countless others were crippled. The Austro-Hungarian Empire on the side of the Germans lost another million and a half.
The loss of life on the side of the Allies was similar, with about two million dead amongst France, UK, Italy and Romania, in that order. The American dead were a fraction of that, a little over 100,000.
The Allied country suffering the greatest number of dead was Russia, where life has always been cheap. Two million Russians were killed, matching the combined total of the other Allies. This proved a presage; the Russian dead in the next world war totaled over 20 million.
To the victorious Allies of WWI went the spoils. In the Treaty of Versailles, they confiscated about 10% of German territory and imposed punitive reparations of about $270 billion in today’s dollars. They prohibited the rebuilding of the German military (we know how well that worked over the next two decades) and stripped Germany of its overseas colonies.
Most humiliatingly, the Allies required Germany to acknowledge that the war had been all its fault. If WWI had been a football game, the Allies would have been flagged for end zone taunting.
The terms of the Treaty of Versailles were undoubtedly satisfying to the Allies, and perhaps gave them a measure of comfort that the Huns would not be at their doorstep again for a long, long time.
I explained a month ago that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be a disaster for Russia in today’s global economy. Russia would be financially crippled by sanctions and would alienate its European oil and gas customers.
Moreover, I explained, the Ukrainians are not defenseless, and would probably put up a spirited fight. The Russians had little to gain in an invasion and much to lose. I confidently concluded that Vladimir Putin was not foolish enough to invade.
Events have proved me right in every respect except my conclusion. It turns out that Putin was indeed foolish enough to invade.
His invasion has not gone well. The Ukrainians have destroyed hundreds of Russian tanks, aircraft and artillery. They’ve killed four Russian generals. They’ve blunted the Russian attack and are now counterattacking.
The Mossad is the feared Israeli intelligence and espionage service established upon the creation of Israel in 1949. The Mossad is effective and efficient.
Along with collecting intelligence, the Mossad from its outset has carried out “targeted killings.” They eschew the word “assassination” because that implies murder. They say their killings are in self-defense because their targets are terrorists bent on destroying Israel.
Occasionally, the Mossad acts quasi-judicially. The most notorious was their 1960 kidnapping of Adolf Eichmann in Argentina. They covertly transported Eichmann to Israel where he was tried for war crimes in organizing and administering the Holocaust. He was found guilty, correctly and fairly, and was hanged.
Vladimir Putin is not afraid of Joe Biden, the newly-woke U.S. military, the Keystone Kops at the NSA, CIA or sundry other alphabet organizations right down to BIPOC and LGBTQ, or his speechwriter “doctor” Jill, or the yes-men (er, persons) in the White House. The Kamala Kackle gives him pause, but he has people to handle her.
No, Putin is not afraid of any of them. In fact, it’s that collection of nitwits that tempts him.
Here’s what he’s afraid of, for good reasons.
First, war is semi-obsolete in today’s global economy. Just as China doesn’t want war with the United States, which is its biggest manufactured goods customer, Russia doesn’t want war with western or even eastern Europe, which are its biggest oil and gas customers.
Say what you will about the perils of globalization, but it does discourage war. Bombing your customer or even your customer’s neighbor is bad for business.