Munich - A City for Appeasers?

  flycatcher1 19:24 07 Feb 15
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In 1938 an Agreement was signed in Munich to enable a Dictator to annex various lands which had a sizeable German speaking population. It was appeasement pure and simple and strengthened Hitler's determination to expand.

In 2015 there is a Nato Conference in Munich and some European Leaders are visiting Moscow to meet another Dictator. Another appeasement is on the cards.

Surely the world should know that Dictators can only be controlled by strength and not weakness. At least in the Thirties we decided to re-arm, not very popular in some places, but now we are reducing our Forces.

It has been suggested that the Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment should be changed and even combined surely we should be strengthening the sharp end of our Military not reducing them. Of course we will have two big ships - both painted white with a trunk and ears fitted very little use in Europe.

  Flak999 20:07 07 Feb 15

A very prescient warning on what could turn out to be the biggest threat to the west since the end of the cold war. Putin is playing his cards like the master gambler he is, he is pushing here and there to see what the wests reaction will be.

Look what happened in Georgia and South Ossetia, Putin will not tolerate Ukraine becoming allied to the West and possibly joining NATO. His reaction to such a possibility is what we are now witnessing, and it is from a Russian point of view completely understandable. Putin and the Russians are deeply suspicious of western motives in Ukraine, it was the same with the US over Cuba, look how they reacted to a communist sympathising state on their doorstep, witness the bay of pigs and the Cuban missile crisis.

To Putin our actions over Ukraine are the same, he sees it as more western expansion into a Russian sphere of influence and a now emboldened revitalised Russia will not tolerate this any more. Putin is not Yeltsin, he is a pragmatist but also a gambler, he has gambled that the west will not step in to defend Ukraine and they will certainly not grant NATO membership to a country that could precipitate another European war.

Putin has calculated that he can take the Eastern provinces from Ukraine and we will not stop him, we have imposed sanctions which are hurting Russia but it is the fall in the oil price that is trashing the Russian economy far more than our sanctions. Putin will not back down over this, he is certain that the west are weak and have no stomach for a fight over Ukraine and I think he is right, we are and we don't.

Ukraine will be another frozen conflict, and this suits Putins aims. The question we have to ask is what will we do if he tries the same gambit in one of the old soviet satellite states now allied to the west and members of NATO? Are we ready to fulfil article five of the NATO charter? Namely an attack against one is an attack against all!

If we are not then NATO is finished, if we are...... then the abyss beckons!

  bumpkin 22:35 07 Feb 15

The Japs blew up Pearl Harbour no doubt reveling in their success and saying "see what they do about that" The answer was forthcoming.

  bremner 08:52 08 Feb 15

Georgia and South Ossetia

And I raise you Grenada, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria

  Forum Editor 22:12 08 Feb 15

"....some European Leaders are visiting Moscow to meet another Dictator."

Who is that, then?

Some of you are being just a tad over-dramatic I think. All this talk of a beckoning abyss; for goodness sake, get a grip. We are a million miles from that.

  Devil Fish 00:19 09 Feb 15

Putin in playing a game of chess so to speak

1 he knows that countries that have an ongoing conflict cannot join NATO 2 he wants a land corridor to the Crimea

He will push the buttons accordingly without entering into an all out war with the west that he cant win

  Quickbeam 08:50 09 Feb 15

I predict peace in our time.

  flycatcher1 10:03 09 Feb 15

FE Are you really stating that Putin is not a Dictator ? He appears to have complete control over Russia. The situation is very well covered by Field Marshal Lord Bramall in a letter to the Times this morning. There is also a nice collection of contrary views.

I have just finished reading Serhii Plokhy's book " The Last Empire" which details the Final Days of the Soviet Union. A good read for anyone interested in history. Putin, a Lt.Colonel in the KGB hedged his bets to end up on the winning side and has gone from strength to strength since then.

To trail another coat how is it that an Island Nation has no Maritime Aircraft and insufficient warships to look after our interests ?

  bumpkin 15:46 09 Feb 15

Possibly related to our spending on Trident, instead; the deterrent that can never be used, anyway??

What all that money and it's broken.

  john bunyan 16:32 09 Feb 15

We (UK) spend 2.2 % of GDP on defence; The USA 3.8 and Russia 4.2%. Pakistan spends 3.5 %. Admittedly our spend is higher than some of our EU partners, but about the same as France. Many years ago, in the '50's and '60's it was at 5%, so no wonder we have a sadly depleted R Navy, and indeed all arms. Those who want to cut even further should contemplate history more carefully to avoid another "Munich".

Putin has skilfully alternated between Prime Minister and President whilst retaining control in either role. Up to now , whether we like it or not, he is very popular in Russia - whether this lasts following sanctions and the drop in oil prices remains to be seen.

World Defence spending

  Quickbeam 09:13 10 Feb 15

Why would the drop in oil prices strengthen him? Wasn't it the massive drop in oil prices that brought about the collapse of the iron curtain under Gorbachev?

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