Rushville Republican

Columns

March 11, 2014

Invasion is cause for concern

(Continued)

Still quoting ABC news, “In plain language, Putin is arguing that a group of anti-Russian extremists now in power in Ukraine were a threat to Russian-speaking people who live in Crimea.

“Putin’s actions came after a change of power in Ukraine’s national government last month when the country’s Russian-friendly president, Viktor Yanukovich, left the country for Moscow and pro-European groups called for new elections.”

Others speculate that Putin is trying to restore territory that was once part of the Russian Empire and, further, that he knows Europe, and more particularly, the United States, will do nothing to stop this unprovoked invasion of a sovereign state, much as Hitler did leading up to the start of World War II.

Even more interesting, and an illustration of how history repeats itself, is the war that was fought on the Crimean Peninsula from 1853 to 1856 for fundamentally the same reasons the Russians have used to invade the same territory just a few days ago. It was called the Crimean War and was the site of the famous “Charge of the Light Brigade” immortalized by Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem about the charge.

The charge itself was made by British light cavalry let by Lord Cardigan (the cardigan sweater, by the way, is named for him) against Russian troops during the Battle of Balaclava. The first stanza should have a familiar ring to many: “Half a league, half a league, half a league onward, all in the valley of Death rode the six hundred. ‘Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns’ he said: Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.”

The Crimean War was lost by the Russians to an alliance of France, England, Turkey – then part of what was called The Ottoman Empire – and Sardinia. In a proverbial nutshell, the war was really about the unwillingness of the French and English to allow Russia to gain more territory and influence in that part of the world – the very thing that seems to be happening again well over 160 years later. How ironic it is that over 160 years after the fact the Russians will probably succeed this time because of lack of will on the part of Europe and the United States to do anything about it.

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