The Russians have taken Berlin thrice: first, in 1760, in the Seven Year war, fought under Empress Elizabeth Petrovna; second, in 1813, in the Napoleonic war, fought under Emperor Alexander I; third, in 1945, in the Second World War, fought under General Secretary Josef Stalin. If there is a war over Ukraine, then things could escalate very fast and much of Europe could turn into a deadly battleground—and the Russians might appear in Berlin for the fourth time.
The Germans know that a Russo-Ukrainian War could easily get out of hand and engulf several European nations. That is why the German leadership is taking a moderate and conciliatory stand towards Russia. The loudest war drums are beating in the American political establishment. The reports in the American media seem to suggest that the war is already on, or is about to start in the next twenty-four hours.
There is too much talk in the American media about Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. But in the last 600 years, Crimea was ruled by a succession of empires.
In the Middle Ages, Crimea was part of the Mongol Empire. In 1475, the Ottoman Empire took control of Crimea. They used the Crimean peninsula as a base to dominate the Black Sea. To impose Russian hegemony on the Black Sea, Empress Catherine the Great annexed Crimea in 1783. In 1853, the French army landed in Crimea to undermine Russia. In 1954, Khrushchev controversially donated Crimea to Ukraine—the decision almost caused a civil war in the 1990s between the pro-Ukraine and pro-Russia factions in Crimea.
If Ukrainians are depending on America to save their country from Russian aggression, then they are being foolish. In most overseas conflicts, after 1950, where America has intervened, they have escalated the violence, dragged the war for years, and then left the region in a much worse condition. Think of what happened to Afghanistan when they accepted American help for fighting the Soviet invasion in the 1980s. The Americans funded and trained fundamentalist forces and turned Afghanistan into a violent quagmire.
It is dangerous for a developing nation to accept American military support. No developing country should risk having American troops on its soil.
Instead of accepting American aid, Ukraine should involve the European powers: Poland, Hungary, Finland, Romania, and especially Germany. These European countries know that their economy will be destroyed if the Russo-Ukrainian War goes out of hand. They will do their best to negotiate a settlement between Ukraine and Russia. Americans have nothing to lose if a war happens in Asia. Their country is on another continent.
The European and Asian countries should stop America from meddling in the Russo-Ukrainian dispute. Americans love to fight wars in other peoples' homelands. They want their own country to be a utopia of peace but they have no qualms about turning other countries into a battleground. Don’t be fooled by President Putin’s bare-chested photographs—he is not a warlord. He is a shrewd bureaucrat. He is less dangerous than the American cold warriors.