A few wise philosophers, historians, and political scientists have all commented in some very well-known and well-used lines that history repeats itself, or that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. And they have been proven right, again and again.
But what about those who don’t know history? Or make up history as they go along? Or believe that history frankly didn’t happen the way the rest of us remember it happening? Or those who try to tell educated and sound thinkers about problems that despite research, experience, and the depth of historical knowledge that they too are just plain wrong?
Now, this brings us to the matter of the man who must be the loneliest person on the planet: President Barack Obama. He is the man who further enforced previous Chief Executive George W. Bush’s unrealistic expectation of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
It was Bush, you might recall, who remarked about looking into Putin’s eyes and seeing something that the rest of the world has missed. Similarly, President Obama appeared to believe that as long as he portrayed our nation in a less aggressive protector of the world light, that Putin’s eyes too would reveal something.
The first rule of the street is not to pay attention to someone’s eyes or words, but rather to watch their hands. And Putin’s hands have lots of blood on them.
In that sense he is no different from Russian leaders who have come before. Ask the citizens of Poland. They know their history no matter their age.
They understand what is in Putin’s eyes and what he wants in his hands. They know because the Russians have participated in multiple carvings of their nation. They know what Russian domination means and what happens to those who resist. They understand Russian justice and what occurs to those who don’t face history.
If anyone believes the Russian people are upset with their leader, they need simply to read the dispatches. The Russians, it has been reported, are happy with Putin. He has restored their pride after what so many in that most paranoid and insular nation believe was the humiliation caused by the end of the Cold War. Now they can go back to being Russians. And that means figuring a way back into Europe. Ukraine is one route — Poland is another.
The Iron Curtain is again descending on the European continent. There is silence in Georgia. Dictatorships, responsive to the Russians, force themselves in Moldava, Belarus, and other former Soviet Socialist Republics. Those are facts.
There is nothing in Putin’s eyes that says anything to anyone other than what he is: a dictator who likely has read often and hungrily about Peter the Great. There is, nor will there ever be as we have learned again sadly in the years of the Obama administration, a reward for blaming ourselves for the acts of others. They do not fear us. They do not respect us.
History does repeat itself. Ask the Polish people. The question is: What are we doing to make sure it does not repeat itself again in war. That’s the president’s job to protect this nation from threats internal and external.
His campaign slogan was “Yes We Can.” Now his administration’s slogan ought to be “Yes We Must.” He should start reading the history of the Truman presidency. That veteran of war understood history and he understood the Russians.
Hank Sheinkopf is an early creator of integrated strategic campaigns using all forms of media and has won national and international awards for his radio and TV productions. He is a veteran of more than 700 political, public policy, and public relations campaigns around the world. Read more reports from Hank Sheinkopf — Click Here Now.
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