A look at the past: The key to the Rus­sian Rid­dle

Cherokee County Herald - - VIEWPOINTS - By Dr. Earl Til­ford

“Rus­sia is a rid­dle wrapped in a mys­tery in­side an enigma. The key is Rus­sian na­tional in­ter­est.”

Win­ston Churchill’s quote came a quar­ter cen­tury and two months after the start of World War I.

In late Au­gust 1914, one month into that con­flict, a mas­sive Rus­sian army was de­feated at the Bat­tle of Tan­nen­berg.

While the Ger­man of­fen­sive through Bel­gium that brought Bri­tain into the Great War on Au­gust 3, 1914 had stalled at the First Bat­tle of the Marne in mid- Septem­ber, the rel­a­tively small Bri­tish Army com­mit­ted to France would be de­stroyed within a year, to be re­placed with con­scripts.

Ul­ti­mately, 700,000 Bri­tish sol­diers were killed. Churchill, as First Lord of the Ad­mi­ralty in 1914, faced the threat of sub­marines and a Ger­man Im­pe­rial Fleet with nearly as many dread­naughts as the Royal Navy.

But Bri­tain en­dured and pre­vailed.

Rus­sia fought on with some suc­cess against Aus­tro-Hun­gar­ian forces while a bro­ken econ­omy paved the way for the Bol­she­vik coup of late 1917.

Barely a quar­ter cen­tury later on Au­gust 23, 1939, Joseph Stalin shocked the world with the Soviet- Ger­man Non- Ag­gres­sion Pact open­ing the way for Nazi Ger­many to in­vade Poland a week later and for the USSR to in­vade Poland three weeks after that.

Churchill un­der­stood that Rus­sian diplo­macy was fo­cused on na­tional self-in­ter­est (as well as other am­bi­tions).

Al­though Stalin sought to cre­ate an in­dus­trial dy­namo, his po­lit­i­cal para­noia in­sti­tuted a 1938 purge that rav­aged his military by ex­e­cut­ing four out of five Soviet mar­shals and im­pris­on­ing or killing 80 per­cent of the re­main­ing of­fi­cer corps.

Stalin re­al­ized Rus­sia’s vul­ner­a­bil­ity was along its western flank.

He also knew Hitler’s im­me­di­ate in­ter­ests lay in de­stroy­ing Poland and then con­quer­ing the Baltic States, the Low Coun­tries, and ul­ti­mately de­stroy­ing France.

In the au­tumn of 1939, Eng­land faced an un­cer­tain future but Churchill was back at the head of the Ad­mi­ralty.

On May 10, 1940, with Ger­man forces massed in France and the Low Coun­tries and ready­ing for Op­er­a­tion Sea Lion, Churchill be­came Prime Min­is­ter of Bri­tain.

After the Red Army oc­cu­pied eastern Poland in late Septem­ber 1939, Stalin or­dered an in­va­sion of Fin­land hop­ing to shore up the Soviet Union’s north­ern flank against future Ger­man ag­gres­sion.

At the time, Churchill called for war with Rus­sia. For­tu­nately, Lon­don de­murred.

Rus­sia, whether un­der tsars such as Peter I and Alexander I, or com­mis­sars as de­mented as Stalin or as seem­ingly en­light­ened as Mikhail Gor­bachev, will pur­sue what­ever is in Moscow’s best in­ter­est.

Vladimir Putin is no ex­cep­tion. Fur­ther­more, wise Rus­sian lead­ers un­der­stand and re­spect force.

That re­mains as true to­day as it was for Alexander I when he ac­com­mo­dated Napoleon with the Treaty of Til­sit in 1807 be­fore de­stroy­ing the Grande Armee in the fall and win­ter of 1812.

Putin is de­ter­mined to re­claim Rus­sia’s world power sta­tus and will do what­ever he thinks is nec­es­sary to achieve that end. Eight years of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s lead­er­ship from be­hind brought the world to a per­ilously chaotic in­ter­na­tional sit­u­a­tion.

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion in­her­its chal­lenges from rogue states like Iran and North Korea s well as the continuing (and grow­ing) threat of Is­lamist fun­da­men­tal­ism.

Other chal­lenges in­clude, China seek­ing re­gional if not global hege­mony, and an em­bold­ened Rus­sia re­assert­ing it­self in Europe and pen­e­trat­ing the Per­sian Gulf and south­ern Europe via Tur­key and the eastern Mediter­ranean of coastal Syria.

Trump must re­store Amer­ica’s in­ter­na­tional cred­i­bil­ity with diplo­macy that re­as­sures and sup­ports al­lies.

An in­sipid for­eign pol­icy cou­pled with a de­pleted military ca­pa­bil­ity in­vites catas­tro­phes ren­dered be­tween 1914 and 1918 and 1939 and 1945.

Rus­sian na­tional in­ter­est will be as much a part of Putin’s ap­proach as it was for lead­ers from Peter the Great to Stalin and— ul­ti­mately— to Mikhail Gor­bachev.

What made pos­si­ble the De­cem­ber 25, 1991 dis­so­lu­tion of the Soviet Union was the strength of vi­sion ex­pressed by Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan who un­der­took the largest peace­time buildup of U.S. military might in his­tory cou­pled to his unerring sense of Amer­ica’s po­ten­tial for great­ness.

The only way to deal ef­fec­tively with in­ter­na­tional threats is to do so with cred­i­ble diplo­macy grounded in eco­nomic sta­bil­ity, and sup­ported by unas­sail­able military strength.

Dr. Earl Til­ford is a military his­to­rian and fel­low for the Mid­dle East & ter­ror­ism with The Cen­ter for Vi­sion & Val­ues at Grove City Col­lege.

Edi­tor’s Note: Read­ers, as you can see, we have started a new fea­ture for our ed­i­to­rial page, Think About It. If you would like to sub­mit any in­ter­est­ing facts re­lated to sci­ence, pol­i­tics or any other world is­sue you would like to share, please email it to [email protected] You may also mail it or drop it by the Her­ald Of­fice at 1460 West Main St., Suite E, Cen­tre, AL 35960. Dear Edi­tor:

The fa­nat­i­cal Left­ist Press has sick­ened many with their hyp­o­crit­i­cal pre­ten­sions to a patent on In­tel­lect and com­pas­sion. Lib­eral pre­tense is re­lent­less and will have a Na­tional Corpse: R.IP. Western Cul­ture!

They abyss of de­ceit in D.C. has abol­ished law and or­der and in­vaded our pub­lic class­rooms as never be­fore si­lenc­ing crit­i­cism of the one Glob­al­ist party in power ill-dis­guised as two. Be­cause deluded ‘pro­gres­sives’ wor­ship bor­der­less Cor­po­rate-Profit Glob­al­ism, Dear Edi­tor:

Mon­day is a State Hol­i­day in honor of Robert E. Lee, Amer­ica’s great­est Gen­eral.

By April 1863, Gen­eral Lee had bril­liantly de­feated four of Lin­coln’s in­vad­ing Gen­er­als.

In Lin­coln’s ob­ses­sion to col­lect his 40 per­cent of Fed­eral sales tax for his Wall Street own­ers, he next se­lected Gen­eral Hooker, pit­ting 134,000 Fed­er­als against 57,000 Con­fed­er­ates.

Lee sent Gen­eral Jack­son un­de­tected around Hooker’s right flank, while Lee faced the cen­ter. Jack­son’s sur­prise at­tack sent Lin­coln’s tax col­lec­tors reel­ing, where­upon Lee charged Hooker’s cen­ter, thereby trounc­ing Lin­coln’s fifth Gen­eral.

Con­fed­er­ate Colonel Charles Marshall re­calls:

“On the morn­ing of May 3, 1863 the fi­nal as­sault was made upon the Fed­eral lines at Chan­cel­lorsville.

Gen­eral Lee ac­com­pa­nied the troops and as they emerged from the fierce com­bat waged in that tan­gled wilder- it is a crime to ex­am­ine its cho­sen pup­pets, B. Hus­sein and Hil­lary.

Ev­ery­thing is per­mit­ted (ac­com­mo­da­tion­ism) in the imag­ined Left­ist Utopia to come. Un­leash­ing ir­re­spon­si­bil­ity (fa­ther­less house­holds) has cre­ated a con­flu­ence of crises emp­ty­ing The Na­tional Trea­sury and dis­man­tling mo­rals.

If power is a Trust that must be held ac­count­able, how can any­one de­fend the con­flict­ing words and ac­tions of the Obama and Clin­ton Mafia? Jesse L. War­mack

119 Al­li­son St. Pied­mont, Ala. 36272 ness, driv­ing the su­pe­rior forces of the en­emy be­fore them, Lee rode to the front of his ad­vanc­ing bat­tal­ions.

“The white smoke of mus­ketry fringed the front of the line of bat­tle, while the ar­tillery on the hills in the rear of the in­fantry shook the earth with its thun­der.

“The sol­diers with their faces black­ened with the smoke of bat­tle, the wounded crawl­ing with fee­ble limbs from the fury of the de­vour­ing flames, all seemed pos­sessed with a com­mon im­pulse.

“One long, un­bro­ken cheer, in which the fee­ble cry of those who lay help­less on the earth blended with the strong voices of those who still fought, rose high above the roar of bat­tle, and hailed the pres­ence of their vic­to­ri­ous chief.” Roger K. Brox­ton, Pres­i­dent Con­fed­er­ate Her­itage Fund 12753 Brox­ton Lane P.O. Box 771 An­dalu­sia, Alabama 36420 334-222-5130 Email: roger­brox­[email protected]­tu­rylink.net

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