Thursday, May 7, 2015

The 70th Anniversary Of The End Of World War II In Europe

May 9 is the 70th anniversary of victory over Hitler's Germany in the European part of World War II, which would continue for several more months in Asia.  Roughly 30 "world leaders" will attend the ceremonies in Red Square, with some of those "nations" essentially fakes whose existence is there because Vladimir Putin says they exist.  This particularly disreputable group includes "South Ossetia," "Abkhazia," "Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzoginia" and some others of this ilk.

Who will actually be attending this important event remains a bit up in the air, even as some are certain.  Among those apparently likely to be there are the following (somebody, not necessarily either the Head of State or Executive Leader of the Nation): Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kygyzstan, Tajikistan, Cuba. Venezuela, Brazil, South Africa, India, Bosnia-Herzoginia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Cyprus, and some others I apologize for failing to remember right now.

Obviously some of the allies of the USSR in WW II are not attending, obviously because of Putin's recent violations of international agreements and law.  These include the US, Canada, UK, and France, as well as somewhat questionable Italy.  The latter has been a matter of much of huffing and puffing on TASS and other Russian media, with them clearly hoping especially for France to appear, even though of course like the USSR they for serious parts of the war were in alliance with Hitler's Germany.  In any case, Hollande has made it clear that he will not attend the ceremonies.

Besides France, the other nation regarding which there has been a lot of huffing and puffing who appears in the end not to be appearing is North Korea's Kim Jong-Un.  Russian media says this has to do with "internal matters," and I am sure this is true. Hey, this year was officially according to the North Koreans to be "the year of Russia."  That Kim is not making this his first official foreign appearance is a big deal and a big embarrassment for both Russia and the DPRK. 

I note that I do not  have the exact list of who will be there and who willl not, but the very fact that there has been essentially zero coverage of this in the US and elsewhere is an important matter.  This is a big deal. An important part of it is that the entire EU is apparently not attending due to their protests against Russian conduct in Ukraine, with it clear that Putin will try to justify his unjustifiable conduct in that country on May 9, which will be utterly disgusting and beneath contempt, a profound insult to the dead of the former Soviet Union who heroically sacrificed their millions of lives to save the world from the horrible Nazi menace.

Despite the completely unacceptable conduct of Vladimir Putin, I personally think that the US government should overlook this and send an appropriate official to celebrate this world historical event that is far beyond the current nonsense. The obvious person to send is Vice President Joe Biden.  The US screwed up by not sending Biden for the Charlie Hebdo ceremony in Paris.  So, send him to Moscow for this  supremely important commemoration, even as the US President should not attend, given Putin's violation of the Budapest Accord of 1994, when Russia agreed to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine in return for Ukraine handing over its nuclear weapons.

Update:  Probably just about everybody reading this knows this, but, just in case any of you do not, a major reason to especially respect the Russian celebration of this anniversary is that they (or more precisely, the former Soviet Union) suffered far more deaths than any other nation in the conflict, somewhere between 20 and 30 million, as well as being the nation primarily responsible for defeating Hitler's Germany, with the genearlly accepted turning point being the bloodiest battle in world history, Stalingrad, and the effective death knell being the Battle of Kursk, the largest tank battle in history.  The citizens of both Moscow and what was then called Leningrad but is back to bing St. Petersburg, suffered severe sieges, with the German troops on the edges of those cities, with many hundreds of thousands dying of starvation and other privations in the latter city in particular.  Given all this, it really is too bad that Putin's bad behavior and clear intention to use this celebration to support his current bad behavior are leading to many nations that were allies of the USSR in the war to boycott this fundamentally worthy celebration.

J. Barkley Rosser, Jr.

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