World War III

Big Red Car here.  Nice weather all week in the ATX.  Bad situation getting worse in the Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

There are those students of history who will opine the seeds for World War II were planted when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced on 30 September 1938 he and a fellow named Adolph Hitler had achieved “…peace in our time…” by their signing of the Munich Agreement.  The results thereafter would prove Chamberlain to be wrong, very wrong.  The world would be plunged into seven years of conflict culminating with the US unleashing nuclear weapons on the Japanese in 1945.

The Munich Agreement

The Munich Agreement formally ceded Czechoslovakia to Hitler based upon its affinity for its historic German roots and language.  If that sounds eerily like the situation in the Crimea and Ukraine, then you get high marks.  Bravo!

Hitler had taken Chamberlain’s measure in direct talks and found him to be weak and England therefore vulnerable.  Hitler assessed correctly England would not fight for Czechoslovakia.

Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain proved to be both an inaccurate soothsayer and an ineffective leader falsely lulling England into a sleep which left it unprepared for further German aggression.  His successor, Winston Churchill, absorbed the military unpreparedness in places like Dunkirk, rearmed Britain and led it through to victory when the US became involved as both the Arsenal of Victory and the source of great manpower.  It was American blood and treasure that defeated Hitler in no small part.

Hitler, who was simultaneously rearming Germany, was striving to create a Germanic speaking empire and continued to take whatever he fancied until faced with real war.  The resulting war went very well for Germany until they made the strategic blunder of fighting on two fronts and allowing America to come into the conflict.  Had he been more skillful, the outcome might have been more dearly priced and might have been different.


Today the emissaries of Russia, the United States, the Ukraine and the European Union will meet yet again to discuss and remonstrate about the Ukraine.  They will not be speaking about the Crimea because the Russian bear has made a meal of Crimea and is already digesting it.  The parallels with the situation in Czechoslovakia are chilling.

Let’s take a second to review the bidding here.

1.  Russia now owns the Crimea after fomenting a phony controversy using both its own forces and local forces.  It is fomenting a similar vintage of trouble in Eastern Ukraine today and has already begun to give the evil eye to Moldova and the Baltic states.

2.  The Crimea, under the influence of Russia, conducted a phony plebiscite in which, surprisingly, the decision to embrace Russia won overwhelmingly.   The Russians were kind enough to delay the announcement of the election results until after the actual mythical vote.

3.  The Crimea has been swallowed whole by Russia.  Burp!

4.  The West effectively has done nothing other than to kick Russia out of the G-8 of which Russian thug Putin had already missed a number of meetings.  Bonus points if you can describe any of the “costs” we have supposedly levied on the Russians.

5.  The US has sanctioned some individuals close to Putin and a bank in Russia.  These sanctions are laughed at by the individuals effected.  Library card, Disneyland type stuff.  Totally inconsequential and ineffective.

6.  Now there will be a set of talks in Geneva by diplomats.  Meanwhile the Russians have already begun to foment similar troubles in Easter and Southern Ukraine.

7.  The Russians continue to maintain a 40-60,000 man presence on the Ukrainian eastern border.

Why Big Red Car, is this happening?

Russia is led by a chap, one Vladimir Putin who has been in charge effectively for almost 20 years, who is hell bent on resurrecting the Soviet Union, the USSR.  He has called the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s a “disaster” for two decades.  he believes NATO has been fomenting trouble on his borders.  He was able to make the US blink by sending President Obama a message he did not like the notion of American ABMs in Poland.  President Obama cancelled the program and sent his lunch money to Putin.  Putin took it and kept it.

Putin, having weighed and measured European and American leadership and resolve, believes the West will not oppose his plans as they are broke, war weary and ineffectively led.  Putin does not think the US or NATO will fight for Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania or Moldova.  Putin is probably right.

Putin thinks Pres Obama is an ineffective leader — all hat, no cattle.   He also thinks the US, the only credible countervailing force, is tired of war in far away places.   Want to attack Manhattan, America goes all in.   Want to attack Latvia, America goes:  “Pffffffft!  Sorry, we’ve got out own fish to fry.”


It is stupid to provoke Russia with words, meaningless sanctions and posturing.  Russia is going to keep pushing until someone or something pushes back.

President Obama and Putin have been speaking regularly on the phone.  That’s working out very well, no?  No, it isn’t.  Putin is a bully and President Obama is a weak leader.  Great speaker, weak real leader.

It is silly to say things like “Russia is acting out from weakness;” or, “Russia is a small country;” or, “Russia’s army is inferior to the US Army.”  These public utterances by an American President are not helpful.

Collateral damage

You can forget about a deal with the Iranians on nuclear weapons.  The Iranians are getting a “Get Out of Jail” card on their entire bag of mischief.  The US is not going to undertake another war in Iran.  Not today.  Not ever.

NATO is not going to fight for Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania.

In much the same way the Munich Agreement did not bring “peace in our times”, the current situation is spinning out of control and is planting the seeds of another conflict.  Let’s not bullshit ourselves, Putin keeps pushing solely because he has had success and does not believe the underlying calculus has changed at all.  Why should he?

Putin is not deterred, he is emboldened, by recent events.

World War II required the US to ultimately field a military force of 13MM men.  It required much blood and treasure.  It set the world back by generations.  It killed millions.  It did not involve more than one warring party possessing nuclear weapons.

You have already witnessed the start of World War III.  Prepare for war.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway?  I’m just a Big Red Car.  Let’s say a prayer, not just for peace, but for inspired leadership and resolve.







8 thoughts on “World War III

  1. My mother was born in Tallin and I am half Estonian. I agree with you (well about WWIII anyhow). Putin must be stopped. What’s the solution? I don’t think Obama was and certainly i have even less confidence in the new administration. There needs to be a united front and that is the opposite of what is going on right now. I’m terrified for all of us.

    • .
      The solution to Putin, as it has always been for despots, is to be strong and resolute while leaning forward in your saddle and providing clear evidence that there are things for which you will fight.

      Despots are interested in expanding and retaining their power. When they cannot expand their power, then retaining it becomes the critical consideration of their days.

      Putin wants to recreate the old USSR, but he doesn’t have the economic engine to do that. The US has to throw chips onto the table and make Russia meet that ante while driving down the revenue from his primary source of funding — energy.

      Reagan got it right and the Russians pulled out of Eastern Europe because they could nto afford to stay.

      Pres Trump is correct in that NATO needs to re-evaluate its mission and the contributions that each member nation is willing to make to ensure freedom. There is an 80-20 rule at work here. The twenty percent will be allowed to do eighty percent of the work unless they object.

      The retooling of NATO is not a surprise. It is an ancient alliance which has worked well, but it needs a rehab like a HGTV show. It would be a surprise if it did not.

      Which half of you is Estonian?


  2. You wrote this on my daughter’s birthday, while she was visiting a Romanian orphanage over Spring Break. We thought long and hard before sending her given the proximity to Ukraine.

    One of Churchill’s bio’s Lion in Winter relays these events and Churchill’s lone voice which eventually proved prophetic. I know you like Churchill. 🙂

    • Great post Jeff, thank you for taking the time… indeed, Putin is a bully, but the war will not go further … Too much at stake for all parties …

      Dear Donna, I’m a Romanian, I’m a Psychologist, formerly clinician now sliding in to business and consumer behaviour…

      Visiting Romania should not be hindered by its proximity to Ukraine or Russia, for those that don’t know, Romania, is the first one to publicly announce its intention to exit USSR…, Ceausescu was visited by Nixon in ’69, later he met with Queen Elizabeth in ’78 … Well, now Romania, is playing a greater role than ever in CEE, it’s the main gateway in EU for Moldova, now safe from Russia …It’s the 7th largest country in EU … and there are many other attributes that makes Romania a great country, one other thing is that King Mihai (forcefully dethroned by communists) of Romania is the last living cousin to the current GB Queen (, now it’s only safe to assume that NATO and EU are all over/protecting Romania …

      I would like to salute your daughter’s willingness to visit – an orphanage – located in Romania, I’m sure her experience included more than that. Yet, I understand your concerns at that time in regards to Romania having borders with Ukraine, implicitly proximal to the conflict zone … I’m glad you have weighted and decided to let her go still. Amongst her visit to an orphanage, I’m sure she must have enjoyed some of these “treats” …. See here –

      All the best 😉

      Vlad (

  3. I am not sure it’s WW3. There are certainly similarities, but of course while history repeats itself but it’s never exactly the same. Putin wants to restore the old Soviet Union. Will he stop there, or seek to rebuild the entire Iron Curtain?

    • .
      Why does Putin stop given the failure of the West to push back? He’s not particularly worried about visiting Disneyland, no?

      Putin’s motivations and desires are the EASY part of the equation to understand. Changing or thwarting them is the challenge.

      If the trade relationships don’t suffer (e.g. Germany), what is the strategic case for opposing Putin?


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