Thursday, September 17, 2009

September 17, 1939-2009

This is a joke, right?

Exactly seventy years ago today, the Soviet Union began its invasion of eastern Poland, in accordance with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that it signed with Nazi Germany. Thousands of Poles would die defending their country from Russian forces, and tens of thousands died later at the hands of the Soviets in group executions, torture, and mass deportations.

Today on the seventieth anniversary of this horrific event, the United States has announced that it will scrap plans for a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, mostly in response to protests from Russia. Even for those in the West who oppose the missile shield, there's no denying that the timing couldn't be worse. Poland already has plenty of historical reasons to resent the choices made by the U.S. and Britain regarding Russia:
  1. Britain declared war on Nazi Germany for invading Poland, but looked the other way when the Soviets did it two weeks later. The U.S. wasn't moved to help at all.
  2. The U.S. and Britain allied with - and supplied - the Soviets from 1941-1945.
  3. The Soviet Union was allowed to occupy Poland again after the war.
Thus my gut reaction to today's news is "Oh no, not again." I hope that this move to appease Russia at Poland's expense doesn't prove to be prophetic, but I know that history has a tragic way of repeating itself.

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