Polyticks: Bob Butler's Perspective

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John
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Re: Dictators...

Post by John »

** 20-Apr-2022 World View: Rise of the Nazis: Dictators at War: The Home Front
Bob Butler wrote:
Wed Apr 20, 2022 2:47 pm
> Public TV put out a very blue special focused on dictators,
> primarily WW II's Hitler and Stalin. I might be summarized as
> follows. They collect yes men. These care more about getting
> close to the leader in the short term, less on keeping their
> promises in the long term. The focus is on all or nothing,
> claiming all if they cannot achieve it, and lying if that will win
> power. If they cannot achieve the glorious victory, they will
> perpetuate misery on those who fail. They distrust their
> generals. The one place they gave Stalin credit over Hitler was
> that Stalin reluctantly listened to Zhukov even as he saw him as a
> threat and at times exiled him. Hitler got rid of his best
> professionals, anyone who cared to contradict his victory filled
> dreams. They also emphasized that dictators care not at all for
> human life, especially if their victory is denied.

> The special give one the impression of how democracies beat
> dictatorships, but you can't help but apply the principles to
> Putin. I suspect this was the whole idea.
Apparently that episode of Rise of the Nazis is going to be repeated
on WGBH on Tue 4/26 at 9 pm, and on Wed 4/27 at 4 am.

I agree that that description applies to Putin. That description of
fanatacism also applies to Xi Jinping and, to a slightly lesser
extent, to Biden.

spottybrowncow
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Re: Polyticks: Bob Butler's Perspective

Post by spottybrowncow »

Bob, what do you mean when you call the special "blue?"

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Bob Butler
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Mabe not blue...

Post by Bob Butler »

Perhaps blue is the wrong word. At the same time, the feeling of the piece requires that you look at it a little skeptically. I see public television and Fox News as having their own worldviews, their own slants on things. While you listen to what either says, at the same time you have to remember who it is saying it and seek a second opinion slanted the other way. It is just reflex to be more than a little skeptical of certain sources.

This certainly isn’t 43 and 45 taking on 44 and 46. Red and blue classically are used to describe a domestic difference. I habitually grumbled when anybody compared the leaders of World War II with todays leaders. It was almost always lazy thinking. People would rather make a bad analogy than really dig into the current issues. But the “Rise of the Nazis” show made me take such a comparison seriously.

For decades I have been pushing how war is obsolete. Nukes, proxy war, insurgent war and sanctions are the dominant tools. NATO is trying to make these work. Putin is trying to ignore the obsolescence. He is trying to gain power through conquest. This is not classic red blue. But if NATO is using the tools I have often quoted, I can only wish them luck.

But today’s Russia may really be similar to 1940s Germany and Japan. Hitler made a catastrophic mess rather than cut his losses. It took nukes and Russia invading to make Tojo finally yield. If Putin really has the same dictator mentality, the possible use of nukes is not a deterrent to war. If at first you don’t succeed, if you can’t win, make sure nobody does. So what if a few billion die? It isn’t like morality is a big part of the dictator mindset.

But in short, take the blue descriptor with much salt.

John
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Re: Mabe not blue...

Post by John »

** 20-Apr-2022 World View: War is obsolete
Bob Butler wrote:
Wed Apr 20, 2022 10:12 pm
> For decades I have been pushing how war is obsolete.
You should check out the history of the Kellogg-Briand pact.

https://www.thoughtco.com/the-kellogg-b ... ct-4151106

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Bob Butler
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Not whether war is obsolete, but belief it is obsolete...

Post by Bob Butler »

The question is not whether war is obsolete. It certainly isn’t profitable. Napoleon died in exile. Hitler of suicide. Japan’s war culture failed the country. Every S&H crisis ends up teaching everyone no more crisis wars, as long as the previous one is in living memory. I don’t see how Putin’s attempt will turn out different.

The problem is that autocratic dictators won’t learn. They keep walking a road that leads to disaster.

There is also a question of wars to end all wars, and not just the Great War. Ending war is a justification for war. Vietnam, anyone? Must Stop Communism. Is the major lesson from World War II containment? One has to be strong for war to be stupid? NATO was built around that theory. Alas, as long as countries let themselves be run by people like Putin who just don’t learn, they will go the way of Napoleon and Hitler. A good portion of the people die too.

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