It would be far better if on Armistice Day, a day of remembrance and reconcilliation, we could have some of the first, because war might be only a memory, and even more of the second, because togetherness ought to be possible. But a bully is a warmonger, not a peacemaker, so such a day as this, is one to offer only a glimpse of what indeed was and what could be again.
Nobody can accurately compare two people, who are of course, individuals. Too often the evils of one wretched world leader, have been presented as having proximity to another even worse, as if to reflect the similarities that are obvious, as much as the differences that are less noticable. All tyrants start somewhere as plausible to the few at first, who are joined by the mass at large before long. The worry is not the plausibility that is perceived originally, a mistake often made. So we must remember that Hitler was elected leader of the largest grouping in the German Reichstag to become eventual Fuhrer, but Mussolini went on a “march” on Rome, to become Il Duce! The peculiarity is not the methodology in arriving at power, it is in the popularity having aquired it!
So too with Putin. He is not a Hitler, or a Mussolini. But he is a despot all of his own making, given legitimacy by elections, albeit of evident increasing fraudulence. But it must be remembered, and we must reconcile ourselves to, how strong is the plausibility of the “strong men,” to some or many, until proven otherwise to everyone else or everyone altogether eventually. This is the case, whether true of the leaders in the past as well as in the present. Even Kings were often ever thus.
In this, Putin is perhaps more akin to that leader who was part King, part dictator, all bluster, Kaiser Wilhelm of the First World War. As we attempt to overcome the comparisons of Covid with the 1918 Flu, so too we might try to avoid the similarities of two world leaders causing a continent to part company with peace, going reluctantly to war. Defence of a friend or neighbour, or of one’s own self, are strong grounds for the wars caused by the strong man, who is in fact, not that, but who is nothing but a warmonger. The bully, as exemplified by Vladimir Putin, seeks refuge in the so called theatre of war, rather than in the bully pulpit, so described by Theodore Roosevelt, on the political stage. And we who care, and far more so, they who are there, us as spectators, or they amidst the conflict, suffer the consequences, of worry, of war.
We stand with Ukraine because we cannot stand for the lies of leaders whose supposed plausibility and strength, is merely a paucity of sense. For they cannot see that we cannot stand by only, but must stand up too, yes, to them. And just as Germany were under no illusions, after initial delusions, true of any who have succumbed to the tirades of the tyrant, so Russia’s people know it too. They protest their government’s actions – they did before this war and they do now and shall yet. This is not a war between peoples and their prejudices. This is the warmongering of one person and his prejudice. The Russian bear has not been baited, though he must feel he might have been. But the Russian, bare, is exposed. That is, that one man, the Russian leader. He is as an Emperor, seen for who he is, in his naked agression.