IN 1956, AMERICA was horrified as Soviet troops invaded Hungary. Eisenhower, a guy of notable military background, commanded the 1956 Army, much larger than today’s, but he decided not to intervene. His reasoning was militarily sound but he declined to elaborate on it. Instead he made this short statement on Oct. 25, 1956 …
The United States considers the development in Hungary as being a renewed expression of the intense desire for freedom long held by the Hungarian people. The demands reportedly made by the students and the working people clearly fall within the framework of those human rights to which all are entitled, which are affirmed in the charter of the United Nations, and which are specifically guaranteed to the Hungarian people by the treaty of peace to which the Governments of Hungary and of the Allied and Associated Powers, including the Soviet Union and the United States, are parties.
The United States deplores the intervention of Soviet military forces which, under the treaty of peace, should have been withdrawn and the presence of which in Hungary, as is now demonstrated, is not to protect Hungary against armed aggression from without but rather to continue an occupation of Hungary by the forces of an alien government for its own purposes.
The heart of America goes out to the people of Hungary.
In 1956, Ike took a lot of heat for his refusal to act militarily in Hungary. In 2014, it’s Obama and Crimea.
If’n I were Obama, I’d paraphrase Ike’s speech by changing one thing. “The Crimean referendum was in favor of independence from the Ukraine, not in favor of invasion, occupation, and annexation.”
Europe must lead the way
THERE ARE FOUR letters in a recent Journal edition pouring searing attacks on President Obama’s handling of the Ukraine crisis. Thank God we have a president who is taking us down the necessary path to keep the United States out of another full-scale war, in this case a full-scale war that could involve nukes.
The president is correct in coercing our European allies to take a stronger stand against the Russians. They are the ones who would be more affected by further Russian expansion. If our European allies don’t stand up to Putin, why should we?
The administration is correct in its assessment that we need to step back and rebuild our own country after the disastrous decision of the previous administration to engage in two major wars and then reduce taxes, causing the economic mess we are in. That is something our dear Republican friends would like us to forget.
Peace through strength? How did that work for us with “Shock and Awe?” Yes, there is a line that Putin could cross that could create a third world war. This president, intelligently, is using diplomatic and economic means to keep Russia from stepping up to that line. Elections do indeed have consequences. Are you ready for war with Russia?
GLORIA E. MIRABAL
Defeated from within
WE ARE WITNESSING what happens when weak leadership is up against a person knowing you are weak! Putin knows Obama doesn’t have the wherewithal or desire to stop him, not to mention the servitude Obama displayed before the 2012 election saying; tell Vlad I will get back to you after I’m re-elected!
Sanctions, really! So far, every sanction put in place has turned out to be a dud! Putin even laughed at Obama’s feeble attempt to play hardball! The fact is; Putin can turn the tables on the U.S., causing more damage than our puny attempt to stop him. Showing the difference between an amateur and pro — putting Kerry out there as our main negotiator — makes the whole thing very low threat and laughable to Russian leadership.
Let’s face it; America is no longer being taken serious by people around the world, especially in Russia. Khruschev was right when he said: the USSR would defeat America from within!
Get rid of the useless UN
MOST OF THE so-called pundits have complained that we and our European allies have only limited and not very effective options in dealing with Russia’s latest episode of imperialist aggression. They are wrong. What we and they can do is what should have been done a long time ago: namely, they can (and should) revoke the charter of the United Nations. Revoking the UN charter would clearly be beyond what Putin has calculated — and going beyond what he has calculated is precisely what is called for.
We should take advantage of the fact that Putin has again shown the world that the United Nations is systemically incapable of resolving disputes among the permanent members of the Security Council — that is, the disputes that, for the sake of world peace, are most in need of peaceful resolution. The UN’s sorry record of institutional corruption and moral hypocrisy, let alone simple logic and common sense, should have brought about the UN’s demise a long time ago. Simply stated, it was unrealistic to assume that the United States, France, England, China and the Soviet Union could enjoy veto powers in the Security Council and still have the Security Council resolve disputes among them. But the message didn’t get through even after the Soviet Union’s invasion of Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968 or Georgia in 2008.
Revoking the United Nations’ charter does not mean that the UN’s existing humanitarian agencies cannot be re-organized in a different (and less corrupt) form, but at least the Western governments could (and should) put an end to Russia’s ability to veto in the Security Council the efforts of the West to make this world a better and safer place to live in.
Putin has calculated that, as with Georgia in 2008, Czechoslovakia in 1968, Hungary in 1956, and Munich in 1939, the Western governments will be unable to match his latest move with an effective countermove. He may be right. But he needn’t be, and for the sake of our children and grandchildren, I hope he’s not.
BRUCE A. LIEBERMAN