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Calling Putin ‘Hitler’ to Smear Diplomacy as ‘Appeasement’

FAIR, JOSHUA CHO, 21 July 22 ‘‘………………………………. To say Ukraine is “filled” with Nazis is an obvious exaggeration, although even a relatively small number of Nazis has wielded disproportionate influence in the Ukrainian government (Kyiv Post3/26/19Euronews8/4/21). Nevertheless, FAIR (3/7/141/15/221/28/222/23/22) has covered the Western media’s denial of the far-right’s role in the Ukrainian 2014 coup, as well as their complicity in amplifying Ukrainian neo-Nazi publicity stunts during the war. 

But if it’s true that falsely associating a government with Nazism is a manipulation worthy of condemnation, how then should one judge Western media efforts to tie Russian President Vladimir Putin to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler?

FAIR (3/30/22) has previously noted how evidence-free caricatures in Western media of Putin as irrational (and perhaps psychotic) make diplomatic efforts to end the Ukraine crisis seem pointless. Tracing a connection between Putin and Hitler is an even more insidious attempt to make the idea of a negotiated end to the war seem like a moral outrage……………………………………………..

Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine is a violation of international law, condemned by 141 out of 193 countries in a UN General Assembly vote. But claims that Russia is committing genocide—a charge that carries automatic repercussions under international law—have to reckon with the comparison between the Ukraine invasion and the largest US military operation of the 21st century, the Iraq War. The UN’s count of civilian deaths in the first four months of Russia’s war was 4,677; the tally in the first four months of Iraq, according to Iraq Body Count, a project that monitored press accounts of civilian casualties, was 8,576

Both numbers are horrific, and each surely underestimates the true civilian toll of these wars. But if Russia is committing genocide in Ukraine, what was the US doing in Iraq?

“I know it’s hard…to swallow that the carnage and destruction could be much worse than it is,” a US Defense Intelligence Agency analyst told Newsweek (3/22/22). “But that’s what the facts show. This suggests to me, at least, that Putin is not intentionally attacking civilians.”

If one genuinely wants to compare Putin’s brutality to Hitler’s, one has to look at the actual civilian toll of World War II. In the European theater alone, tens of  millions of civilians were killed; some 14 million of these deaths were inflicted in the Soviet Union, which comprised both Russia and Ukraine. When you assert that the enemy of the day is as bad as Hitler, you’re also asserting that Hitler is no worse than the enemy of the day……………………………………

Diplomacy = ‘appeasement’

One inevitable feature of these Hitler comparisons is frequent reference to “appeasement” when reporting on the US’s dealings with foreign leaders. This presents any attempt at diplomatic negotiations with foreign leaders opposed by the US as a misguided or unprincipled effort to placate an irrational or evil dictator bent on expansionist conquest. ……………………………….

This is a false dichotomy. Although establishment Western pundits and officials like to claim that the Russian invasion was “unprovoked,” FAIR (1/28/223/4/22) has pointed out that this self-serving narrative omits a record of conscious provocations against Russia via NATO expansion towards Russian borders, in violation of promises made to Soviet reformer Mikhail Gorbachev. …………………

Accusations of “appeasing” Russia or Putin have been raised towards influential Western officials who have either engaged in diplomacy or advocated de-escalation through negotiations.  Zelenskyy has made contradictory remarks throughout the conflict, arguing that diplomacy is the only way to end the war, while also advocating for escalation through more NATO military support and setting up a “no-fly-zone.”…………………………………………..

The cost of ‘appeasement’ charges

The hyperbolic comparisons between Russia and Vladimir Putin to Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler, as well as constant accusations that anyone who attempts to negotiate with Russia for a peaceful end to the war is engaged in “appeasement,” have cost the world opportunities to de-escalate. The Biden administration has not encouraged the Ukrainian government to engage in serious negotiations with Russia (Jacobin5/30/22)………………..

The extreme caricatures of Putin as equal to or worse than Hitler are setting up Ukraine and the world for a grim fate. A BBC report (6/20/22) last month featured NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urging the West to “prepare to continue supporting Ukraine in a war lasting for years,” while the head of the British Army, Gen. Patrick Sanders, asserted that the “UK and allies needed to be capable of winning a ground war with Russia.” The frequent Nazi comparisons and Munich references made by Western media paint those who would prefer a negotiated settlement to years of bloodshed, the risk of World War III and nuclear war as “appeasers” of a Hitlerian dictator with genocidal ambitions.

July 22, 2022 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology and culture, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster

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