Did you know that Russia once tried to invade Finland and could not do it for almost 3 months?
Did you know that Russia and Hitler invaded Poland together after they made a deal on how they would divide Europe between them?
Did you know that Russia is not even among the 10 biggest economies in the world?
Do you know who IS the richest country in the world? China just overtook the US in 2021.
Are Russia and China working together? Why is Putin attacking Ukraine? Is there going to be another World War? How did the last one really start?
Here are some historical facts and some thoughts.
There are a lot of people (not a majority, but loud enough) that are screaming all over the social media how we should stop the sanctions on Russia, how we should stop helping Ukraine, how it is not our war, how this is all hurting us too much and the risk of the global war we could start is too great. To these people, I would like to give a short reminder of historic events that started the last global war.
People think that World War II started with Hitler’s invasion of Poland. It absolutely did not.
World War II started when in 1935 Mussolini invaded Ethiopia, while the world remained silent, not lifting a finger to help. Italian fascists killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, used chemical weapons and bombs. Still, the world, the League of Nations, said nothing.
World War II started when in 1937 Japan invaded China, killing 4 million people. And still, the whole world stood silent.
World War II started when Hitler annexed a big part of Czechoslovakia in 1938 – with approval and a blessing from the governments of the UK and France, and most of the world, really. “In this part of that country people actually speak German, anyway.” politicians around the world said. “And it is better for them to be annexed than to be invaded and killed.” (said by lord Chamberlain, British Prime minister at the time). Hitler still killed a lot of people there and invaded the rest of the country a bit later.
World War 2 started when Germany and Russia (USSR) in August 1939 signed a deal on how they would divide Poland (and the whole of Europe, really). What people don’t know is that Hitler started his little war campaign together with Russia! At the same time, Hitler invaded Poland in September 1939, Russia invaded it too from the other side, met with the German forces there and shook hands on Poland soil, and then Russia proceeded to invade Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – bringing most of its forces there to attack Finland in November 1939.
If you take your time to read about the history of the Russian attack on Finland you will be surprised how much it resembles the attack on Ukraine. To everybody’s surprise, the immense Soviet army of 1 million soldiers just could not break the Finland defenses for 3 months. Finland did not even have an army to speak of, Russians were mostly fighting armed citizens. 400.000 Russian soldiers died there to 70.000 Finnish. Finnland did eventually capitulate but was never invaded – Russians retreated and only took some of the territories. This total humiliation of the Russian military pushed Hitler and western allies to completely underestimate the Russian army in the later war.
One thing everybody agrees is that Putin miscalculated the Ukrainian’s will to fight him back – and the response of the western world to the invasion. Will this deter Russia? When looking at the history, probably not. Putin believed the world will turn its heads the other way, just as it did when he took Crimea. But still, what we have to ask ourselves is – why risk it? Why is Putin attacking Ukraine – even if he did believe it would not cost all these soldiers and time and money. Why would he do it?
People say he is trying to recreate the old Soviet Union, getting back all the old republics and threatening the ones he already took (like Belorussia, Chechnya) not to even think of rebellion or democracy. But economically – it does not make much sense. All these new states created after the collapse of the union are not really doing very well (except Ukraine to some extent) and by invading them Russia just takes over their debt. All these countries already get 100% of their oil and gas from Russia.
There are some indications that waste reservoirs of natural gas may have been discovered in Moldova (and Russia would need Ukraine to invade Moldova) but this gas is still unreachable and it would take decades to build the infrastructure to get to it – while the world is fastly developing technologies that would replace oil and gas.
Is it the land – the farms – fear of hunger? Russia is already the largest country in the world (twice larger than China or Canada) and with global warming big parts of it are now getting enough sun to turn them into wheat fields.
To understand what is happening we have to look at where the real power lies. Why did Germany try to take over Europe 80 years ago? Because they thought they could. Their industry, their weapons – were all superior to any of the other countries in Europe. The growth of their industry year over year was such that they had to invade other countries to get minerals, coal, metals – everything they needed to keep it going. None of this is happening in Russia. Russia’s economy is not even among the first ten of the world! South Korea has just surpassed Russia, a country of 50 million people is producing more and making more money than a country of 155 million. 80 million Germans make 2 times more stuff than twice more Russians.US economy is 13 times bigger than Russia.
But you know where is the GDP growing at a tremendous pace – where is one country that really needs to expand? Yes, China. China’s economy has almost reached the US (by some comparisons it could be even greater already), and it has grown at an incredible pace since the 1950s.
And in this run, China is running out of fuel. China needs oil, gas, China even needs more people (incredible, right) because of the disastrous one-child policy. China needs resources to sustain its growth. China buys food and oil from Russia. China buys most of the resources it uses from all over the world, it owns land in Africa, Russia, all over Asia, Australia, and the Americas.
And the first step where they are aiming to expand – in Taiwan. And India after that. Together with North Korea: South Korea and Japan.
Here I would like to state this – and this is my opinion only, nothing else – this invasion of Ukraine by Russia is nothing else than an experiment of China to see how the world would react when they invade Taiwan – and other countries after that.
COVID hurt the world much more than it hurt China. They have seen it as a weakness – they have seen it as a good moment.
I believe Putin is, just like all the world leaders, a puppet in someone’s hands. Egomaniacs like that are easy to control (until they are not). Do you think Hitler, Mussolini came into power because they were smart and good at their jobs? No. They were created, put in power, and financed by the military-industrial complex, they were financed by the rich and powerful people from all over the world, including the US. Check it, you will see it is true. Hitler was put into power because of the western fear of Socialism. Hitler was just a small-time spy (like Putin was!) in charge of infiltrating the worker’s unions and spying on them. The rich and powerful all over the world were super scared of the idea of socialism and they financed the nazi and the fascists to have them stop the idea from spreading. They boosted the nationalism in Germany and Italy and Hungary – trying to use it as a shield between the Soviets and the west. It backfired in the end.
I believe China might be trying similar tactics with people similar to Hitler and Mussolini. With Putin, Kim Jong Un… My fear is – that it could backfire as it did with the other dictators and despots.
You have to understand that China has been through most of world history the richest and most powerful country in the world. For two thousand years, longer than any other empire. Even the Roman empire (the one Hitler was trying to recreate) lasted only 1400 years or so. The two empires actually started at the same time – and China is still there. The biggest one, the British Empire, lasted only 300 years. The Chinese empire was effectively brought down by the East India Company that started the Opium trade and the corruption in China. It took 200 years for China to become again (in 2021) the richest country in the world. (https://www.cnbctv18.com/news/it-isnt-us-china-is-now-the-richest-nation-in-the-world-11484312.htm)
How will they use that wealth? – is not the right question to ask. They could easily just weaken all the economies of the world and then buy them all. But in doing so, they lose what creates that wealth: their customers.
The right question to ask is: how will they sustain that wealth? How to stay in the richest country in the world, in a world that is growing while you are not? That is the dilemma China faces. I am not smart enough to see what China would do, but I do think that they are pulling the strings of most of the things that are happening in the world right now. They are smart and patient.
And as many smart people said before, in the end, China will own us all.
“Stick around folks. China’s gonna win it all.”
George Carlin, 2008