One can assume that when Donald Trump was an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, he took at least one history class. He probably heard the admonition that those who fail to study history must repeat the errors of the past. What follows are some history lessons that might shed light on current events.

Turkey and ethnic cleansing: During World War I, Turkey (the Ottoman Empire) was allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary against Britain, France and Russia. Turkey is a Muslim country and most Russians were Orthodox Christians. Millions of ethnic Armenians, who were also Orthodox Christians, were citizens of Turkey. In 1915, Turkey decided that the Armenians were a danger to its security. After murdering hundreds of leaders in the Armenian community, the Turkish government forced 1.5 million Armenians to march through the desert and re-settle in Syria. The Armenians were not supplied with proper food and water, and many died, especially the old and young. Removal of Kurds is no different than the removal of Armenians.

Russia has a history of deceit and breaking agreements: In October 1962, the U.S. stated that the Soviets were installing ballistic missiles on Cuba, just 90 miles from the American homeland. The Russians denied this until photos of the offensive ballistic missiles were revealed. The Russians practiced denial and deceit.

In December 1994, the U.S., U.K. and Russia signed a memorandum in which the three countries guaranteed the sovereignty of Ukraine if the Ukrainians would divest themselves of all nuclear weapons. The Ukrainian nukes were given up, yet Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, a part of Ukraine, and then sent “volunteers” into Eastern Ukraine to wrench territory from the Ukrainian government. Russia lies and breaks its vows. President Reagan said, “Trust but verify” when signing agreements with the Russians. Today it must be, “Verify before you trust.”

America for Americans: In the 1920s and 30s, the U.S. was an isolationist nation, we wanted no part of Europe or Asia, hoping that the two great oceans would protect us. In 1937, the gunboat USS Panay was attacked by Japanese aircraft in Nanking harbor, resulting in four deaths and 48 injured. The U.S. received some compensation but this event did not crack the American resolve to stay uninvolved.

In October 1941, the American destroyer Reuben James was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat near Iceland, killing 107 of the 151 crew members. We continued to maintain our isolation until Pearl Harbor. On December 7, 1941, because of our isolationist stance, our military was ill-prepared for global war. Our personnel were insufficient in number, poorly trained with outdated weapons. Do we want to withdraw from the world again?

———

Send comments to Murray at siegel.monitor@gmail.com.

0
0
0
0
0

Newsletters