Streetwise Professor

June 6, 2014

Putin & the Lilliputians at Normandy: Doing a Grave Disservice to Those Who Performed Heroic Service

Filed under: History,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 3:29 pm

Today was the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Sadly, this solemn occasion was overshadowed by the grotesque attendance of Vladimir Putin. Given the Putin-driven crisis in Ukraine, and the friction between western nations and Russia (including in international waters of the Black Sea and off Japan, where Russian aircraft buzzed an American ship and aircraft, respectively), it was inevitable that the tensions between Putin and the western heads of government and state would dominate the event and its coverage, and intrude on commemorations that should have been focused laser-like on the few remaining veterans in attendance, and those who are no longer with us, some not having been with us since 6 June, 1944.

June 6 should not be about Putin. It should not be about the other Lilliputians representing their nations either: Hollande, Cameron, Obama,  Merkel or Harper (the latter two arguably the best of the lot, but that is saying very, very little). It should not be about current crises. It should be about those who stormed the beaches or jumped into flooded fields in the dark or piloted landing craft pitching wildly in the heavy surf or flew cover over the vast armada. Period. To degrade this with the trivialities of who sat how far from whom and who ate dinner with whom and how so-and-so looked at such-and-such is beyond appalling.

Primary responsibility for this travesty rests with the littlest Lillliputian: Hollande. He invited Putin, and did everything to make him welcome. Moreover, he also had the temerity to whine about impending fines on BNP Paribas (for violating US sanctions on Sudan and Iran) and peevishly defend the sale of Mistral assault ships to Russia. You want to bitch to Barry about how mean the US is to your big bank, François Gérard Georges Nicolas? [Seriously, that’s his name.] Pick up the damn phone. This was neither the time nor the place. Not about you. Not about BNP Paribas. Not about current France.

Yes, Ukraine and Russian revanchism are big deals. But there are many other forums in which those issues can be hashed out. There is only one 70th anniversary of D-Day. There are only a precious few survivors, and there will be even fewer alive for the next big commemoration.

We are governed by dwarves who are vastly over impressed with their own talents and importance. The way they observed D-Day today did a grave disservice to those who performed heroic service 70 years ago. They should be ashamed, but that would be to expect far, far too much.

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  1. Feckless European leaders. Russia finds it so easy to divide and conquer. Offer a little business to Hollande and he will throw NATO under the bus – thank you very much

    Comment by Kapil Khetan — June 7, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

  2. Who the hell really thought letting the French back into NATO was a good idea anyway? It always functioned better without them.

    Comment by Andrew — June 8, 2014 @ 1:30 am

  3. LOL. In the olden times monarchs would keep the children of their vassals as hostages, lest they get any funny ideas. The Russian “elite”‘s children and money are in the West. Connect the dots.

    Comment by So? — June 8, 2014 @ 6:50 am

  4. Whatever So? The hostage theory doesn’t hold water.

    Comment by Andrew — June 8, 2014 @ 9:21 am

  5. As to all of the moronic comments by Pro-Russian trolls about “Neo-Nazis & fascists in Ukraine”, just look at the RuSSian Neo-Nazi and fascist scum that Putin sends to do his dirty work:

    “And if Crimea looks like a playground for gangsters, in eastern Ukraine it’s springtime for Russian ultranationalists and neo-Nazis.

    Pavel Gubarev, the self-styled “people’s governor” of Donetsk, was a member of the ultranationalist group Russian National Unity, whose symbol bears a disturbing resemblance to a swastika.

    The far-right paramilitary organization was founded in 1990 by nationalist leader Aleksandr Barkashov, and its members have been implicated in violent crimes against ethnic minorities and in the 2009 killings of human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova.

    Aleksandr Borodai, a Russian citizen who is the “prime minister” of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, was an editor and remains a contributor to the far-right — and often anti-Semitic — newspaper “Zavtra,” founded by ultranationalist Aleksandr Prokhanov in the 1990s. The newspaper’s website now serves as a recruiting platform for mercenaries fighting in eastern Ukraine.

    Prokhanov, a fringe figure in the 1990s, has enjoyed a resurgence with the Ukrainian crisis, with his articles appearing regularly in the mass-circulation pro-Kremlin daily “Izvestia.’

    The Donetsk People’s Republic’s self-styled “defense minister,” Igor Girkin, aka “Strelkov,” is also a contributor to “Zavtra” Girkin, who Ukrainian authorities claim is an agent with the Russian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), also reportedly served as a mercenary in conflicts in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Transdniester, and Chechnya.

    And Gubarev, Borodai, and Girkin are just the tip of the iceberg. Moscow-based political analyst Vladimir Pribylovsky told RFE/RL’s Russian Service this week that the conflict in eastern Ukraine is serving as a magnet for Russian nationalists of various stripes.

    Russia may be threatening to cut off Ukraine’s gas supply. But it is busy exporting its mafia and neo-Nazis to its southern neighbor.”—-oh-my/25411895.html

    Comment by Andrew — June 8, 2014 @ 11:31 pm

  6. Yeah, sure. Would an honorary Georgian citizen lie?

    Comment by So? — June 9, 2014 @ 4:30 am

  7. Sigh, So? You really are dense.

    Their children are not hostages. That’s where your theory falls down.

    Unlike the Russians, who hold family members hostage over actions of other members of a familys actions, the Europeans don’t do that.

    Everyone knows the spawn of Russian “Elites” reside in the west.

    Pity they are not being sent home to Russia, preferably by being parachuted into the backwoods of Daghestan.

    Comment by Andrew — June 9, 2014 @ 4:40 am

  8. At least So? is heroically serving as a voluntary hostage to the West in order to help his sovok Motherland.

    Comment by Ivan — June 9, 2014 @ 10:15 am

  9. The Americans and the Brits made a strategic mistake: they should have liberated Eastern Europe instead and left France to be turned into Frantsuzkaya SSR. That would obviously be Pareto-efficient, with the added bonus of Piketty’s book being immediately recognized as yet another Soviet propaganda piece.

    Comment by Ivan — June 9, 2014 @ 11:10 am

  10. Just keep ignoring the elephant in the room.

    Comment by So? — June 9, 2014 @ 2:14 pm

  11. Trying to imagine Obama being in charge of the USA on December 8th, 1941. It’s really quite frightening.

    Comment by Green as Grass — June 10, 2014 @ 10:23 am

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