In 1918, an Austrian corporal recovered in an army hospital from a gas attack when news of Germany's surrender arrived. He wept bitterly and vowed revenge.
When the Reagan-John Paul II-Thatcher triumvirate brought down the Soviet Union, an ambitious KGB colonel did the same thing. He also understood something very clearly. If the empire had struck while Jimmy Carter was in office and had not waited for a Ronald Reagan, the outcome would have been different.
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Vladimir Putin will not wait for another Reagan. He may help create the next Reagan, but he will not wait, and he knows that possibility is still 2½ years away. That's why Crimea is only an appetizer. President Obama is the lamb the ravenous wolf has been waiting for.
The excuse the Austrian corporal used when he began gobbling up his neighbors was that ethnic German populations were being persecuted and given the choice would gladly join the greater Reich. First Rhineland, then Austria, while the West did nothing. Britain's Neville Chamberlain strode off a plane a few months later waving a piece of paper declaring he has negotiated "peace in our time."
Appeasement never works. It never has, it never will. Obama and John Kerry's scoldings are the stuff of Russian comedy. Putin has only begun. We find ourselves in a dangerous world, imperiled by an incompetent leader who refuses to face reality and govern without his debunked leftist catechism.
We cannot do what we once could, or what we can do once this pretender has left. But we can replace every single one of his acolytes in the U.S. Congress and act with veto-proof decisiveness. Between now and November others will fall to Putin's tyranny. How many fall until we find our Reagan depends on replacing people like Dick Durbin.