Monday, July 28, 2014

Was Hillary right to compare Putin to Hitler?

Compiled by Erik Raymond, Deseret News

Published: Fri, March 7 6:55 p.m. MST

 In this Sept. 8, 2012 file photo, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the arrival ceremony for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Vladivostok, Russia.

In this Sept. 8, 2012 file photo, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the arrival ceremony for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Vladivostok, Russia.

(Jim Watson, Associated Press)

On Tuesday, former first lady and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton likened Russian President Vladimir Putin’s incursion into the Crimea Peninsula of Ukraine to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s relocating of Germans living outside of Germany in the 1930s, as reported by the National Review’s Josh Encinias.

“Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the ’30s,” Clinton said, referring to Hitler’s resettling ethnic Germans who were living in places outside of Germany. “Hitler kept saying they’re not being treated right. ‘I must go and protect my people,’ and that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.”

Was Clinton right to compare Putin to Hitler?

Historian and columnist for the Daily Telegraph Timothy Stanley says no.

Writing for CNN, Stanley said that, yes, Putin’s justification for intervention in Ukraine is similar to what Hitler did, but the situation is much more complex than general comparisons.

“After all, in the eyes of many ethnic Russians, it is the Ukrainian nationalists — not Putin — who are the Nazis,” writes Stanley. “The Russians have asserted, quite accurately, that the revolution that overthrew a pro-Russian, democratically elected leader has resulted in the elevation of Russophobe fascists into key government positions.”

Stanley goes on to point out that Hitler worked off a wide and inclusive racist ideology, while Putin is “simply” meddling in the affairs of ex-Soviet countries.

Comparing Putin to Hitler illustrates Clinton’s shaky understanding of history, according to the Washington Times’ Wesley Pruden.

“Hillary Clinton, hardly a reasonable facsimile of a student of history, set the teeth of scholars on edge this week with her comparison of Vladimir Putin to Herr Schickelgruber,” Pruden writes. “Vladimir Putin, like Josef Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev before him, invites dark comparisons,” but Putin is hardly the man who committed genocide across a continent.

However, some on the right like Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsay Graham are agreeing with Clinton.

According to Pruden, McCain was pleased with Clinton’s comparison and agrees that Putin’s illegal actions in Ukraine are “the same thing that Hitler did prior to World War II.”

In the hailstorm of reactions to her comments, Clinton defended and double downed on her comparison of Putin to Hitler. You can watch it on the left.

Erik Raymond is experienced in national and international politics. He relocated from the Middle East where he was working on his second novel. He produces content for DeseretNews.com. You can reach him at:

eraymond@deseretdigital.com

@RaymondErik

Hillary Clinton clarifies Putin-Hitler comments

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1. Church member
North Salt Lake, UT,
March 7, 2014

I think this author has an ax to grind with Hillary. Is he worried she might win in 2016? I think so.

2. Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah,
March 7, 2014

Of course, Putin's language about "protecting" ethnic Russians from non-existent threats is precisely analogous to Hitler's language about "protecting" Germans from the innocuous Czechs and Poles as he proceeded to take over their countries. Hillary's statement is just common knowledge.

3. Mark B
Eureka, CA,
March 7, 2014

Hitler and NAZI analogies pop up on these posts all the time. Of course, the "Hitler" being referred to is almost always Obama. Surely DN allows Hitler comparisons from everyone as long as a civil dialogue is maintained.

4. Ken
Sandy, UT,
March 7, 2014

So Clinton says everyone wants to tone down the rhetoric and then she compares Putin to Hitler? Thats not exactly towning down the rhetoric.

5. Hemlock
Salt Lake City, UT,
March 7, 2014

The similar acts of aggression are not enough for a comparison. Hillary is posturing for the coming election, but she's not advocating that we go to war as we did against Hitler. With the coming election in mind, anything a candidate says (this will be the most transparent administration, I will cut the deficit in half, the WH will not be run by lobbyists, I will restore US credibility and other nations will like us, ad nauseum) must be taken with a grain of salt. Mr. Obama's classic line "After the election I will have more flexibility," summarizes politics, e.g. don't listen to anything in the campaign because they have no value after the election.