Monday morning we read about another chuffed up statement by Teheran on how they will destroy Israel if it gives them a funny look. This is normal for Arab regimes, who always threaten the loudest right before they get their clocks cleaned. Nasser was going to drive the Jews into the sea in 1967, etc. Up until now the Arabs were the champs in that pathetic league. But an up and comer is Russia.
During this Ukrainian war Putin has growled with weird Drago in Rocky IV-like threats and (while his army, navy, and air force make fools of themselves in the field) conjures up all kinds of evil consequences for Zelenskyy and Ukraine. But, is a major city taken yet? No. Has their air force been shot out of the sky? Yes. Is their army being embarrassed by farm equipment? Yup. And where is the Moskva? Sleeping with the fishes.
In fact, when the US backs strong governments like South Korea and Ukraine, the Russians lose. When we backed weak governments in internal turmoil, as in Vietnam, we lose. When we have made promises then cut and run like in Hungary in 1956, and Vietnam and Cambodia as well, we lose the game and gain dishonor.
Why is this? Because the Russians are a paper tiger. Let’s look at their track record since WWII. True, they put a pretty good move on Eastern Europe. But that’s where their troops ended up after an enfeebled FDR negotiated a handover of Eastern Europe to them at Yalta in 1945. Plus, British Intelligence was riddled with Soviet agents who let the Soviets know most Allied rollback moves in advance.
Then Korea in 1950, where both the Russians and the Chicoms attacked American allied South Korea. Under nominal UN command, the US beat them both because the ROK Rhee government was united and committed to the fight. South Korea lives and thrives today because of Douglas MacArthur and American-educated Syngman Rhee.
Hungary in 1956? We encourage the Hungarians to revolt against their Soviet masters by using VOA to rile them up. So they do and the Soviets invade to crush the revolt. The Maygars fight bravely but lose. Where were we? Nowhere to be found. Just like in Vietnam and Cambodia to come, not to mention Laos, the Russians eventually win by default as we abandon our allies or never show up in the first place. The lesson? No firm allied or American support, or a weak government that we’re defending, and the Russians win.
But now, just as in Korea, the Russians are faced with a determined resistance by a brave nation with Allied backup. This is not a walkover against a rebellious satellite or a thrown game due to a weak government or Western inaction. This is the real thing and the Russians are getting their heads handed to them. Such is the fate of a paper tiger that relies on bellicosity rather than martial prowess.