Letter | Where will Putin stop?

June 3, 2014 

Some ask why is it our problem when Vladimir Putin claims the Crimea because Russians of their descendents live there? Well, why was it our problem when Adolph Hitler claimed the Sudetenland on the ground that ethnic Germans lived there?

Presumably, if Hitler could claim the Sudetanland because there were ethic Germans living there, he could as easily appropriate Pennsylvania — indeed, the whole U.S. and its possessions — on those same grounds since there were probably more people of German descent in any corner bar in Pittsburgh on a Saturday night than there were ever in the Sudetenland.

Any foreign power in Britain, Europe, Africa or Asia could demand some or all of our territory on the basis that people of their blood lived in our melting pot.

To condone Hitler’s seizure of the Sudetenland was to put our own country up for grabs. So now we put our own country up for grabs if we recognize Russian’s absurd claim that they own the Ukraine because ethnic Russians live there.

Russians fled to our shores since the colonial times usually to escape oppression in the Old Country. It was a Russian refugee who coined the phrase “melting pot” by using it as a title for a drama about a Jewish-Russian refugee family who fled to America to escape a Russian pogrom.

So Putin could just as easily claim the U.S. as a Russian colony as he could the Ukraine.

Joann Flanagan,


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