British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke to European leaders recently, during which he gave a warning against going too easy on Vladimir Putin. He made a comparison between the current situation with Putin and the situation with Adolf Hitler leading up to the Second World War. In making this strong comparison, David Cameron was trying to relate his beliefs that accommodating Putin to too large an extent might have disastrous consequences in the long run.
This warning was given at a summit in Brussels, which was attended by numerous members of the European Union. The prime minister stated worries that if Putin is left unchecked, he might likely run rampant throughout Ukraine. At least, this is what the Italian newspaper La Repubblica claims was said. The remarks of David Cameron have not been fully confirmed, but La Repubblica alleges to have obtained information regarding what was said during the summit. According to their source, the prime minister is trying to avoid repeating the actions of former PM Neville Chamberlain, who was in office at the time of Hitler’s invasion of Poland, which was likened to Putin’s actions in Crimea.
The summit was not actually held to discuss Putin. The primary issue at hand was to discuss the next five years and who would be in charge of the EU during that time. The remarks made by David Cameron were made after the conversation quickly changed gears. José Manuel Barroso, the current commission president, stated that Putin has claimed he could easily take over Kiev in approximately two weeks. The Kremlin has responded to these allegations with threats to release the taped conversation between Barroso and Putin during which this remark was allegedly made, The Guardian reports.
As more leaders spoke during the summit, the conversation began to encompass more than Crimea and Ukraine. Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, claimed that Latvia and Estonia might also be at risk. It became clear that David Cameron is far from alone in his belief that Putin has become a force with which to be reckoned. There are currently plans to deploy forces to the area, in an effort to bolster defense in the event that Putin should attempt to invade.
Not all necessarily agree with the remarks made by David Cameron, believing that the comparison to Adolf Hitler is harshly cynical. Either way, the military actions being taken are certainly not as harsh as they could be. While the EU does not wish to appease Putin, they do not wish to antagonize him, either. Rather than setting up permanent defense forces, they aim to deploy forces on a rotating basis. This will allow for a constant presence without constituting aggressive military action. In response to the remarks by David Cameron and the plans to establish a rotating defense force, the Kremlin has stated that Moscow will also consider changes to their current military proceedings. The effect this will have on international tensions remains to be seen.