Staunton, February 18 – On August 22, 1939, Adolf Hitler explained to his entourage why he thought he could get away with mass murder by saying that “nobody talks about the Armenians nowadays,” despite the fact that they had been the victims of a mass murder only 24 years earlier.
Hitler’s sweeping cynicism in this regard is increasingly relevant to an evaluation of what is going on in the world today with its ever shorter news cycles and even shorter attention spans. Now, to give but one horrific example, although it has been less than a year, almost no one speaks anymore about Crimea and Russia’s brutal occupation of that Ukrainian peninsula.
And in this brave new world, some leaders have concluded that whatever they say or do will be forgotten in the press of events, with some insisting that it must be in order to move forward, others saying that it is at least partially true, and still others using the tried-and- true argument that “everybody does it” as if that is a justification.
No current leader has exploited this reality more often than Vladimir Putin and nowhere has he made statements of such cynical fraudulence as with regard to Ukraine. The latest of these came yesterday in Budapest, and it deserves to be remembered, like the Armenians, like Crimea, and like so much else, although it will be subsumed by the onrush of events.