Warning from a Grand Master

Most people who know about Garry Kasparov think of him as the youngest world chess champion ever when he assumed the crown in 1986 at age 22. He was a Croatian (part of Yugoslavia) when he won that title.

Kasparov has a new passion now, though, and his thinking has influenced at least one important politician. Since the early 2000s he has been trying to warn the world about Vladimir Putin’s rule in Russia. He is now chairman of the Human Rights Foundation in New York.

Last month (Feb. 20) while the Sochi Winter Olympics were taking place, Kasparov predicted a Ukrainian Anschluss. Anschluss was the 1938 annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany.

Within a week of Kasparov’s prediction, Hillary Clinton agreed with him and warned of the parallels between 1930s Germany and Putin’s actions in the Ukraine (and a few years ago in Georgia). She was denounced by many for comparing Putin to Adolf Hitler.

Yet, here we are less than a month later and Putin has announced that Crimea is now part of Russia.

Kasparov has been cautioning the West and former Soviet Republics that Putin is not a democrat and he has been tightening the screws by jailing his opposition and clamping down on the media in Russia.

Now, in a new article on Politico, Kasparov says that while Putin may not be a Hitler, he does have big plans.

“Putin is no master strategist. He’s an aggressive poker player facing weak opposition from a Western world that has become so risk-averse that it would rather fold than call any bluff, no matter how good its cards are . . . but we cannot forget the harsh lessons Hitler taught us about the fatal dangers of appeasing a dictator, of disunity in the face of aggression and of greedily grabbing at an ephemeral peace while guaranteeing a lasting war.”

For the whole article, go to: www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/03/vladmir-putin-crimea-hitler-1938-104711.html#ixzz2wLYD12oU

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

*This article includes corrections from the original. Croatia was part of Yugoslavia. An editorial on Page A9 on Wednesday about chess champion Garry Kasparov had an incorrect affiliation for his home country. Also, Anschluss was the 1938 annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany. An incorrect country was named.

The Maui News apologizes for the errors.