From a press bulletin released last week by the Lithuanian Center in New York:

The general crisis in the Soviet Union is stirring up the fiercest right-wing forces. These are old-style Bolsheviks, militant generals and colonels who comprehend only the use of force through tanks and sharpened shovels, worshipers of great Russian imperialism possessing a chauvinistic hatred for smaller nations, especially those which have chosen freedom. They ruled, we were ruled, and that was called "order." Now that is no longer the case, hence such fury and desire at all costs to "control" everything once again. ...

The Kremlin's greatest concern is how, in spite of the specter of famine, to preserve the empire. {Communist Party leaders} deftly take advantage of the opportunity that perhaps they themselves created -- namely, Iraq's aggression -- to pretend to be the West's friends and hope to receive favors from that quarter. And one of those favors could be the failure to notice if military force and coercion are used against the Baltic countries ... .

The latest decision, adopted {last week}, proposes -- that is, allows -- President Gorbachev to defend the rights of citizens and also their lives, health and wealth, even to the extent of adopting extraordinary measures. Which rights and what kind of citizen's wealth would require the exercise of extraordinary measures is not defined in any way. That means, according to Soviet custom, that the law can be used in any way that is at that moment desirable.

Of course, not just in the Baltic countries, but in many other places as well it will not be possible to do this by any means other than brute military force. And the Baltic states have already stated that they will defend themselves. It is all too similar to the situation in 1940: it's even worse but also more clear.