Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

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CRIMEA

March 20, 2014

It will be very popular with the Repos to call Obama weak about Crimea, but before we all jump on the bandwagon, let’s just take a look at history over the last sixty years:

1956       REPUBLICAN      President Eisenhower did nothing when the Soviets invaded Hungary

1968       DEMOCRAT        President Johnson did nothing when Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia

1981       REPUBLICAN      President Reagan did nothing when Soviets imposed martial law on Poland

2008       REPUBLICAN      President Little Bush did nothing when Russia invaded Georgia (but then again,he had already started two wars that were both unwinnable and he was almost  ready to retire to his palate and easel so maybe we should give him a “Pass”).

 Yes, the RED are leading the BLUE in imposing sanctions, politically condemning, and doing nothing more.  Maybe if Little Bush had not gone to war with Afghanistan and with Iraq, he would have still been looking for a chance to prove himself and jumped right in there with Russia, but alas, by 2008, he had his hands full and was in deep doo-doo already.

So near as I can tell, the kettle should not be calling the pot black, so to speak.

A STRIB Letter to the Editor blames American business interests for that inactivity and I’ve no doubt that lobbying efforts are everywhere – making sure Obama does not do something that will hurt American business.

But let’s not forget that polls also show that the American people –despite finding the actions of Russia reprehensible,  are generally opposed to military action and so are our EU allies.

So it makes for good Press to show clips of McCain ranting on how wrong Obama is or sound bits of other Repos offering intense criticism (one more time I have to say it – demonstrating old-fashioned 20th century beliefs-), it all is just a way to fill air time and not much more.

But what if there are other options?

I, for one, am hoping that the US and its allies are already looking for the solution to the refugee problem.

Forty percent of the people in Crimea are not of Russian descent.  In fact, the 800,000 Tatars were deported from Russia by Stalin because they were undesirable. So what plans does Russia have for those folks of their new state?  I am sure it is not good.

In the negotiations and sanctions and political posturing is it at all feasible to negotiate SAFE PASSAGE for these people as well as for the Ukrainian soldiers who are pulling out starting today?

The Ukrainian Orthodox Archbishop Kliment (and the Pope) should be tapped to help organize the effort to ensure safe passage and safe transfer of resources.  These people should not have to leave their homes with nothing all for the lack of $1000 for a moving truck so they could take possessions as well.  

Could we use our influence, resources and money to supply trucks so these people do not need to arrive in the Ukraine destitute?

Can we use international means to transfer funds of these people from Crimea to Ukraine?

Can we use our military in the area in a benevolent way to help this migration?

Can all of us sitting here in the US with lots of opinions about how wrong our government is handling the crisis exert our voice, money,  and influence to save 800,000 people? 

 

 

 

 

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SUNDAY’S REALITIES

March 3, 2014

CRIMEA and the UKRAINE

It’s been a long path to “nowhere” since Florence NIghtingale almost 160 years ago or to the Yalta Conference of 1945. But, although time passes, the Black Sea, the Crimea and the Ukraine remain a flashpoint threatening world peace.

I understand the key elements here revolve around Soviet KGB style-thinking Putin, a key military advantage in the 1940s, and Russia’s fears that their lease on land to house that massive fleet and navy personnel of theirs may be in jeopardy.

But step back and think about that.

Is the US, its allies and the world really ready to be drawn into that conflict over housing a fleet-much more important 75 years ago than it is today? Not so much, I think.

I know for most, the horrors of that war live only in a textbook. But as a student of Dr. Deutsch at UM in the 1960s, I certainly have a different perspective, and even so, no solutions. I just keep thinking how ironic it is that Khrushchev is the one who gave the Ukraine the gift of the Crimea in 1954 and 60 years later, they want it back. So they have only themselves to blame, from my warped way of thinking.

And equally ironic is that in this current disagreement in which Russia fights for a home for its Black Sea fleet, they encounter once again the Tators whom they deported from Russia in 1944…a people whom they have been trying to eliminate since the 18th century. The Tators represent some 10-15% of all those that live in Crimea. Will they deport them one more time, or in good Soviet stead, will they just kill them this time? And then what will the we do?

With all this reeling around in my brain, I took a break from the STRIB and tuned in to “Meet the Press”.

I expect I will be viewed as the one out of step, but that Meet the Press discussion today attempted to paint Obama as the weak, out of touch leader who won’t put war on the table. I was particularly concerned about a phrase repeated over and over (paraphrased as- ) “This conflict between the Russians and Obama.” What?!! Most of them sounded like Putin was justified in invading a foreign country – simply because Obama did not threaten war.

Everything that panel said; every position they took REINFORCED old out-dated 20th century thinking – just like Putin represents old Soviet Union thinking of the 20th century. I felt like I was caught in a time warp and had been whisked away back to my youth. And shame on me; I also thought Obama was the President of the United States; not just a name of some individual stirring up trouble against a foreign country. But apparently I was wrong- at least in terms of our national news position as heard on Meet the Press!

It was a very scary moment as it pointed out we have very few open minds or minds that understand the impacts of this giant shift being revealed to us as we move into the 21st century. I felt like I had been transported back in time fifty years to an old COLD WAR era before we learned there could be a better way than wars.

Of course, none of us have the expertise to know what lies ahead, but we sure all seem to be mimicking the mistakes made by the experts as the 20th century was born. Remember those that knew best then and led us into not one, but two world wars? Seems to me, we at least should TRY alternative options that might be available before we point fingers and draw up troop movement plans.

Little did I know a panel on Meet the Press would become not only the prosecutor of the President of the US on trial, but also the judge and jury of our land. Personally, I call what I witnessed just more evidence of the hubris of the Press today.

NUCLEAR WASTE LEAKS

Meanwhile, as we stand on the precipice of yet another war, it seems to me we have an equally important situation for which we cannot blame the Soviet ghosts we see everywhere. No, this one we caused ourselves and although it was not even worthy of mention on Meet the Press, the STRIB gave it space in not just one, but two articles this morning.

“Worry about Leak at Nuclear Dump Grows” at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant – and outdoor unprotected storage site at Los Alamos; and new reports of problems at the Washington State Hanford nuclear reservation where design and integrity of storage tanks are being questioned in “Safety of Waste Tanks Doubted” article.

Those both seem to be strong signals to me that we’d be best served to get 1940s-1960s disagreements resolved soon so we can turn our attention to the mess we have made of our work ever since!

NICOLLET AVENUE

And now back to something I really DO know a little bit about. Although I object to building a “Nicollet Island” in the midst of Nicollet Mall, I applaud the progress towards correcting the K-Mart urban planning mistake made at Lake and Nicollet.

Indeed, my drean would be to eliminate this foolish error made by the white man and reestablish the native people’s connections from the Mississippi River all the way to the Chain of Lakes.

And with that worthy dream, I’ll get back to re-ordering my desk for the new life that awaits me tomorrow.

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MEET THE PRESS REACTIONS to “Unprecedented Actions” about Syria:

September 15, 2013

I have watched this unfold from a different perspective than most…I watched with a brain full of ideas and thoughts I’ve gathered in the last ten years as I noticed a new way of thinking emerge in 2004-6.  I have experimented with that way of thinking  in my business with unbelievable good results, even though it was a “messy” way of doing things. And so, I don’t think of myself as that borderline traditionalist/boomer – I think of myself as an older person who sees a bright future ahead and tested that in the business world.  That continues to impact my business; it swayed how I voted in the last two elections, and has allowed me to watch Obama as the first president experimenting with a philosophy that will rule the 21st century.  And it keeps me re-evaluating over and over and still thinking our BEST option going forward is with Obama and other 21st century thinkers leading us carefully through the mine fields.

Indeed, it may cloud my thinking on Syria  so I am not feeling the same gloom and doom as I watch Obama maneuver through this latest crisis in Syria.  No, we are not the world fixers; and Syria is definitely not a clean right vs. wrong situation…so I was okay with cautiously remaining on the sidelines as the civil war progressed.  And I was okay with the use of chemical weapons creating a new crisis because it did cross a “RED LINE” – which was set almost 100 years ago-despite the spin politically to make it an “Obama Red Line”.  I have been okay with the behind the scenes negotiating attempts one last time; even as Obama went from saying “I am undecided” to “yes, we have to demonstrate consequences” and then went off to G20 for one last attempt to get the Russians to help control their stepchild.  As that all played out last week, I did not see that as weak; I saw it the continuation of testing consensus and collaboration as a governing style.  I was proud and hopeful.  Of course there are risks; of course there is Putin playing games; of course this will not bring ever-lasting peace to the Middle East.  Excuse me, but the middle east was at war throughout most of the history captured in the Christian Bible.  Do we really think we go from an ever-lasting mess to ever-lasting peace all in one week?

The only thing good I can say for sure about my thinking as I sat down this morning to watch Meet the Press is that I admit I am conflicted, and do not see this as BLACK or WHITE, and I still had hope to learn more as I listened to experts discuss their views.

9:00AM brought me into my miniature den to learn more.  I listened to the pros and cons (mostly negative comments) and I continued to come to the same conclusion I have reached in the past.

Judgment and advice are all wrapped in a myth – that myth that the US can continue with 20th century thinking and actions; it is as if we can reset, do it again and get it right.  We could have been discussing any number of world “crises” that have come before.  Each commentator (with the exception of 1-2) had a position- staked out over 50 years and that was the RIGHT way – no matter what.  A telling comment slipped out at one point – “the last victory we had in the Mideast was under Jimmy Carter.”

NO one challenged that, so if that’s the case, perhaps we need to RETHINK  what our expectations should BE about the mideast. It has been the cause of most skirmishes and political discussions my entire adult life.  If we have not figured it out in 50 years and “put them on the correct” path, perhaps it’s time we pause and ask why are we doing this.  Are there other options?

We don’t because we know the answer- we do it for OIL; that gets tangled in RELIGION; and then we wrap it all up in PRIDE…Pride that tells us that only the Americans know the right way to do anything… and we have been charged somehow with bringing democracy to the world – so all peoples can share the good life of the Americans…even if that Good LIfe is mostly concentrated in the top 1% of our citizens, and some think at least 47% cannot be helped. 

Really, folks?  One of these days, I would like to see Meet the Press take a little risk.  Instead of asking the  old men and women who are so tightly trying to hold on to influence and power, perhaps we should have a panel of 21st century commentators – perhaps we should acknowledge the US is not all aging “angry old birds” .  Those young commentators? They are not all Obama fans; they are not all wanting to go off to war; but they THINK DIFFERENTLY.  And that is the important thing.  Give the world a chance to hear how Americans coming INTO leadership positions think and why.  This old bird thinks we would be a better country for doing so.

 

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US SURVEILLANCE ISSUES

August 2, 2013

From past blogs, you know I am conflicted on which side of the surveillance issue I stand….not because of personal rights to privacy vs. government’s responsibility to protect-but because I feel we are having a 1900’s discussion about 21st century issues with no thoughts of the real world in which we live.

So basically, I see Snowden neither as a whistleblower nor as a traitor. I lean towards a self-righteous,, self-absorbed, immature narcissist young man looking for a claim to fame…who objected to government actions that crossed the line in his opinion; who unfortunately chose ego over responsibility in seeking council on how to address the issues; picked the wrong path to object, and in so doing sacrificed not only a discussion in the public realm, but his citizenship. In addition, his actions created significant national security issues and perhaps irreparable harm to our country around the world.

Whether we like it or not, he had another means to achieve the spotlight. Had he not wished to engage with his representatives in Congress, he had the Fourth Estate at his beck and call. Sharing what he had with the Press would have given him plenty of attention and started the conversation. Sharing not only the existence, but also detailed plans with other countries first was egregious and irresponsible.

And as much as the issue at hand, is the caution we take as we move forward in setting a precedent for those that come after him. Do we want to encourage breaking the laws to steal what he knew to be top-secret documents for a moment of fame, or do we want to use the incident to start a discussion that is needed in this country?

That said – one more time – one might understand how yesterday’s political talk show discussions regarding asylum in Russia were troubling to me.

On one hand, he deserves a life in Russia with NO real freedom of thought and expression; on the other hand, he has now become the pawn or perhaps the “straw that breaks the fragile camel’s back” and negates progress made at establishing a conversation with Russia. And although I respect John McCain’s opinion on the issue and would have agreed with him even 15 years ago, I am afraid it has given the angry old birds one more opportunity to chain our progress to 20th century anchors that we will regret as we try to move forward in a different world.

Since the issue was announced, discussed and is being addressed in black and white terms of another time with no new discussion of impact in today’s digital world, I am disappointed – to say the least.

This was a chance to step back, acknowledge the very different world in which we now live and start addressing the guidelines and expectations of HOW we adjust and what our responsibilities as citizens should be. Instead, the Press did some polls that reflect only the hype, not the real issues; and then pontificated about how WRONG the Obama Administration is for accepting the Neo-Con/Bush Plan to protect the country…which by the way, was voted on in Congress and passed as law during the Bush Administration.

Hd Obama refected the previous administration and legistor-approved law, with judicial approval inferred through their actions, JUST THINK of the outcry from the Republicans about usurpation of power!!

So while the judging and ranting continued loudly on the airwaves, I was comforted some by reading this morning that Obama/Biden were at the same time meeting at the White House with the two opposing sides – NSA’s most vigorous Congressional supporters (both Dem/Repos) and its sternest critics.

It was encouraging to read this morning that all agreed on three things:
1. Surveillance efforts are suffering from perception problems that have undercut the trust among the American people;
2. There is openness to making changes both in Congress and in the Administration. Congressional leaders have been charged with and accepted the challenge to refine proposals during the August break;
3. And, most promising, Republicans and Democrats alike seemed in agreement to overhaul how the FISA Court Law established under the Neo-Con Bush Administration and approved by Congress at that time can be altered.

We can only hope that our Judicial Branch of government that was given unprecedented power by the Bush Administration and certainly did not object, will also agree that FISA overstepped the line and should be drawn in.

This is bigger than daily press ratings folks…this is a basic key issue facing us and all world governments in this century. This could be the first honest attempt to address and understand what the global world is facing. It would be nice to think there is a possibility the Press can join the conversation – not as an adversary, but as a stakeholder.