A bear in a cage is still a bear (or, Crimea river)

russian bearI have no doubt that being the President of the United States is a hard job. I also believe that running for president and being the president are very different tasks. In Obama’s case, he is very good at running for president. But, again, being the president is a very different thing. For one thing, being the president is so unique. There simply aren’t that many of them. And, I believe, there are things about being the president that you won’t know, and simply can’t know, until you are the president.

Foreign policy is an area I can imagine that this is true. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that once you get elected president, you start finding things out that, had you known them before, may have made you feel very different about your predecessor, or may have made you realize that things you were campaigning on weren’t very realistic in the first place. Things like “foreign policy will change under my administration.” I’m sure Obama’s not the first to learn this.

So the Ukraine is in a meltdown. To be clear, the whole thing is quite unclear.

In a recording that’s been leaked between assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt, ambassador to Ukraine, while discussing the Ukrainian situation, Nuland says “Fuck the EU.” (I guess they thought they were exempt from everything being recorded?) The recording is linked below. While the conversation received press because of her use of the F word towards the EU, the conversation’s value really lies elsewhere. The topic of the call is who they intend to support coming to power in the Ukraine. If anything good could be said to come out of the Snowden incident, it should be that we can certainly say we don’t know what’s going on in our government, and we don’t know what they’re doing.

In spite of the administration’s stance, the point is, we’re very involved. The point is, we’ve been involved. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, eh?

We, the American citizen, have no real way to understand who the good guys and the bad guys are. Remember, the deposed president, Viktor Yanukovych, was democratically elected. He is, however, a bad guy. When you fire on your own people, you’re a bad guy. There are some real bad people on the other side as well. Regardless of who we, the United States, decides to support, our track record on supporting good guys isn’t that good. We supported a lot of good guys who turn into bad guys.

Part of the reason we have no way to figure it out is the sorry state of our media today. We’re not going to get any decent investigative reporting on the situation. What we’ll get will be packaged for what we like. We’ll get packaged news. Once the politicians determine who we’re for or against, (and they already have) then that’s what we’ll get.  So, if you’re just reading straight American media, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, Fox, you’re not going to get the whole story. You’re getting packaged American news.  Make no mistake, there are some very bad guys on both sides of this situation.

Let’s talk about the Russians for a second. If the Russians were mucking about in, let’s say Mexico, or Panama, or, let’s say Cuba, how do you think we’d take that? Probably not very well. Make no mistake, Putin’s a bad guy. But we haven’t hesitated to back him in a corner since the end of the cold war.

American foreign policy hasn’t really changed in about 50 years. However, the execution of the policy is a different story. The current administration seems to not only be bad at it, and in the case of Benghazi, unable to read the current tides, but then lie about things when they go bad.

Biden, in case you’ve forgotten, repeatedly ripped Obama on his knowledge of foreign policy when they were both running for president. Yea, you could overlook it as campaign talk if you want. Robert Gates in his book “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War” is not particularly complimentary to Biden on foreign policy, nor is he complimentary of Obama towards the military leadership. Obama, among other things, has said “there will be consequences” if Ukraine “crosses the line” with the protestors. He’s also said “The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine,” At this point I believe that is simply rhetoric.  I hope it is.

I know our own country has been willing to engage in military action we have felt necessary. Not everyone in the Ukraine is unhappy about the Russians being there. It’s a diverse country separated by culture, religion, geography, ethnicity, you name it. So now we’re calling Russia’s actions “an invasion” because they’re the bad guys.

Sergiy Aksyonov, the leader of the autonomous Crimean region, last week issued the statement “I call on the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, to provide assistance in securing peace.”

I don’t know anything about foreign policy. I’d like to leave it to smart people, I just don’t know who they are. If you want to learn about what’s going on in the Ukraine, you can’t just stick to American news outlets. That’s a shame, but I believe it.

If you want to listen to something interesting, click on the “Democracy Now” link below and listen to the interview with Stephen Cohen.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, an opposition leader, concluded an interview last week by saying “Ukraine is in a big mess.” Yes. A mess Indeed.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/02/19/obama-on-ukraine-there-will-be-consequences-if-people-step-over-the-line/

http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/feb/07/eu-us-diplomat-victoria-nuland-phonecall-leaked-video

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/20/a_new_cold_war_ukraine_violence

http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/28/politics/ukraine-obama-statement/

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26397323

3 comments on “A bear in a cage is still a bear (or, Crimea river)

  1. Mark Baldini says:

    And I always thought the start of WWIII (End of the World) was going to be in the Middle East.

  2. ~C says:

    Great thoughts pal.

    So incredibly challenging, for me personally, not to feel downtrodden or defeated when I think of the media. To be quite honest, I’m not sure I understand anymore what “reporting” SHOULD be. Do we go back to Cronkite days and use those as models? Were they as one-sided — left or right, take your pick — as the outlets seem to be today? How can I truly find “objective” reporting? Is there such a concept?

    My 3/4 full glass, as it pertains to confidence in our direction as a country, society, etc., is evaporating…slowly AND surely.

    …and let’s be clear, there’s plenty o’ blame to be passed around…on both sides of the political/societal spectrum and in the middle. From lack of accountability to lack of steadfastness in position — getting, and more importantly, STAYING in power is the alpha and omega. Guess that’s always been the case…?

    Yeah, I know, each generation since the founding of our country has faced huge challenges.

    Just seems like we’ve lost our way. Wondering if my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. truly felt this way when they faced issues…or if they always believed things would turn around.

    Not sure myself anymore.

    Thx Tony ~ important issues here.

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