Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Where did the Ukraine go! Suddenly, the nightly news falls silent on the subject of Putin’s orchestrated of gobbling up of Crimea. The unrest is still there; that did not go away; the Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatist’s forces are still spilling blood in the streets of the eastern provinces. Putin has said he is withdrawing his army from the border but he has not moved a tank or single artillery piece back from the boarder. Something notable is the right wing has fallen silent on their “Obama is a weakling president”. The bomb, bomb, bomb Republicans have fallen strangely silent; Obama should do this or do that, Putin is a real leader, U.S. foreign policy is in ruins, etc.  The truth seems to be that Obama’s policy is winning in spite of Germany’s refusal to cooperate on sanctions because of their need for oil and gas; the lack of support because of the French arms industry directed foreign policy, and Britain’s reluctance to cooperate based on the joy caused the flood of money from Russia into their economy. To me it is a great victory for Obama’s vision of a new world order over the conservative lead “power politick” of the bygone era of strong arm economic hegemony backed up by the largest and most technically advanced armed force in the world.

I look at our past foreign policy as being equivalent to an assault-rifle armed teenager dressed in a black trench coat ordering people in a high school what to do. For centuries we told, at least our government acting in behalf of multinational corporations told less powerful countries, as  they quacked and cowered in fear, of our might. Columbia, give us Panama because we want a canal. Corporations acting at a diplomatic level told the middle-east countries give us your oil; Iran had the audacity to say no and we all know what happened to them. Venezuela, give us your oil and control of your environment or we will condemn you as communists and destroy you. In addition, we told China give us your labor as long as you let us contaminate your environment, and we said to Central America give us your fruit and if you don’t we will take over your government. Jingoistic chest pounding conservatives see this in simple terms: might it right; an assault rifles makes it right. Shame on us!

We did not seem to understand the difference between fear and respect. Obama, the liberal, is saying; the world is flat, technical advances have made us see the world as the little blue planet. We all have to get along together. The best way to do that is to respect the rights of one another—liberal altruism verses conservative greed. We will pay a fair market price for your oil. We will respect your environment because it is our environment. Your work is worth a living wage. We want you to do business with the U.S. because we can provide the best services or supply the best products.

What we see in Ukraine is just another aspect of conservatism verses liberalism, an open clash between the right of self-determination and the power to control markets. I look at what they say in the media as the great conservative lie; they scream and lie and say they want worldwide free markets—no they don’t—it is not a free market if we control it. This version of a free market is an oxymoron to everyone but an economic conservative. The confounding question in Ukraine is, control of resources by whom. The U.S. conservatives want their natural resources under “our multi-national corporations” as has been the norm in the past, Venezuela for example or controlled by Russian multinational corporations, USSR for example, which is just more of the same, or controlled by Ukrainians; which is the new world order, which is so Woodrow Wilson and so Obama. The Ukrainian people have the right to do business with their own best interest in mind—some might call it free market while others some might call it self determination—with all of the confounding elements it seem more complex than it really needs to be. We might think what makes that little country so important is that in the past, the Ukraine was geographically a distant exotic place but now the price on the marquee at the local gas station controlled by a multinational gas company and the cost of military opposition out of our pockets puts that country just down the street. Therefore, what makes that country important is that it is symbolic of “Obama’s new world order”, which is something beyond the Ayn Rand based understanding of the Charles Krauthammers and William Kristols of the world.

The Ukraine disappeared from the news media because Obama is winning with his diplomacy and his “pussy footing” sanctions”; however, he is not a chest thumper. He is not a trench-coated kid with a big gun who needs pools of blood to point out his notoriety and show how he is tough. He understands the difference between fear and respect and between brawn and brains. He is a one of a kind world leader. No brag, just fact! 

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