Is the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea largely a show of strength? Who is showing strength to whom? Does Syria matter intensely and greatly in all this are is that just another small piece of a world wide puzzle which is likely never to be completely assembled? Our security in the United States and the security of many others around the world depends on many questions besides these. There are so many reasons to be concerned that I will not discuss in this blog. I just spent much of the week dealing with a death of the grandfather of two of my nieces and a nephew. Another former colleague and friend in a limited sense is in the hospital having lost most of her physical functions in a sudden injury. I never lack for reminders of how fragile human strength is in the individual. It is far from everlasting in nations and states.
This is the author of this blog. I am standing beside the stone boat in the Summer Palace in Beijing.
I am more aware than usual of the limits of my own strength. My father is lying abed with a painful foot and ankle now and my only living grandfather (or grandparent for that matter) is bedridden and has been for years. But this post is not about my own struggles with my health or those of my ancestors. This post is more about the strength of the United States of America in 2014. Strength is a fairly broad term to use to describe a set of qualities in a man, community, corporation, athlete or country. The quality of strength desired and measured differs from on type of strong being which is measured to another.
My immediate family vacationing on False River before my cousin Severin W. Summers III was killed in Afghanistan. That was the site of the last long conversation we had about war, honor and family and peace.
It also differs in a variety of ways that depend mostly on who is doing the measuring. What is the truth about American strength right now? What is the truth about other problems we might face? What is the truth about whatever my own views of a way forward might be? These are questions I might try to raise in this blog that relate to more specific questions about our role in Ukraine and Crimea for example.
What can be done to help the Ukrainians who seek to move forward the process of transforming their society into an ever more positive and prosperous regime without creating impossible conditions for Russia? Can America admit that there is questionable legitimacy in the rump parliament and revolution government? Can the US admit Russia cannot place Crimea in such uncertain hands and most Crimeans may well want a Russian Crimea?
Yes secession of Crimea for a real independent Ukraine perhaps more federal than this one could be the answer. They will have to work with Russia on the issue of natural gas pipelines to Europe. But America needs to protect its borders and solvency as well as to maintain its military heritage. I am not sure how much we can do in Ukraine. We must do something but be honest with Ukraine that the more they want ties with us the less that can be done for Crimea. Truthfully this applies to the EU and it is the EU more than the USA that Ukraine is now courting.
I have in this blog many proposals to change America. But war with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula is not in any plan I have. I believe there is a role for America. But it is a dangerous game and nobody will come out looking like a superhero. The more Western we make Ukraine the more Russian Crimea must be because at some point we have to stop pretending international law is something we always observe and obey. Because some fairness is necessary.
The seal of the Confederacy ties the Lost Cause to the Revolution and the past long before that war.
This is not an easy time but it is a good time to promise oneself and commit oneself to the cause of a strong secure America with a future. To some degree we all face the facts of living in an age where strength in nuclear warheads deters less than some thought it would. Yet we also face the fact that our country must survive each challenge along the way — even as we seek to reach heights of excellence.
Strength requires wisdom to manage. I myself have both strength and weaknesses and each have caused me their own sets of problems. America has many problems past this one. But this is a serious issue. We are trying to really impose our views on the borders of Russia in a very open and confrontational style. I hope that all of this is being handled well.
I certainly think many people are doing the right thing to act early in trying to define the limits of Russian authority over Ukraine as being something that cannot be total. Little is ever gained by mere capitulation or hoping problems will go away. Many commentators make some good points about the Syrian crisis and by analogy and inference about other places in the world where Russia can play a role different than almost any other country. I commented on a post by prominent Labor party figure Clive Lord Soley as regards some of those comments he shaped and passed on in The Lords of the Blog. Russia is a striking alternative to the West both because of its view of itself as an alternative to Europe and the USA and also as a society which nonetheless has a history of Christianity, a large white population, huge shared literary and artistic conventions with the West. There are also not only ties to nearby regimes but the recent memory of leading world Communism with only China coming anywhere close to being a competitor.
I am inclined to want very much to help Western Ukraine to a secure future and see their sense of the need to act. But I would not try to dislodge Russia from the Crimea. I am perhaps more of this view than many in Europe given the relatively recent past Britain joined the Turks in fighting the Crimean War against Russia as I recall. That surely shapes one’s point of view. The Germans followed a man committed to building a new order on a destroyed Russian state more recently still. Hitler mapped that out in Mein Kampf. Whether Napoleon, Hitler or the Turks Crimea is a key to beating down Russia. The time may come when I will wish we had beaten down Russia starting with the Crimea but that is not how I feel just now. Russia plays a key role in geopolitics. No ready substitutes are available and Russia is one of several great super societies.
If the US enter armed conflict with Russia I will mostly try to support my country and remember Russia’s many iniquities while behind the scenes perhaps expressing some other points of view. However, I do not think seizing the Crimea is the right reason to be drawn into conflict with Russia I do not even think it seems all that assertive to everyone. Most people feel the need to defend Ukrainian self determination, in some way — I do as well, and perhaps more than most. Many informed people feel the need to try to support the cultural rights and decent aspirations of Western Ukrainians in the next generation– I do probably pass the average person in desire to do that as well. But if Russia really and truly has no right to hold the Crimea in a friendly position then the world is unrecognizably bizarre.
I am aware that much of human history and current geopolitics seems different from different points of view. But to say Russia must commit suicide is to declare the end of this era in a very real way. In my personal life I have not hidden in the shadows but I do believe there is so much that needs resolving and doing besides war. This blog of mine is full of other priorities which I support and uphold. My life is full of distractions. I suffer from threats to life in my own health and have a friend in the hospital with a cerebral hemorrhage and the grandfather of two of my nieces and one nephew has just died of heart disease today. My own schedule and the tourist economy of the region are disrupted by unseasonable ice storms.
Bleak in Acadiana
trees wrapped in ice in the afternoon in March near Acadiana’s coast
I want to support those who would broker a better deal for Western Ukraine above all. However I also have a full set of distractions to keep me from Russia’s periphery. That is the nature of spheres of influence.
Our ritual foods of Mardi Gras are on my mind more than Borscht
The world has many problems and Crimea is more important to Russia than it is to anyone else except possibly Ukraine. Really losing Crimea mean Russia must fight a major war sooner than later. We may squeeze them out peacefully and humiliate them and in the end it may lead to a post Russian civilization but somewhere before they check out they will fight a big war. A Russian dominated Crimea is essential to peace. I do not believe in peace at any cost. I do not think Russia and the US are pals. I do not believe I am a coward. But Russia has to control or be the largest and accepted foreign influence in Crimea for their to be peace, of that there is no doubt in my mind. So as I sit here trying to manage many other concerns and even to survive myself in the less than perfect health I enjoy I hope for peace in the Crimea.
Of course I live in intolerable situations and perhaps Russia can as well. But it would be intolerable for them to lose Crimea. What will they do if they concede this loss?
It is Mardi Gras. Tomorrow Lent begins and today is the day to celebrate the end of Carnival season
We have no way of knowing whether or not when asked about Russian troops in Ukraine Putin told Western diplomats “Crimea river”, Cry me a river” or none of the above. The Germans took the Crimea from Russia, so did the joint forces of the British, Turkish and French. Could the US do so? Certainly it is possible. with the support of the European Union and others but there is no doubt that those campaigns were fought over a very long time and at a high level of intensity. It is also arguable whether other powers had really achieved a peaceful status in which Russia was not in the end the dominant world power in the Crimea. I hope there will be a good resolution here.
It is an interesting time for politics for those who have time and energy to keep up their interest in politics. This may include me sometimes more than others. What could be more compelling than watching the news and expatiating on is implications? Well quite a few things in point of fact. For me just now my father’s cancer has me well distracted from the problems with Obamacare, same sex marriage, the Afghanistan situation, the low rates of labor force participation in the United States, the ongoing BP leak situation, the nightmare of water management in the country, the escalating tensions with Russia (related to Ukraine, Snowden, Syria, the EU, East Asia and other matters), the North Korean missile tests, the downsizing of the U. S. Army and the vast unrest joined to isolated misanthropy which is gripping our country. Yes it is a good time for political speculation but it is not the only thing worth thinking about. In fact it is true that most Americans have little connection to many of these political issues.
My father has received results of a biopsy from an area where he had a previous cancer that there is cancer, that cancer has recurred or that it is present. I am sure Mom will post some news eventually. This afternoon he will meet with an oncologist and Mom will be with him.My father has had at least two full-fledged cancer surgeries and some treatments for each. My grandfather Chief Justice Frank W. Summers, his father died of cancer as did one of his two brothers and the other might well have done so had he not succumbed to other maladies of the same organs in which some have said cancer was starting. Many of our relatives and some of his siblings have had cancer.
My father has been blessed in the years since his first cancer to see his mission company and legacy grow and he is still deeply devoted to following the progress of both. He and my mother have celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. His mother was born in a hospital and he was close to his grandfather who was a physician. I have often heard him express gratitude for the medical and allied treatments and care he has received. For him there is no doubt that his work and family life have been extended by the efforts of his professional care community.
I hope that all will remember him in thoughts and prayers and if you see him or my mother will offer such sympathy and encouragement as you can find to offer. I went with my father to New Orleans several times when he was first sick with prostate cancer and since then my direct involvement has diminished over time. My father has also recently been diagnosed with a different health condition which may complicate all of this. He and Mom may choose to disclose more about all this at different times but those who know me know of his health struggles to some degree and it would not be right for me not mention it and pretend this is in any way my life. Nor is it a secret that he has struggled for a good number of years in the cancer arena with remissions etc. I am attaching a post I put on my blog when he went for the biopsy. The picture doesn’t frame well on FB but is better at the other site.
But although I am not holding a placard nor able to do what I might think fitting the problems with Obamacare but I am aware of the crises people are experiencing. All of the social, constitutional and political issues raised by same sex marriage and the trigger happy federal courts in this country are on my mind — at leas most of the issues are on my mind. I am well aware of all the many blows to morale which are accumulating so that the next 9/11 attack would have vastly more impact on the USA. I am aware of all the obstacles to readiness and recruiting in a crisis which are accumulating. It is in that context that I view the sense of surrender that can frame the evolving Afghanistan situation. I am deeply aware of the dangerously the low rates of labor force participation in the United States, the fact that minimum wage and Obamacare and social policy and migration patterns all feed this crisis. I am well aware of ten different trends I regard as potential threats revealed by or evident in the evolution of the ongoing BP leak situation. The BP mess has me also more aware of the nightmare of water management in the country with issues form Eastern flooding to Western droughts, industrial abuses and the horror of the Bayou Corne/ Assumption Parish Sink Hole and Texas Brine.
I am well aware of the world we live in every day of our lives. I am aware of the North Korean missile tests,and the vast resources connected to that small part of the force they represent. It is a serious concern not in itself but as a symbol rallying many other forces. It concerns me. So does the sense of strain I detect in many of our institutions and the vast unrest joined to isolated misanthropy which is gripping our country. Sure there are always bad times but they are also always threatening. Once must overcome them to survive.
But all of these real political concerns are not the most important factors we face. I hope to devote a whole post soon to the escalating tensions of the USA with Russia (related to Ukraine, Snowden, Syria, the EU, East Asia and other matters), .It is a reality that we can really mess this up. It is not a joke. There are in fact ten wrong answers for every passable one. Yes it is a good time for political speculation but it is not the only thing worth thinking about. Nor is all speculation created equal. My solutions seem radical to many but they are moderate in my view. We must chart a sound course and do so very soon or there will be bad and serious consequences. In fact it is true that most Americans have little connection to many of these political issues. But America has the resources to handle its crises — but not the luxury of a huge margin for error.
Again there will be more later. . . I hope.
Posted in Acadians, Asia, Democratic People Republic of Korea, Environment, family, Frank W. Summers, Frank W. Summers III's family, Genie Gremillion Summers, Geopolitics, My Dad, Russia, Russia's East, Snowden, Ukraine, Ukraine, Wetlands
Tagged American politics, Geopolitics, North Korea, Russia, Ukraine crisis