Tag Archives: Russia

New Horizons and Some Signs

This post comes at a time when a lot is going on in the world including the mourning in South Korea over the hundreds of youths drowned on a ferry that went down in the Yellow Sea. I used to look out at the Yellow Sea daily where I lived and worked and my sympathy and empathy are with those people. There is some insight into the depth of this tragedy here. However, I have not mentioned that tragedy before this post in this blog. President Obama will be heading to Asia soon to shore up relations with our treaty partners Japan and South Korea.  those are in North East Asia as is Taiwan. I lived in China and in our other treaty partner in the region — the Philippines. But I have not spent much time in Japan and have never been to Taiwan or South Korea. All of us  who are well informed of my generation see a connection between World War II in the Pacific and the Korean War and then the Vietnam War. As tensions occur in the entire Asian region we must remember the tragedy  of huge and sustained wars in Asia. we must grieve for our world neighbors in South Korea and still remember what it  has been like to losemany ships of young people.

Where the Bohai Sea meets the Yellow Sea and  China looks out to Korea.

Where the Bohai Sea meets the Yellow Sea and China looks out to Korea.

I do pray for those involved in that tragedy in a world of so much tragedy. The Malaysian Airlines disaster is yet another tragedy, But the crises brewing in Ukraine and nearby lands may be far greater still. As I look at these events I am also remembering the  events of 150 years ago known as the American Civil War. Several of my posts have mentioned anniversaries of that war. But it is certainly not the only war whose anniversaries are remembered.

The seal of the Confederacy ties the Lost Cause to the Revolution and the past long before that war.

The seal of the Confederacy ties the Lost Cause to the Revolution and the past long before that war.

So many leaders on both sides of the war had been formed in some way by the American – Mexican War and the Confederacy had George Washington on its seal who had been formed in his life and skills in what Americans call the French and Indian War before leading the Continental regulars and colonial militias in the American Revolution and War of Independence.  Struggle does not seem to end and so one struggle prepares its survivors for the next.  That is not all their is to human history and experience but the theme of constant and evolving struggle certainly is a major theme of human experience.

From each crisis and tragedy of the human past we can learn a few things. I think we are obliged to try.  I certainly am formed of all the experiences of my personal history. I am not sure what life may have in store for me but I am sure it will be connected to the rest of my life so far.

Not a very flattering image. A selfie taken a few nights ago.

Not a very flattering image. A selfie taken a few nights ago.

The centennial commemoration of the First World War is starting up around the world. It will continue for the next few years. Some called that war “The War to end all wars”. It certainly did not end all wars and Adolph Hitler was one of the people most affected by the  trials of that war but millions of other would join him in quickly imagining that another war must follow in many of the same lands to resolve issues  that had emerged before, during and after World War One — The Great War. Some call the war that followed The Big One. Most call it the Second World War. I have been writing about the struggle with Islamist terror almost continuously since 2001. I have been caught up in that struggle in a number of ways.

The world is a complicated place and so are the lives of many of us who live in this strange world. This post is going to be largely about what may be on the horizon or just over the horizon of the future. But it is also about how I come to see it in a particular way. I have a picture below of myself with my ex-wife more than  twenty years ago and think of all the seasons that have passed since then for me. I wonder what if any future crises my life has prepared me to face.



It is still the start of the long Catholic Easter Season which goes until Pentecost Sunday. Easter Tuesday, the day after the day that follows what much of the world calls Easter  was a special day for the family.  Easter Monday I bought my Louisiana resident basic fishing license and Louisiana resident saltwater license to go crabbing on the Rockefeller Refuge tomorrow. Crabbing with a string or a small drop net requires no license unless one is on a refuge or wildlife management area. I posted on Facebook that night that I would be going with the family tomorrow and be back online by Tuesday evening. It was later Tuesday evening when I posted on the subject. But my post which is largely subsumed into this one reported good outcomes not mixed with any tragedy.

We had a good time at Rockefeller Refuge. I caught four small crabs. We brought back enough all together from those who also caught (some much more than I ) for me to purge and boil them and everyone had one eating size crab and then I made a stew of the small crabs. I snapped a few pics about nothing in particular although there were particularly nice birds and fish and the crabs and people. (4 photos)

Frank Wynerth Summers III's photo.
Frank Wynerth Summers III's photo.
Frank Wynerth Summers III's photo.
Frank Wynerth Summers III's photo.
 Clearly my life is not caught up in long hours spent in the halls of power. One of the themes of Easter is baptism and evangelism and I have a political view of how things play out on those themes. I do rejoice that Obama talks about Jesus as a Christian would and seems to be a Christian although his father was Muslim. I value his affinity for Islam as a Christian if that is in fact real, Such connections are important to reaching out to evangelize in Muslim countries  and to protecting Christians there. In addition I have real reticence to denying what God may be doing in Barack Hussein Obama’s heart. Had he remained a Senator those themes might have remained my dominant themes. However, in the case of Obama I feel we must consider the possibility of him being a Muslim and a liar as some have accused him of being  even as we have him as our Head of State and US executive.
Russia is squaring off with us in quite few places. You can read about the situation developing in Russia here. Obama is more or less holding his lines in the Russian Crisis. America is meanwhile under strain. The US Supreme Court has recently dealt a blow to the affirmative action which helped to create the environment in which President Obama matured as a human being. You can find one account of the new Supreme Court opinion and analysis of its impact  here.
Nationalism rises in many places in the world, Financial problems abound. Men like Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Henry VIII and Washington may all seem very different from one another but all were empowered by crises.  There are many emerging crises just now and those crisis will call forth those who can exploit them.
Hitler rose to power in the Weimar Republic and Mao rose to power in the Chinese  Republic founded by Sun Yat Sen. Those men like Napoleon had the luxury of hitting a new regime still finding its way. Nonetheless each of these men came to power by remaining involved and exercising force in the milieu in which they existed. Putin remembers fondly the Soviet Union and the Communist revolution that replaced the Tsarist Empire directly and slaughtered the Imperial family. Soviet founders paid more for power than many have paid. Russia is often willing to pay a great deal to protect vital interests and that may be important to remember.
In my own life I have written some model constitutions  and done some politicking too. I look out on a future which will be problematic. I see challenges and roots of conflict.  I see lots of reasons to be concerned but I do not believe that we are without hope. One institution for peace is one among many which exist around the world and is a big party I have attended many times.  You can learn about that  institution of soft peace policy here.
Right now I ave little specific to write about or do about many of the challenges facing America and the world. I am almost fifty years old and obscure. My vision for my country is pretty peaceable and moderate for one which still constitutes a a radical proposal. I am tired as I often am and so bring this to post with a few corrections to be made later and a few aspects to be polished. But as I look out at the world I do not feel less inclined to propose that America needs some serious reforms. I will continue to work towards some of those reforms.
In some ways the great hurdle is inside oneself. At some point I have decided that i will work for relatively radical change. That closes many doors as well as opening a few. I have never sought more trouble for my country. Hitler for example labored to bring down the Weimar Republic for decades. Napoleon is famous for firing canons on the crowds running the reign of terror which preceded him in France’s revolutionary journey. But mild as I am I remain alarmed and radical. A bit old and quiet these days, I am more than ever aware of the future which will demand some radical change or other. I still seek more peace and harmony than many other emerging radicals will. The changes I propose remain more respectful of the present institutional climate.

Crimea is Annexed: What is Next and How did We Get Here?

With issues like those raised by the events that have been unfolding in Ukraine and Russia in the last month one can ask how to evaluate the relative importance of these events to the United States of America, the European Union and the West.  Crimea has been annexed by the Russian Federation and that happened far from me and though I know people almost everywhere there are people Ukraine is far from any center of my network. Even more so one could ask what these events as political facts have to do with me.  There are always connections of course and those will not always be revealed here.  I who blog and most of you who read perhaps live and act mostly very far from Ukraine. My television reception out here in the countryside  probably prevented me really following the Olympics in Russia very well and that was the most significant connection to Russia that most of us have had in a while. The Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Games have been somewhat overshadowed by geopolitics. Last time Russia hosted the Olympics the USA boycotted the games.  It is in that context that these  events unfold.

I am typing this on the first day of spring in my hemisphere.  I have been busy trying to get the lawn and garden into order. Tonight I plan to hear my sister speak at the cathedral of the diocese in which I live. There is always a great deal going on in this world and certainly in the many small worlds which share the geography.  I myself may well be in as bad a situation in terms of the cross section of health, well-being and financial prosperity as I could ever have wished to or feared experiencing when all the overall factors are weighed. Yet the total significance of the Ukraine and Crimea crisis is great enough to get me blogging about it repeatedly.



That is not my only post nor even particularly close to my only post on the topic.  Not only have I included it with other topics but I have blogged about it directly a few times. Here and there in previous posts a reader will find what I have to say about it. But it is important for us to be aware of the tensions that run through the world.

I have no doubt that the future is going to be a future in which defining exactly what the USA will need in terms of assets, what it can afford and how they should be deployed will be more challenging to determine.

I support the brave people seeking their way forward in Ukraine. I am sure that it must be a painful thing to lose Crimea. However, it is a hard road to complete the transition to national autonomy and they will have to make adjustments. Hopefully the US and Europe and other players will find ways to invest in their future.  They can play a valuable role in the further development of the larger region.

I wish I could do more than think about them but I do think about them most of all. It seems we will possibly progress from the status quo as it is now. I think that is probably the reasonable supposition.  But I will be watching and will post here when my views and level of information may have changed.

Crimea has been annexed by the Russian Federation. The questions the world will face now that Crimea has been annexed by the Russian Federation cannot be answered without remembering the transfer from Russia to Ukraine was made when they shared one United nations representative.  In the coming days, months and years we will have to support Poland, the Baltic states and others and we cannot let the fact that Crimea which is a vital naval asset for Russia and populated mostly by people who feel Russian,  speak Russian and want to be part of Russia has been annexed by the Russian Federation.  Crimea raises larger issues but it is also unique and we must remember that even as regional issues  continue to come into focus.

Crimea, Ukraine, Russia and the West

There is a referendum on the sixteenth of March to determine what the voters of Crimea prefer for their future. Of course it appears Russia has control of the site of these elections and likely will interfere in their elections. It is also likely many Russians in Crimea would vote to become part of Russia anyway. It is even more likely they would want to have some autonomy from any somewhat anti-Russian government in Ukraine.

I have blogged a bit about this evolving situation.  Here are some links to my posts earlier on throughout this crisis:



Russian troops are on the Russian borderlands just off of Ukraine’s Eastern border and North of the Crimean Peninsula. What role they will play under every set of circumstances is not clear. There are also many reports of increasing violence in the protests in Eastern Ukraine. So it is in that context that I am posting this:

It may be time for a new point of view. For me some things have not changed, America does have an interest in preserving international law –  but that seldom is less clear and compelling over other interests than it is here. The Ukraine government is becoming legitimate but it is not clearly legitimate and was less so when the crisis started so its legal rights are less clear. In addition, Crimea is vital to Russian interest and the natural gas pipelines are vital to Russia, Ukraine and the European Union. So people are not inclined to be held back when real arguments can be made that they are not under valid restrictions.

Things have evolved since I began posting. The strategies employed by all so far seem to have prevented war thus far. But as specified above Russian tanks and troops are at the border of Ukraine and Crimea is voting in a referendum on its status vis-a-vis Russia and Ukraine on the 16th. What will happen next?

The West and Russia have generally denounced each of the two claiming heads of government and regimes as not legitimate. The USA seems to insist on Russian withdrawal from Crimea and denounces the referendum. However, the US Congress has stalled even the billion dollars in aid to Ukraine. We have deployed resources in the region but I neither condemn nor endorse that use of resources. I also understand the reticence of Congress. This is not an easy situation.

I recently wrote eslewhere that “One useful mental exercise for any crisis is to imagine what one might do, urge and agitate for if one were a pure dictator over a country such as has never existed perhaps and could truly do what ever one wishes.” I think that is right, and one often sees that there are no easy solutions.

In that case and acting for your country what might you do? For many of us around the world we could leave this to Russia and Ukraine. But is that realistic for the EU or even for the USA?

In that abstract sense of a mental exercise  I believe I would have decided long ago that Russia must keep Crimea if Ukraine goes free of her real authority and the Crimean majority supports it. I don’t think we can move troops into the region but perhaps we could bend a few rules to help the populist militia feel and be more authentic even helping lots of hunters flying into Ukraine from the west and leaving their weapons behind.  Ukraine will have to offer Russia very generous pipeline concession, in the short term at least. I thin we should urge them to extend  full pardon for regime members choosing to go into Russia and whom Russia accepts. I would urge Ukraine to set up a relocation authority for Ukrainians in Crimea to come North and Russians in Ukraine to go to Crimea if they choose. I would support Poland and Romania in creating treaties, trade assurances and cultural missions. I would seek to explain how the law is full of messy issues in this case.

Somehow the US seems to be  in a position where it must assure top level Russian officials that invasion of the rest of Ukraine would provoke serious repercussions over time and I would increase military aid to countries West and South of Ukraine. Would that work out well? I cannot be sure.

It may be that what is happening now is better. However, it does not feel good. Pushing Ukraine to harsh rhetoric, calling for Russia to quit breaking the law with no explanation of the complexities and not getting Ukraine aid are all depressingly undesirable to my view. Would you care to discuss some options? Do you believe war is possible — and can it spread — and when?

I feel far from where I would like to see things going right now. Blog posts like this by private parties are risky and thankless enough. But there is no reason to pretend that our system does not rely on such media. These discussions have always gone on. In a sense they are a political dead-end for someone in my position more often than not. But they do provide a a part of the public discourse for which the USA has always been known. So I feel compelled to blog here. I also hope for a bteer result than can be reasonably expected.

Real Politics, the Politics of Reality and Me

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.

Positioning America for the Future We Face

I have listed, described and written about making very significant changes in America. That is what this series of posts is mostly all about.  There is no realistic reason in the world write all these things but some things are worth doing which are not realistic. We have to look around the world and see how America will fit into the future as it ties into the present. How will we find the world no matter what we do? In addition, in the context of my rather extensive and complex model of change and revolution described here how would America interact with the world after having undergone this transformation?

Anyone who really proposes revolutionary change must propose some things which would not be possible without some kind of revolution. If such a proponent does not then he is really some kind of a looter. The risk of revolution is not worth taking unless the results one needs to achieve are more substantial than can be gotten from ordinary political maneuvering.  I am exhorting America to recommit to a survivable future and one that could lead to what I would consider good places.  The chances of my living to see our society and the world get anything that I would consider a passing grade is almost negligible. However, there is a chance of moving from an almost completely dysfunctional student to one making low D grades and headed towards a B average after some tutoring. That would be a very good result.

I do not think there have been very many societies in history more intrinsically difficult to set on a sustainable path than the United States. On the other hand, besides sustainability there is another measure of a society’s success and viability. That measure is decency and the quality of progress or “progressiveness”.  I think that America is fairly near the top on that second measure of a society’s greatness. There have been many that were more decent and progressive but most of them were small and unambitious. We are one of the most generally decent and progressive  great societies in history. I say that being well aware of many horrors and inhumanities in our past and present.

We have to deal with recent geopolitical changes, with the limits of our own society and culture and also with the enduring and endless problems of  both the Earth and the human condition. That is in a sense a struggle that can never be entirely successful. However, it is true that it makes a great deal of difference whether or not one struggles. The mess we will end up with if we struggle well is much better than the mess we will be in if we struggle poorly or not at all.

If America makes the changes I am suggesting then it will be going down a path which will certainly be lonely at first and may not ever become much less lonely. First of all, many human societies (and most at many times) are fundamentally self-destructive and insane. America will become a society on the path of sanity.  Secondly, America will become even more committed to a moral sensibility. Thirdly, within the context  of sane and avowedly moral societies it will be a modern heir to the traditions of Western civilization in a North American context. Added to all of that, it will remain a great power. We will have to move forward with our own sense of what is real and right. Add to all of that the fact that we have our own dark side which I and others who might become key players would believe we have to deal with and you would surely have a country which nobody can find to be very much like any other country nor any less than a profoundly forward step for this country.

The science of calculating risk is very old and has been approached by many very clever and some very wise people from countless angles over a very long time. Nonetheless it is a vast distance from being perfectly systematized.  Only in formal games can we even get close to showing what would have happened if a set of complicated human decisions and actions had been substituted for another set of complicated decisions and actions. America is living in a world where many bad things and many good things will come its way regardless of whether or not the changes I suggest are made. There is a whole set of possibilities in which the changes would be attempted but basically fail. Then there are unforeseen changes which could come from anywhere and rewrite the course of future events. We face a great deal of possible tragedy that is hard to exactly predict.

I have come to writing these posts after a life in which I have done many active and open things  but in which there are many open and active things that I almost never do.  I am committed to writing for a readership with which I have little organized connection.  I respond to comments that sort of come in over the transom. But this is very different from giving speeches in a public square, leading parades, putting pamphlets out or writing newspaper articles. These are all things that I have done in the past. I do very little now compared to what I would ever have believed I would be doing for such a sustained period of time.  But I believe there is much that I must attempt to do before the worst trends become inevitable. What those trends are has been discussed in earlier posts and will be discussed  in later posts more than it is discussed here.

I personally have had over the years a number of contacts and correspondents both in post-Soviet Russia and in the Soviet Union.  On the other hand I have never been there, do not speak the language and have run into a good number of  Russians in the many places that I have visited and I do not believe our relationship with them is good overall. It has gotten much better but we squandered a very big opportunity during the Gorbachev and Yeltsin eras. I think that even had Putin become the player he has become he would have been a different Putin had we acted differently. However, while I think Putin is a ruthless, homicidal, devious puppet master (who must prove he was innocent of the blood of the ninety-eight Polish leaders recently killed in the aircraft crash) I think he is basically a good man. Yes, I am serious and not sarcastic. He is willing to be a monster to save Russia from complete collapse but he has shown real interest in being something besides a Monster. He promotes the Russian Orthodox Church, tolerates other Christians, limits antisemitism and maintains a quasi-atheistic secularist power bloc in politics. That is a real work of  religious tolerance. He has invested himself in preserving parliament. If he faced a strong and dangerous President here who might exercise the positive pressures he might still be a better man and leader. However, earlier he might have turned out better. Russia is still devoted to Putin mostly because he is still devoted to Russia. That is how things are supposed to be. We are likely to be adversaries over the medium term but I do not believe that was inevitable.  

Of course one of the things about the system I have outlined (among many things) which is very notable is that  the system is a complex racially aware system and that will certainly complicate many geopolitical relationships.  However our current color blind system and our past of Jim Crow madness complicated foreign relationships as well. I will specifically say that our relationship with India would be among the most problematic.  Indian (not Aboriginal American Indians) would be presumed to be the types of people who live in the Colored Districts of the States or the Mixed Race Districts of the Territories. However, the Racial Codes of each State would need in some way or another to allow Indian families to file a particular form and have it verified that they are consistently and predominantly made up of a lineage of one or more of the following Indian Bloodlines (one form for all admixtures of the three) Moguls, the Old Northeast Asian Colonies of North Indians and Portuguese. Indian families certified as such would be eligible to vote in the North East Asian Districts of the States. America would pursue distinctions like this regardless of how they were received in home countries of populations. Portuguese found to be Portuguese families from India would eligible to choose Northeast Asian or ordinary status. No country will be quite as unique as India but many will have complex issues. 

Relationships with Britain, France and Spain, Mexico, Holland and Russia will be formalized to include their direct participation with areas they colonized. In the case of France, Britain, Mexico and Spain they should have formal relationships with a Compact each which are recognized by the US and limited by the overall society and yet are really direct to the Compacts. All of this will have a cost. These countries will play to their interests in areas we allow. There will be costs with ties to the constituted, armed and territorial Black community in a society that is formally white supremacist. The costs in money and blood are inevitable. But American institutions which are now not allowed to build our society would be given every help in doing so in the future.

The new era would be very difficult and would invest in the future. But not acting somewhere in ways akin to this plan will have serious costs as well.  I am urging us to take the medicines we need to take now and be a little but hopeful that things won’t go completely wrong. We could hope a little bit that hard work and courage will lead to a good result.