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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Exaggerated Crisis

The emergency du jour these days is the "Russian" incursion into "Crimea," formerly known as "The Crimea." The region, or district, is legally part of "Ukraine," formerly known as "The Ukraine." The "right-wing" noise-o-sphere is blaming the crisis on Obama, seizing the opportunity to compare his "manhood" with that of "Russian" president Vladimir Putin.

Of course it is always serious when one "country" invades, occupies, or makes a military presence in another "country." They differ in severity and intention, and by historical standards this show of force is pretty mild. "Ukraine" lies between "Russia" and Eastern "Europe," and is strategic for both "Russia" and the "European" countries for trade and military alliances, and perceived security interests.

Still, from the great distance of Madison, Wisconsin, I am free to look at the "Ukraine/Crimea/Russia/U.S." crisis as less than a crisis, but more about the egos of men. The NPR program OnPoint had a segment this past Monday on the situation, to which I had this response:

Pretty good discussion for the most part, given the establishmentarian perspective. If you take a less institutional approach, though, the "crisis" seems more about face-saving and who makes who blink.

The principal nations involved - "Russia," "Ukraine," "Crimea," and of course, the world's only superpower, the "U.S." - are all presumed to be living beings, when they are collections of living beings, presided over by "leaders" of one sort or another, in this case all known as "presidents."

So "Crimea" is both a place and a collection of people. The same for "Ukraine," "Russia" and the "U.S." "Russia" has entered "Crimea" with a military presence, asserting its dominance. The "U.S." is threatening economic sanctions against "Russia" - the place and its people.

These divisions of lands and peoples into political entities are pretty arbitrary if you take the perspective of the ecosphere. It knows no national boundaries. The various machinations of governments matter to the ecosphere only to the degree of the environmental damage or benefit they cause.

The facedown with "Russia" is something of a Déjà vu experience. For decades we had the "Cold War," an ongoing struggle that spread worldwide, as countries were coaxed or forced to be on one "side" or the other. "Russia" was the center of the "Soviet Union," and the "U.S." was the center of the "free world."

Wars were waged, such as in "Vietnam" and "Korea" over this arbitrary division of "communism" versus "freedom." Governments were overthrown, such as in "Indonesia" and "Chile." We came close to thermonuclear war at least once that we know of. If there had been a thermonuclear war, none of us would be here today.

So how will this "crisis" turn out? One way or another. Power gravitates to the already powerful, mitigated by a variety of forces.There are "Russians" living in "Ukraine" and in "Crimea." A lot of them. "Russia" is in physical proximity to both places. We aren't. Obama and his hapless emissary John Kerry would do well to keep this in mind.
There isn't much I can add to this. One thing is that the "U.S." Secretary of State John Kerry sounded kind of lame when he said "You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests." He conveniently disremembered the invasion and occupation of "Iraq."

The perceived weakness of Obama and his hapless secretary of state may be a symptom of declining world empires, so eloquently described by Tom Englehardt. As this situation develops we would do well to look with skepticism at the grand pronouncements by grand pronouncers in Washington and elsewhere. Global climate change is far more serious than this minor "crisis."
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Here's a song. Here's another. There's even an entire album of déjà vu.

The Daily Beast has this update comparing Obama with Dwight Eisenhower.

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