The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘Ukraine’


Yesterday President Obama took a break from fund raising (although he will resume his schedule for that purpose later in the week) to offer a statement on the downing of Malaysia Flight 17 over the Ukraine and wag his finger at those who are impeding the effort to provide the 298 victims and their families the dignity of closure.  The “speech” seemed perfunctory, devoid of either passion or real outrage which we all should feel about this act of terrorism. Of course, there wasn’t much outrage when President Putin acquired Crimea.

The president of the United States has not been alone in providing a muted response to what most believe was a tragedy that either was directly attributable to Vladimir Putin or at the least one in which he was a willing partner.  The leaders of Europe have been similarly silent.  It took a former head of state, Tony Blair of the UK to make a statement which accurately reflects the outrage that we all should feel.

It is neither surprising nor difficult to understand why Obama generally avoided facing the issue head on.  That is clearly his method of “non-operation.”  If he doesn’t acknowledge something he must believe either that it doesn’t exist, it’s someone else’s problem to deal with or it simply will go away.  If he doesn’t give much of a hoot about how black children are being murdered regularly in his home town of Chicago, why worry about a few hundred Europeans who were blown out of the sky somewhere in Europe?  But why the silence in Europe?  The simple answer is energy – and much of the European Union’s dependence on gas which flows abundantly from Russia and through Ukraine.

The Maastricht Treaty was signed by the members of the European Union in 1992.  The goal was to reduce dependency on carbon based fuels and to replace them with “green” fuels, purportedly to the benefit of the world’s ecology.  In the twenty-two years since its enactment, some progress has been made by the EU members to replace oil and gas with alternate fuel sources as the following chart shows:


The information contained in this chart is for the year ending in 2012.  The total estimated population of EU countries for that same period was approximately 505,000,000 – and the four largest countries by population, Germany, France, UK and Italy housed more than fifty-five percent of those people.  The four countries which achieved the best records of finding alternative sources of energy, Sweden, Latvia, Finland and Austria had approximately 26 million residents, representing a little more than five percent of the total population of EU countries.

Not surprisingly, the four most populated EU countries had average or below average rates of replacing carbon based fuels with alternate energy sources – suggesting that while developing renewable clean energy may be an admirable goal, this technology is still in its infancy and is unable to provide a sufficient replacement for our traditional fuels to large numbers of people.  That lesson is clearly lost on President Obama – but it is abundantly clear to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and the leaders of other countries which are dependent on petroleum products from Russia.  It’s difficult to negotiate with the loan shark who is holding your family hostage, threatening them with death, if you fail to make a payment.

In some respect, the seizure of Crimea and the murders of 298 plane passengers is partly the fault of the Obama administration’s focus on green energy – whatever the price in terms of increased energy costs to be passed along to consumers, the loss of jobs in the coal industry, the failure to enable the creation of new jobs with the Keystone Pipeline, the refusal to permit LNG processing plants by the EPA which could provide at least some replacement for Soviet fuels that could be shipped to Europe to reduce that continent’s dependence on Russian energy – well, the list goes on.

The president’s recent photo-op (which he has publicly said he hates doing) eating at a local restaurant, somehow brings an image of Wimpy to mind.



“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” —Proverbs 29:18

<DEL> <DEL> <DEL> <DEL> …

After I read a Huff Post article on the rising tensions in Ukraine I browsed through the comments that readers had left.

I wish I could take credit for the following but I can’t.  And I can’t even credit the author properly as when I tried to post my brief response, “Bravo!” I received an unexpected message (appropriately in a red border):

“There was a problem posting your comment.  (Host comment deleted).”

And here I thought it was just me.  Now I don’t even feel that important – not that I ever did.


Much has been said about what Obama should do to hurt the Russian economy.  To me the plan is simple:

1) Ban the use of coal.

2) Mandate that Russia goes on Obamacare.

3) Don’t allow any drilling on Russian public land.

4) Have the EPA pass rulings on Russian business.

5) Re-define the full time Russian work week to 30 hrs.

6) Raise the Russian minimum wage.

7) Mandate overtime pay for gov’t employees.

8) Demand the Russian Government pay Welfare benefits to un-qualified Citizens and Illegal immigrants.

I could go on but I guarantee these measures would bring the Russian economy to its knees; it has been working in the U. S. since 2009.

Enough said.  And my condolences to my fellow deletee on “The Huffington Post.”


Growing up in New York City it was inevitable that I was  exposed to hearing a variety of Yiddish words and phrases.  Some of those stuck with me and while I seldom have an opportunity to use them there are certain situations when they very succinctly describe a person or situation.  One of those gems is the word “nebbish.”

Nebbish – A pitifully weak, ineffectual person.

Several commentators have described the relationship between Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama as a game in which the former is playing chess and the latter playing marbles.  That description might understate Putin’s gamesmanship and abilities and Obama’s inadequacies.

Putin is not a nice guy.  He is cruel, ruthless and determined.  He also has a game plan and is not afraid to implement it.  The recent events in Crimea illustrate his ability to take advantage of his assets having analyzed his opponent’s weaknesses.  He has had five years to observe Obama and has a clear vision that he is a far more skilled tactician than the current president of the United States.

By all accounts, Obama comes across to those who know him as a nice guy.  Sadly, while we need more nice people in the world we don’t need them at the helm of the country.  We need someone who is determined, has a plan of action and most of all is forceful and consistent.  It would be difficult even for the supporters of President Obama to argue that he has those qualities or, if he does, employs them.

If I didn’t have a higher opinion of Obama I could concoct a conspiracy theory that would suggest that the United States’ loss of faith and standing in the world community is not a matter of mere incompetence but the result of willful design.  Starting with virtually his first act as president, Obama went on an “Apology Tour,” lamenting  all the “misdeeds” this nation has committed.  His wife joined the chorus saying that as a result of his election, “This is the first time that I am not ashamed to be an American.”

The theory might pursue one line of thinking that suggests that the president is merely an incompetent bumbler.  Whether it is the question of his failure to address the lack of economic recovery while he gave away billions, dallying in the world of green “science”; the fact that more Americans than at any time in our history are now receiving government assistance to keep them out of abject poverty; the unsustainable increases in our national debt; the strains he has placed on the relations with our closest global allies; and, of course, the multitude of changes that he has made to his disastrous signature law, Obamacare which the majority of Americans oppose, all of these suggest that while the president may, “To the best of his ability” be upholding the Constitution of the United States, that ability seems to be short of what is necessary to effectuate positive results.

Or to return to the theory, one could ask, “Could any person who is as bright as the president is reputed to be so consistently concoct plans that result in abysmal failure?  How is it possible to be so wrong on virtually every subject and issue?”

For someone who is as shrewd as Vladimir Putin or the mullahs in the Middle East, being on center stage of the world’s theater provides ample opportunity to analyze, dissect and defeat such a person and the nation which he heads..  And it is hard to believe that someone as canny as the Russian president will not take full opportunity of the chance for aggrandizement that has been so callously handed to him by the voters in this country.

Perhaps when history is written, we will look back at this time and realize that the most lethal WMD’s were neither controlled by the fanatic government in North Korea or by Assad and his chemical weapons in Syria.  Lethal weapons are, after all, only lethal if we allow them to be deployed.  The mere threat of a strong military response directed by a strong leader can be persuasive in convincing an irrational foe that using his armaments would be a tragic mistake.  But today there is no George Washington in the White House and it may turn out that the greatest danger to world peace happens to be its current resident.

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