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February 2014

Russian Invasion in Ukraine

Do swans fly non-stop from Iceland to the River Shannon? Isn't a lipsticked or mustached pig yet swine? Does the sun rise in the East? Is Russia seeking a lost sphere of influence? Yes, yes, yes and yes!  Yesterday on this Blog I warned: "Russia will attempt to to take Crimea and for revenge it will try to frustrate the West with relations in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua. Moreover, Russia will enter the balance of the delicate East and South China Seas debacles." Earlier today, Ukraine's interior minster, Arsen Avakov, declared that Russian forces have taken control of two airports in the Crimea region of Ukraine.

The Alarm Has Sounded

Today, I am torn by my alarmist hackles, should I simply cry "Wolf!"; or should I run down Pennsylvania Avenue here in Washington, D.C. shouting "The Russians are arming and coming, the Russians are arming and coming"! However, after two cups of coffee at 3:34 in the morning, I've opted to stay in my tattered chair and to pen the following: Russia has sounded an alarm and the West needs to seriously heed the warning. Non-democratic entities are real impediments to global prosperity.

Political V. Military Solutions to End Syria's War

As the month of March approaches, whether or not it roars in like a lion and leaves like a lamb or vice versa, is of no significance to the victims of the bloody Syrian War. March will not be any different to the other horrid 36 months that Syrians have had to endure death, starvation, injury and exile. March will mark the third year of  battles across Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and other cities and towns of the Levant. Three years ago, an aspiring people had the audacity to challenge their autocratic leadership.

Proactive V. Restraint in Foreign Policy

If a child falls into a torrent stream, do you wait until the child vanishes below the rapids before mounting a rescue effort? To restrain would mean awaiting and hoping the child pops up, then determining that the child is not an accomplished swimmer, before leaping into action. To be proactive would send a rescuer immediately plunging  into the rapids to save the imperil child. Furthermore, a superlative proactive engagement would have alerted the cell-phone chatting child caretaker of the imminent danger of crossing the narrow span with a child running free.

Forward Ukraine, Forward!

It's fundamentally important and paramount for Ukraine's interim government to press forward with governance of all the people on behalf of all the people in this post-Yanukovych era. During this period of transition, as the new administrators put in place  reforms much needed in Ukraine, they should not allow Ukraine to become bogged down in revengeful nor celebratory matters of the past three months. The business of putting Ukraine's socio-economic and political houses in order should be  atop any agenda. Once the new leaders adopt this form of approach to governance, the legitimacy and credence of Ukraine will gain full favor, credit and support from the awaiting international community, which has been standing eagerly to assist in the modernization of Ukraine. The fact that Viktor Yanukovych has disappeared is not surprising. His last and most recent sighting in Crimea on Sunday attest to the character that is Yanukovych - to be close to Russia. But Kiev, Lviv and all the other victors of  Ukraine 2014 Peace, should not allocate vast resources in locating Yanukovych, instead most resources ought to be spent  in reforming Ukraine into a vibrant western democracy, where the rule of law and the respect of human rights and dignity are heralded. Yanukovych will surface in one of three places(again not to be named here) and the arrest warrant for him issued by the new government will be satisfied in due time. That Yanukovych was last seen in Balaklava, in Sevastopol, on the Black Sea, is fitting for a man in flight. Russia has a lease on a navy wharf in the area until 2042. Balaklava, that super secret former soviet port that held an underwater submarine base that could purportedly withstand an atomic penetration, is a place where a person like Yanukovych could disappear easily. The Isthmus of Perekop is a land route to Russia. The Crimean Mountains have been  impermeable in many wars. The Black Sea connects many lands. So, the new Kiev administration should govern for all Ukrainians, address the general welfare of all the people and not be sidetracked anymore by Yanukovych's antics. With regards Yanukovych, I suffice his fate lies in the adage : "all pigeons go home to die".    

An Age of Aspirations - A Time of Freedoms

The current state of international affairs reassuringly suggests that this time; our time, our 2014 and beyond,  is an Age of Aspirations - A time of Freedoms. From Ukraine to Venezuela, to Syria, to China, to Thailand, to Egypt, to Russia, to Central Africa Republic, to South Sudan, to Somalia, to Palestine, to Spain and to Greece and beyond; anxious aspirations of humans are being manifested in one form or another. Whether a particular conflict might involve religious freedoms or religious integration; basic human rights; greater access to economic benefits; or changes to in placed political systems of governance; people across the world are awakening to and are ushering in the dawn of a new order - an order that demands the recognition of regular folks - the farmer, the fisherman, the artisan, the teacher, the custodian, the 'have-nots'. So as this year continues and events based upon the aspirations of peoples are witnessed, let's continue to consider this Age of Aspirations - A time of Freedoms.

UN Demands Full Access in Syria

The UN Security Council has just voted unanimously for immediate access everywhere in Syria for humanitarian reasons. Finally, China and Russia has joined the rest of the Council in demanding immediate access across Syria, so that basic provisions needed to sustain life, could be delivered to the Syrian children and adults, who have been deathly cut off from necessities because of the prolonged war that has killed some 130,000 including 11,000 children. The resolution, though not threatening sanctions for any breaches, does express the intent to take further steps should the resolution not be implemented in Syria.

To Talk is not Enough in Venezuela

If Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro is genuine and serious on having constructive democratic talks as he called for with the United States, then he needs to withdraw paratroopers from deployment against Venezuelans, free opposition member Leopoldo Lopez from detention, engage the voices of his people and adhere to the basic principles of humanity as a prerequisite to any meetings. That beauty queen Genesis Carmona has died, along with seven others, and more than 100 injured in protests, does more than lend credence to the fact that there are legitimate concerns faced by the Venezuelan people that need addressing.

Ukraine is Free of Yanukovych!

Minutes ago, the Ukrainian Parliament declared Viktor Yanukovych unfit to carry out the duties of president of Ukraine and set May 25 for presidential elections. Ukraine is now free of the Russia-leaning Yanukovych.

Ukraine's Delicate Transition

Now that President Viktor Yanukovych has disappeared, the peace has been won and  aspirations could  be achieved; in Ukraine the silky delicate task of forming and effecting a transitional government becomes paramount. This will not be an easy task. Measures to this end will appear revolutionary, some tedious, some controversial, yet the victors of the Ukrainian Peace must now hedge against the same mistakes of the Yanukovych regime. The fact that Yanokovych has vacated his Kiev residence and palace, and that the speaker of parliament has resigned; demands that opposition leaders create an immediate transitional government. With key positions of national power staffed, Ukraine should satisfy the palate of those still encamped at the Maidan by demanding Yanokuvych's  formal resignation. For peace sake, he will be granted a visa to one of three countries(not to be named here). His resignation will pave the path for quicker presidential elections and the satisfaction of "Maidaners". Unless immediate presidential elections are called, Maidan protesters will not disperse. Herein lies the possibility of the victors reverting to the prior government's attitude to demonstrators; for in order to showcase that they are in control of the peaceful administration of Ukraine, the victors have to be able to say to the "Maidaners": "You have won! You are free! We are in control , go home, go to your jobs and your families, your lives will get better with each passing day." But such a proclamation to the "Maidaners" is easier said than done. Many encamped at the Maidan are jobless, they kept the spirit of the protest afire since November because they had the time, they had the will, they had the cause; now what? To what will they be sent home? It's a difficult task to attempt to break the bonds of comradeship that have developed between many on the Maidan since November. Something of substantial value must be given to the "Maidaners". What to give? Hopefully an immediate and formal resignation of Yanukovych would suffice, but that is not a guarantee. In lieu of Yanuhovych's resignation, I see very few other non-violent options to enticing Ukrainians to return from whence they came to carry on the work of  sustaining the Kiev victory and to move Ukraine forward. But I offer an alternative: i.e to utilize committed "Maidaners": they could be integrated into constitutional committees to assist other Ukrainians in drafting constitutional reforms. However, the victors must never resort to force in any attempt to dislodge the "Maidaners" from Kiev. To do so would nullify and void the victorious movement.