The Company You Keep








 
 
 
 
 
Over the course of five years, on and off, I taught graduate MBA courses to students in the Ukraine. Our university campus international branch was located in Luhansk, formerly Voroshilovgrad under the Soviets, in the easternmost province of the country, on the border with Russia. I taught online courses, but had the pleasure of visiting my students nine years ago, and I loved everything about them and their long history. The Ukrainian people are friendly, their students are excellent, their food is delicious, and their culture is fascinating.

Now, since the Russians under Vladimir Putin have moved into Ukraine, I feel a sense of personal sadness. My students shared many heart-wrenching stories with me, and I was left with a feeling of pride in my country, since the United States represented HOPE for that region of the world.

I am now ashamed that America has gone from “Don’t Tread on Me” to an apology tour and rhetoric like “grave concern” and “There will be costs” over the course of a single Presidential Administration. Believe what you like, but Obama said the same thing about Egypt, Syria, Iran, China, North Korea, Pakistan, and Libya. He is only tough on our allies, particularly Israel. I am very much anti-unnecessary conflict, but equally high on American strength. We are not facing these foreign policy difficulties for any reason other than the fact that Putin is eating Obama’s lunch.

Yesterday, I read a news story about a convicted terrorist serving as an Obamacare navigator. Despite a long criminal record, she was apparently missed by the government, since there is no background check required for Obamacare navigators. I remember “Cash for Clunkers” and Solyndra. I know we have a $17 trillion deficit. Like most Americans, I am concerned about wealth re-distribution, Cap and Trade, TARP, more stimulus packages, and increased taxes. I am learning that our fearful leader fares no better in foreign affairs than he has demonstrated in his disastrous domestic policies.

I am a concerned American. As a political Independent, I do not comment due to party affiliation or political ideology, but my mind does wander – a little:

Harry Reid

Rahm Emanuel

Reverend Wright

Valerie Jarrett

Lois Lerner

Nancy Pelosi

Barney Frank

Eric Holder
 
Hillary Clinton

Kathleen Sebelius

Since 1945, there has been a cry of “Never again” over human indignities perpetrated by the Nazi regime. Yet, the world, absent a strong leader, sits back and watches while maleficent forces march on their brethren throughout Europe and Asia. We are victims of the United Nations, much in the same manner my grandfather’s generation witnessed the failing League of Nations contribute to the rise of totalitarianism overseas. Like Hitler marched into Czechoslovakia and Poland, Putin is marching on the Ukraine.

Perhaps our President should acquire a new list of friends and take some definitive, positive action on behalf of the nation as a whole, unless he is pushing for a second Nobel Peace Prize. He won’t find one on the path he is traveling. I think even Mother Teresa would not tolerate the recent Russian invasion. However, she earned her prize.
. . .

 
 
 

Comments

  1. I have to say that apology tour was something I did not appreciate. We're not a perfect country(who is?) but we have done more than our fair share of trying to make this world a better place, for people everywhere. Grrr... Ok, now I feel a bit better! =)

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    1. Leandra: Yes, I was blowing off steam myself. I hate writing anything negative, but I feel better expressing my opinion too.

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  2. Leandra: Yes, I was blowing off steam myself. I hate writing anything negative, but I feel better expressing my opinion too.

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  3. Since you have actually been there, and have spoken to the people in the Ukraine first-hand, you have a much more personal reaction to the recent news. I don't have a crystal ball, and don't know what the most appropriate response by our country should be, but it does seem that something more than a "tut-tut" finger waggle is in order.

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    1. Susan: I do agree. I am not sure what to do, but letting the bully steal my lunch money has never been my solution to a problem. History tells us that strength, not fear, prevents wars.

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  4. Oh JJ, you are never negative- just truthful. Sometimes the truth hurts.
    This truth completely hurts. Our president is a tool. That is the nicest word I can come up with to express how frustrated I am with the impotent policies of this man. Everyone who pointed out this man's inexperience and inability to perform the duties of the President Of The United States are 100% correct and now it is proven. I pity the next president in having to try and fix this mess. However, I also still feel that if this is what the American people continue to vote for, then this is what they will get. What will it take for us to change course?

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    1. Jasmine: I'm not certain what we can do with Russia at the moment because we blew it. However, next time around, we should pick a leader. JFK, a liberal Democrat, prevented a nuclear conflict by being American strong. Reagan, a conservative Republican, ended the Cold War by being American strong. Obama, a Progressive ideologue, has painted a bulls eye around the USA. He is like a kid that hides in the bushes in a school yard at recess and throws a rock into a crowd to start a fight while he watches.

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  5. One of the things that can wind me up on any given day is that the same people who voted to put Obama into office.... how many of them even know that Russia is marching on the Ukraine? How many care? How many understand that this event is a failure of our president as a foreign leader? How many get that if our President was a man of his word, a force with which to be reckoned, that this wouldn't be happening? How many years did Reagan stand steadfast in the Cold War? Russia knew that if he said something action would follow. Putin knows that if Obama talks it is akin to hot air blowing in the wind. I not only feel your frustration, but I share it.

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    1. Robin: It is frustrating because I am American. I believe in peace. I avoid conflict in my life. I listen to the opinions of others. I respect people, even if I disagree with them. Yet, I believe America is traditionally strong. As much as I like animals, I would not take a bone away from a dog. Obama has dropped teddy bears at the feet of all our enemies.

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  6. Here is the take from an economist's blog on Ukraine...
    http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2014/03/ukraine-follow-energy.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+google%2FRzFQ+%28oftwominds%29

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    1. Robin: One of the unfortunate consequences of a radical wacko like Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s is the backlash that forced many Americans to ignore the real socialist threat of the 1960s. In order to accomplish their anti-capitalist, anti-American goals, radicals had to slowly infiltrate our institutions like education, for example. In a short fifty years, America has become a socialist-leaning nation, and our youngest citizens have no clue about history, foreign affairs, financial matters, politics, or selflessness. The economy has been molded to decline, so our way of life can be changed with the support of citizens who will never see it coming.

      Obama lives in Fantasyland. While he is holding hands with our enemies in an unrealistic effort to makes them feel good about themselves, Putin is reviving the Soviet Union, the Chinese are getting aggressive, and the Iranians are building nukes. Americans are watching the Kardashians and Honey Boo Boo.

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    2. Yes, I agree. I do think it is interesting that none of the news outlets have touched on the "real reason" that Putin is even interested in the Ukraine. It is the natural gas. He wants to keep Russia's monopoly on natural gas via Gazprom and force all of Europe to pay his price. If that means killing people or taking away their freedoms... well, it's a small price to pay (in the mind of Putin and Russia). If our President cared anything about freedom for the people or not allowing the government to have a monopoly on things like health, I mean energy, he would more aggressively stand up to Putin. But, it would be hypocritical since our government is also in favor of wiping out capitalism in favor of government run... everything.

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    3. Obama has enough hot air to float a balloon to Moscow. He doesn't need natural gas. What happened to mocking Romney because he said at the debates that Russia was a big problem? Romney predicted this. Could he have been right?

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  7. Great post, JJ. You have quite an insight into what is going on over there. Obama is in over his head, and has been since he took office. Nowhere is it more glaring than in his foreign policy. These are dangerous waters, and he can't swim.

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    1. Jennifer: Dangerous indeed. I am a student of history, and it scares me.

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  8. As I was clicking on your blog, my husband and I were discussing the same thing. I'm so disgusted by the weakness displayed by this administration.

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    1. Susan: I understand. No one wants military conflict, but the way to avoid it is a show of strength. Presidents in the past have accomplished that by personality alone. Apologizing to dictators is a path to sure confrontation.

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  9. It's frightening what's happening in the Ukraine. Remember Teddy Roosevelt? Speak softly and carry a big stick? Whatever happened to that?

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    1. Alex: Our President does speak softly a lot, but his stick is limp.

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  10. Hi JJ .. I'm here ... being British and seeing things from this direction .. Putin outwitted everyone .. and he holds a lot of power here .... our oil, gas, coal etc ... it is very complicated - that part of the world always has been complicated.

    I sincerely hope the bellicosity doesn't get worse ... and sense will prevail, but which bully has ever seen the other side of the coin ...

    Anyway enough from me - I'm not a political animal, but this situation is exceedingly unfortunate. I am however pleased you were able to visit and meet such wonderful people ...

    With thoughts to all places where there is conflict in the world - Hilary

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  11. Hilary: I do agree. It is complicated. It is hard for me because I respect all people. That is the secret.

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  12. It's pretty frightening how a terrorist became an Obamacare navigator. Unfortunately, this is only one of many frightening things that are going on in the world now. I hope they find a better way to resolve these horrific conflicts.

    Julie

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