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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday 17 April 2014

Return of the Cold War, but it's Getting Warmer

Make no mistake - this is political posturing, a show of force that's intended to send a message to Putin: we mean business, so think what you do next carefully.

Over the weekend I was in East Germany for services commemorating the liberation of Buchenwald Concentration Camp where Ukranians, Poles, Jews, Russians and countless others were executed together.

At one point I got to have a long conversation with an acquaintance who is Russian.  I grilled him hard on homophobia, but focused primarily on the Ukraine.

The fellow's take was this: it's NATO, not Russia, that's escalating the problem.  By moving into more countries, they are moving closer and closer to Russia.  By placing American missiles and bases on Russia's doorstep, it's the West threatening expansion, not Russia.  Russia is simply looking to defend itself and Putin has played a well-constructed tactical game.

I deconstructed my friend's analysis and pointed out that the West wasn't interested in expansion, unless it's of markets.  There's no economic value in a war on Russia any more than there is public appetite to enter into another costly war.  

Through empathy, query and provision of alternatives, I got my friend to question the official story he'd been spouting, which was a positive sign.  For my part, I gained some perspective on the other side of the wall, which was helpful.

All of that was before this happened.

Jews being forced to register in the Ukraine?  There's frightening precedent for where this trend leads.

This is where we get into really dangerous territory.  It's bad enough that Ukraine's turning into an ethnic powder-keg and the rest of Europe is ripe to catch fire - there are many more relationships to take into account here. 

Israel will have clear interest in protecting Jews in the Ukraine and elsewhere, and for good cause.  It's allies in NATO are already positioning themselves against Russia, who is allied with Iran, who would is not a friend of Israel's.

What's this all mean?

It means that our leaders damned well better get their heads out of their partisan-positioning asses and realize that play time is over.  The decisions they make now are going to have significant long-term consequences, some of which could lead to World War III.

Call me an exaggerator if you must.  That's what they said about Churchill.  I'd rather speak up now and be derided later than sit silent now and regret it when it's too late.

Which, if we continue down this path, it will be soon enough.

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