Thursday, May 29, 2014

Could World I and World War III be 100 years apart?

“In Ukraine, Russia’s recent actions recall the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe,” Obama said. “But this isn’t the Cold War. Our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate Russia right away.” Speaking to cadets and top Army leaders, Obama said the U.S.-led “mobilization of world opinion and international institutions served as a counterweight to Russian propaganda and Russian troops on the border and armed militias in ski masks.” President Obama in The Washington Post

I'm sorry Mr. President but your statements are too easily refuted.  World opinion has not been shaped in the manner which you claim.  Elections throughout Europe show people are fed-up with the notion of the European Union and are voting in far-right politicians at an unprecedented pace.  These nations are not planning to follow you or this country anywhere any time soon.  France sold 3 warships to Russia even though both former Sec Def Gates and current Sec Def Hagel begged them not to.  China signed a huge energy deal with Russia enabling Putin to continue on his quest.

If the President truly believes his attempts to mobilize world opinion have worked, he must not have read this account;

"Pro-Russian rebels downed a military helicopter in eastern Ukraine, killing 13 troops and a general, as an aide to President Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of pushing the world toward war through proxies in Kiev."  Bloomberg

Two can play the propaganda game and what Mr. Obama forgets is the US doesn't have the reputation to being able to pull of the "good-guy" role anymore.  Many in countries ranging from Iraq and Iran to lesser known countries like Mali see the US as a hostile nation.  Putin is portraying his actions as protecting Russian speaking people, not invading sovereign nations or even attacking terrorists.

And while Mr. Obama claims that he is working through "multilateral actions" to thwart Russia's presence in Ukraine, the new Ukrainian president has a different interpretation of what that means;

"Poroshenko, 48, a billionaire who won the May 25 presidential election in the first round, said in an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper that he intended to call on the United States for military supplies and training."  The Washington Post

While drawing parallels from the past is always fraught with error and faulty conclusions, one thing about Russia annexing Crimea is eerily reminiscent of something from exactly a hundred years ago next month.  The Great War or World War I started on July 28, 1914.  That was the date Archduke Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated serving as the trigger but the underlying problem was neo-imperialism.  Neo-imperialism was a period of unprecedented pursuit of overseas territorial acquisitions.  At this time, countries focused on building their empire with new technological advances and developments, making their country bigger through conquest, and exploiting their resources.

Obviously Russia fits the parallel but let's not forget the United States.  US overseas bases have been quietly built-up during the war on terror in Qatar, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, UAE, Djibouti, and Diego Garcia to name a few.  US drones can now be deployed through the most of the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.

Don't think the rest of the world might resent this presence?  Here is listing of all of the countries the US State Department has issued travel warnings for:  Iran, North Korea, Philippines, Kenya, Central African Republic, Ukraine, Nigeria, Syria, El Salvador, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of South Sudan, Chad, Colombia, Sudan, Burundi, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Algeria, Pakistan, Israel, Lebanon, Yemen, Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela, and Eritrea. (US State Department)

I did not include alerts which would have added Egypt, Thailand and Russia.  Brazil likely gets added once the World Cup starts and if there are clashes between protestors and police that make the news.

Humans like numbers and anniversaries.  The 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War may be a more than a coincidence.

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