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I'm Just Sayin': Why are geo-politics so difficult for us?

I'm Just Sayin' - DuWayne Paul

Every American president is presented with international issues and incidents to deal with during their term in office. It cannot be avoided because the world is a very diverse and in some cases very dangerous place.

Since WWII, geo-politics and world economic issues have changed dramatically, depending on where the money is and who is in power, as well as who wants the money and who wants the power. This came to mind recently with the events in the Ukraine and Russia’s military occupation of Crimea.

Why now? Why Crimea? Why Russia and Putin? There is too much in these questions to deal with in an opinion column. But we can stop and look at why we have so much difficulty in predicting these things and then dealing with them, oftentimes with that “deer in the headlights” look because it seems to take us by surprise.

This is not new, and President Obama is having a tough time with it just like other presidents. Eisenhower did basically nothing when the Soviet Union took over Hungary, and Johnson did little when they also took over Czechoslovakia. George Bush did little when Russia went into Georgia (not the U.S. state of Georgia, for those who are geographically challenged). And now we have the same Russia playing its geo-political game of poker when they believe the U.S. is particularly weak and timid. And, it all comes back to a Russian leader who is very calculating and devious.

Vladimir Putin is not to be trusted or relied upon. He is the former head of the KGB (Soviet Union version of our CIA) and operates with a stern fist, backed up by a ruthless mind. Just using our relationship with Putin, as an example, is where I think we can learn why we have so much trouble in the world when other countries and international organizations want to “flex some muscle.”

We seem to believe that the rest of the world thinks and believes in the same principles as we do; that being human rights and democracy. The truth is that very few think the way we do. Even democratic countries, like those in Europe or Japan, have different values and ideas than we do. We need to understand that and work with them from that framework. Take for example Putin, and how he has interfaced with George Bush and Barack Obama.

George Bush famously commented that he looked into Putin’s eyes and could see his character. Really? How naive. Barack Obama wanted to “reset” the relationship with Russia based on Obama’s ideas and goals. Really? How naïve.

This is the former head of the world’s most ruthless intelligence organization and has been involved in who knows how many assassinations and international conspiracies. He will deceive and manipulate whoever he wants to in order to get his own goals and personal agendas forwarded. Putin has been quoted as saying, “The worst thing to happen in the 20th century was the fall and breakup of the Soviet Union.” That should tell us all we need to know about dealing with him. That is, don’t trust him and don’t believe him.

We elect presidents on domestic issues and then expect them to be competent on international issues, in which they have little or no experience. We assume the rest of the world thinks and believes as we do. Really? How naïve on both counts.

The rest of the world is watching, especially China and Iran. I’m just sayin’.

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“Americans should not go abroad to slay dragons that they do not understand in the name of spreading democracy.” – President John Quincy Adams

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DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.