Russia & Ukraine: Gas is the Answer…kinda

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The invasion and support of insurrectionists in the Ukraine by Russian President-For-Life Putin is still ongoing.  It’s not in the American news much today because major world events that will impact the United States seem to be reported far behind other things like Beyonce’s latest haircut for one.  The reason for this?  Maybe because it would raise the already high tensions even higher if the American government, seen as a joke internationally, were to suddenly think they were Cold War warriors once more.  There are no more Cold War warriors leading this country anymore.  They were all put out to pasture.  Do people remember the Prague Spring and the missed opportunity because it was in a sphere of influence of another?  Spheres of influence which are not components of international law mind you.  Sadly, probably very few remember that because it’s history and American’s don’t really like history.  It’s boring.  Turn on the reality TV already.  Yay!

Perhaps, if the Ukraine was an oil producer and had something of value beyond wheat, we would send military support instead of pissing it away at great expense in places like Afghanistan (AKA the world’s largest producer of heroin and chalk).  So instead of sending military aid to halt Putin, who like Hitler will not stop once he has consumed the Ukraine…remember he’s a megalomaniac, former creepy KGB head, and self-appointed president-for-life, perhaps instead of bullets we can send gas.

Ukrainian soldiers preparing to defend their country.

Ukrainian soldiers preparing to defend their country.

The Ukraine actually pays for the bullets and bombs that are being used against them!  Did you know that?  Well, the natural gas that the Ukraine relies upon, as well as several European countries to the west, comes from Russia.  There are no fewer than 3 major natural gas pipelines that supply the Ukraine and Western Europe.  So why don’t we, the United States of America, help out the Ukraine by selling them our natural gas, which is a natural resource we have in abundance?  It would help out the Ukraine by getting them out of a tactless relationship with those that want to deny them their sovereignty.  It would be a way to hurt Putin without getting people killed.  AND it would be a way to help the US economy…you know, by having people in the US actually have real jobs and not those high-paying jobs made up on paper by the current administration.  Sounds like a good deal, right?

Where is the real bump in the plan?  We don’t have the facilities to get the gas to Europe right now, and to build them, to go through all the regulatory bureaucracy and environmental hoops, it will be some time until this can actually happen.  Nothing is done quickly in the US anymore.  Thank goodness the interstate system was built in the 50’s and 60’s because if it was done today…yeah it would never get done.

So in the end just where are we?  Still on the same road to nowhere.  I know!  Let’s build a bridge there! (Once it goes through endless debate, permitting, study, and delays).

The Ukraine, Syria, and Tax $$$

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Is it scarier that chemical weapons are apparently still being used in Syria, either in the field or as leverage, or should the world be more afraid that Ukrainian military helicopters are being swatted from the skies by man-portable shoulder launched surface-to-air missiles in an ever escalating state of affairs?  Both carry pretty serious short term and long term concerns.  Just what are the options before the world?  Do they sit back and continue to do little about both hotbeds of conflict?  How about more useless sanctions so that the world can feel better about itself in that they are doing something?  It is important to build international self-esteem afterall.

Resolving the conflict in the Ukraine in the traditional manner of “boots on the ground” is extremely dangerous as it would only exacerbate the situation beneath the nuclear umbrella of Russia.  Would “boots on the ground” in Syria stop the threat of the continued use of chemical weapons in that conflict?  Sure, most likely it would, but the Syrian conflict is so muddled that knowing who is right and who is wrong is a particular challenge.  Deciding who is right and who is wrong in that conflict depends on the day of the week as both sides are apparently committing some pretty heinous acts as they strive for victory.  It does not appear the “rebels” are the ones using the chemical weapons but it needs to be known that they are no innocent angels.

Regardless of the outcome in either theatre, it should be well known at this point in history that the United States will attempt to solve these and future issues by throwing US tax-payer money at the situation.  I wonder where the billion dollars that Secretary of State Kerry gave the Ukraine two months ago really goes.  Does it go to feeding starving children and building schools or does it go to the folks at the top to buy shiny new cars and retreats in other countries so they have a place to go in their shiny new cars when the Ukraine inevitably falls?  The way the federal government gives tax dollars away it is a good thing they are tax exempt because one day they would have to draw money from their own coffers and not from the pockets of the rest of the country.