Greetings and salutations from the sand, sun and surf of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and the cold (newly snow covered), clearing island of Nantucket! Great to be with you on this second day of March, 2015, a chilly start to the day with a fresh blanket of winter’s blessing on the ground, combined with a tiny hint of Spring in the air, temperatures expected to rise to 40 degrees Fahrenheit by mid-week.
This week end in Moscow, upwards of 50,000 demonstrators turned out on Red Square to protest the brutal murder of Boris Nemtsov; a prominent, outspoken and beloved critic of Russian kleptocrat, excuse me, President Vladimir Putin, the leader of what appears to be a nation teetering on ‘failed state’ status…
President Vladimir Putin is estimated to be worth more than 200 billion dollars, a tidy sum considering he was once a lowly KGB field agent. When the Soviet Union collapsed in and around 1989–combined with the ‘Fall of the Berlin Wall’, effectively ending the West’s great fear of communism–the now ‘free and democratic’ Russia became unglued. A “Wild West” reborn. For the next five years, the slow unraveling of centralized power via the Politburo created a vacuum that was quickly filled by opportunistic men in the intelligence arena/oil and gas arena/mob arena, i.e. the KGB, and thus, ransacked, raped and pillaged the country at will. Billionaires were created overnight and so was chaos in Mother Russia. Middle and lower classes in say “Leningrad” (now St. Petersburg), now face mass food shortages, fuel shortages, and other basic necessity shortages because of illegal and immoral actions via the likes of men named Vladimir Putin, who may or may not have ordered the hit on the popular critic of “Putin’s Russia”. Some going further, like David Ignatius, who fear the even darker forces behind Putin, who wish to take Russia back 200 years, back to the days of the Russian Czar, which is what we really have presently…
Creating a whole new problem for the U.S. and her allies, as this naked aggression now in Ukraine, spills out onto the fields, woods and mountains of Europe. A distinct possibility (in the near future?), with an ever darkening force clearly in control of the 21st Century Russian mind set. Send troops to Poland? Perhaps, but again, the reality of what Putin wants and what the West wants are two completely different things. One wishes for stability, growth, compromise and peace. The other wishes for conflict, instability, uncertainty and aggression. Like with the dogging problem revolving around the terror group ISIL, no one really knows what Putin’s ‘end game’ is. Is it simply to flex machismo gone awry or is it something more cynical? More maniacal/genocidal?
But make no mistake about it, the United States and Russian relations–due to this suspicious gunning down of a young, popular activist (may he rest in peace), in the shadow of the Kremlin at high noon several days ago–are at an all time low, almost as bad as they were during the height of the Cold War. The nuclear weapons the Russians still possess are the most worrying aspect of this whole equation, for even though Putin is shady, he does not appear to be insane. Therefore, keeping an eye on those even darker forces hiding behind the beauty of the Bolshoi Ballet and St. Basil Cathedral is paramount to keeping the world safe from more nuclear proliferation, a threat that has not ‘gone away’ just because the Cold War has been ”won”.
With “Bibi” Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, on the ground in Washington D.C. as I write these words, getting ready for his big speech to Congress on Tuesday–much to the chagrin of President Obama and the White House worried about the delicate negotiations with Iran over it’s nuclear ambitions, critical to the stability of the Middle East and indeed the world–one has to sit back and ask, “…are we trying to throw sand into the gears of a highly effective political/diplomatic solutions regarding this delicate nuclear negotiation process with Iran?” Or, more to the point, “…is this visit about your people in Israel or about your political career sir?” A career and philosophy in seeming lock step with the hijacked Republican party here in the U.S., hell bent on destroying it’s own democracy with that little letter ‘d’ because some plutocrat owns them!”
Don’t forget to tip your waitresses folks! Have a nice week!
PRESERVE THE WILDERNESS! Peace~M