I have been trying for some time to understand international relations and politics. Some people don’t want to be bothered, but I find the machinations of heads of states, when it comes to relations with each other, both fascinating and disturbing. I think I once said that two activities you can count on to be peppered with hypocrisy are sex and war.
Right now, although some civil wars are raging, there are no wars between countries. I hope it stays that way. However, the situation in Ukraine is threatening. I know it is serious, but I can’t help feeling that it is a 21st century remake of the “The Mouse that Roared.”
As you will recall, in that movie the tiny European duchy of Grand Fenwick is facing bankruptcy and decides that one way to recover its finances is to declare war on the United States, be quickly defeated (with Peter Sellers leading their military, how can they fail to fail?) and get lots of money in reparation and reconstruction as was the habit of the U.S. after World War II. Like the best laid plans, however, things don’t work out that way.
There was no 24 hour cable TV news back then hoping for something more exciting than the minute-by-minute coverage of the missing Malaysian plane. The anchors keep asking ambassadors, members of the U.N., leaders of various countries and your usual pundits, do they think diplomacy is failing to the point where something else must be done? This is ridiculous in the face of it when you think that diplomacy has been going on for less than a month, while the next step they are obviously expecting – war – can take as much as 10 years to solve the problem and it will cost blood and treasure not just airfare and dinners.
Once again I find Costa Rica a better example of inter-country conflict. It has been having a border dispute with Nicaragua for over two years – all of it on a diplomatic level.
I am no fan of President Putin. I don’t even know him. Actually, I don’t know any of the people involved in the Ukraine situation. I just know what I read in the news and watch on TV.
We all are taught to believe that our country’s leaders (our guys) tell the truth and the other guys are full of propaganda.
As I said, I am no fan of Putin’s but I felt sorry for him during the Winter Olympics in Sochi. He knocked himself and his country out trying to make it a great event, and all the Western media talked about was the threat of terrorist attacks and the lack of snow. Some Western leaders decided not to attend, just in case. As it turned out, the Olympiads had a great time and the event was a success. This was quietly reported by the press.
I am a bit confused about International law and what it allows. Putin evidently broke it by even thinking about going into Ukraine and for allowing a vote in the Crimea. I guess it was all right for the U.S. to go into Vietnam to prevent the spread of communism, and to invade Iraq on the basis that they had chemical weapons, and for Israel to bomb Syria’s nuclear bomb building site that the Israelis knew they had and for the West to actively encourage the rebels in Libya to overthrow Gadaffi.
Now words like terrorists (i.e. Russian sympathizers) and thugs and fascists (i.e. members of the new Ukraine government) are being carelessly bandied about. Well, names are better than sticks and stones, and they can do damage. Thugs and fascists are words that have been around since World War II and have been used to describe more than one head of state. I do worry that the label terrorist, a more recent term, is being bandied about too freely, and any country that is faced with dissidents or protesters can call them terrorists and react accordingly.
Meanwhile, I applaud Costa Rica for its insistence on diplomacy and International mediation. And I am happy the Festival de las Artes is over. The bass thumping, day and night coming from La Sabana, was all I could hear of the music for a week. I can assure you it was almost enough to drive me into the street, yelling, Terrorists!. Terrorists! and try to round up a Tico army.
Meanwhile, the 21st century mouse that is roaring has already received a billion dollars from the United States and help and monies from some European countries. Once the Mouse that Roared was a satire, now it is a Cinderella story. If they really give diplomacy a chance and nobody goes to war over this, it will be worth it.