THE BOMB

More than three years ago, we asked what made Egyptian children and Libyan children more valuable than Syrian children.

In the beginning of the uprising in Assad’s country, we could have intervened. As we had done (limitedly) in Libya and Egypt.

Timepassed. More than 200,000 have died there. Millions of refugees are jamming Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey.

Nothing was done by the international community to help Assad’s people eat,sleep,clothe themselves – in effect, to stay alive.

Now we have to ask once more: what makes Libyan,Tunisian, Egyptian citizens more valuable than those in the Crimea?

There is one big difference between these city-states. Mr. Putin has managed to convince his population that he isn’t conducting a territorial war in which
Russian troops,well-disguised and always denied, are killing family members, cousins, grandparents, children, and parents of Russian citizens in his lunge for a final Czarist solution.

Since Mr.Putin is running a tightly controlled one-man media show, he has denied consistently being anywhere near the war zone. Not surprisingly, and not unusually, the trouble between the Crimea and Ukraine is being blamed on(1)Ukraine and (2) foreign terrorists. This is called maintaining deniability.

There’s one other major point to be made. Russia has the bomb.

Ooops! One more thing. Russia supplies a greater portion of European heating oil and natural gas than anyone else.

Libya, Tunis,and Egypt do not.

Perhaps the greatest sin in this rebellion is the death of WW II pensioners and widows – 5300 so far – people who fought, built, farmed, and who, in this effort, brought Russia out of the Middle Ages and into the middle class replete with wealth, luxury goods, travel,and “exceptionalism.” For Putin to admit this might be suicidal.

Did we mention Russia has the bomb?

Former ambassadors to Russia and from Russia to the United States seem to be in agreement that the stronger hand in these negotiations recently completed in Minsk is Russia’s. Russia will control the borders between Ukraine and the Crimea, not to mention between Ukraine and Russia itself. Further, Russia insists on new elections, with candidates and platforms approved by Russia. In effect, Putin’s Russia has a six month lock on change in Ukraine, after which time more elections will probably be held.

Meanwhile – using its disguised rebels – Russia is killing wholesale, as did the Czars of centuries past.

Where is the kick back?

International sanctions and a gift from the International Monetary Fund.

But none, we repeat, none from Russians aged 20 to 50. They accept what they’re told and are more comfortable in their lives than at any other time.

Three years ago the United States seemed to have a philosophy that consisted of straight forward lines: if a strongman was massacreing his own people, he no longer deserved to rule his country. Hence,no more Saddam Hussein, no more Mubarak, no more Kaddafi. They had no atomic arsenals.

What would the public reaction be should an American president decide to do away with what’s left of the Greatest Generation?

It’s true that the people being killed or kicked out of the Crimea aren’t as photogenic as the Greatest Generation. They’re stout,starving, swaddled in any material they can find. But they served and they’re being offed by their own leader.

Didn’t we once have a plan for regime change in such circumstances?

Libya gave up its nuclear arsenal. Tunis never had one. Egypt was questionable. Israel has. Perhaps even South AFrica. India and Pakistan do. North Korea does. Iran is on the verge.

We don’t believe that children are more important than grown-ups.

But the International Community with our assistance seems to believe that deniability is what really matters. And the bomb.

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