Monthly Archives: February 2014

revolt

Whither Ukraine?

I recently wrote about Ukraine and whether it will go East, with Russia, or West, with the European Union. Since then there have been tumultuous events in which the Russian-leaning President has fled.

Ukraine just elected an interim government with Arseny Yatsenko at its head. It will serve until elections for a permanent government are held in May. Meanwhile the financial situation is desperate and Ukraine faces default. Putin’s promise to lend it 15 billion just went up in smoke.

Neither the European Union nor the United States can afford to provide such a sum and the International Monetary Fund will impose stringent conditions before it agrees to do so. Where does that leave Ukraine? It is in a very precarious situation. Yulia Timoshenko whom Viktor Yanukovich imprisoned was liberated and made an impassioned speech in Maidan Square. But Yulia is not a savior; she represents the past, not the future. She and Viktor Yuschenko came to power in 2004 in what was called the Orange Revolution but they soon started bickering instead of fulfilling their campaign promises. People grew disenchanted and the Orange Revolution fizzled. Timoshenko is no Nelson Mandela. Continue reading

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Presidents Hollande and Obama (Reposted)

Editor’s Note: This was originally posted several days ago, but there were some technical problems that kept some people from seeing it…So here is is again, hopefully without any problems.
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Last week, President Hollande of France was the guest of honor at a rare White House state dinner. He was greeted with all the pomp and circumstance due to a world leader. To be sure there were no rows of servants lined up in front of the White House like in Downton Abbey, but the Marines provided the necessary panache and the First Couple stood at the South Entrance in all their finery. Michelle was resplendent in a lacy top and an ample skirt, somewhat reminiscent of a Velasquez painting.

Later the guests made their entrance into a hall packed with press photographers. Some stopped briefly smiling for a picture. Their outfits were elegant but rather sedate with none of the glitz and glamor of a Hollywood affair. They disappeared into the next room to the sound of Bach. Perhaps Handel, who wrote a lot of ceremonial music for the King of England, would have been more fitting than Bach’s churchy strains. Continue reading

french-flag

Monsieur Hollande Comes To Dinner

Last week, President Hollande of France was the guest of honor at a rare White House state dinner. He was greeted with all the pomp and circumstance due to a world leader. To be sure there were no rows of servants lined up in front of the White House like in Downton Abbey, but the Marines provided the necessary panache and the First Couple  stood at the South Entrance in all their finery. Michelle was resplendent in a lacy top and an ample skirt, somewhat reminiscent of a Velasquez painting.

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Advice

Why I Don’t Give Advice

I am told my blog might get wider traction if I talked more about how to reach the age of 92 with few afflictions.

I choose not to do so.

Advice, apparently, is popular. People are addicted to it: How to raise your kids, make money, lose weight etc. There is a firm belief that it can all be achieved if only some guru shows us the way. Naturally modern day snake oil providers have seized this concept and are running with it. On television, thin, earnest, hypnotic, they preach their gospel with compelling sincerity and conviction.

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Israel-Flag

John Kerry’s idee fixe

Israel’s Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon, described John Kerry’s peace process involvement as being motivated by “incomprehensible obsession and messianic feeling”. This is, of necessity a very abbreviated effort to give a context to Kerry’s present mission and to explain my misgivings about it.

If you look at it objectively, Israel’s goals and those of the Palestinian Authority are two parallel lines that never meet, no matter how hard you try to bend them. Israel will not accept a new division of Jerusalem and a “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. The Palestinians, despite wanting to be recognized as a state, refuse to accept Israel as a “Jewish State“. So we have two obstinate men, Netanyahu and Abbas to which we can now add a third obstinate man, Kerry.

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