Monday, March 31, 2014

Let's Play Ball

Again we find ourselves at the start of another baseball season. MLB Opening Day is one of my favorite days of the year. Hope spring eternal for many teams and their fans, certainly not for Houston, Minnesota or Miami.

My two teams, Cincinnati and Cleveland, both wild card teams from last year, could do better but most likely will do worse due to pitching shortcomings, boneheaded base-running, and a weaker lot of younger players.

In preparation, I attended five games (ten teams) this month in the Cactus League. Spring training has become big business. It might be my last time attending due to high prices and mainly minor league players.

But I am excited about the season. So excited that I paid the $130 for the MLB.TV package. We'll see if Verizon and Comcast are up to the task of smooth streaming.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Self Determination In Russia

The Obama Administration and main stream media continue to babble on about Russian aggression and international law in Crimea. It is followed up by a discussion about Russian military build-up on the Ukrainian border. Few actually take the time to explain the political history of Crimea, how self-determination in Crimea by the majority Russians may apply, the implications of the language and culture in eastern Ukraine, and the value of the natural  resources and roll of economics in eastern Ukraine.

Putin has clearly demonstrated he has little to worry about from the Obama Administration, the US Congress and NATO. Sanctions on a few Russians amount to little more than a scolding by an absentee parent.

However, self-determination is a two-edge sword, except in Russia. Putin clearly is showing his ideology of a greater Russia, if not a reconstituted USSR. But when it comes to self-determination in autonomous regions within current Russia, he has a different stance.

There are 22 autonomous regions in Russia. They have their borders, language and culture. Putin has no interest in allowing for greater autonomy in these Republics or any krais (territories) and oblasts (provinces). He trumps this with the supremacy of the Russian constitution.

So America and NATO ought to be turning Putin's Russian independence story for those Russians in ex-Soviet states back on him. They ought to be promoting independence and self-determination for those regions in Russia that may opt for more independence, away from Russia; e.g., Dagestan, Ingushetia, Ossetia, Tatarstan and Chechnya.

History has shown that greater autonomy for internal Russian geopolitical entities will not be tolerated and will be met with sever force.

When it comes to foreign policy and clear principles, Russia's are clear. Sadly so are America's and NATO's apologetic and do-little ones.