Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Debt Ceiling Standoff Reminiscent Of Cuban Missile Crisis—An Interesting View Of The Cuban Missile Crisis

The debt ceiling talks have begun to remind me of the Cuban Missile  Crisis.

(Above–Soviet missiles in Cuba. Big trouble back in 1962.)

Which side will blink first?

(Here are facts about the Cuban Missile Crisis.)

As for the debt ceiling negotiations, I hope President Obama does not sell us out with benefit cuts and domestic spending cuts that make life tougher than it is already. The wealthy have the resources to pay more taxes. If the debt is such a threat, then everybody needs to be part of the solution. Though the real issue–jobs– is ignored by both major parties. 

A great book for an interesting take of the Cuban Missile Crisis is Humanity–A Moral History of the Twentieth Century by Jonathan Glover.

This book examines the brutality of the 20th century and the competing impulses of good and evil in indviduals and in larger society.

It is not a cheery book.

From the 2000 review of Humanity in the New York Times—-

Glover draws hope from the recurring breakthroughs of moral resources and from the happy episodes in which they conspired to avert disaster. During the Cuban missile crisis, Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy were reminded of the human cost of the nuclear brink they were approaching, Khrushchev by memories of two world wars fought on his soil, Kennedy by a graphic briefing of the aftermath of an atomic bomb. And each understood they were in a Hobbesian trap. Kennedy had just read Barbara Tuchman’s ”Guns of August” and saw how the leaders of great nations could sleepwalk into a pointless and awful war. Khrushchev, thinking like a game theorist, wrote to Kennedy: ”You and I should not now pull on the ends of the rope in which you have tied a knot of war, because the harder you and I pull, the tighter this knot will become. And a time may come when this knot is tied so tight that the person who tied it is no longer capable of untying it, and then the knot will have to be cut.” By identifying the trap, they could set the shared goal of escaping it. In the teeth of opposition from many of their advisers, both made concessions that may have literally saved the world.”

Here is a link to the first chapter of Humanity.

I believe that there is good and evil and that people make choices about how they will proceed in life. At the same time, I think we are often trapped in circumstances not of our own making, and that we are not always in control of our choices in life.

I don’t see any fatal contradiction  inherent to these views. It is unlikely that existence itself could come to term without a foundation of conflict, contradiction, and competing elements. These aspects of creation echo in the decisions made by leaders in times of crisis, and in the everyday lives that you and I lead.

We can admit the reality of contradiction and conflict while at the same time choosing clear and hopeful courses of action.

We can take part in the issues of today while looking at the lessons of the past.

We can move forward in a difficult world.

July 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine Parliament Fight—Reasons Behind The Fight

Above is a picture of the fight in the Ukrainian parliament yesterday.

These folks were hitting each other and hurling eggs and smoke bombs in the parliament chamber.

What were they fighting over?

They were fighting over the future of a Russian naval base in Ukraine. The debate was over an extension of the lease that allows the base to remain in Ukraine.

In exchange for use of the base, Russia is cutting the price of natural gas it exports to Ukraine.

Here is a useful story from The Montreal Gazette explaining the dispute.

Would you want a naval base from another nation in your country?  Especially a naval base belonging to very large, powerful and often unpleasant neighbor.

While the fight is the of kind entertainment I want with my democracy, the history between Russia and Ukraine is not so funny.

Here is a 2009 Time magazine article about the intertwined history of Russia and Ukraine.

This connected history directly relates to the Russian concern that Ukraine will fall into the orbit of the west and away from the influence of Russia.

Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union before the U.S.S.R  broke apart.

Here is an overview of Ukraine from the BBC.

From this overview—

“A significant minority of the population of Ukraine are Russians or use Russian as their first language. Russian influence is particularly strong in the industrialised east, as well as in Crimea, an autonomous republic on the Black Sea which was part of Russia until 1954. The Russian Black Sea Fleet is based there.”

You see right there that a situation like that is trouble waiting to happen.

Here is a history of Ukraine.

While the fight in the Ukraine parliament is silly, the tensions behind the fight divide Ukraine society right down the middle.

In addition, many nations that border Russia face the same type of issues over to what extent Russian influence should be permitted, and concern over what Russia will do if ignored.

(Below–The Black Sea in Ukraine. Looks nice. Here are facts about the Black Sea.)

April 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 4 Comments

Big Soviet Red Star On Texas Highway

I recently saw this big Soviet looking star on a portion of a Texas highway overpass here in Houston.

I think it is meant to represent a Texas Lone Star.

But it looks like a communist red star.

Roads are so-called socialism because they are built with public dollars.

Roads are the kind of socialism folks here in Texas have no problem with supporting.

Below is a pin of the Soviet Young Pioneers.

Here is a brief history of the Soviet Union.

March 13, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 5 Comments