Weekly Letter to President Obama
Copyright © 2010
ofthisandthat.org. All rights
INAUGURATION, January 20, 2009
Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape
To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.
The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.
Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.
--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
--- Native American proverb
September 5, 2014
Mr. President: Not known for subtlety in the Soviet Union days, the Russians have not
only outplayed the US in Ukraine, but now display an exquisite sense of timing: the
ceasefire announced coincided with the end of the NATO summit. It was clearly
calculated to take the wind out of NATO's sails. And it did ... somewhat. It made the
announcement of the spearhead" and the bolstering of forces sound like bluster. The
Russians have taken what they want -- Crimea -- and retain influence in the east.
The American public, meanwhile, seems reluctant to go along with anything more than
economic sanctions and political pressure. So $5 billion was spent (Victoria Nuland's
figure) on overthrowing an elected government, causing the havoc, and (of little
concern to policy makers judging by the past record) the death, suffering and
displacement of civilians. Was it all worth the outcome?
The IMF and Europeans are saddled with a basket case. Ukraine can never have a
NATO base. That much is clear for the Russians will be in Kiev in the hours it takes to
drive from the border, not weeks, as leaked by the loquacious and undiplomatic Jose
Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President. Add to this the percentage
point or so GDP growth loss in the anemic European economies plus the economic
alienation of Russia, a major energy supplier, and it does not appear to have been a
bargain loved by the European public. As it is, Angela Merkel was drowned out at a
recent public event with cries of "kriegstreiber" meaning warmonger. The energy
demands of winter can only make matters worse if the Russians start to throttle back
After trillions of dollars and thousands of lives plus millions of displaced people living
a shattered existence, another monster is born, a direct result of US policy targeting
secular regimes -- hardly to the benefit of the US -- under the pose of democracy
building. Why, when this country has frequently replaced democracies with
dictatorships it preferred? And why are the Iraq-disaster discredited Kristols and
Kagans (in the form of Victoria Nuland Kagan) given a voice in a Democratic
No doubt the PR machine echoed by our press will dream up victory from disaster --
as they did when the US removed installed missiles in Turkey in exchange for
Khrushchev agreeing not to install his in Cuba.
An unequal society, without a genuine voice for the public and a distinctive
opposition, is not a democracy. It is why we have low election turnouts, and
confidence in Congress is running in the single digits. Confidence in the President is
nothing to brag about either ...