Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Peaceful settlement most likely in Ukraine

The most likely ending to the Ukraine crisis is a peaceful settlement.
Even with the Ukranian government, under pressure from its
people, moving tanks into an area occupied by Russian-support separatists it
would be premature to predict Armagadeon.
Instead, what is the definition of most likely; the ending
most likely to occur.
In these days of what the New Yorker called “punditonomics”
the idea that will war will be avoided is not likely to be proposed by pundits.
The market is much bigger for those predict doomsday.
Still, a logical way to look at the question is first to
decide the most likely possible outcomes.
They include a Russian invasion, a long period of
back-and-forth, the area becoming the unending new Arab-Israel conflict and a
peaceful resolution.
It isn’t necessary to disbelief those who claim Russian
President Vladimir Putin is the new Stalin. Russia has changed since the fall
of the Berlin Wall, and it is not necessarily going to be possible for Putin to
force his will on the people.
And his threat to cut off natural gas to Europe is less
likely because it might hurt Russia even more to loose its cash cow.
Thomas Friedman in the New York Times may have said it best
in a column titled “Go ahead, Vladimir, Make My Day.”
Friedman said it would be the best thing for the world
because it would spur development of new energy sources, just like the Arab Oil
Embargo of 1973.
In the 40 years since then, new energy sources have
blossomed, sometimes in unexpected areas.
“Clean energy is at an inflection point. The price
reductions in the last five years have been nothing less than spectacular,”
said Hal Harvey, CEO of Energy Innovation.
Houses are far more efficient in dealing with cold and heat.
Putin’s advisers are fully aware of how a natural gas
embargo could redound on Moscow.
A second alternative is that Ukrainian efforts to be
independent of Russia will be met by Putin’s efforts to force his will on Kiev.
The cost could be high.
The cost of an invasion may be too risky to even contemplate
even if NATO does not respond with troops. The West has developed new ways to
make sanctions more effect, and cyber wars could inflict tremendous damage with
no blood lost.
Another possible outcome is that the area will be the center
of an Arab-Israeli like conflict. Its too close to Europe for that to be
tolerated by either side.
Before taking a view on what is likely to happen it is well
worth reading the “Punditonomics” before deciding what to read.
The Malaysian Airlines mystery is a textbook example of how
the media treats what it calls sexy stories.
A commentator on CNN was chastened when he suggested
proposing wild theories such as a “black hole” swallowed the plane do not help
find an answer.
The CNN anchor responded: “You know how cable news works,
don’t you…”
Comedy Central has won many new viewers by making fun of the
endless speculation.
It even is offering a new show, “Last Week Tonight,” in
which Daily Show veteran Jon Oliver will avoid treating breaking news
The latest Anchorman movie, Anchorman 2 is another source of
humor on car chase journalism.


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