|CIOC | Home | About | Our Work | Media Room | Blog1 | Blog2 | Contact|
|SERVICES Public Relations| Copywriting | Interactive | Political | Grantwriting|
March 8th, 2014
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Russia Prepared to Annex Crimea, Deepening Crisis,” describes a referendum to be held on March 16, granting the wishes of Crimea regarding its own self-determination.
The vote sets up both Russia and the United States as hypocritical about national boundaries and the autonomous regions within them. Russia, who supports the “right” of the Crimeans for self-determination, has refused that right for other regions within its own boundaries such as Chechnya. The United States, on the other hand, has supported the right to self-determination and even referendums regarding Scotland.
Russia currently seems to have all the cards. If “possession is 9/10ths of the law,” then the Russian occupation of Crimea suggests how the referendum will come out. Meanwhile, Russia is already threatening to expand its occupation into eastern Ukraine, creating even more headaches for American policy makers.
The United States seems to be drawing a line when it comes to Poland. They sent new fighter jets to the area and are coordinating closely with Polish authorities. Meanwhile, the threat of sanctions against Russia only seems to be infuriating them. They consider the new government in Kiev to be an unconstitutional coup, and they do have some arguments on their side to support that.
It is still possible for the crisis to subside, but that would require some out-of-character actions by Mr. Putin and a reversal of his stance.
March 7th, 2014
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Crimea Approves a Secession Vote as Tensions Rise,” describes what European and American officials say is one more line crossed by Russia and its occupying force in Crimea. The holding of a referendum represents an unconstitutional step without approval by all of Ukraine. Regions can not just decide to become independent of their own accord.
Due to be held on March 16, the referendum will without doubt be held to authorize the presence of Russian troops. Meanwhile, pro-Russian supporters in provinces of Eastern Ukraine are starting to hold their own demonstrations in favor of a Russian incursion there, and it may not be long before Russian troops occupy these areas as well.
President Obama held another hour long conversation with Vladimir Putin, but he might as well be talking to Republicans in the House for all the progress he is making. The Russians will do whatever is in their own self-interest regardless of the pleas of others.
Limited sanctions have already been imposed, and the European Union seems to be a little less recalcitrant these days. The seizure of Russian assets is not far down the line, especially if events unfold in the way that seems most likely: with a Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine as well as Crimea.
March 6th, 2014
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Early Treatment Found to Clear H.I.V. in 2nd Baby,” describes a breakthrough and possible cure for babies born with H.I.V. passed down by their mothers.
The treatment involves aggressive use of anti-AIDS drugs within 30 hours of birth. The recent case represents the second time this course of action has, in effect, cured the disease.
The first time involves a child who is now three years old and AIDS free while in the current case the child is now nine months old.
Other H.I.V. breakthroughs have been in the news lately including a genetic way to protect white blood cells from the ravages of the disease. More trials will, of course, be necessary.
More than 250,000 babies are born with H.I.V. every year, so the idea of treating them within 30 hours could save many lives. Before the cure is widely disseminated, a trial with 60 babies has been arranged. And it is important to know whether the H.I.V. is completely cured or just in remission.
This can be accomplished by removing the “baby” from the drugs, a course of action that would be unethical. However, if the child is two years old and still exhibiting no sign of infection, the doctor would consider stopping the drugs to determine whether the cure is total.
March 5th, 2014
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Putin, Flashing Disdain, Defends Action in Crimea,” describes Putin’s reaction to the wave of condemnation after Russian troops crossed the border and occupied Crimea.
The Crimean peninsula is important for Russia because it provides the country with its only warm water port, and the invasion could have been expected on this basis alone. It is important to note that Russia hasn’t expanded its attack into eastern Ukraine, something many commentators expected.
According to Putin, the previous government in Kiev was overthrown in an unconstitutional revolt, and he is correct in this statement. What he doesn’t mention is Russia’s complicit role in these events because the protests only started after the previous President, Viktor Yanukovych, accepted a $15 billion loan from Russia instead of integrating more closely with the European Union.
However, no matter the provocation on both sides, the grievances do not justify the unvarnished use of force to affect the situation without any support from any other body except the Russian Parliament. Russia should withdraw its extra troops from Crimea, perhaps leaving a contingent to defend its Black Sea military base, with the assurance that it will receive some kind of alliance from the pro-Western government in Kiev and will continue to play a role as an ally of that nation.
March 4th, 2014
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Top Russians Face Sanctions by U.S. for Crimea Crisis,” describes a situation where Russia is effectively getting a slap on the wrist for its movement of 16,000 troops into Crimea to totally control that peninsula.
Russia can not be blamed for wanting to protect its only warm water port in the Black Sea, but its duplicity can not be forgiven. First Russia said that they were only undertaking exercises across the border, and they used that to move the troops into place prior to the invasion.
It’s difficult to see what the U.S. can do without the support of the European Union. The United States only imports $40 billion worth of materials from Russia while the EU imports more than $400 billion. And Russia is Europe’s largest source of natural gas to boot.
The perception of President Obama’s ability to handle the crisis will determine, in large part, his legacy in the area of foreign policy, and the way Putin ignored his warnings about invasion certainly does not bode well for the success of his policy.
As the situation unwinds, because it’s not over yet, it will be important to see if Russia expands its invasion into the eastern Ukraine or stays put in Crimea. That choice may affect the subsequent U.S. and European responses.
March 3rd, 2014
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Pressure Rising as Obama Works to Rein in Russia,” describes the President in an untenable situation because he is militarily unable to engage with the Russians nor does he wish to.
That leaves only economic sanctions as the most extreme measure, something that will not cripple Russia after they have tightened their grip on the Crimean peninsula. The President, of course, realizes the centrality of a warm water port for Russian national security but is trying to prevent further Russian expansion into eastern Ukraine.
With many Democrats and Republicans clamoring for stronger action, it is unclear how long the President can hold out by just canceling trade negotiations. Some are calling for the expulsion of the Russians from the G-8, a privilege they received after the end of the Cold War.
It is unfortunate because we were cooperating with the Russians in many other areas, including Iran, and this will bring all of that to an end. The President has been accused of passivity in his foreign policy, and he can’t afford to provide a tepid response to this naked act of aggression.
In any case, the situation is developing rapidly, and maybe the trip of Secretary of State Kerry to the Kiev will help drive home the importance of this situation to the United States and give Russia pause.
March 1st, 2014
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Top Ukranians Accusing Russia of an Invasion,” describes how the Russians are taking full advantage of existing agreements to get ready for a more intense battle, should it be necessary.
The Russians announced military exercises just across the border from Crimea, an autonomous region that plays host to a major Russian military base on the Black Sea, its main warm-water port.
In addition to the exercises, Russia is already allowed to move troops around in Crimea, and some major personnel carriers have been spotted by journalists. In addition to seizing the two airports, unknown groups have also taken control of major communications hubs in Crimea, facilities linking the peninsula of Crimea to the rest of the Ukranian homeland.
While some claim that an invasion is already under way, President Obama called the situation fluid in a recent press conference, and it appears the Russians, at the very least, are making some effort to disguise their actions. However, the large Russian population in Crimea is very similar to the region in Georgia where the Russians recently occupied and split off a province.
It is hard to imagine that Russia would do anything to jeopardize its warm water port on the Black Sea, yet it clearly does not want all-out war with Ukraine over Crimea. Despite a hastily called press conference, there seems to be little President Obama can do to influence the situation.
February 28th, 2014
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Grab for Power in Crimea Raises Secession Threat,” describes the continuing repercussions regarding the overthrow of Ukraine’s Russian-leaning President Viktor Yanukovych in favor of a more European-centric government.
But Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, is in the western region of the nation, and the regions in the east are much more pro-Russian, thanks in part to a long border with the nation. And in anticipating the actions of nations such as Russia, you must always analyze their geopolitical calculations.
For Russia, its warm water port in the Black Sea is of extreme strategic significance, and if you look at a map of the region, you will see the centrality of the Crimean peninsula. Russia cannot afford to lose control of this region for its own national security, and I would anticipate some sort of action by the nation as a result.
Already, pro-Russian demonstrations have been organized in the region, and a pro-Russian group of regional legislators have organized a vote on independence for May 25th. Whether these actions are legal remains to be seen as there are some questions about a quorum being present.
However, in a dispassionate analysis of the situation, you must admit that Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in a sort of coup, even if it was based in demands on the street. He did not get a chance to implement an agreement signed with European powers (and Russia by the way) or even resign but was forced to flee at the hands of a mob.
February 27th, 2014
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Warlords with Dark Pasts Battle in Afghan Election,” describes some of the unsavory characters running on Presidential and Vice Presidential tickets for the leader of Afghanistan.
There are a total of 11 tickets, and the election will be on April 5th. All of them support the U.S. security agreement negotiated with Hamid Karzai who now refuses to sign it. If no one gets 50 percent of the vote, the most likely scenario, there will be a runoff between the top two vote getters.
This will create a wide open situation where the other candidates can barter their followers in exchange for favors or perhaps a post in the new government. Because the warlord/candidates represent ethnic groups, they are able to influence voting in large blocs and thus pose a tempting resource to secure the election.
Of course, when you’re dealing with a massive operation such as the U.S. Army, you can’t handle withdrawal or the maintaining of bases on a dime; you need to plan ahead to do things right. And Karzai’s refusal to sign the security agreement is making things difficult.
The next leader of Afghanistan will hopefully be more flexible than Karzai and more willing to negotiate in good faith. Karzai has lost any humility he may have once possessed and does not seem to understand the needs of his people for U.S. support.
February 26th, 2014
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Obesity Dropped 43% Among Young Children in Decade, Study Finds,” provides welcome good news in the continuing fight against this scourge of affluence in our society. At a time when young children in many other nations are starving to death, the United States has been plagued with the opposite problem.
The focus of health efforts in fighting obesity has centered on young children from two- to five-years-old. If you are obese at that young age, you are five times more likely to be obese as an adult.
City, state and federal authorities have fought obesity by prohibiting the use of trans fat in cooking, trying to limit the consumption of sugary beverages and providing education about a healthy lifestyle. Michelle Obama has also led an effort to promote healthy eating.
It seems like all these efforts are finally beginning to pay off. The most recent study found a drop in obese young children from 14 percent to eight percent. This is a statistically significant decline.
How we build upon this good news remains to be seen. The overall level of obesity in our society has stayed constant so we need to follow up to track the improvements among young children as they grow older. Obesity leads to all kinds of health problems later on in life, including diabetes, so we need to keep the pressure on.
|CIOC: Home | About | Our Work | Media Room | Blog1 | Blog2 | Contact | Site Map |
SERVICES: Public Relations| Copywriting | Interactive | Political | Grantwriting
Copyright ©2008 Cut-It-Out Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
Cut-It-Out Communications, Inc. | P.O. Box 495 | Hartsdale, Westchester County, NY 10530