World on the brink
Baseball pales by comparison
Good morning, all. Pray for peace.
I wanted to write today about MLB and the players’ association settling their three-month long labor dispute. I wanted to write today about why Derek Jeter is leaving as CEO of the Miami Marlins. I wanted to write today about the rejuvenated Boston Bruins and the remarkable job Jeremy Swayman is doing in goal for the Bs. I wanted to write today about the two holes-in-one Miguel Angel Jiminez collected in the Cologuard Classic tournament over the weekend. I wanted to write today about the Sixers James Harden’s triple-double. I cannot. Somehow, a competitive balance tax pales in comparison to what is unfolding a continent away. My focus has been on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, on the courage of the Ukraine military, its leaders and people of that country, and how a tyrant has put an entire globe on the verge of World War III.
Having once served as a news director of a radio station and later a cluster of radio stations in Connecticut, my news insticts have gone into overdrive, as I consume on television and social media, almost unceasingly, this turning point in our world’s history. My admiration for the journalists on the scene, covering this seminal moment, is boundless.
When the tyrant Putin crossed into Ukraine, I knew the minute hand on the doomsday clock of nuclear annhilation had moved closer to midnight. Maybe it’s just me, but I think the clock stands at 23:59.
Never in my lifetime have I heard the leader of a superpower threaten the use of nuclear weapons. When Putin issued such a threat on Thursday night, I had a difficult time going to sleep. On Sunday, when he stated he was placing his nuclear deterent force on high alert, I became more squeemish.
But I go to sleep in a warm bed each night, surrounded by a loving family, with food in the refrigerator and access to clean, drinkable water. What about the people of Ukraine, fleeing their homeland, not knowing where they are going, wondering about their next meal? And what about the innocent people who have already been killed by Putin? And of the courage of the military and civilians, fighting to the death to defend their freedom?
For more than two decades, Putin has gotten away with his dasteredly deeds; invading countries, poisoning his opponents, all the while continuing to be welcomed on the world stage by leaders of other nations, particularly those wedded to his oil and gas. But it is different now. Social media has changed the landscape. Putin can no longer hide his crimes against humanity behind an iron curtain. The world is witness to his evil, broadcast across the social platforms. What many have known, the world has now witnessed for itself. Putin is a full-fledged member of the Hall of Shame, right there with Hitler, Saddam Hussein, bin Laden and any other megalomaniac out to destroy the free world.
The MSM is reminding us this is the world’s worst confrontation since the United States and Soviet Union came eyeball-to-eyeball in the Cuban Missle Crisis. I lived through the Cuban Missle Crisis and studied it extensively. That standoff, 60 years ago this coming October, seems like a sling shot threat, compared to what the world now endures. But it was borderline catastrophic back then, as we ducked under desks, raced to school basements, and listened to the drumbeat of radio and TV news bulletins.
With the world on the brink, President John F. Kennedy was a profile in courage. While some in his administration suggested the use of nuclear weapons to wipe out the launchers the Soviet Union was about to install in Cuba, JFK urged a firm hand, combined with diplomacy. Always, Kennedy’s goal was to get the launchers removed from the island, while allowing Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev a graceful exit. There is no saving face for Putin, no wiggle room, no graceful exit. That is what scares me.
By crossing that line into Ukraine, Putin and his henchmen have been backed into a corner of their own doing. They thought they could steamroll over Ukraine, never anticipating the courage of the Ukrainian people, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who was panned in a NY Times op-ed piece last week.
And forget the peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, a Russian sham, in my opinion. Talks broke off with no deal on Monday. The two sides have supposedly “agreed” to meet later in the week. Seriously?
Now a frustrated Putin is unleashing more of his firepower, bombing civilians, killing innocent people and military alike. Meanwhile, most of the world unites with sanctions designed to choke Putin, his corrupt cronies and the innocent Russian people. The Russian financial market is in shambles, its economy in a meltdown. The U.S. has ordered embassy personal out of Moscow. Diplomats of other nations are leaving. Putin is now cornered, left to his street-long conferennce table, lackeys, China, Iran, North Korea, maybe India and other rogue nations.
Putin and the Russian leaders have forfeited their spot on the world’s stage. Having lost in the court of public opinion, the only court where they belong now is in the Hague, tried as war criminals. That is why I see this end-game concluding in one of two ways: someone in Putin’s inner circle turns, or the doomsday clock strikes midnight. Like the snake he is, Putin is capable of sacrificing the world, before relinquishing his power.
On some social media platforms I am reading how Feb. 28 was “Armageddon” for the baseball negotiatons, if the season is to start on Mar. 31. The good people who cover baseball might want to dial back the rhetoric. I am just hoping the world makes it to Mar. 31.
Thank you for letting me rant and for subscribing to the newsletter. Pray for peace.