Who is next?
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” — Winston Churchill
From the birth of the Kievan state (9th Century forerunner of modern Russia) to the murder of Tsar Nicholas II, 1918, Russians have gloried in the history of their Tsars. Yet Western intelligence services have been unable to correctly analyze and understand the one some call Russia’s 21s t Century Tsar, President Vladimir Putin, former colonel, USSR secret police, the feared KGB, and who is now a man who is a self-declared Christian and capitalist. Whatever he is, he has the courage to stand up for his convictions and act upon them.
So why do we lack courage in reporting serious errors in policy judgment, creating serious fractures in our ability to stand up to Russia, not to mention a lack of courage to stand up to crime in urban America? This is important to the Black community. Policy makers (whether Congress or the White House) have been afraid to admit errors in analysis regarding foreign and local communities. We are frustrated by suggestions dismissed regarding issues important to Black Americans: education, jobs, housing, public safety, governing, and the war on young Black men (including Black gang wars against each other).
Russian military presence in Syria includes advisors, air power, and combat boots on the ground. Russia strongly supports what it considers assets of Russia: Syria and the Ukraine. Why doesn’t the U.S. consider USA inner cities as assets and support them?
By any objective measure, ignored major events have taken place in the Middle East that have impacted our communities as well. This includes Russian occupation of Ukraine, the rise of ISIS, the Russian deal with Syria, Iran, and Iraq, challenging America for dominance by expanding its military power and influence in the Middle East, all of which means we have wasted billions of dollars that could have been used to develop infrastructure and economic development in our inner cities.
We wrote a year ago that Putin is a man well trained to look into the mind and the soul of his opposition. So why does the United States continue to miss opportunity after opportunity to look into his?
The Russians are not blind to the West leading the charge to seek energy independence by driving down the price of oil. We applaud that. But we still need a clear understanding of the global implications of the significant political and military missteps and miscalculations that the world cannot afford in a nuclear age. When the U.S. economy is hurt, African American communities are hurt even more.
The Russian presence in Syria is changing the balance of political power, becoming more volatile than the Korean peninsula. When Putin sees the U.S. not taking action, continuing to ignore the Russian-led pincer movement, he sees the dismissal of the Middle East as a non-threat and as racist. Missed calculations created conflicts like the first and second world wars, the Korean conflict, Vietnam, the Middle East, and, in our country, slave and Jim Crow conflicts, today’s inner cities and along our border with Mexico.
There is no excuse for the United States not to have a solution for what is happening, especially in light of the recently formed and very dangerous coalition of Russia, Iran, Iraq, and the militarily rejuvenated Syria, about which we passively stand by and do nothing. Why give Putin 16 months to carry out his plan to put the USSR back together? And why do we continue to wait to put our urban neighborhoods back together?