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I saw the lead story on Drudge: “Russian warship in Havana.”

My instant reaction – the Cuban Missile Crisis again.

Then came the announcement by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel that this administration plans to further cut our military defenses – across the board, from boots on the ground to forces in the air and on the seas to levels pre-World War II.

Then, the pot got stirred between Ukraine and Russia – both sides pushing the limits of what each would tolerate, all while protesters – some might call them rioters – in Freedom Square made good television for the West but little real sense to American commentators and news readers.

They saw the violence, the beatings, the shootings, the injuries and deaths but the reality of what was going on was beyond the ken of most of us.

Americans tend to look at the superficial, and because we’re notorious for our lack of knowledge of history, we tend to reach the wrong, and often naïve conclusions.

All the while, Venezuela is in turmoil and don’t forget Syria, Iran, North Korea and China.

All that within a week. For anyone with a modicum of knowledge of history, this should be chilling.

The first reaction from Washington was silence.

Then, came the sonorous statements from Secretary of State John Kerry to the Russians – urging them to keep their promises (to be good) and warning Moscow against military moves that could inflame tensions.

Before the U.S. president made a public statement, eight Russian transport planes landed in Crimea with unknown cargo. We also learned that President Putin got permission from his parliament to send troops to the border.

Finally Barack Obama was heard from, urging Russia to reduce tension and pull back his troops.

Oh. 

The Associated Press reports that the two presidents had a 90-minute phone call on Saturday. There were no specifics of what was said, but a White House statement says the U.S. condemns Russia’s reach into Ukrainian territory.

Americans also learned that Obama warned Russia that “there will be costs” to any military actions they launch in Ukraine.

No doubt that had President Putin shaking in his boots as he learned that two possible ways Obama might retaliate against Russia would be to cancel a planned trip to Russia this year for an international summit and/or a possible end to trade discussions.

Teddy Roosevelt said “Speak softly, but carry a big stick.”

Too bad for us and, indeed, the free world, that Obama forgot the part about the “big stick.”

Either he is the most ignorant world leader about international politics and history or he’s intentionally putting the United States in a position to not only be the laughing stock of the world, but to put this country in the bullseye of every regime that wants to destroy us.

If Russia had a sense of respect or fear for Obama and this country and our capability and intent to defend freedom, would he:

  • Ignore Obama and authorize military in Ukraine?
  • Accept the demand by his upper house of his government to recall Moscow’s ambassador to the U.S.?
  • Allow the pro-Russian prime minister of Crimea to control all military, police and security in that area?
  • Send the Viktor Leonov CCB-175 armed, intelligence warship with a crew of 200 to the port of Havana? It amounts to a blatant, “in your face” insult to the United States, given the history of the communist supported Cuban regime of Castro, which apparently is being reignited.
  • Proceed to approach eight countries to establish use of facilities for Russian ships and planes – starting with Cuba and also Venezuela, Nicaragua, Algeria, Cyprus, the Seychelles, Vietnam and Singapore?

Americans should review history and realize the Soviet Union supported Cuba during the Cold War, and the Cuban Missile Crisis was not a Hollywood fabrication, but the closest this country came to nuclear war with the Soviets, from a position just 90 miles from Florida.

Yes, THAT close.

Enough history has been rewritten in the interim that most people under 50 have no concept of the dangers of the Cold War. They tend to see it as a time of threats and nothing happening.

The resolute positions of Ronald Reagan and his administration ensured that we – the West – won that one. But have no doubt, history is in rerun with even more threatening dangers. The world sees this.

During the Cold War, only the U.S. and Russia had nukes. Today, who knows for certain who has what – from nuclear weapons to more exotic weaponry?

All that sounds militarily intensive to me, but what we get from Washington is a warning for Americans to avoid nonessential travel to Crimea and Ukraine – because of “the potential for instability.”

It’s another of those governmental understatements.

Anyone with half a grain of sense would realize we’re on the verge of another Cold War, which may last beyond the next headline and could easily turn into the hottest of hot wars.

In light of that, the administration held a meeting of our national security team on the issue of Russia and Ukraine last Saturday.

Some were there in person, others – Vice President Joseph Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry were teleconferencing, but the main man didn’t show.

That’s right. The man, the president, the leader of the free world, Barack Obama, chose not to attend.

Not a word from anyone on why – or where he was.

Isn’t he the president, or did he resign and not tell us?

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