The Past, two views

It’s hard to believe the mess Russia has made of things. They successfully concluded the Winter Olympics in Sochi and were sitting on a gold mine of public relations. Yet within a week they began to squander it. First, they annexed the Crimea, held sham elections, and promptly got sanctions targeted against themselves. They even managed to get themselves rejected from the G8. Would they stop there? No! They started messing around in eastern Ukraine and managed to get even more sanctions. Their best trick of all was to supply a bunch of militia amateurs with high tech surface-to-air missiles who in turn mistakenly shot down a commercial airliner. God almighty! That got the whole world involved. Then to top it off Russia refused to intervene to allow the world to mourn and recover it’s dead with dignity. The world has been horrified by the actions of Russia. No doubt more sanctions are coming. Way to go Russia! You’ve managed to squander all your public relations in just a few months. You’ve turned yourself into a pariah just like the old Soviet days.

Thomas Friedman has nailed it with a wisdom that applies globally as well as individually. How does one move ahead in life? You can either bury the future with the past or you can bury the past with the future. Are you going to be backward looking or forward-looking? Russia should be opening relations with Europe and other parts of the world, not forcing itself into isolation. Russia should be attracting trade and commerce. Not driving it out of the country. Russia sits on a gold mine of tourism. They should be developing it, yet they make tourists feel unwelcome. They insist on dwelling on the past and continue to control their past Soviet satellites. Russia should be encouraging Ukraine to expand and grow and develop relations with the world, instead they are trying to dominate and control it claiming they have an historical right to it. Russia is the most backward looking place I’ve ever visited.

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