Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Mean what you say

Earlier this past summer, when he found the time and managed to tear himself away from another arduous day on the links, U.S. President Barack Obama said this about the deepening Ukraine crisis: 'All options are on the table'. Ostensibly that cryptic line was Obama's response to Crimea's unanimous vote for secession from Ukraine and to join the Russian Federation. Obama went further. Before stepping on the gas pedal aboard Golf Cart One, Obama added the foreboding sentence: 'We've already 'teed-up' those options'. Whatever that is supposed to mean in presidential golf parlance!

Anyone one with a little imagination would surmise Obama meant in addition to enacting punitive economic (though illegal) sanctions against Russia, the U.S. President also consulted with the Pentagon to do what they do worst: spread their incessant wars, through regime change. More likely the scenario: the 'chicken hawks' in his State Department and the Pentagon already had those plans at the ready, decades ago. Now all that is required was to pull those DOD top secret files from the dusty shelves, dip in the slush jar and the U.S. military-industrial machismo democracy spreading machine was 'good to go'. Congress need not apply. Neither would they be apprised. Go it alone; business as usual.

Absent from my missive's title is the usual preface to that old but meaningful adage: 'Say what you mean'. Well, one could say that Obama fulfilled the first premise. Not so sure that he succeeded with the second part though. The problem lies with the operative word: 'All'. And given President Obama's status as Commander-in-Chief of the armed services as well the informal title of 'Leader of the Free World' by extension it seems right and just if any one private citizen or Member of Congress would hold Obama's 'feet to the fire' so to speak over that all inclusive 'All' word.

So far, that litmus test has not happened; not by the Congress; nor from the mainstream media; neither by the business and financial communities. Suffice it to say, that I've not read or heard everything reported in re Obama's rendering of that all important 'All' word. Moreover, in a democracy like the U.S. paradigm somewhere in that presidential 'all' litany you would expect to find at least one diplomatic option. One would also hope that 'diplomacy' sat atop the hierarchy of presidential priorities regarding solving the worsening crisis in Ukraine as well as those in other 'hot spots' around the globe.

And there is much historical precedent to embrace the diplomatic option, first and foremost. All one needs to do is re-visit the 1960's. During October of 1962 the young Kennedy Administration was in a similar position as Obama is today but much closer to home. The 'Cuban Missile Crisis' had the world on the brink of disaster, at the point of staring into the abyss. With both the U.S.S.R.'s and America's nuclear weapons already proliferating, the whole world was held hostage as the potentially deadly crisis 'played' out.

At the crisis' height, the two sides were well past the breaking point. Critical mass had already been reached when President John Kennedy authorized a naval blockade around Cuba. This high seas American maneuver, to many experts and scholars alike, was in fact a declaration of war on the Soviets. Their flotilla of navy war and supply ships was denied access to Cuba and forced to turn away. The Americans claimed that their enemy, Communist Cuba was building missile launch sites with hardware supplied by the Soviets. U.S. spy satellite imagery confirmed America's and Kennedy's worst fears.

Each passing day, for most people, meant that mankind was one step closer to a catastrophic nuclear conflagration. The world press feared that if indeed 'push came to shove' then for certain we all, would

Earlier this past summer, when he found the time and managed to tear himself away from another arduous day on the links, U.S. President Barack Obama said this about the deepening Ukraine crisis: 'All options are on the table'. Ostensibly that cryptic line was Obama's response to Crimea's unanimous vote for secession from Ukraine and to join the Russian Federation. Obama went further. Before stepping on the gas pedal aboard Golf Cart One, Obama added the foreboding sentence: 'We've already 'teed-up' those options'. Whatever that is supposed to mean in presidential golf parlance!

Anyone one with a little imagination would surmise Obama meant in addition to enacting punitive economic (though illegal) sanctions against Russia, the U.S. President also consulted with the Pentagon to do what they do worst: spread their incessant wars, through regime change. More likely the scenario: the 'chicken hawks' in his State Department and the Pentagon already had those plans at the ready, decades ago. Now all that is required was to pull those DOD top secret files from the dusty shelves, dip in the slush jar and the U.S. military-industrial machismo democracy spreading machine was 'good to go'. Congress need not apply. Neither would they be apprised. Go it alone; business as usual.

Absent from my missive's title is the usual preface to that old but meaningful adage: 'Say what you mean'. Well, one could say that Obama fulfilled the first premise. Not so sure that he succeeded with the second part though. The problem lies with the operative word: 'All'. And given President Obama's status as Commander-in-Chief of the armed services as well the informal title of 'Leader of the Free World' by extension it seems right and just if any one private citizen or Member of Congress would hold Obama's 'feet to the fire' so to speak over that all inclusive 'All' word.

So far, that litmus test has not happened; not by the Congress; nor from the mainstream media; neither by the business and financial communities. Suffice it to say, that I've not read or heard everything reported in re Obama's rendering of that all important 'All' word. Moreover, in a democracy like the U.S. paradigm somewhere in that presidential 'all' litany you would expect to find at least one diplomatic option. One would also hope that 'diplomacy' sat atop the hierarchy of presidential priorities regarding solving the worsening crisis in Ukraine as well as those in other 'hot spots' around the globe.

And there is much historical precedent to embrace the diplomatic option, first and foremost. All one needs to do is re-visit the 1960's. During October of 1962 the young Kennedy Administration was in a similar position as Obama is today but much closer to home. The 'Cuban Missile Crisis' had the world on the brink of disaster, at the point of staring into the abyss. With both the U.S.S.R.'s and America's nuclear weapons already proliferating, the whole world was held hostage as the potentially deadly crisis 'played' out.

At the crisis' height, the two sides were well past the breaking point. Critical mass had already been reached when President John Kennedy authorized a naval blockade around Cuba. This high seas American maneuver, to many experts and scholars alike, was in fact a declaration of war on the Soviets. Their flotilla of navy war and supply ships was denied access to Cuba and forced to turn away. The Americans claimed that their enemy, Communist Cuba was building missile launch sites with hardware supplied by the Soviets. U.S. spy satellite imagery confirmed America's and Kennedy's worst fears.

Each passing day, for most people, meant that mankind was one step closer to a catastrophic nuclear conflagration. The world press feared that if indeed 'push came to shove' then for certain we all, wouldMean what you say

fall over the cliff into extinction; winners and losers included. Soon many media sources abandoned all hope for a solution. Some key players in the Administration were of the same persuasion; they urged American citizens to build 'fallout shelters' wherever they could afford to: basements, backyard, underground tunnels, etc.

The Kennedys (John and Attorney General Bobby) though eschewed the pessimists. Instead, they worked the problem. The Oval Office candles now burnt well past the midnight hour. Working tirelessly, the brothers pulled 'all nighters'; one time for a week straight. Their adversary, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was a formidable foe; a feisty, desk pounding character and one not to be trifled with. No surprise; the always effusive Khrushchev in the past vowed to America, 'We will bury you'. However, under the present circumstances, he could not 'stand down', faced with the prospect, make that a certainty, the hardliners at the Kremlin would plot Khrushchev's immediate ouster if he capitulated to the young American President.

With that knowledge the Kennedys' discerned a novel strategy. Using a pragmatic 'lettered' approach they responded to Khrushchev's earlier conciliatory communiqué while ignoring the latter missive which was an ultimatum. Even though the Kennedy's were in a 'defensive mode', they took the moral high ground and conceded to Khrushchev's demand s to remove American missiles in Turkey. The Soviet leader sensed 'an out'. He agreed. Straight away Khrushchev ordered the dismantling of all Cuban missile installations.

There is a poignant message to be learned here. President Obama has made his intentions clear: he wants a positive legacy for his Presidency. And now that the GOP controls Congress after the mid-term elections, the prospects look dim for a good result from his domestic policies. Moreover, it is almost a certainty that the Affordable Care Act and his Immigration Amnesty Bill will wind up as dead ducks.

What better way is there to cement Obama's legacy than to invoke the 'Kennedy Option'? Doing so would bring his counterpart, Russian President Vladimir Putin back to the Minsk table for honest and productive discussions. More important, the world would breathe a sigh of relief and a major, protracted global recession could be avoided or at least shortened. So what if Putin keeps Crimea? It was Russia's all along.

And who knows? Maybe next year those good housekeeping folks over at Forbes Magazine may even bestow on him the honor of 'the world's most influential person'. And that achievement comes with a silver lining: President Putin would be denied the 'three-peat'.

Not holding my breath...

Montresor