By Harry C. Alford

NNPA Columnist

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is the latest in a series of interaction between this aggressive government and the United States.  In 2008, when Russia invaded the nation of Georgia that was flaunting total freedom from Russian influence, we imposed economic and trade sanctions on Russia in retaliation.  So, when Obama appointed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, the administration  decided to be nice to Russia and hope that things would get better.

Secretary Clinton said they wanted to “reset” with Russia. In a public ceremony, they held a gadget that said “reset.”  It was actually a device for a Jacuzzi which they pilfered from their hotel. She exclaimed in Russian “Reset!”  They should have checked the actual translation.  The Russian Foreign Secretary said that wasn’t reset rather it meant “overcharge.”  How amateurish and clumsy.  While they ended all the sanctions as a good gesture and new start, Russian President Vladimir Putin must have been smiling and saying to himself, “They are so weak”.

So here we are.  Russia has a president who wrestles bears and has a background as a KGB professional (their version of CIA).  We have a president whose background is that of a community organizer and wears “mom jeans.”  Russia is building up its military as is China, India, Iran and others who might rival us soon.  We are proposing to slash our military like never before all the while hot spots are starting to appear right before us.  We shrunk our military in like fashion after World War II.  It resulted in North Korea, Russia and China figuring we did not have the guts to support South Korea so they invaded.  We had to lose a lot of young soldiers in that war because we weren’t ready.  Let us recall that hard lesson and not repeat it.

We didn’t see this Ukraine event coming, although Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney predicted such an event. Russia lined up 150,000 troops along their border with Ukraine and sent in another 15,000 troops into the Crimea region of the nation, an area populated with many people of Russian descent.  Putin claimed he was going in to protect those ethnic Russians.

Funny, that is the same reason Adolph Hitler gave when he invaded Czechoslovakia and Romania.  The White House called an emergency strategy meeting.  They were all there except one person, our president.  The next day he put in a round of golf and then headed for a fundraiser.  It was like Benghazi when four Americans were killed and he could not be found.  The next day he flew to Las Vegas for a fundraiser.  I don’t think he understands or responds to pressure.

What should he do now that Russia has thrown down?  Europe is intimidated because Russia has a monopoly on supplying coal and natural gas to those nations.  This is actually an opportunity for us.  We can actually begin selling coal to Europe at a better price.  We can also begin exporting natural gas since we have become so productive via the fracking process we have started.  The problem is President Obama’s cronies, the environmental movement, will complain as they want to kill coal and stop fracking.  We can’t stop because there is too much money to be made in trade and no proof of environmental danger.  Nations such as Russia, Brazil, China and India certainly aren’t caring about it as they use this energy like I-40 going east.  Our energy is about national security and our economic future.  This will also give our allies reason to stand strong and resist the evil ways of Putin.

Our president gave a knee jerk reaction by stating he will not attend the next G8 Summit in protest of the invasion.  He should have checked with our allies first.  None of them are saying that and will probably attend.  Thus, we are going to be the only member absent and will be seen as an outlier.  We aren’t going to isolate Russia but isolate ourselves.  He should take this back.

One thing we should do is start building the missile shield system we promised Poland and Czechoslovakia.  This is justified now that we know Russia is longing for the old Soviet Union days of invading its neighbors and exploiting its power through bullying.  This is about having courage and strength.  Think of a school yard.  Bullies do not choose to fight those who are willing to fight if it is necessary.  Only those who are timid, unprepared and without courage will suffer from the bullying.  America, let’s be strong once again

Harry C. Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®.  Website:  Email:

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Freddie Allen is the National News Editor for the NNPA News Wire and 200-plus Black newspapers. 20 million readers. You should follow Freddie on Twitter and Instagram @freddieallenjr.

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