"He is my dog, Toto,"
As is well known, the so-called
“Cowardly Lion” proved to be quite heroic when needed and
was awarded the “Courage Medal” from Professor Marvel (aka
“The Wizard of Oz”) in the 1939 film. In the
original publication (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum, Pictures by W. W. Denslow; 1900, George
M. Hill: Chicago, New York), it seems his reward for
courage took the form of some alcoholic beverage (probably
"I have come for my courage," announced the Lion,
entering the room.
Courage, like bravery, is
usually a purposeful action, though is sometimes manifest
through inaction or “holding back.” Reluctance or an
unwillingness to proceed may sometimes be considered a
prudent choice. Brave reluctance when faced with
instinctual reaction is rare, though not unknown nor often
not entirely and thoroughly understood.
When Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished on March 8, 2014 on its way from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China with 227 passengers from various nations along with 12 Malaysian crew members, most assumed the plane had crashed. To date, no debris has been located and the disappearance stubbornly resembles an episode of The Twilight Zone television series. Except, the missing plane, passengers, and crew are real and the disappearance was not scripted by Rod Serling or any of the other half-dozen screenwriter contributors. Now, it's difficult to accept the mysterious and unknown, but sometimes (as in the case of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370) one has no choice but to say it's enigmatic and no answers (or guesses) are satisfactory.
The July 17, 2014 downing of
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 from a surface-to-air
missile over Eastern Ukraine with 298 passengers and crew
is in a different category, as everyone knows it was a
Russian supplied Buk missile system (SA-11 "Gadfly") that
the Pro-Russian Ukrainians used (either purposely or
accidentally is still unknown), and said Buk system was
quickly hauled back into Russian territory for obvious
reasons. There's said to be video of the transfer,
but I've yet to see it. Regardless, Russia is
actively assisting the Eastern Ukrainian Separatists with
an end-game similar to its recent takeover of
Crimea. Matters seem to get uglier on a daily basis.
As the flight originated in Amsterdam and it's believed approximately 193 were Dutch, the restraint of Prime Minister Mark Rutte has been admirable. As has the reluctance of Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia not to risk any lives in the gruesome and dangerous task of recovering physical remains, as fighting in the area continues and there are reports the area surrounding the wreckage has been seeded with landmines. Actually I consider all of Europe and the U.S. to be brave reluctants by not taking direct military action. Kind of like when Pres. Obama was expected to attack Syria for using gas on its own people but didn't. Sometimes it takes courage to wait...
After the emergence of the
Pro-Russian Eastern Ukrainian military movement, the
President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, reminded the world
of the 1994 Budapest Memorandums, specifically the one
which reads: “The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United
States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain
from the threat or use of force against the territorial
integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that
none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine
except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the
Charter of the United Nations.” The use of the term
“weapons” need not be WMD, as conventional aggression may
still conquer a country, such as Russia's recent takeover
of Crimea. So far, there's been shallow economic
sanctions against Russia and more media at the plane crash
site than investigators or armed personal to assist
Ukrainian interests. Ukraine gave up nearly two
hundred nuclear bombs for a promise of future protection
against aggression and it appears ...there was some fine
print somewhere that Ukraine didn't understand...
Linguistic and ethnic components are important in establishing a nation or country, though the United States would never consider giving large tracts of land to the Hispanics, let alone honor their past treaties with the Native Americans. The Kurds have had problems for years, yet few beside academics seem to care about their ancient history and modern issues with Turkey and Iraq.
The retired Russian intelligence officer, Colonal Igor Ivanovich “Girkin” Strelkov, participated in the Russian seizure of Crimea and now serves as the de facto leader of the Pro-Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine, though he issues his commands as if he's a power-drunk philosopher ready to engage in ethnic and social cleansing. By most accounts, he's a polite tyrant...
President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the Post-Soviet leader of Russia,seems nostalgic for his KGB past, posits a hard-line of intolerance, and any honest discussion of his behavior would ultimately invoke Godwin's Law... The similarities are too creepy... It's said the Pres. Obama telephoned Pres. Putin the other day and that instead of discussing the situation in Eastern Ukraine, they argued about how the new film, Guardians of the Galaxy, would fit into the overall cinematic Marvel Universe. Needless to add, they couldn't agree...
Petro Poroshenko (President of Ukraine), Igor Girkin Srelkov (unofficial leader of the Eastern Ukraine Resistance), and Vladimir Putin (President of Russia).
The problems faced with Putin and the Ukraine represent just one of many critical and problematic areas of conflict around the world. Especially noteworthy is the emergence of ISIS or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (and many changing variants) has achieved the unique distinction of being too brutal in its tactics for al-Qaeda. That's a “wow” for all the wrong reasons! The terrorist group at one time had Iraqi military forces dropping their weapons and running away and took control of Mosul, Takrit, and was closing in on Baghdad before the Iraqi military decided to take up their arms and begin to fight back. They have also staged many attacks in Western Syria, often accompanied by atrocities involving women and children. Their “leader,” Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has spoken of taking back Muslim lands in Spain and eventually ...the entire world. One would expect nothing less than total global domination from such a madman. That Pres. Obama has only authorized 300 military advisers to assist the Iraqi forces seems surprising, at least to me. I'd think that in memory of all our losses in Iraq we would want to secure the country... To repeat, to secure the country of Iraq that we sacrificed so much for their freedom. Just saying...
And, finally, among the many despots and ugly gangsters that trouble the world, mention must be made of the vicious thugs of the Nigerian Boko Haram ("Western education is a sin") who came to the attention of Western media after the April 2014 kidnapping of over 200 school girls. Last week, they kidnapped the wife of the Vice Prime Minister of Cameroon... Yet, since their inception in the mid-1990s, the terrorist group has killed at least 1000, but likely many more. Their leader, Abukar Shekau, has ties to al-Qaeda and many African ethnic hate-groups. Reams of paper protests have been issued by various governments and the United Nations, yet no significant military force has yet to stand up against these cheap thugs and murderers.
Perhaps our brave reluctants are realists who understand limitations and recognize how easy it is for minor conflicts to escalate into major wars. We must do right, but not at the expense of our humanity. Now, we just have to figure out how...
Lions, and tigers, and bears don't seem too bad when
the thought of WWIII,