Tahlequah Daily Press

March 6, 2014

Putin switches attention from Olympics to taking over Ukraine


TAHLEQUAH — Russia’s President Vladamir Putin, former head of the KGB before the Soviet Union splintered under the weight of the arms race, has taken up his old habits now that the international community has vacated Sochi and the Olympic torch has been extinguished.

It seems as though Putin wants the old Soviet Empire to rise again.

He reclaimed Georgia in 2004. There was but a little whimper from the United Nations and virtually no response from a United States that was already engaged in two regional wars. Chalk one up for Putin.

Fast forward to February 2014. Putin again moves on a former satellite nation; this time it’s the Ukraine. We have been told by the lightweights in the national media that the Russian military has maintained a warm water port on the Crimean peninsula in the port city of Sevastopol for the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

That’s the nuts and bolts of what’s been happening since the Olympic torch was extinguished.

What’s the U.S., the U.N. or the European Union doing about this blatant incursion into a sovereign nation?

Well, the EU has turned its back on the people of the Ukraine.

How about the U.N.? Well, as of this moment, absolutely nothing.

Well, the United States must be doing something. I guess if one would call sending Secretary of State John Kerry to the Ukraine doing something, OK, it’s something. But it’s like sending a poodle to fight a Doberman Pinscher. Further, President Obama has scolded the Russian president. That’s something, but don’t expect too much out of the former community organizer; this whole world stage thing is out of his league.

Putin’s the kind of knuckle-dragger that was weaned by the former Soviet secret police.

He knows how to intimidate and he’s become the world’s most recent schoolyard bully.

So, what does this have to do with Tahlequah?

I suppose not much at first glance.

That is until one looks at the commodities report that took a major hit on Monday. Oil prices surged to nearly $105 a barrel for light crude. The price of gold, which had been in a freefall surged over $32 at the opening of commodities trading before it settled back to a more realistic $30 increase per ounce.

So what?

Well, when the world gets nervous, prices for commodities like oil (gasoline, heating oil and natural gas) spike because the world’s supplies travel through some of the most troubled parts of the world.

Even agricultural products took a huge jump on the Chicago Board of Trade. Corn was up to $4.72 a bushel, soybeans were selling at $14.10 a bushel and wheat went through the roof, selling at $6.34 a bushel, an increase of $3.10 in just one day.

Expect the price of gasoline to continue to rise. Bread, corn tortillas, a steak or a slab of bacon will jump as tensions continue to rise in Ukraine.

Keith Hansen is publisher of the Tahlequah Daily Press.