March 7, 2022
The rise in petroleum prices that we are seeing these days reinforces the need for the United States and other countries to speed up the shift to renewable, clean energy. Supply chain issues, the COVID Pandemic, and now Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine are all playing roles in the current rise of gas prices (and inflation) which we’re seeing around the world.
Humanity started to increasingly rely on the use of fossil fuels in the 19th century with the use of coal to warm homes, power factories, and run railroads and steamships. With the invention of the combustion engine, fossil fuel use really exploded in the 20th century as more and more people relied on automobiles powered by petroleum products. Coal firing plants to supply energy to cities grew in size and number as did manufacturing facilities. The result of all this was a precipitous rise in CO2 levels in the atmosphere. According to NASA, during the last Ice Age, CO2 levels were around 185 ppm (parts per million)and rose to about 280 ppm by 1850. In January of 2022, it was up to 418. This dramatic increase since 1850 is clearly due to human activity (particularly from the use of fossil fuels). We know from exhaustive research that rising atmospheric CO2 levels causes average temperatures to go up as well, which in turn has created the Climate Change Crisis that the planet is experiencing today.
In order to combat Human Caused Climate Change, we need to lower atmospheric CO2 levels, and the best way to do that is to decrease the use of fossil fuels while increasing the use of renewable, clean energy sources. Another added benefit will be less reliance on having to import petroleum from other parts of the world because as we are currently seeing how regional and world events can lead to rising petroleum prices that we have to pay due to our reliance on fossil fuels.
With everything that is going on (including the likelihood of banning Russian petroleum exports), in the short term, other parts of the world will need to increase oil production in order to prevent gas prices from getting too exorbitantly high. But in the long run, we need to speed up the process of shifting away from fossil fuels and towards the use of renewable, clean energy because it will be better for the planet and also will likely allow the United States and other countries to become less reliant on the necessity to import such significant amounts of their energy needs.
March 6, 2022
The world is finally recognizing how viciously brutal Vladimir Putin is with Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine. Things will not be the same, and we all will need to adapt to this new world.
Nations around the globe must stand as united as possible against Russia, supplying Ukraine with military and financial aid while also isolating and punishing Russia both diplomatically and financially. The sanctions that have been implemented are important and will hurt the Russian economy significantly. The value of the ruble has already dropped precipitously which is certainly a step in the right direction. The current sanctions are stronger than any Russia has ever faced in modern times, but we need to realize that the international community may also need to ban Russia’s petroleum exports as well.
In 2019, Russia’s top two exports were Crude Petroleum at 123 billion dollars and Refined Petroleum at 66.2 billion dollars. Current sanctions haven’t hit this area very hard thus far because of the world’s thirst for petroleum. The United States obtains about 5% of it’s petroleum products from Russia while for European countries, it’s much higher (about 50% for Germany). This is why nations have been hesitant about banning Russian petroleum exports. The world is already battling inflation, and there is legitimate concern about how much that could worsen if Russian petroleum gets prohibited. But we may need to implement such bans in order to really put the financial squeeze on Putin and his government seeing how horrendously brutal the Russian invasion has become and due to the fact that if we don’t stop Putin in Ukraine, there is a very real chance he will continue similar moves in other countries such as Georgia, Moldova, and perhaps even Finland.
It’s time for the international community to stand up to Vladimir Putin and keep him in check. In order to accomplish this, we will all likely have to make some sacrifices. For most of the world it will mean higher gas prices and probably worsened inflation for a time. But that is a small price to pay when you consider what the Ukrainian people are suffering through right now and the need to prevent others from having to experience the same fate.
March 5, 2022
We’re all watching Russia’s vicious, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in horror and disgust. The images we’re seeing on the news every day are heart-wrenching and devastating. So many innocent lives being torn apart, destroyed, and lost needlessly and tragically because of one person: Vladimir Putin.
I’m not a religious person and rarely refer to someone as evil, but Putin is a truly horrible, evil human being. He has brutally and viciously attacked Ukraine despite the fact that Ukraine has never been any real threat to Russia. Vladimir Putin is a cold-blooded, cruel authoritarian autocrat who despises true democracy. He thinks the dissolution of the former Soviet Union was a terrible event and that Ukraine does not deserve to be independent from Russia. Think about how utterly twisted a philosophy that is, yet this is how Putin seems to think. He has had political opponents imprisoned and murdered and has established authoritarian type control over Russian media. This is a guy who is doing everything he can to have as much power and control as he can get away with. He despises the fact that Ukraine has become a democracy that over the last few years has grown closer to the rest of Europe and more distant from Russia. Frankly, he can’t seem to stand the fact that Ukraine is independent from Russia in any form or fashion. It’s clear that in the long run, he wants to establish as much control over former Soviet republics as he can get away with.
And now we are all witnessing the consequences of Putin’s twisted, authoritarian philosophy and quest for more power which has resulted in his viciously brutal attack upon Ukraine. We are seeing news footage every day of innocent Ukrainians’ suffering and senseless deaths. This in turn has led to a number of people clamoring for the United States and the rest of NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine (like was done in the Balkans) in an attempt to ease the senseless slaughter. As tempting is this idea may be, there’s a very good reason why it’s not going to happen.
When NATO imposed a no-fly zone in the Balkans, the situation was totally different. It was being done against a force that had almost no air power and very limited air defense systems. More importantly, there was virtually no chance that the conflict would spread into a wider war. The current situation is nothing like that. Russia is a major military power with a very large nuclear arsenal whose military doctrine includes the idea of first strike use of nuclear weapons, particularly tactical nukes. If the United States and the rest of NATO started to impose a no-fly zone, in all likelihood, NATO planes would have to shoot down Russian planes. This would likely lead to Russia trying to shoot down NATO planes with anti-aircraft missiles and jet fighters. Then NATO would probably begin trying to take out Russian anti-aircraft missile sites on the ground in addition to Russian planes in the air. In other words, trying to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine would very likely lead to war between NATO and Russia. If that happened, there is a very real chance that it would expand into a much wider war, World World War III. In such a war, four nuclear powers would be involved with the United States, Great Britain, and France being those on one side and Russia on the other. The risk of such a war ending in an exchange of nuclear weapons is just too dangerous.
This is why NATO is not going to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine. The international community must unite and work together as much as possible to isolate and punish Vladimir Putin for his bloody invasion of Ukraine. We need as many countries as possible to impose severe sanctions upon Russia in order to make Putin and his Oligarch supporters suffer financially. Nations also need to provide as much military and humanitarian aid as possible to the Ukrainian people and military to help Ukraine fight back against Russia’s brutality.
The invasion of Ukraine is clearly heartbreaking, vicious, brutal, and outright criminal, but as we respond to Russia’s horrendous actions, we must do so with clear heads because while we need to isolate and punish Russia, a wider war that could go nuclear would be even more devastating.
Feb 27, 2022
I have great admiration for the courage and strength that Ukrainians are showing in fighting against Vladimir Putin’s vicious, brutal aggression. They are inspiring people around the world in the way they are standing up for freedom and democracy against great odds.
Vladimir Putin is clearly a barbaric, ruthless authoritarian autocrat who for years has had a reputation of being cold blooded and calculating in his quest to enhance and expand his power. He has imprisoned and killed political opponents as well as established significant control over Russian media. It’s also become quite clear how he desperately wants to reestablish as much dominance and control over former Soviet republics as he can because he views the dissolution of the Soviet Union as a catastrophic event. Another factor that is likely playing a role is that Russian power in the world has been decreasing while that of other countries such as China has been rising. But what is more disturbing is how it seems Putin has become increasingly unhinged, desperate, and likely surrounded by individuals who never disagree with him. It’s obvious that he has despised and fumed at seeing an independent Ukraine which has become more democratic and closer to the European Union while growing increasingly distant from Russia. This toxic soup of Putin’s led to his seizure of Crimea in 2014 and his instigation of Russian separatists in the Donbas region. These actions pushed Ukraine even closer to the West and more distant from Russia. And now we have Putin’s brutal, unwarranted Russian invasion, a blatant move of bloody aggression as he attempts to impose even more dominance and control over Ukraine. Furthermore, what’s also dangerously disturbing is that considering Putin’s attitude regarding former Soviet republics (don’t forget that he already seizured part of Georgia), it’s obvious that he doesn’t intend to stop with Ukraine.
We all need to unite against this senseless, vicious, bloody brutality and rally to Ukraine’s support. I’m glad the United States, NATO, and other countries are imposing serious sanctions to punish Putin’s Russia. The international community must isolate Russia as much as possible and make it the pariah that it has become. And nations need to send as much aid as they can to Ukraine in the form of weapons, ammunition, and humanitarian supplies to help the Ukrainian people as they battle Putin’s tyranny.
It’s clear that a renewed cold war has now descended upon the world, and it will be vitally important for as much of the international community as possible to work together for as long as it takes to minimize the damage Putin can inflict upon the world.