Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Is Putin Winning? The Ukraine Crisis Remains Unresolved.

11/09/2014 1 comment

Some people interpret the cease fire in Ukraine as a victory for Russia and Vladimir Putin. The reasoning is that the cease fire leaves Ukraine with disputed borders, which rules out Ukraine’s membership in NATO. But will the cease fire hold? No, I don’t think so. I think we learned enough from the previous cease fire. And there are already reports of violations of the cease fire. Guns might be silent in eastern Ukraine right now, but President Vladimir Putin as an anachronistic leader still fighting the Cold War and seeking to expand Russia’s territory.

The big questions is, what is going to happen next? Well, we all hope for that day to come sooner, when all the separatists are gone from Ukraine and Ukraine can start recovering from this crisis that is tearing apart the whole country. Instead, Russia has started working on other things on the side. Kidnapped Estonian agent and ‘green men’ in Moldova… Is President Putin moving on to his next targets? President Barack Obama visited Estonia last week and reaffirmed the United States’ and NATO’s commitment to the security of Estonia. Just two days later, Russian agents crossed the border and using smoke grenades and radio jamming devices, kidnapped an officer of the country’s Internal Security Service. Eston Kohver, kidnapped Estonian officer, appeared later that day in Moscow, here he was charged with spying and carrying an illegal handgun. Russia claims that Kohver was arrested on Russian soil, but Estonian officials claim that not only is this untrue, but that Kohver appears to have walked into a trap set by Russia’s security service, the FSB.

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said: “The masks have fallen. We see how Russia continues to isolate itself from democratic nations.” Addressing the taking of the security officer, he said, “Russian security service FSB kidnapped an Estonian citizen from Estonian soil and took him to a prison in Moscow and even bans the Estonian consul from meeting the Estonian citizen.”

Meanwhile, E.U. and the U.S. are trying to come up with the further sanction to counter Putin’s intimidation. They believe that Russia will eventually surrender under the economic pain, which should be obvious, yet Putin is not showing any marks of weaknesses on his side. The problem is that the West is not willing to put major sanctions on Russia out of concern for the adverse consequences on their own economies. While I completely understand that we can’t collapse our own economies, we need to sacrifice a little to stop Russia’s aggression. And we all know, if we let Putin win this one, he will NOT stop. Never.

Few weeks ago, the United Nations human rights office in Geneva implicated the pro-Russian separatists in repugnant crimes of war:

Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine are guilty of a wide array of human rights abuses, including murder, abductions and torture, and are receiving a “steady supply” of sophisticated weapons and ammunition, according to a U.N. report obtained by Reuters.

“Armed groups continue to commit killings, abductions, physical and psychological torture, ill treatment, executions, murder and other serious human rights abuses,” the report said, adding that violations were “disproportionately targeting civilians.”

Putin has free hands to act with impunity inside the Ukraine. It is a war in Europe. The 23-year-old post-Cold War order has crumbled, and we need to put an end on it.


Should citizens be allowed to carry guns?

According to the FBI, between 2006 and 2010, 47 856 people have died gun related deaths. That would make 34 people every day. I also found an interesting fact on Barack Obama’s official Twitter account: Since 1968, more than 1.3 million Americans have died from gun violence. That’s more than in all of the wars in American history combined. That is some shocking statistics and something has to be done. It is clear that there is always going to be people who are either pro or against the gun laws, but U.S. can’t go on like this anymore. There are way too many gun related deaths in the United States. Over many years, there has been a heated debate about gun control. There have been many deaths in the past in relation to guns, therefore making many people be against the access to guns in the United States. I am opposed to this viewpoint. I say this because there are many things that people do not realise like the fact that criminals are criminals, they will find a way, and the fact that crime rates have risen in countries that have banned firearms.  But should citizens be allowed to carry guns? How much control should be placed on them?

No citizen should feel unsafe in his own home. Having the right to a firearm to protect oneself should not be taken away from any citizen. Some might look at that number of 34 people a day and might be outraged. I, however, see that this helps my point very well. About 45 percent of these deaths are delivered from guns from the black market, and 40 percent are the killing of criminals with legal guns. And yes, I do care about rest of the 15 percent of criminals attacking innocent or innocent people killing innocent people with legal guns, and I find that a problem, but this will continue to happen, even if there are laws that outlaw all guns. People will buy weapons from the black market anyway. Criminals are criminals. They will never learn. Mentally unstable criminals will find a way, no matter what law is in their way. Since when have criminals abided by laws? If these laws are passed it will only encourage crimes that show the government who is in charge. In the US, 44.1% of criminals go to jail more than once. In England, where all firearms are banned, the crime rates have risen 89% from what they were before there was a ban on firearms. This happens because nobody has a form of protection. Nobody can brandish a handgun to a threat to scare them away. It may seem scary to have people have the power to kill you all the time, but one must trust others and dismiss any paranoia that could result by this.

To be honest, sometimes I really don’t feel that safe being in the U.S. Especially when I am in the bigger cities like Chicago or New York City. It’s probably because I come from a little European country where gun violence practically doesn’t exist, but the facts of the gun violence in the United States speaks for itself. There are just way too many gun related deaths in the United States. At the same time, private citizens legally owning guns enables people to protect themselves from criminals. Taking guns from law abiding citizens who use them for target shooting, hunting or self protection doesn’t solve anything. If someone wants to commit a crime with a firearm, they can get a hold of any type they want from the black market. Sure citizens owning guns makes it easier for a person who is not in organised crime to go on a shooting spree, however you cannot solve society’s biggest problems by taking the freedom away from everybody. Then you end up with north Korea. Small, extremely rare events such as the Connecticut shooting should not take the rights away from the millions of people all across the country who abide all gun laws and use firearms for legitimate uses. All the people who are opposed to citizens owning firearms are people who don’t have a need for firearms and have never appreciated the importance of firearms in some people’s lives. I don’t believe you can compare the US gun laws and firearm related crime rates to any other developed countries because other countries were created on completely different constitutions. The US has a violent past that was largely influenced by firearms. There is also vast amounts of wilderness in the US where hunting is a way of life for people. To take away guns would be altering traditions and ways of life that date back to before this country was confederated.

George Washington once said: “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence.” There is a lot of people who say that military should only have weapons, not anyone else. And this is true, because without guns, Unites States of America would not have that good military. Why do they carry weapons? It is to protect themselves. Should citizens have a right to protect themselves? I think so. After all and I say it again, it isn’t guns who kill people, it is people who kill people. The thing is, with guns, if we outlaw them, that’s not stopping the bad guys from getting them, it is stopping the good people who abide by the law. There are already so many illegal guns on the street that law enforcement has their hands tied and banning them would just add that much more.  One more reason is that if we ban having a concealed weapon then wouldn’t we have to ban being able to carry a pocket knife? Or having a baseball bat. Vehicles kill people to! What would we do without cars? Banning handguns would not lessen the amount of guns on the street and would not lessen crime rate. I did some further research on the gun violence and self-defence in U.S. and found some very interesting statistics: Incidents of gun violence and self-defense have routinely ignited bitter debate. 12,632 murders were committed using firearms and 613 persons were killed unintentionally in 2007. Surveys have suggested that guns are used in crime deterrence or prevention around 2.5 million times a year in the United States. The American Journal of Public Health conducted a study that concluded “the United States has higher rates of firearm ownership than do other developed nations, and higher rates of homicide. Of the 233,251 people who were homicide victims in the United States between 1988 and 1997, 68% were killed with guns, of which the large majority were handguns.” The estimated in 1995 that the number of firearms available in the US was 223 million.

Guns do not decide to get up and shoot themselves. They must have a finger to pull the trigger. A human finger. People kill people. We humans are animate, alive, and we have the freedom of choice. Why should we change what is working? We should stay with the tried and true, and not risk the freedom of people. The guns used to commit crimes are stolen and black market weapons. Private citizens are threatened by these criminals and need a form of protection for themselves. Criminals will find a way to acquire weapons even if they are illegal for the private citizen. Then, the private citizen is just less protected than before.