Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, March 19, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 14

OPINION Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 19, 2022 14 OPINION Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 19, 2022 14 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 


Peter Lamendola 


Stuart Tolchin 
Audrey SwansonMeghan MalooleyMary Lou CaldwellKevin McGuire 
Chris Leclerc 
Bob Eklund 
Howard HaysPaul CarpenterKim Clymer-KelleyChristopher NyergesPeter Dills 
Rich Johnson 
Lori Ann Harris 
Rev. James SnyderKatie HopkinsDeanne Davis 
Despina ArouzmanJeff Brown 
Marc Garlett 
Keely TotenDan Golden 
Rebecca WrightHail Hamilton 
Joan Schmidt 
LaQuetta Shamblee 

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Yeah, the problem with predictions is that they are so 

frequently wrong and yet so hard to give up. For the past two 

weeks my columns have predicted that the President of the 

Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, would be vilified by history. I 

was certain that his refusal to accede to the takeover of his 

country by Russia would be understood to have been the cause 

of huge unnecessary destruction and losses of life. I had be

lieved in the correctness of the news presentations which said 

that the takeover was a forgone conclusion and that resistance, 

although praiseworthy in its defense of democratic and hu

manitarian ideals was completely futile. Based on these assumptions 
I reasoned that the only intelligent thing that Zelensky could have done was to 
allow the annexation of his country and to then try and bring about some humanist reform 
within Russia. 

Today, there is no doubt that I was completely wrong in my predictions. The former 
Jewish comedian is being viewed as the greatest defender of Democracy since Winston 
Churchill. I arose early this morning and taped Zelensky’s speech by zoom to the assembled 
American Congress. It was a moving presentation describing the Ukrainian fight to preserve 
democracy as a significant resistance necessary to fight the approaching world-wide 
tides of potential autocracy. The reference that resonated with me was the connection to 
Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech” of January 18, 2010. Zelensky connected 
himself beautifully by saying “I have a need” to protect my country and democracy and 
I need your American assistance. His presentation, which included a moving video displaying 
the terrorist carnage in the Ukraine’s major cities, then moved to Zelensky himself 
speaking English to the assembled tearful legislators. His speaking English emphasized the 
international connection. 

Just a couple of weeks ago, after the initiation of the Russian attacks, the news programs 
described Zelensky as Putin’s target number 1. Zelensky was said to be in hiding, 
in fear for his life when surprisingly in the news of the next day he appeared in the open 
defying Putin and telling the world that he would fight for the independence and survival 
of his own country; He carefully explained that his fight was a fight to maintain the democratic 
ideals of the whole world. He spoke not as an objectively removed reporter, nor as 
a posturing politician; but rather as a T-shirted activist risking his life in the struggle. The 
well-deserved standing ovation was a recognition by American leaders of the importance of 
our own oft-stated, but rarely followed, ideals. 

I taped the presentation and later showed it twice to my intellectually impaired son. 
(Really, he seems to be getting smarter all the time and is a wonderful caring person and 
remains one of the great pleasures that life has given to me.) We viewed Zelensky’s speech 
twice and I brought out an Atlas and showed him where in the Ukraine my father and 
grandfather were born. I showed him where they walked across The Ukraine and Poland to 
eventually get to England and then to America. My son wondered if there were bad people 
in the Ukraine and if that the reason my family father left. I told him yes there were bad 
people there and then he asked if Zelensky was a bad guy or a good guy. I told him that yes 
Zelensky was a good guy but I tried to explain to him that everyone was really a good guy if 
you can understand where they are coming from and what they have experienced.

 After my column of last week extoling pacifism, a friend had alerted me to the ancient 
African philosophy of Ubuntu. Prior to the weekend I had never heard of the philosophy 
but now I had gone to the Arcadia Library and checked out two books that discussed 
the philosophy. I had only the time to read a few pages of the introductions to the book; but 
enough to learn a bit. This ancient transcendent philosophy based upon an appreciation of 
human connectedness, compassion, kindness, and togetherness was the central theme of a 
person’s life. Distinctions are made between individuality (the freedom to be oneself) and 
individualism (the need to prevail over others.) Violence within the group and competition 
seemed to be avoided. 

I tried to discuss this concept with my son but didn’t get too far. “Aren’t you supposed 
to try to win and why do the Lakers keep losing?” and “wasn’t the speech all about 
getting more guns”. Nevertheless, today my prediction is that in time we can all learn to stop 
killing one another like the African ancients were able to do once upon a time. I don’t want 
to make any more predictions but I feel that some good will come out of all this conflict and 
democratic values will prevail. Zelensky will be remembered as someone vital to the maintenance 
the best parts of our civilization. Also, I believe the Lakers will not stop losing but 
the Clippers will do well. There is always hope if you are willing to make adjustments. 




The world seemed surprised when Hitler annexed the Sudetenland 
of Czechoslovakia in 1938. More surprised when he invaded Poland 
in 1939 and flabbergasted when he marched into the Soviet Union in 

Never underestimate the ambitions of an evil tyrant. 
Perhaps the West thought Vladimir Putin was bluffing about invading 
Ukraine. If so, the U.S. and its NATO allies are lousy poker players. 

History tells us that the only deterrent to evil despots is strength. This is the nature of bullies. 
Why the Biden administration, and President Biden himself on more than one occasion, 
told the world, including Putin, that he would not use American force in defense of 
Ukraine was as baffling as it was irresponsible. Force and the threat of force are two different 

It is certainly understandable why we would want to do everything possible to stay out of a 
shooting war with Russia. But saying so out loud amounted to a calligraphed invitation to 
Putin to move forward. 

Think of it this way. If I was in a boxing match but was unable to use my left hand because 
it was broken, I wouldn’t tell my opponent before the fight, “By the way, I can’t punch with 
my left hand,” even though I had no intention of using my left. 

Even as Ukrainians were dying and fleeing the country, the U.S. and its allies still felt the 
need to reemphasize their commitment to military passivity. 

“We are not going to move into Ukraine, either on the ground or in the airspace,” NATO 
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said earlier this month in Brussels. “We understand the 
desperation but also believe if we did that we’d end up in something that could end up in a 
full-fledged war in Europe involving many more countries.” 

On March 16, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky begged President Biden to be the 
“leader of the world.” It’s a shame he had to ask. 

Biden responded to Zelensky’s impassioned plea with an additional $800 million in aid, 
including weaponry, and by calling Putin a “war criminal.” Biden continues to pass on Zelensky’s 
ask for a NATO-enforced no-fly zone and fighter jets.
We’ve apparently learned nothing from history. The west took a similar posture in the late 
1930s and early 1940s, which resulted in “a full-fledged war in Europe involving many more 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, knowing the American public didn’t have the appetite for 
another foreign war, made a political calculation to stay out of it, even while Great Britain 
was being bombed into oblivion. Prime Minister Winston Churchill begged Roosevelt for 
help, but to no avail. Roosevelt sent material but stayed out of the fight, until Pearl Harbor 
forced his hand. 

Of course, we have no way of knowing whether Putin would have invaded Ukraine had 
Biden or our allies taken a harder rhetorical line. He may have. But it’s difficult to imagine 
that Putin wouldn’t at least have had some pause if he feared reprisal from the west.
Putin saw an opening and he swung hard. He isn’t stupid. Nor do I believe, as some have 
suggested, he’s crazy or detached from reality. He knows exactly what he’s doing and he’s 
already told the world why he’s doing it. Let’s not let him off the hook by medicalizing his 
bad behavior. 

If you believe media reports and the U.S. State Department, it’s possible that Putin underestimated 
both his military wherewithal and the Ukrainians willingness to fight.
If this is true, one could make an argument that if, in fact, the Russian military is in disarray, 
Putin would be far less inclined to tangle with the U.S. and its NATO allies, even if we took 
a more aggressive posture in helping Ukraine defend itself. 

The humane thing to do is to help a sovereign nation defend itself against an invader who, 
if victorious, will only feel emboldened to initiate further aggression. 

Andrei Kozyrev, former Russian foreign minister, said this week that Putin’s ambitions include 
all of Eastern Europe, with intent to “attack, to pressure, to intimidate other countries, 
including members of NATO.” 

In response, the first thing the U.S. and NATO should do is believe him. 

Rich Manieri is a Philadelphia-born journalist and author. He is currently a professor of 
journalism at Asbury University in Kentucky. You can reach him at 

On The Lighter Side Of The News This Week: Kind of! 



Let’s take a peek this week, into how foreign countries 
mistranslate phrases into English for our 

Sign in a London department store: “Bargain Basement 

In a Budapest zoo: "Please do not feed the animals. 
If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard 

on duty." 

Sign in Egyptian hotel: “If you require room service, please open door and 
shout, ‘room service’!” 
A sign in a Paris hotel elevator: “Please leave your values at the front desk.” 

(Someone get me a flight there quick.) 

A sign in a Athens hotel: “Visitors are expected to complain at the office 
between the hours of 9am and 11am daily.” 
A Hong Kong supermarket sign: “For your convenience we recommend 

courteous, efficient self-service.” (They go all out don’t they?) 
A Hong Kong tailor shop” “Ladies may have a fit upstairs.” 
A Paris dress shop sign: “Dresses for street walking.” 
A Norwegian cocktail lounge: “Ladies are requested not to have children in 

the bar.” (Seems reasonable.) 

A Majorcan shop entrance: “English well talking,” and “Here speeching 
Another Japanese hotel sign: “Please to bathe inside the tub.” 
Spotted in a toilet in a London office block: ”Toilet out of order. Please use 

floor below.” 
We don’t even have to leave the good ol’ USA to get a few funnies: 
Outside a pawn shop: ”We exchange anything - bicycles, washing machines 

etc. Why not bring your wife along and get a wonderful bargain?” 

Outside a photographer's studio: ”Out to lunch: If not back by five, out for 
dinner also.” 
Notice in a rural field: “The farmer allows walkers to cross the field for free, 

but the bull charges.” 
A favorite of mine over the years was this suggestion in a small town newspaper 
regarding bottle feeding your infant: “When the baby is done drinking it 

should be unscrewed and placed under a cool tap. If the baby does not thrive 
on fresh milk, it should be boiled.” (I suspect not to be taken literally). 
By the way, Sierra Madreans, did you purchase something in Sierra Madre 

this week? We should make every effort to support local businesses as much 
as we can. Of course, that encouragement applies to all the municipalities 
served by the Mountain Views News. 

Have a great week! 

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