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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

On Feb. 22, the people of Ukraine ousted their prime minister because he favored aligning Ukraine with Russia instead of joining the European Union. Ukraine is one of those former Soviet states that is sandwiched between the European Union and the Russian border. The people had a bloody confrontation with Ukrainian police and military troops, but the end result was the ousting of the previous prime minister and his entire cabinet. In his place, the people put in a government that is pro-EU and have called for elections to take place on May 5.

Now let me introduce you to a guy named Vladimir Putin. You can call him Vlad for short. Vlad is a very old school Soviet Union kind of guy who has always been enamored with the idea of bringing the Soviet Union back to power. Vlad was elected president of Russia in 2000 and has been the country’s leader ever since. Oh, they have had elections since Putin took office, but he always manages to win. He is a very good politician.

When the people of Ukraine overthrew their government on Feb. 22, Vlad saw a wide-open door that he could walk through. He would use the chaos in Ukraine as a way to pull the former Soviet state back under Moscow’s wing. He would start in Crimea, which is a peninsula in the Black Sea that is supposed to belong to Ukraine. But Vlad decided that he wanted it, so he sent troops to Crimea to occupy the ports and demand that the military bases surrender.

To make everything nice and legal, Vlad went to the Russian parliament and asked for permission to use Russia’s military in Ukraine to protect the Russian people that still live there. Of course, his parliament gave Vlad the permission he needed. Like I said, Vlad is a very good politician.

Vlad has even sent black ops troops to the Ukraine capital of Kiev and surrounded the Kiev airport for a little while. The Ukraine asked these black ops troops to leave, and the troops left. But they will be back.

What are we doing about it? Nothing. Which is all we can do about it. Oh, Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned Vlad’s actions and has begged Vlad to sit down and talk about this before he does anything rash. But by the time you read this, Vlad would have already taken the Crimea Peninsula and may even have his troops marching towards Kiev.

What started all of this? Remember when our president drew a line in the sand with Syria about chemical weapons and told Syria that we would take military action if Syria crossed that line? Well, Syria crossed that line and we did nothing. Did I want us to bomb Syria? No, it would have been a huge mistake. But I am not the one who put a line in the sand and then let Syria walk all over it.

When we didn’t bomb Syria, Vlad saw our president as being weak. To be honest, we are also to blame for some of this. Americans love to argue among ourselves and when we do that, it shows a divided country, which is a sign of weakness.

With the United States weak and Ukraine in turmoil, Vlad moved his troops in and took over. This is only the beginning. Vlad has 12 more states to reclaim before he re-establishes the Soviet Union and has access to all of the resources and nuclear weapons those satellites possess.

Meanwhile, we are over here arguing about how fat fast food makes children or how bad for the economy big box department stores are. We are more divided as a country than we have ever been, and we are about to pay for it.

I am warning everyone right now – Vlad has an agenda and he is going to work hard to complete that agenda before we elect a new president. As long as our president is seen as weak and our country is sharply divided on just about everything, Vlad will continue to move forward. The Soviet Union will rise again and it will happen while we are arguing over something stupid.

One more thing to keep in mind. The leaders of the Soviet Union during the Cold War were pretty tame compared to Vlad. If our current president is forced to tangle directly with Vlad in any way, then it will be ugly. Vlad is not the kind of guy who backs down when he really wants something. And it is obvious that he really wants something. Maybe we should try to find out what that is and unite our country against a real threat.

Nick Oliver is a Niagara County resident and not a fan of Vlad. His column appears every Wednesday. He can be reached at

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