A little bit of our living history has just passed away. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/03/28/jeremiah-denton-died-admiral-pow-column/7024663/ ) He retired from the Navy as a Rear Admiral and he was a one term Senator from Alabama in the Reagan years. In American history, along with the future Admiral Jim Stockdale and number of other folks, Jerry Denton will be remembered as the man who was shot down on July 18, 1965 over North Vietnam. He was an A-6 pilot off of a carrier. He would the lead hundreds of American POWs through nearly 8 years of torture, hardship and imprisonment. He was such a leader at the “Hanoi Hilton” the ironic name for the prison there, that along with Stockdale and the Air Force ace Robby Risner that he became part of a legend. He was tortured for weeks in preparation for a
televised interview in 1966. The North Vietnamese wanted to interview him to say that he was getting food and water and clothing and everything was good. He supported his government, never said anything against the war, and while he was giving his answers, he blinked very deliberately and people watching it realized he was blinking in Morse code the word ‘torture’.
When the North Vietnamese found about that, they beat him and tortured in some more and in 1967 removed him and 10 other POW ringleaders from the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ and put them in even more infamous prison named Alcatraz. It was a 4′ x 9′ concrete cell he was in for 23 hours and 50 minutes a day. Congressman Sam Johnson was there, he represents Texas now. The Medal of Honor recipient Jim Stockdale spent time there, and when the POWs were finally released in 1973 after up to eight years of captivity, the first POW to emerge from the C-141 transport Clark Air Base in the Philippines and speak on behalf of the freed prisoners was Jerry Denton. He simply said, “We are honored to have had the opportunity to serve our country under difficult circumstances. We are profoundly grateful to our Commander-in-Chief and to our nation for this day. God bless America.”
I think about men like that because then I read about men like John Kerry. A veteran of the Vietnam War and the recipient of multiple purple hearts for hangnails and other problems associated with his ‘combat duty.’ Last November, John Kerry predicted a series of stunning breakthroughs in the Middle East, thanks to US diplomacy. This is all the Washington Post if you want to research it. He said in Egypt, “the roadmap to democracy is being carried out to the best of our perception.” This was last November now. He said about Syria that a peace conference would soon replace the Assad regime with a transitional government because, “the Russians and Iranians will make certain that the Syrian regime will live up to its obligation.” He predicted that the Russians and Ukrainians would work with him to exit Bashar al-Assad from Syria. He predicted last November that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was on its way to a final settlement by April, “This is not mission impossible,” he said, “this can happen.”
At the time, people praised him for his bold ambitions. Jackson Diehl writes in the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/jackson-diehl-john-kerrys-departure-from-reality/2014/03/30/63bc85a8-b5c6-11e3-b899-20667de76985_story.html ) on 3/31/14 that at the time he says, he thought Kerry was delusional. Sadly for Kerry and for the United States the verdict is in-delusional he was.
Egypt is under the thumb of authoritarian general who talks about running for president (and I don’t think anybody else will be running). The Syrian peace talks imploded soon after they began, it turns out of course the Russians were just buying some time to arm Assad who is now winning the war at a time also when Kerry said last year that there was no military solution to the Syrian problem. The Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are about to collapse, because the Palestinians will not recognize the Jewish state and the Israelis will not give up the settlements in Judah in the West Bank.
So here is Kerry, full of himself and a curious naïveté, boasting about accomplishments that are certain to come about by next April and here it is, and he’s been had on every one of those things. He on behalf of the United States has been taken to the cleaners on every issue.
The Russians are so shocked by what they pulled off in Ukraine, they are euphoric. The Russian elites are euphoric, without really a price of any kind they just took the Crimea and this strategic portal into the Mediterranean and the Western world. It’s known that in 1856 the Russians were trying to capture Crimea and was defeated by the Turks. The Russians know their history. This is a huge victory, with barely a shot fired, zero loss of life and they get to Crimea. They are so ecstatic, that the other day somebody in Putin’s cabinet said we ought to have Finland, take back Latvia and Estonia. They are making up their
list. If it’s that easy why shouldn’t we take them all back, why shouldn’t we in fact take Alaska back. ( http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/04/01/297835873/not-an-april-fools-joke-russians-petition-to-get-alaska-back)
Think I’m kidding, read the Moscow Times headline “After Crimea, Russians say they want Alaska back”. Quoting “A mere four kilometers separate Russia’s big Diomede Island from Alaska’s Little Diomede island in the Bering Strait, the boundary between the two feuding powers known as the Ice Curtain during the Civil War, is likely the only place from which former Gov. Sarah Palin could really see Russia.” Czar Alexander II sold Alaska to the US for $7.2 million in 1867, after they lost interest in Alaska and needed somebody (and the Americans were the somebody) to counterbalance the British influence in the northern Pacific. The Russians are more concerned about Alaska today because of the importance of the oil and the gold and all the rest of the resources. They have had all kinds of websites crop up with United Russia, which is a political pro-Kremlin party. The party has people holding up signs saying “Crimea is ours, Alaska is next.”
Some in the US actually agree. On the White House website, on March 21 in the ‘We the People’ section, where you can start petitions, there was a petition for the “Secession of Alaska from the US and joining Russia.” 35,000 signatures as of 3/31/14. The White House has to respond to the petition if it reaches 120,000 by April 20th. It was written of course by the pro-Russians here in this country by an organization called Government Communication Corp (G2C), a pro-Kremlin communications platform.
There is a serious claim by the way, by not the Russian government, but by the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church has lots of old Russian churches and monasteries around Alaska, six of which are on the US National Historical Landmark list. It’s interesting that in Alaska’s Spruce Island, there is a Russian Orthodox Church monastery and a researcher in Russia has said that Spruce Island still belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church. It was given to them, the island was the home of the famous Russian Saint Herman of Alaska. So Spruce Island should be returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. Dan Clarion is the mayor of Ouzinkie Spruce Island’s only town , population 185 people. He says he never heard of the Russian Orthodox Church owning the island but they may run into a problem because the island is owned by the Ouzinkie Native Corporation, who was given the land as part of the Alaska native claims settlement act
It does not pose a serious threat Alaska, but there is a seriousness to what the Russians are now saying among themselves -look how easy it was to re-conquer territory. Look how easy it was, where you want to go next.