No Matter How Much You Prepare

So we just finished watching Season Six of Alone (and have now started Season Seven).


Highly trained professionals (military and otherwise) with ALL the skills, experience, and confidence setting out to survive in the arctic, alone.


Each one thinks they can make it and outlast the others.


And watching these folks, you think to yourself, wow, these people can fish, hunt, build shelters, survive off of the land, and know how to survive.


Yet, usually well before 100 days, (virtually) all the contestants are out:

No matter how well prepared they are, life happens!


– They get hugely sick, often from the gross food they are eating.


-They fall down and hurt or break something.


– They cut or stab themselves.


– They lose one or more of their essential survival tools.


– They inadvertently burn down their own shelters.


– Animals steal their food or attack them.


– They starve and their bodies start to break down critical fat stores in their heart or other vital organs.


– They start to lose their minds from the lack of nutrition and mind-numbing loneliness.


It seems like no matter how well trained and prepared they are, they can’t outrun, outwit, out-survive what life eventually throws at them.


Even the last person “standing” is still usually more dead than alive.


Anything other than self-control is ultimately an illusion.


Remember, life happens, and eventually everyone needs help from someone.


No man is an island even if you are living on one. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Reconquest of the Soviet Union

Soviet Union .jpeg

Okay, when I saw this map of the Soviet Union pre-1991 breakup, I got it!


Russia lost 14 Former Soviet Union (FSU) states after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

  1. Armenia
  2. Azerbaijan
  3. Belarus
  4. Estonia
  5. Georgia
  6. Kazakhstan
  7. Kyrgystan
  8. Latvia
  9. Lithuania
  10. Moldovia
  11. Tajikistan
  12. Turkenistan
  13. Ukraine
  14. Uzbekistan

Could you imagine the United States or the European Union losing something like that?


Think of California and Texas and more seceding and making their own independent states. 


What would that do to the power and capability of this country?


Hence, when Russia goes into FSUs like Georgia and Ukraine (in red)–does a land grab like with Crimea and Abkhazia and South Ossetia–and threatens others, in their Soviet minds, they are just reclaiming what is/was theres.


Now listen, I am not justifying their aggression and hostile actions, but I am realizing/recognizing how explosive a situation this may end up being–especially since Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (in blue) changed sides and are now part of NATO!


Russia–even without the 14 FSUs–is the largest country in the world by territory with over 17 million square miles–that is almost the size of the United States and Canada or and China combined!


Russia may not have the economy of the United States but they are a formidable foe that we least not forget also has the largest nuclear weapons stockpile in the world. 


Russia has a history of creating a large world dominating union and their military forays into the FSUs, support of hostile regimes like Syria and in Iran, sizable war games in Belarus, continuing to militarize the Arctic, interfering in our election, stealing our secrets via Kaspersky Lab software is likely just a shadow of what is yet to come. 


So if you think North Korea and Iran are problems…  😉


(Source Map: here with attribution to Map Collection)

Russia Outwits Us Again x 4

Globe

You can’t build the world from the backseat. 


Either we’re in it or we’re not. 


Instead, Russia has jumped into the driver’s seat, and we’re not coming out looking too good on the world stage. 


– In 2013 they took in and continue to shelter Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who ran to Hong Kong after allegedly leaking oodles of NSA classified information.


– In 2014, Russia conducted a blitzkrieg and took Crimea from sovereign Ukraine (giving it a strategic port in the Black Sea), and are conducting a separatist war in the eastern part of the country. 


– In 2015, Russia enters the Syrian crisis and allies themselves with dictator, Bashar Al Assad (who has used chemical weapons on his own people), as well as with Iran and Iraq.


– Additionally, Russia is taking the lead role in the oil and mineral rich Arctic bolstering their presence and militarizing, including building new ice-breakers (while our Coast Guard has only one operational). 


Some people have said mockingly, “Well what should we do, start a war with Russia?”


And the answer is an unequivocal, no. 


But I assume they don’t want to start a war with the U.S. either. 


Rather, this is the Cold War Part II, where we are fighting by proxy in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Arctic.


If we want the world to be modeled on freedom, human rights, and democracy then we need to be able to stand up for those things that are important to us.


Yes, we have to care about what’s going on here at home too, but we don’t live in a bubble, although surrounded by oceans on the east and west coast, we can sometimes easily feel that way. 


It’s a big world–and it takes tremendous leadership to bring it along a good and noble path.


The leadership role will not stay vacant for long…it can be us if we want it, or else you might as well flip a coin on either Russia or China. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)