Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Moving away from pessimism

There's no other news story I've been following as closely as the sad spectacle in Ukraine. I've written a few posts on it. But I'd like to take a moment to be optimistic. Teaching economics, I should value long-run thinking. Though I might disagree with the approach my president is taking, he's still my president and I can certainly hope his policy is the right one. Therefore, I was heartened by two unrelated developments . . .

1) News that Europe and the U.S. imposed a tougher round of sanctions was welcome. I must remember that the president doesn't want to move without company, and Europe is far more reluctant than the U.S. to meaningfully punish Russia. Maybe playing the waiting game is the most prudent: use our economic power to bear to further emaciate Russia's already tottering economy.

2) News that our economy grew 4% in the last quarter was also welcome. One won't see any news like that about Russia's economy any time soon. A stronger economy gives us more options, and more ability to wait out the Russians' encroachment on Ukraine.

I was also humbled by seeing my barber's reaction to the events in Ukraine as the news (the TV was on in the shop) talked of policy options. He grew up in Kiev, moved to the U.S. from there 20 years ago. He was obviously saddened, turning up the volume to hear the story (I've never seen him do that for any story before). I prodded him to tell me more about what he felt regarding the situation but he didn't have any clear answers. Perhaps he must stand by and watch like anyone else, knowing that what is occurring is wrong and sad, but knowing that force (or anything else quick) is the answer to the situation. Who am I to be so impatient: It's not my former homeland being ravaged.

Still, I'm impatient. I hope I can come to see ways in which a policy with which I disagree may end up being the best course of action, if I'm patient enough to give it time.

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