Sunday, March 23, 2014

Putin and Obama


You probably know about what's happening in Ukraine.

{{A protest is when a group of people gather publicly to express disapproval of something. Those who protest are 'protesters.'}}

From the start of the protests in Kiev, I believed that the protesters needed to show greater restraint (greater control over their actions).  Elections were less than a year away and it would have been possible for the people of Ukraine to remove their president peacefully. Instead, over 100 people died, including about 25 police officers, and there is chaos in the country. (Chaos - pronounced KAY ahs - disorder).

The country of Ukraine has lost the Crimea area for ever, the Ukrainian economy is in a huge mess (it is completely disorderly) and the United States people are unwilling to send too much funding to this country. Furthermore, about half of the people in the USA seem to believe that Russia deserves the Crimean area.

More than half of the USA also believes that President Obama is no match for Vladimir Putin (Obama cannot compete effectively with Putin). People in the USA think Putin is able to out-think and out-plan Obama in every situation.

Here is an article about Putin and Obama (it has excellent idioms):

http://www.businessinsider.com/ukraine-putin-obama-russia-iran-syria-crimea-2014-3

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

to screw with - to play around with, to bother, to humiliate; if you are screwing with a person you have no respect for that person and you are treating them badly or disrespectfully

at every turn - whenever something happens, in every instance

a last ditch effort - one final last effort to try to resolve something against all hope: a final desperate effort

a full court press - this is a basketball term for when one team puts a lot of pressure on another team to try to win a game

to cut a deal - to make a deal, to establish an agreement

the illusion of diplomacy - he was pretending to be interested in being diplomatic and resolving a situation, but he was really not

played into the hands of - if someone plays into the hands of someone else, that person does something the other person wants him to do or if you play into someone's hands, you make it easier for the other person to take advantage of you

to respond on the fly - responding without planning, without preparing

to calibrate a strategy - to create a specific strategy that works well; the problem is that Obama needs Putin's help but also disagrees with much of what Putin does; at times Obama needs to criticize Putin but cannot make Putin so upset that he cannot work effectively with him

leverage - power

confrontation - a confrontation is a type of conflict; if you confront someone you directly tell the person you find his/her behavior to be wrong and this usually leads to a troubling relationship

an ally - friend

a myth - a false story

to blend - to mix elements together into one thing

a thorny issue - a difficult to resolve issue; you find thorns on roses...they can prick your skin because they are sharp

recalibrate - reformulate, to fix again

to deter some from doing something - to scare someone from doing something; the reason people are punished is to deter others from doing the same thing

imposing punitive measures - placing a punishment onto Russia; punishing Russia

a sanction - an economic punishment

crony bank - a fake bank, a bank that serves someone in kind of an illegal way

bluffing - to pretend to have the intention of doing something without intending to do it

contingency plan - a plan of action in response to something that might happen

in defiance of - a defiant person refuses to do what he is ordered to do

to deteriorate - to get worse

to play out - to happen

to call the shots - to determine what will happen  

surgically strike - precisely strike

off-handed - casual, not practiced or rehearsed

into oblivion - into nothing

crucial - essential

ousted - if someone is ousted he has been forced out of office

Russian reset - Obama promised he would treat Russia differently from how previous presidents had treated Russia

intertwined - mixed together

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