Ukraine and March Madness: What’s the Connection?

The obvious answer is that they both contain elements of madness.  The two together have made up much of my mental life of late, but since the Ukraine problem is so scary while the basketball tournament is so much fun (especially if you are still alive in a pool like me) I’ve been much more inclined to watch basketball than to write about Ukraine.  Wow!  So many close games going right down to the wire and beyond.

It is human nature as depicted in a cartoon I ran across years ago.  It shows a guy  sitting in his easy chair reading a newspaper with the front page headline:  World War III declared!  Behind him his wife is asking:  “Enough of that. Anything about Brad and Jen?”   (I said it was several years ago).

English: (Green) Ukraine. (Grey) Europe. (Ligh...

English: (Green) Ukraine. (Grey) Europe. (Light-grey) The surrounding region.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Ukraine situation is scary because tensions are so high, who knows what unintended consequences they might trigger?

Like many I imagine, I am particularly concerned with what further incursions besides Crimea Putin and Co. might make in Ukraine near Russian borders under the guise of protecting Russian ethnics.

There is very little we could do about that immediately while Ukraine’s own national pride would likely prompt violent reactions there, which while understandable could lead to who knows what?

For various reasons I won’t get into now, I don’t think Putin sees going beyond Crimea as being in his own best interests and that is what seems to count most.    Since I can do nothing about Ukraine in any event, I will tend to my own best interests right now.   And they include Louisville continuing to win right through the national title game  a week from Monday.   While I can’t prove it, I think my focused willing them to win helped in their first two disturbingly close victories and they figure to need my full attention going forward this Friday.

Meanwhile regarding Ukraine,  of the numerous editorials and articles I have read over the past couple of weeks, a very recent piece in the New York Times by Michael A. McFaul seems to provide the most illuminating thumb nail sketch of the situation, including its historical context.

A former ambassador to the Russian Federation while part of the Obama administration, McFaul provides a good overview of the Ukraine issue linked here.   The spirit of the editorial is nuanced and cautious, a soberness that befits the situation.

Our madness should be restricted to the tournament that resumes tomorrow.