John Winters

Our own little Crimea

I am following the situation on the Crimean Peninsula with more and more trepidation. It is becoming the perfect storm for another major international conflict pitting the world’s superpowers against each other.

Within the last few weeks, the pro-Russian government and president of Ukraine were overthrown by a majority of pro-West demonstrations. The former Ukrainian president has fled to Russia. The semi-autonomous region of Crimea, which is predominantly ethnic Russians, had a straw poll to separate from the Ukraine and join Russia. A formal vote on that is Sunday.

In the meantime, Russia has amassed more than 10,000 troops and hundreds of planes and tanks along the Ukrainian border for a “military training exercise.” To add more powder, the Russia’s Black Fleet Navy is based on the Crimean peninsula, as is the Ukraine navy.

The situation reminds me of our home right now. Just like international conflicts appear and then fade away, so too with the SONS of Thunder. Currently, we are in the “escalating phase.”

One SON is “growing into adulthood and seeking his independence,” as the Little Black Dress, who is a teen life coach, points out. I say he just likes to argue. I call it white, he calls it black. I say up, he says down.

Another SON is “expressing his individuality,” The Dress points out. I say he’s way too loud and is yelling, and it has nothing to do with his voice naturally changing.

And the Third SON is “trying to find where he fits in,” according to the LBD. Again, we disagree. I say he’s just moping.

Parents always complain about the Terrible Twos and Threes. I will take those days back in a heartbeat — provided, of course, they are potty trained. I’ve been there, done that and no thank you.

We are definitely, as The Dress says, in the “throes of puberty.” And for me, it’s my own little Crimean standoff.

So I looked at another international situation for guidance. Thousands of miles away, dozens of countries with hundreds of ships and planes have joined together for a common purpose — to find Malaysian flight 370.

A few days ago, the 777 airplane simply vanished. Since then, countries including Japan, China, Vietnam, the United States, India and others have joined forces in what is called a massive search not ever seen before.

The sheer scale of the search area, which expands each day as new information comes out, is beyond daunting. And I’m thinking here’s a great life lesson. So I point out to the SONS as we are watching the evening news that many of these countries have fought wars against each other. Yet here they are, united, working toward a common good.

“We can get along if everyone will just compromise a little and respect each other’s boundaries,” I say. Man, that was good. I’ve got to remember that one.

There is a slight pause and a nanosecond of silence …

And then the eruption. “Tell him to stay out of my room.” “I don’t go in your room.” “Yes you do.” “No I don’t.” “Can’t you two quit fighting.” “Can’t you quit yelling.” “I’m not yelling.” “Yes you are.” “No I’m not.” “Dad, tell him to quit sulking.” “I’m not, leave me alone …”

That lesson went over well. I head out to the LBD’s Enchanted Cottage, where she has already escaped to, and join her. Let them sort it out.

(John A. Winters is general manager of The Newnan Times-Herald. Follow his adventures at You can reach him at

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