Russia's invasion of Ukraine has set off paroxysms of frustration, anger and incredulity in the West, not least in Washington. Some policymakers and pundits are struggling with ways to constructively address the problems raised by Russian action, others struggle to ensure that somehow President Obama is blamed for these events, and many are trying to figure out the complexity, context and background of these events. Understanding the conflict in Crimea, and the best way forward for the US, requires holding several, conflicting, and often unappealing, ideas in one's head at the same time. These are four of the most important of these ideas.
Some people simply can't resist the chance to make a bet or the challenge to meet one. Whether that bet involves traveling around the world in 80 days or transforming a poor Cockney flower girl into a woman of poise who could charm the Queen of England, no prize is as delicious as the satisfaction of planning one's triumph.
Going all the way back to Homer's Odyssey, some of our finest stories take place on voyages or quests of some kind, where our hero (or heroine) not only experiences new sights and adventures, but also some transformation in thinking, circumstance, or attitude as a result. The road movie is the cinematic equivalent.