Friday, May 22, 2015

Here’s how much of your life the United States has been at war

A rather shocking and self explanatory chart from the Washington Post this week. The long (unending) war in Iraq and Afghanistan recalls one of Napoleon's maxims: "You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war."

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Drunken NATO Foreign Ministers Singing "We are the World"

This isn't a SNL comedy skit, it really occurred last week.  NATO hubris and pathos at its lowest point.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Nazis Triumph Over Communists in Ukraine

(Bloomberg View)  It's goodbye Lenin, hello Nazi collaborators in Ukraine these days. Laws signed into effect by President Petro Poroshenko require the renaming of dozens of towns and hundreds of streets throughout the country to eliminate Soviet-era names. At the same time, Ukraine will begin to honor groups that helped Hitler exterminate Ukrainian Jews during World War II.
To make matters worse, having banned all kinds of foreign totalitarian symbols, Poroshenko also signed a law prescribing that Ukrainians honor a number of nationalist organizations that operated before and during World War II. The law calls them "20th century fighters for Ukraine's independence," but some of these groups, such as the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) fought alongside the Nazis, and followed the German occupier's orders. In an open letter to Poroshenko and Ukrainian legislators, 40 historians from major Western universities wrote:
Not only would it be a crime to question the legitimacy of an organization (UPA) that slaughtered tens of thousands of Poles in one of the most heinous acts of ethnic cleansing in the history of Ukraine, but also it would exempt from criticism the OUN, one of the most extreme political groups in Western Ukraine between the wars, and one which collaborated with Nazi Germany at the outset of the Soviet invasion in 1941. It also took part in anti-Jewish pogroms in Ukraine and, in the case of the Melnyk faction, remained allied with the occupation regime throughout the war
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum condemned the bill because it bans media criticism of the nationalist groups. "As Ukraine advances on the difficult road to full democracy, we strongly urge the nation's government to refrain from any measure that preempts or censors discussion or politicizes the study of history," the museum said in a statement.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Russia stops transit of NATO military cargo to Afghanistan

(Russia Today)  Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev has revoked a decree that allowed delivery of NATO military equipment to Afghanistan through Russian territory.

According to the official document, signed by Medvedev and published on Monday, all previous decisions on NATO cargo transit to Afghanistan have now been revoked. This includes an act allowing delivery of military hardware and equipment via rail, motor vehicles, or through Russian airspace.
The Corporate Takeover of Ukrainian Agriculture

(Oakland Institute)  On October 9, 2014, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced that it had ten private agribusinesses willing to invest $1 billion in the coming year in Ukrainian agriculture as part of a newly created Private Sector Action Plan.52 The EBRD’s press release noted that these investments would require several changes to regulation relating to taxes, import and export laws, and land sales.

Calls for such regulatory changes have been made before by many other investors. In January 2014, a meeting took place between Ukrainian officials and representatives from twenty large German agribusinesses. News reports noted that these companies felt it was “necessary to simplify doing business in Ukraine.”54 This specifically referred to issues such as taxation, VAT refunds, the ongoing land moratorium, and genetic modification. Likewise, in June 2011, Cargill CEO Greg Page stated that Ukraine is a “great place for the world to grow more food. But all the gifts that nature provides can be undone with bad policies.”

The EBRD and other international financial institutions argue that regulatory changes and tax breaks for agribusinesses will increase investments and stimulate economic growth. However, it is unclear how foreign investments in agriculture aided by such measures will improve Ukraine’s economy and people’s standard of living and not just the interests of large-scale agribusinesses abroad. The current surge of foreign investment in the country’s agriculture and the expected lifting of the moratorium on land sales actually raise important concerns. What will be the impact on Ukraine’s 7 million farmers? How will it affect Ukraine’s ability to control its own food supply and manage its economy?

"Macedonia could be next Ukraine" - paper

The article stated that Macedonia is "on the verge of the most serious conflict" since the time of inter-ethnic strife in the early 2000s. 

It adds that the mass opposition protest in Skopje on Sunday "has already been compared to protests in Kiev and referred to as 'the Macedonian Maidan'." 

The Macedonian crisis has not erupted without reason, believes the daily, and notes that a decade ago that country was considered a regional leader in European integrations, while today it is "at the end of the queue for Europe, at the risk of losing its membership candidate status." 

According to Kommersant, "the West seems seriously concerned about the events in Macedonia, while Moscow is monitoring the events increasingly carefully.


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke in Belgrade last week to "effectively accuse the West of preparing a color revolution in Macedonia" - a country that has not joined anti-Russia sanctions.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Macedonia protests: Anti-Gruevski rally in Skopje

(BBC)  Tens of thousands of protesters in the Macedonian capital Skopje have demanded the resignation of long-serving Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. 

The rally followed the release by the opposition of covert recordings which appear to show ministers plotting vote-rigging and the cover-up of a murder.

Mr Gruevski denies the allegations.

Adding to the political instability, last weekend eight police officers and 14 ethnic Albanian fighters were killed in clashes in the city of Kumanovo.
In 2001, Macedonia came close to the brink of civil war when armed rebels demanded greater rights for the Albanian minority, which makes up about a quarter of Macedonia's 2.1 million population.

The government says the opposition is trying to destabilise the country for its own benefit. It is organising a counter-demonstration for Monday.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

104 Killed in Iraq; Drone Strike Kills Family

Consider this report:

A drone strike in northern Baiji killed six members from the same family. It is unknown who launched the drone.
How much do Chinese people know about Russia ? 

Looks like Chinese media is pumping up the new relationship with Russia with this slick new video.  Russia has made the proverbial "pivot to Asia",  has been embraced and is getting stronger every day.  We are witnessing a sea change in the geopolitical alignment of the world unfold in front of us. The unipolar world is fading fast, ironically fueled by American foreign policy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Russian-Chinese naval group will pass through Bosporus, Dardanelles

The active phase of the Russia-China naval exercise Maritime Cooperation-2015 will be held in the Mediterranean on May 17 through 21. Taking part in it will be six ships of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, including the missile cruiser The Moskva, the patrol ship The Ladny, two amphibious assault ships The Alexander Otrakovsky and The Alexander Shabalin, a salvage tug, the missile carrying hovercraft The Samum and China’s frigates The Linyi and The Weifang.
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