Sunday, December 29, 2013

Russia faces the ultimate dilemma--I don't envy them.

What is Mr Putin to do? He has it tough on two fronts; (at least) the issue of his particular way of holding power and the increasing opposition to him, and also with the rise of terrorist Islamic cells who are using the Winter Olympics to raise their profile. That they use terror, murder and bombs is the manner in which they operate everywhere, including amongst the nations that are at the heart of Islam in the Middle East. Now the 'fight'has hit home in the Russian Republic.
The latest attack on innocent people in the city of Volgograd brings home the seriousness of what Putin faces. Just when he was using the Olympics to cynically raise his own status as a forward-thinking, 'caring' leader, this happens. How he responds is crucial, both for the future of Russia and the fight against terrorism in any of its forms around the world. He could take a wider view and look at the reason why terrorists operate; be it in the middle-East, the USA, Europe or Africa. He could do this in conjunction with the other nations facing this peril; namely, the USA, China, India, much of  Africa and parts of Europe and Asia. it seems that a concerted effort to identify the causes of terrorism would be a good start.
Putin also has problems within his own political sphere. He can no longer ignore the rights of those who would oppose him in a democratic manner. He can no longer side-line, by devious and bullying methods, these people, because they need to be with him if he ever hopes to defeat the forces of those who would use bombs and guns to terrify a populace. It is time for Putin to reach out in a genuine manner. I wonder if he is capable of seeing the 'new reality.' If he retreats behind the walls of the Kremlin, he is merely following the same old pattern that the Tsar and the Soviet Regime that replaced him. Putin and the other world leaders need to reconcile their differences and engage in dialogue with the moderates of the Islamic World, because they too face a dilemma about their direction; to be part of the world of nations or members of  'fragmented' group of disparate groups who would call themselves 'nations', whose citizens face a daily struggle to steer clear of the combatants---and live.

Cyber-warfare, (part 2). What do you think would happen if things went haywire?

I am unashamedly on a roll, after publishing my first little teaser about cyber-war, a few days ago. What propelled me to write this second instalment is the 'thinking and observation' I have been doing over the last 48 hours. I know that some of my postings have been quite tongue-in-cheek,' but there is an underlying seriousness and even a fear beneath my words. I have even taken the piss out of some of the preppie books that I have read, but that does not mean that I do not take some of their 'observations' as being without some truth.  It is the 'Tea Party' attitude and religious exclusivity that goes with many of the books that gets me going.
So what are the features of these groups and their dire predictions that resonate with me? If we accept that something along the lines of a melt-down occurs as a result of a massive cyber-attack which in turn leads to a world-wide or at least regional failure of services that we all take for granted; including the power grids, water supplies, government services and access to food and health services, something akin to societal breakdown would probably occur. Why do I suggest this?
Have you ever been to a massive sale that has been extensively advertised and joined the queues waiting to score a bargain?. Queuing?---well for a while. Even the security guards have extreme trouble trying to control the  uninhibited behaviours of those wanting to get their hands on that 'special' item. 'Decency' goes out the door as people change from polite individuals to a group of rude, pushy and sometimes violent desperadoes. I am overreacting, you say. Well take the other common example of how humans change in certain circumstances---the example of 'road rage.' We regularly see the news featuring the more extreme types of RR on our screens. There are many other examples of how the norms of law and order break down when individuals snap into some sort of 'survival mode.' All the teachings, upbringings and attempts to moderate such 'urges' go out the window when people (and their loved ones) feel they are threatened or likely to miss out on a perceived 'need.'
Am I wrong in thinking that as a society (world-wide) we have lost a little of that self-control that helps us to 'get along' in a relatively unselfish manner?Perhaps it is that there just that many 'more of us on this earth now, increasing the pressures that we face. In any society that does not have strong social controls in order to control access, shape behaviours, law and order rapidly breakdown. This breakpoint is reached more in areas of the world where there is not a forum in which to influence those who rule us or if there is a perception that large groups are denied access to that which most of us in richer countries take for granted.
Sometimes, that tip-point is not reached because power brokers (politicians etc.) repress any move to challenge their rule, through fear and state mechanisms that do not allow for expressions of discontent.
Back to the spectre of nations failing when the mechanisms and shared norms breakdown, because of a massive interruption to the means of delivering human needs; chaos and 'survivalist' tendencies emerge---quickly, once the ramifications of the 'failures' sink in. Society would turn on itself, unless for some reason the 'State' maintains a level of communication and control to alleviate the worst aspects of the 'failure.' If that does not happen, then the rule of law would rapidly breakdown as individuals and groups try to impose their own rules to survive as resources become scarce and very life is threatened.
That we have become so dependant on technology and a belief that 'the Government' will help, is the underpinning that drives the thinking of survivalists and post-apocalyptic groups. That they appear 'quaint' at least or sinister to others goes without saying but they do have a point. That is why they squirrel away resources and the means to protect them and their loved ones, especially in parts of the USA. I am not aware of nay major movements in my own country (NZ) but no doubt if one searched hard, they could be found. Maybe the fact that NZ is small and at the end of the world (Middle Earth?) fools us into believing that 'she'll be right, mate,' lulls us into a false sense of security, but those same 'survivalist' instincts would emerge, come the 'day.'
Before you start wondering about me---no, I am not about to set up some 'off-the-grid group or join one that possibly exists; I just raise the point that the possibilities for massive societal failure, caused by the breakdown of the forces that we have always believed acted in our best interests, would at the very least create a situation that would be akin to returning to a world we escaped from, many centuries ago.
Does that mean we take the words and actions of the 'preppies and survivalist' groups seriously? That's over to you, but I suspect that 'they' would like 'us' to continue in the manner we are. THAT, suits them.
Food for thought, or mere playing with words? Am I going to write a book soon with the scenario I have alluded to?---- maybe---but I have to sell my other books first. Go to my website and check them out!