Friday, March 21, 2014

We need some middle ground on the Russian Ukraine crisis.

Now is the time for sanity around the increasingly dangerous stand-off over the Crimean, referendum 'sanctioned' annexation  by Russia. As a result, Ukraine is forging closer ties with the EU and the USA. There have been many claims by both sides of the divide and somewhere in the middle , there is some truth.
It is hypocritical of the USA to claim that it is defending the rights of Ukrainians for self-determination and that Crimea has been included in the territory of Russia. Russia has long has a presence and sometimes outright inclusion of the Crimea in its territory, going back several centuries. It could be said that native inhabitants of the region were the Tartars so what is different about Russia 'absorbing' the Crimea against the wishes of the 'natives,' and the expansion of US hegemony over territories inhabited by the 'First Nation People of the Americas (or the British taking over lands inhabited by New Zealand's original people---the Maori)
Russia has long been sensitive re its border areas, having suffered invasion via those states on many occasions, hence  the perceived need to either control directly or heavily influence through a range of strategies, treaties and policies, willing or unwilling on the part of the 'partners, in order to gain a 'feeling of security.'
The USA in turn has reached out beyond its base on the North American continent and made sure that it too has influence in order to protect 'its' perceived security needs. Indeed, most nations in the UN would have a certain discomfort about the undue and unbalanced influence of the USA on the economies of most of the world. It is only with the emergence of China that some sort of balance is being achieved. The USA  is starting to feel the reality of the new world order, a 'feeling; that does not fit well with the military/industrial complex.
Just as Russia is nervous about 'western leaning' Governments on its borders, so to does the USA. Just look at the events of the Cuban crisis many years ago and one can see just how far the USA  would go in order to 'protect its patch.' The USA, under the all inclusive anti-communist banner, has made sure that regimes of a left-leaning nature in what its sees as USA 'sphere of influence,' do not take root. Chile is a prime example from the 70's. Thus the hypocrisy of the USA is clear to see.
Throw a Stalinist type figure into Russian politics, namely Putin, and the possibility for tension can reach new heights. Putin thrives on tapping into the Russian psyche, that reaches back into the past---he is well in touch with the complex relationship Russians have with 'strong leaders.' Putin knows that by challenging the 'West' re Ukraine and the Crimea crisis, he will se a rise in his popularity in Russia. Yes, he silences opposition and democracy as we know it in the West is going out the back door. He knows that he can weather this storm and come out stronger, with an iron fist on Russia.
The difference between Russia and the USA?---- One has a hidden control mechanism, enshrined in a constitution that favours the powerful, but couched in terms that hide its real intent, while the other is just honest about naked power. You chose who is who!

Turkish PM orders Twitter shut down---he must have his head in the sand, exposing his tender bits!!

Does the embattled PM really think that the  (mainly young) people of Turkey give a rat's ass about his actions? Does he really think that todays techno-savvy young people will not find a way around his feeble attempts to stifle the discussion of 'truth,' about his undemocratic actions? Hell, even his President is still tweeting, making a mockery of the PM's actions; ones that take Turkey back to a less 'informed and worldly view?' The Turkish people must ask themselves in what direction they want their proud country to travel--to be part of a modern, open and inclusive world, where all religions and opinions are valued, but not to the point that they become the State's responsibility. It is not that Twitter is all that important but it does represent that 'watershed time' in Turkey's history; travel back in time to darkness and repression or open up and enjoy the connectedness with like-minded nations around the world; albeit with the hooks and barbs that such links may have. Democracy after all is only as good as its participants and there are always going to be difficult discussions, albeit ones that embody the ideals of what democracy could be. Aim high, Turkey and take back the promise of your founding Father!