Monthly Archives: March 2014

Music

This is a YouTube playlist that has several hundred hours of YouTube videos of peaceful and serene music and imagery. Click on the video window shown below to start playing. The double arrows at the bottom of the video window allow you to step through the playlist. After that, double click on the playlist to make it full screen. Double click again to change it back. Enjoy.

Middle East Politics in Disarray

This is a new essay by Paul Merkley, Middle East Politics in Disarray, reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work.

Rejoicing and Consternation Follows in the Middle East from the Geneva Accords.

In November, 2013, there unexpectedly appeared in our newspapers pictures of cheery handshakes exchanged between senior U.S and Iranian politicians. They were celebrating the signing at Geneva, Switzerland, of an interim “Plan of Action” which, the politicians all agreed, could put an end to one of the longest and most dangerous international crises of the last few decades. Under this Plan of Action, Iran was agreeing to put the brakes on its programme of nuclear enrichment while the U.S. and the other participants (the Five Permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) agreed to relax sanctions imposed against Iran.

Tracking the Spread of Peace and Democracy by Western Powers

We have not seen any comprehensive tracking of the peace and prosperity brought to places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and now the Ukraine by Western nations such as the US, Canada and NATO. This post is a placeholder for articles we come across. By country:

Orthodoxy and Europe

March 19, 2014

Stratfor

By Robert D. Kaplan

Horia-Roman Patapievici is a Romanian philosopher who, way back in the late 1990s, told me that Romania’s task was to acquire a public style based on impersonal and transparent rules like in the West, otherwise business and politics would be full of intrigue. And he questioned whether Romania’s Eastern Orthodox tradition is helpful in this regard. He went on to explain that Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Russia, Greece and Cyprus — the Orthodox nations of Europe — were all characterized by weak institutions, compared with those of northwestern Europe. He and many others have intimated that this is partly because Orthodoxy is flexible and contemplative, thus tolerant of the world as it is, having created its own alternative order.

Palestine: What a Country’s Boundaries Really Mean

 

We wrote The Ukraine: What a Country’s Boundaries Really Mean as an attempt to counter the colossal ignorance of the West concerning the historical and current significance of the country now called Ukraine. Its current borders and in fact its very existence in any form do not extend back even a century. This is particularly true of the Crimea. Yet we blather and bluster about the Ukraine as if it has existed for a thousand years or more. The same can be said for the notion of a Palestinian state which is even more ephemeral than Ukraine. Yet a large amount of the current anti-Israeli rhetoric falsely proceeds as if it were a country with aboriginal claim and history.

We asked our friend Dr. Paul Merkley if he could put together a timeline on the historical referents and claims to a Palestinian state. His contribution follows with emphasis added by us where we wished to make a point.

You Need a Strong Russia

With the collapse of the USSR, the US emerged as the single global superpower. The main threats to its power and influence are the regional hegemonies of Russia, Iran and China. Understanding how the US is dealing with each will help us to understand why we need a strong Russia.

Bitcoin or Two Bit Coin?

Bitcoin, the cryptographic “currency” is widely known and widely discussed. This ZeroHedge article The Complete Annotated Price History Of Bitcoin briefly discusses and presents a Goldman Sachs article explaining Bitcoin. We do not follow it and considering its ups and downs, view it as a good medium to destroy one’s real wealth with. For the interested, the link  is above.

Flashpoint: The War on Climate Change Heats Up

Today we read in Zero Hedge that the Pentagon Warns Increase In Terrorism Due To Global Warming. Since the United States is admittedly in a war against terrorism and they believe that climate change contributes to terrorism, then the US must be at war with climate change.

We know that one of the great factors causing fluctuations in weather are the Southern Pacific temperature anomalies known as El Niño and La Niña. The climate is really in trouble now with the US military set to engage it. We expect a carrier strike group will be sent to the Southern Pacific to track down and destroy these Latinos.

The Ukraine: What a Country’s Boundaries Really Mean

To understand how little a county’s boundaries mean, play this animated map of Europe and West Asia that shows the change in makeup of the area over the last thousand years. The Ukraine is a very late addition to the world map. (Click in the lower right corner to open as full screen.)

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Our friend Paul Merkley sent us a link to other map resources. What is now the Ukraine and Crimea was part of Islamic Civilizations 632-1350AD. This page has thumbnails of 54 individual maps. Left-click on any thumbnail to open a larger view. One can scroll through the map series one map at a time by left-clicking on the current expanded image. Most images can be expanded further by right-clicking on the current image. Select the “View Image” option from the menu that pops up. Use the browser back arrow to close this image and return to the thumbnail page.

Another series of 18 maps shows The Ottoman Empire which encompassed the territory of the present Ukraine and Crimea. The Ukraine in particular has come and (mostly) gone and reappeared while its boundaries constantly changed.

Now in case you are thinking that the 1400 year span of these maps is not sufficient to capture an early Ukraine, try this animated map over 5000 years.

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Protests of Russia’s current actions by countries like Canada are made from colossal ignorance on the part of  the populace, the media and the government. It’s also a cheap way to buy the Ukrainian vote in Canada.

The European Union Reacts to the Crisis in Ukraine

Summary

(PETER KLAUNZER/AFP/Getty Images)
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks to journalists in Switzerland on March 4 after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The European Union is unlikely to approve substantial sanctions against Russia because it would go against the economic interests of most of its members. There will be a period of cold relations between EU members and Russia, but eventually EU members will return to their previous strategies of seeking a pragmatic relationship with Moscow.

The crisis in Ukraine is having political repercussions for most members of the European Union. In the west, countries such as Germany, France and the United Kingdom are trying to strike a balance between criticizing Russia’s actions in Crimea and ensuring that their economic links with Moscow are unaffected. The crisis is reminding countries in Central and Eastern Europe such as Poland and Lithuania that their alliances with the European Union and NATO have clear limitations, since both organizations have few options to contain Russia. Finally, countries that recently sought closer ties with Moscow, including Hungary and the Czech Republic, are struggling to define their position in the conflict.

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