Vladimir Putin appears steadfast in his determination to reclaim large sections of Ukraine -- in particular its industrial heartland -- through intimidation and violence, while denying any but humanitarian involvement there. This raises the question: Is Putin psychotic?
If western sanctions serve to increase ties between Russia and India, as well as Russia and China, it may be that the sanctions have backfired and strengthen rather than hurt Russia's standing in the world.
It may remain true that there is much the two countries could do together, particularly over the long term. But shared interests will not be enough to bring the two countries together again. For the problem in relations is grounded in each country's sense of itself and its role in the world.
The swift and dramatic rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the group's de facto transformation from a terrorist organization into a terrorist government with a potent army is daunting and scary. But it's not totally unexpected.
"Wake up," my wife shouted. "We are at war!" A few moments earlier, she met Vladimir Simagin pacing back and forth in the lobby of the Polish hotel...
Following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ who overturned the money-changer's table in Biblical times, Pope Francis has regularly hurled the gospel against the "idolatrous economies" of contemporary global capitalism "that sacrifice man at the feet of the idol of money." This week in South Korea, he took aim at the temple of consumerism. Riding around town in a more-than-modest Kia Soul, he chastised his famously shopaholic flock in the land of Samsung for the "tendency to toy with the latest fads, gadgets and distractions rather than attending to the things that really matter." He also criticized, "the spirit of unbridled competition which generates selfishness and strife." To track the Pope's impact over what he says are his two or three [more] years before death," The WorldPost this week inaugurated a new blog, "Following Francis", by Sébastien Maillard, Vatican Correspondent for La Croix. (continued)
The EU and the United States need to adopt extended, better defined, and more comprehensive energy technology sanctions with urgency, especially if Putin decides to invade Eastern Ukraine under the pretext of humanitarian assistance.
Keeping to his credo of "don't do stupid sh*t," President Barack Obama sent in fighter planes to prevent ISIS from its genocidal assault on fleeing Yazidi refugees in northern Iraq, while also making it clear that the U.S. can just do so much. Only "inclusive" and "non-maximalist" governments in the Middle East, not deeper American intervention, he said in interviews this week, can ever stabilize the region. Peter Galbraith hailed this move against genocide as "The Obama Doctrine." Adel Guindy, an Egyptian Copt leader, called on the UN to live up to its pledge of "never again" to protect religious and ethnic minorities persecuted by those practicing ISIS' brand of Sunni fundamentalism. And WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones recounted the harrowing stories of Yazidi families that found their way to the Turkish border. (continued)
Certainly it is not in the best interest of the U.S. for its allies to be dangerously dependent on monopolistic imports from Russia or anywhere else. However, instead of sending a clear message that LNG export licenses and American energy leadership are coming, the U.S. Senate has put off addressing legislation on LNG exports until September.
After imposing a "full embargo" on imports from the West, Russia has made it clear that the latest sanctions are politically motivated. Russians are likely to lose access to certain items that have long stopped being viewed as Western luxuries.
There seems to be a new Cold War brewing and it's not between the U.S. and Russia, but between Canada and Russia. The contentious issue is the North Pole, or more specifically, the seabed under the Arctic.
The contagion of the illiberal model (recently openly praised by Viktor Orban in a public speech as the real alternative to the "failed liberal western system") is yet another wake up call for us to understand the realities of the world, which is a mess.
The U.S. should encourage the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, to play ball with the Russians (at least for now) and take away the most potent weapon that Putin has in his arsenal -- moral justification.
Petro Poroshenko deserves the West's support. We should follow him on the course he has chosen, which is to resist the imperialism blowing in from the east.
Writing from Vladivostok, Artyom Lukin sketches a scenario for The WorldPost of where we might end up 20 years from now -- World War III-lite -- if we continue on the present track. As often in history, seemingly unrelated events on opposite sides of the globe can converge to determine the long course of destiny. As Lukin outlines, such an inadvertent convergence is taking place before our eyes. Long before the Ukraine crisis erupted and Putin took off the Russian gloves, the Obama administration announced a "pivot" to Asia that China sees as an effort to contain its rise, leading in turn to a more assertive nationalism under President Xi Jinping. This, combined with tough new Western sanctions against the Putin regime, however justified, is pushing China and Russia together into a new anti-Western bloc. To make the world safe for interdependence, the top strategic priority for the U.S. must be a "reopening to China" to once again undercut the foundations of that bloc, just as Richard Nixon did (vis-à-vis the then Soviet Union) in 1972. (continued)
Putin's professional career was twice overturned by the democratic process, and consequently he sees it as his greatest threat.