- “Oh crap, this is real!” Chinese media warns of ‘dramatic changes’ and discord after Trump’s inaugural speech
The King has Decreed! It’s official…
“the Catalonian independence referendum and devolution is illegal and undemocratic“. (See video of the King’s speech with English sub-titles in local Finnish press)
But is it?
Please remember to vote in the poll at the end of this article 😉
The Spanish Government believe/claim the democratic vote on the issue is for all Spain as it affects everyone as part of a greater community that has ownership (sovereignty) rights, not just rights of possession on all the Spanish lands, including the Catalonian region. The broader Spanish community has fought, died and worked hard for many years to rid themselves and dictators and unify the country. Anyone who thinks they can or would willing let that all be thrown away are being extremely foolish. Also it seems unfair and selfish to them that the richest state within Spain should want to desert the ship they have sailed in because they don’t want to share. I.e. Fair Weather friends!. It smacks of Trump’ism – winners and losers and a state run by the ‘I am Alright Jackoffs!’
This is true except that the principle involved is in contradiction to the ‘Right of Self-Determination – as upheld by the UN.The problem is in where the boundaries are drawn – often as arbitrary (political) these days as they are culture and region based. The boundaries affect the outcome of the vote considerably, hence several attempts in the UK over recent decades to redraw the borders and map of the municipalities in order to influence the vote results – usually dramatically, by changing the demographic geo-structures to create the biggest minority of constituents in each voting area in their own favour.
No region is isolated, they all interact and have other overlapping regions. Change the preferred key reference points (boundaries) of a voting region and the result is totally different. The choice of key or dominant region to which others are subservient is always an arbitrarily political one, driven more often than not by the perceived pecuniary advantages pertaining to a politically militant few, e.g. Scotland and the issue of North Sea Oil. They all think they can do it now because of the security seemingly provided by the greater EU safety net that helps avoid isolation and the previous disadvantages of separation. In principle this process is the same as already happened within families and broader communities due to the creation of the welfare state.
A loose association of disassociated delinquent juveniles is no more beneficial for the Eu than it is with our sub-communities and social structures. It is however necessarily part of our right of self-determination. I ask you this however, how old / self-sustainable do kids have to be before they can just divorce their parents and leave home? Where do we draw the line?
How many people are needed in order to declare an independent state?
Are there any rules about location, or geographical proximity / grouping? Should the Finnish government let the gypsies declare an independent state in any location their predominate? And what about the Laplanders? In UK, Indians moved into and took over a local town on mass, driving out all the original native residents. Should they be allowed to declare an independent state?
Woking used to be a middle class satellite town to Greater London. Last I heard from a friend of mine and former resident of the area, was that he had to leave because his child was the only native English (white) child in the entire school which, had not just social consequences, but also for personal identity, learning standards, religious education programmes etc. Indian immigrants, as thrifty, hard working and decent people as they are, tend to move into a house for four or five and live there with upto 15 people according to some reports. This has serious social and economic consequences for the value of local housing. Then their are large groups of Muslims in UK who make little attempt to integrate, merely build a Mosque in the centre of a town, buy up all the houses around it and turn it into a mini citadel! Not just hearsay, but first hand reports from an Englishman that was born and raised in such a town and then fell compelled to move out, eventually ending up in Finland.
The Papal enclave in Italy and several other city states (e.g. Monaco, Montenegro) in Europe are not much more than that. The use of force by the Spanish authorities is however a lamentable mistake that will never solve anything and, is already proving somewhat counter-productive. To solve the problem, feelings and concerns must first be recognised and acknowledged before rational discussion and negotiation can take place. The Catalonians should also be reminded that stable borders and relations with EU neighbours are a pre-requisite for EU membership that they will have to reapply for, as is a sufficiently well developed economic situation, social and political infrastructures, separate from the Spanish systems to which they are currently inter-twined – just as UK is to EU, hence the Brexit talks fiasco. Integration as evolved over decades, a neural network of social and political bindings that cannot simply be picked open and undone overnight. As I was recently remined, Spain, like all the countries, have a right of veto on any new entrants to the EU. Even if Catalonians separatists get what they want, the rest of Spain will still need help to which, the Catalonians will still contribute via EU regional aid and development programmes.
The Catalonian situation, despite the generally accepted legitimacy of its cultural identity case, needs to be seen in greater perspective. Certainly, from a more far off perspective it seems like old European regional tribalism – and look where that got us all – endless wars including two world-wide wars. There are also considerable parallels with the Brexit referendum, which inspired this latest devolution activity / push, in that most voting has been on base sentiments and feelings rather than cool logic and rational thinking, much less actual comprehension of the overall facts and issues involved.
‘As it is below, so it is above’
The break-down and rebuilding of social and power structures is an essential pre-requisite for building a better, and stronger Europe. This has parallels in any learning and development process. For example I have experienced this more concretely whilst teaching hobbies such as martial arts in which, student development reaches a plateau at certain stages. My job was to break-down if not dessemble and tear apart their technique and what they thought they had established in order for them to rebuild it with a more sound and refined structure that will allow them to launch into the next phase of learning and development. ‘As it is below, so it is above‘ – social movements are but a larger scale aggregation of the smaller sub-social and individual processes, and ultimately nature itself. We have already entered a period of social chaos and break-down predicted by the Kondratieff cycles, a natural and empirically predictable natural cycle of social movement if not development. You can find out more about these from my earlier blog article on EU ‘brains’ warn about end of free capital markets by 2030.
The timing of the event however, is not so fortuitous for the EU and will cause much disarray at a time when we need more unity to weather the storm winds of change around the world. We already have 27+ states of various sizes, power and international expertise / worldly competence that are hard enough to hold together for the greater common good. If all our modern states start breaking up into a further multitude of tiny, bickering old-world regions and tribes lead by small-time politicians with little or no competence for the job – even by comparison to the current EU leaderships – this problem will be multiplied many times over, weakening the EU to the point of inoperability and totally vulnerable to the whims of other world powers who would be only to happy to exploit it to their own advantage.
The EU needs to be united and cooperate at least on the practical and functional levels of government administration in order to gain economies of scale that we need to survive in the modern globalised economy and political conditions. The historical process has so far been a piecemeal unification of smaller regions into modern countries as we currently know them that has helped to eventually stabilise borders, jurisdiction and many of the problems and violence of the old world – but nothing is perfect and the job is not yet complete, if ever it will be. A fully integrated and unified Federal European Union is a logical next step to some regional country groupings (e.g. UK & Ireland, Nordic union, the Netherlands – all passport free regions before the EU) that some prominant groups in the EU are pushing for and have been seeking for a long time since. The U.S. and Germany are federal states that permit a certain amount of autonomy and independence to constituent states to manage their own affairs, so, perhaps not such a bad thing.
Federalization however, would mean the creation of a European superstate that would diminish the position and influence of regions such as Catalonia even more that it is within the nations state of Spain. This is the hidden socialist agenda in Europe that many British (older generation mostly) have had a strong aversion to and resulted in the Brexit vote, one of the most ill-informed referendum votes in democratic history (except perhaps for recent U.S.A. elections ;). Democracy is necessary, but it does not always work it should, or as we would like it to, in large measure because of inadequate means to apply it as it is due to poor definitions/ parameters, elective criteria and administrative processes. In time, technology may allow us to achieve a nationhood and government administration based on membership rather than location, which, although already noted in discussion within academic circles, is not yet a practical viability.
In principle we believe, in pragmatism we trust
So consider this, constitutional and social contracts aside, the right of self-determination has no definitions or criteria as yet, and certainly is not an issue of scale. It is a principle only. And in principle the lowest common denominator is each and every single individual human being on this earth or anywhere else. Does this mean that I, and English man, living in Helsinki, Finland, can hold a vote with my self and declare my home and grounds an independent state that I might call ‘New Fingland’!?
Has a nice ring to it though, does it not? 😉
A friend of mine just wished me a Happy New Year with the comment that ‘common sense returning with relations with Russia, and enough wealth, health and happiness for us all!’ I think all of us would at least second that sentiment.
Russia relations might be improved yes, but at what price? Business with them has been slow to recover since it collapsed in the early nineties along with the soviet power structure at that time. Finland’s GDP drop by over 15% overnight and has now switched its focus and reliance to Europe instead. And, as it was noted in the local newspapers today (16.1.2017), they have been building up their forces in the northern part of the border in Finland where they can drive straight across on land into all three Scandinavian countries (Finland, Sweden and Norway) in one quick and easy push. The Artic is also a short cut across to America. All this on the back of record numbers of airspace incursions over the last three years since sanctions were incurred for their invasion of the Crimea. Sometimes it seems, the so-called common sense, reasonableness and good relations with Russia mentioned earlier, can be a bit of a one-way street. Russia’s current elite does not care much for anyone’s prosperity but their own, and a very short.sighted and myopic perspective that is too. They have been threatening, intimidating and bullying Finland as usual and never more so than over possible NATO membership – partly cause they know Finns are fearful and culturally speaking a bit weak-minded – but also because it is a cultural trait in all Russia’s relations with external countries including the Central Asian Stan’i states and Caucuses as well. Unfortunately, instead of having discreet consultations and just getting on with it quietly before Russia even woke up to it, as appears to have been done in the other Baltic rim countries, it was discussed in public and for too long which, allowed the Russians to start a propaganda campaign and apply their typical intimidation tactics. Ironically, it is precisely the bully boy behaviour of Russia that has been driving these countries into the arms of NATO in the first place.
They have a penchant for abusing other countries as a buffer zone, which is basically the same thing as a ‘Human Shield’, a much-despised tactic often used by terrorists. Although their psychological traumas from the second world war make the root of this policy understandable, it is by no means acceptable and does not explain away all their behaviour after or before the world war. The Finns have had good reason to be fearful because, of Russia’s previous occupation (100 years plus 50 as semi-autonomous rule) of Finland, its unprovoked attack during the second world war when they seized half of the Karelia region (to secure a buffer zone around the port of St. Petersburg) and in the sense that they have no hope of defending themselves if Russia should attack. The best they could hope to do is fight a running guerilla war with battalions of embedded snipers to make it as painful as possible for them. The human cost alone for the Finns would be enormous if not unbearable and they already shudder at thought of a handful of potential losses through involvement in NATO engagements. However, giving in to your fears does not help. There is nowhere to run and hide anymore, the forests, bogs and treacherous frozen lakes will no longer protect them in modern warfare. The mental will and strength come not from wallowing in your own weaknesses and the strengths of other, but from positive thinking in the form of your own strengths and their weaknesses in order to identify your own ‘comparative advantages’. Just as in any business negotiation process, however, it is also important to know what your bottom line is, the acceptable limits, outcomes and risks that you can tolerate. Knowing when to say no, and within which range of options you can be content to make a settlement, if your ideal wishes cannot be achieved, are essential for providing the framework and guidewires for any negotiations and the ability to say ‘No’ when you need to – a word and ability that gives back a great sense of empowerment.
It is interesting to note that on a trip to the Russian held part of Karelia, in a village where some of my Finnish my in-laws grew up as children, more than 50 years after the war, the local Russian residents still did not know that this had been part of Finland and was stolen during the war. They had of course burnt everything to the ground as they evacuated so as to leave the Russians nothing but a scorched earth. The local Russians had been told by the Russian authorities, when they were ‘moved’ there, (a process of Russification common in Russian occupational tactics) that this had always been a part of Russia. The Karelians still want it back, but, the Finnish government is not so interested and after 50 years (including regional neglect by the Russian authorities that has lead to the ruin of Viborg, once jewell in the crown of Finland, a city of special beauty in Finland) under the bridge is prepared to let bygones be bygones. However, to his credit, a Finnish president, when told by Putin that Finns should be told to shut up or otherwise silenced about the issue, turned around and politely but curtly told him that Finland is a democracy in which the people are allowed to talk about whatever they like to. Finns still comment about it and are proud of him for having the courage and strength to do that.
At the end of the day, however, it is all about intention, otherwise, we might all be carrying guns every day in everyday life, perhaps with them pointed at our friends even (America excepted!). Although they are vulnerable, without the intention, there is no threat. In fact, because they are friends we normally see them as part of a larger security network in which cooperation makes us all stronger and safer by combining our resources. An arbitrary distinction in definition it may seem to those without the relevant education and experience, but an important one none the less. It is a distinction that Russia also seems not to have recognised in its policy of total security through total superiority or control, regardless of any intelligent risk management assessment and strategy. It is an old, out-dated and strange strategic stance to maintain when they know they cannot keep up with the USA in an Arms Race like the one we had during the ‘Cold War’.
The signs are there if you see them for what they are, e.g. although they seized Crimea, they did not attack the Ukraine mainland, but, instead relied on the Ukrainian separatists for a war by proxy for the eastern part of Ukraine. The seizure of Crimea should in no way have been a surprise to the intelligence community! It is of strategic security importance with many installations that they would understandable never allow to fall under western influence. The mineral wealth of the country is as much or of more interest to them than the minority of ethnic Russians (more of an excuse) that live in the area. In Syria, they waited until the US coalition efforts stalled and although supporting the opposite side in the conflict, entered the scene at an opportune moment in a way to avoid any accidental collisions or direct conflicts with the allied forces and operations. After all, we also have a common enemy in the region, i.e. ISIS or ISIL, also known as the Daesh to local Arabs with whom they are none too popular either.They are also trying to build a Russian economic federation on a similar model to the EU in order to compete with it, though their bargaining tactics to achieve this have not been entirely above board. Neither are all their complaints about the behaviour of the USA and the West been entirely unfair either, and many of their issues with us are genuine.
Another irony is that they (mainstream Russians) are ethnically Europeans also, not African, Asian or some other genetically divergent (as minor as it is, and truth be told, Europeans seem to have been the first genetic mutants from African origins) branch of humanity with their own distinct civilization, whom, despite the differences social system, and some would say, civilization as we understand it, have many of the same issues and concerns about relations with the other civilizations. It is a pity that they choose to compete with us instead of joining us as an equal partner. The signs are there if you see them for what they are, e.g. although they seized Crimea, they did not attack the Ukraine mainland, but, instead relied on the Ukrainian separatists for a war by proxy for the eastern part of Ukraine, and they are trying to build a Russian economic federation on a similar model to the EU in order to compete with it, though their bargaining tactics to achieve this have not been entirely above board. Neither are all their complaints about the behaviour of the USA and the West been entirely unfair either, and many of their issues with us are genuine.
According to the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Putin’s days are numbered and the regime will fall from within. There is no sign of that at present however, quite the opposite, which may or may not reflect that ‘a rat is at its most dangerous when cornered’. Perhaps this is why Russia is now flexing its muscles, to unite people against a common external enemy in an effort to stave off internal problems and challengers, in which case our course of action is to try and ride out the storm until Russia’s current bout of indigestion settles down again. Divide and Rule is their strategy against EU and also NATO and is having at least a partial effect. There have already been attempts to undermine the democracy in Poland. No doubt Hungary and other former eastern block states feel equally vulnerable and threatened. Some countries (Romania and Bulgaria) were recently brought into the EU long before they were ready and met the requirements, just to keep them out of the clutches of Russia, so one can only speculate as to their feelings having only recently emerged from the oppression of Russian occupation and tyranny that was on a level we might otherwise have expected from the Nazi’s if they had won the war, but not from the so-called liberator of those countries with whom the Russians had had no previous quarrel with..
Like it or not, if you are not a superpower, then you are likely a pawn in the bigger game. Beating your breast or biting the hand that feeds you, because, it hurts your pride as so many macho-morons in the Middle East seem to do when lamenting their long lost ancient civilisations and world domination, is pointless, juvenile and rather hypocritical given their past history and complaints about so-called US imperialism in the first place. In Western countries such as the UK, for example, too many ignorant people keep complaining about the foreign EU workers in complete disregard for the ‘Great Game‘ and its high stakes that are at play. This is especially irksome when the real immigration problem is the unskilled and uneducated immigrants from countries such as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh that keep pouring in through the (often covert/illegal entry) pipelines they have established.
The UK is like a magnet for these people. Every time I meet immigrants in Finland, the moment they learn that I am native English, they immediately start enquiring about the UK and how to get there, or if I can help them and introduce me to others on the same basis. The result is that I am rarely willing to talk let alone socialise with these people anymore, which is a shame because they otherwise seem like decent people and this is another starting point for social exclusion, if not economic. This problem was greatly exacerbated by the last labour government and their disastrous open door mass immigration policies for 15 years of botched government. Though having said that, the recent conservative government has been much less than impressive also. We have been in practice far too accommodating of other cultures instead of first educating immigrants about the local culture, its history and values along with the need to adapt and integrate. Instead, too many that have come in, wave their religion and cultures in our faces, expecting us to learn and adapt to the multitudes of their foreign cultures. These problems are causing ridiculous social and schooling schemes along with social segregation/exclusion and ghettos and their resulting social tensions, and not just between the British public and immigrants, but, notably and often more extensibly between the immigrant groups themselves. They have brought their old and inappropriate cultural baggage with them! Terrorism and the movement of a few terrorists within the Schengen Zone is only the tip and most unpleasant aspect of this social iceberg.
Other EU countries have similar problems with their neighbours or ex-colonies, particularly African states. The West is like a life boat, we want to help, but too many or too fast will capsize the boat and perhaps sink it altogether. Change comes slowly, but only from within, so these migrants have got to stand their ground and start working to change and update their home countries just as our forefathers had to lest we end up with an isolationist USA and EU like that envisaged in the movie Elysium. Unlike a few hundred years ago when modern national borders did not exist, we can no longer simply migrate to new lands to escape the mess we made in the previous one. The fences are up for a reason, they have helped kept the peace in modern times, though some would argue that with globalisation they are also becoming obsolete in deference to personalised membership of political administrations, facilitated by modern technology, instead of physical location and geography. Personally, I think the latter only works in times of relative harmony and accord between nation states and then only at a relatively superficial social level, the members of which I would class as social drifters, hopping from economic raft to raft, provided and supported by the larger majority of ordinary working people, without ever really contributing to the local social fabric and infrastructure.
Change comes slowly, but only from within, so if they want things to improve in their homelands, these migrants have got to stand their ground and start working to change and update their home countries just as our forefathers had to lest we end up with an isolationist USA and EU like that envisaged in the movie Elysium. Admittedly modern weapons warfare has made this far more difficult to do than it was even in ancient times, but, someone has to make a stand, diplomatically from within or else physically from without, or nothing will ever change. Unlike a few hundred years ago when modern national borders did not exist, we can no longer simply migrate to new lands to escape the mess we made in the previous one. The fences are up for a reason, they have helped keep the peace in modern times, though some would argue that with globalisation they are also becoming obsolete in deference to personalised membership of political administrations, facilitated by modern technology, instead of physical location and geography. Personally, I think the latter only works in times of relative harmony and accord between nation states and then only at a relatively superficial social level, the members of which, I would class as social or professional drifters, hopping from economic raft to raft, provided and supported by the larger majority of ordinary working people, without ever really contributing to the local social infrastructure. It is the permanent residents who put their stake in the ground and try to build something, be it a business, sports club or other community structure that the rest rely on to make their lifestyle possible and worthwhile. Not everyone (very few in fact) can simply up sticks, leave their family and communities behind, let alone at short-notice, migrate half-way around the world just to get a job. It is a privilege that will only ever be afforded to a few who are able and willing to do that. This reflects a completely different type of people and circumstances than we have recently witnessed with the exodus of refugees from the Syrian war, whose suffering and pain as been clearly visible in the news.
Despite Russian attitudes and policy towards the west, they could not and did do nothing when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined NATO – so what really they going to do if Finland joins? Finland is a small population but still a different prospect with a great many internationals now living here, including Syrians and other Muslims the Russians don’t want. Finland has also been an independent state for over 100 years now and a member of the EU for a bit longer than the other Baltic rim states. Perhaps the difference is that the smaller Baltic rim states could be over-run in a couple of days before NATO ever had time to react, hence are not an obstacle. Once an occupation is initiated, there is no way to force them out without a full-scale air and ground war, a fact they already ably demonstrated in the Crimea. In so doing, they also exposed and exploited the weakness of political will within the EU and our weakness in our divisions. This is no joke when you consider that historically, all socially and culturally advanced societies and civilisations have fallen to more aggressive if not more powerful attackers precisely because, through their long peace and prosperity, they became weak-willed, lax and ill-prepared to fight off aggressors if need be. If, as has been reported from a recent interview, Trump really does intend to dismantle NATO, the EU will have to ‘stand together, or divided fall’ – just as it fell before. This means EU level armed forces, defence policies and border control services at a hitherto unheard of level previously, something that will be hard to push through in the current political turmoil over the exodus and flood tide of war refugees and terrorists taking advantage of a good scheme (in principle) that was unfortunately badly conceived and constructed in Schengen agreement made in the early 1990’s, and long since obsolete in its conception for dealing with current immigration and refugee issues.
The more our society and civilization advances whilst others lag behind, wallowing in the past and a seeming time warp, the more tenuous the connection becomes and hence the more difficult it is to maintain the psychological connection and understanding’ of the aggressors and their mind set. Without this, ‘peace and compassion through strength and understanding’ is impossible. It also prevents us from regressing appropriately or in a controlled manner back into the mind set needed for fighting off such aggressions and transgressions. This problem of mind set is one of the biggest problems when ordinary people try to figure out how to deal with ordinary civilian criminals within our own society, so dealing hostile foreign states and civilizations is certainly beyond most people’s mental capacity. Normal conflict management is one thing, but with aggression of this type, normal diplomacy, compassion and common sense is not enough to prevent more excessive transgressions. Unless they are backed up with a strong will, fortitude and ‘strength’ as the bottom line, all the skilled state diplomacy in the world will be nothing more than words and hot air in the face of an aggressor’s guns and bombs.
Threats by Putin of a ‘response’ are, in my view, just posturing and pointless displays of sabre rattling in absence of intention. They are a symbolic way of warning us off that we are approaching their limits of tolerance and we need to start taking their complaints seriously, but it is not war, yet. Everyone has quarrels at some time, even with their friends. They already have plenty of troops and installations nearby, nuclear weapons that reach anyone in the world anyway (just not pointed at us until recently – what’s new? – but could have been turned on us at any time of their choosing anyway), and have been deliberately channelling Arab and Afghan (i.e. Muslim) refugees into Finland via the land border to try and cause more trouble, partly in a spiteful retaliation for the EU sanctions over Ukraine invasion. These juvenile ‘tit for tat’ politics are not the reserve of the Russians though, the USA, in particular, is also prone to it and I doubt the EU is any saint either. It seems that none of them have learned much about conflict intervention and management principles for de-escalating a conflict. Fortunately, Finland is a member of the EU, which, makes it politically much harder for Russia to act against the state without incurring a different kind and scale of response regardless of NATO membership. It is NATO and its members various ‘coalitions of the willing’ escapades, politically motivated activities such as the export of democracy that are the stumbling block and a small country’s fear as much as a desire not to get embroiled in the large scale strategic geo-power politics of the superpowers. The price of such involvement is proportionately much higher and more painful for a small population with a mainly conscript army. This is I (and some colleagues of mine with whom I have spoken about it) suspect, partly why the EU is talking about forming an EU defence force that would be politically easier for countries like Finland to join, whilst at the same time meeting USA requests for the EU to take a greater responsibility for and share of the burden for their own security and defence. I also suspect this is in large measure what is behind Trump’s recent provocative comments in his first European interview. However, reported statements that more countries should leave the EU like Britain is doing, displays a level of ignorance if not stupidity that beggars belief!
Trump is right about one thing in his recent interviews and statements, Merkel and EU leaders all, have made a complete foul-up of it all, but not for the reasons he supposes. But then so has the US even without Trump’s forthcoming (anticipated) ‘con-tributions’, whose actions and even lack of action gave rise to the EU’s problems in the first place. Given all the false election promises he seems to have made, and the apparent backtracking he is already reported to be doing on many of the key ones, it would be a bad indictment of modern western democracy if he does not get impeached for election fraud. The arguments over Syrian refugees are totally mixed up and confused by all the parties concerned – they are confusing related but different issues (effect as opposed to cause).
Russia wants Trump in, because, they know he is protectionist/isolationist and will put up barriers and in effect withdraw USA from the international stage (perhaps even the EU), leaving Russia free to roam and play about, extending their sphere of influence with impunity. Trump appears to have similar attitudes towards the Muslims because of the terrorism and religion in general, so no doubt Putin thinks he will get more understanding and cooperation on that front for their practical but, frequently unacceptable measures/methods (to be) taken. Trump, does, however, seem to finally have become aware of the humanitarian disaster caused by Russian intervention in Syria, which he is reported to have said ‘was a very bad thing‘. Human Rights has been a primary driver for the spats between Putin and the likes of Hilary Clinton. And then there is the thorny issue of the missile defence shield the USA is kindly trying to put around Europe to protect us from rogue states, which, Russia refuses to accept even at the expense of our potential nuclear annihilation. However, Trump’s nuclear armaments and national security policies (“let’s build and expand until everyone comes to their senses about nuclear weapons”) are likely to aggravate Russia and others even more, and scare the hell out of the rest of us. It is interesting to note though, that despite distorted if not hysterical news reports from his European interview in London, he said that’ NATO is obsolete because of its lack of performance in respect to terrorism… but, that it was nevertheless important to him’. The Russians agreed, with his statements, at least, the bit about NATO being obsolete.
One saving grace is that Trump, is that he is said to be a deal maker rather political party partisan, who might be willing to do business with Russia more (if you can’t beat or change them, then have to work with them – for the time being) rather than getting on a moral high horse like Hilary Clinton and co. did (including interfering in Russian internal politics according to Putin, which, if true makes rather large hypocrites out of them), which is one of the main things that upset him with the outgoing US administration. On the other hand, even before the Ukranian issue arose, Russia invited various rebukes anyway by, for example, not playing by the rules they signed up to when joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO), for example. It is no surprise that Europeans, who have always lived next to and in the shadow of the Big Bear, have a little trouble swallowing Trump’s comments that we should ‘trust Putin more’, especially given reports of Trump’s ties to Russia, possible compromise by them and his appointment of a security adviser who has clear ties to Russia and even inside the Kremlin. On the other hand, some might say these links or ties might prove beneficial and even improve world security through better relations with Russia, something which is good for us all if not necessary whether we like what we have seen of Putin and his regime or not.
The real risk to security, life and limb is still rogue states like North Korea with their little tin pot and insane dictators. Iran, I suspect, is still operating covertly under the table despite nuclear agreements reached – like North Korea, they understand that the surest way to resist external influence is to be a nuclear power, and in any case also have ambitious imperial / influence expansion plans to revive the old Persian Empire under Shi’ite rule, something the minority Suni’s won’t accept without a fight, which is why they had so many military dictators in Middle-East in the first place. Personally, having watched his Tv shows as well as his election performances, I think Trump comes across as a bit of a tyrant, bigoted, egotistical and one of the most ignorant ‘characters’ to hit the western political scene since Ronald Reagan. He also seems to be a ‘Shit-Stirrer’ and an NRA (National Rifles Association) Red-Neck along with a big mouth that constantly runs away with him – gung-ho !.. hence totally unsuited to international diplomacy and for that reason alone, unfit to hold any governmental office. – God help us all! – if you still believe in that sort of thing. ‘Gung Ho’ is not a mind-set any of us can afford when dealing with nuclear weapons.
However, the methods and human cost notwithstanding, Russia did what USA could not or would not do in Syria and from a practical point of view, perhaps, needed to be done in terms of helping Asad because, they were the only credible opposition to the ISIL threat, Russias business interests and ties with Asad notwithstanding. Yet in Ukraine they still operate by proxy ( a siblings conflict regardless of international law and recent sovereignty establishment. The Middle-East locals (Islamists) are starting to hit back and Russia might now start getting the same attention from terrorists as the USA and EU, e.g. an ambassador has already been murdered in Turkey. The Muslim immigrants I have spoken to in Finland so far have been very short on awareness and understanding of the true nature and colours of both Russia and China, with all their grievances still focused on the USA. A couple from Sarajevo in former Yugoslavia were just as clueless about real life and conditions in the western democracies and the price(s) we pay for democracy and our freedoms. They have little understanding of the true nature, history, culture and values of the west and far less about Russia and China. No wonder people from that region still keep trying to bite the hand that feeds them.
Some would argue that Russia is doing nothing that USA has not done, but, fail to recognise that their reasons are far less altruistic than the US motivations. That does not mean that the USA are saints, for clearly, some parties do benefit as a byproduct of their international activities. As ‘war is an extension of politics’ (Sun Tzu), so business and industry are the supply lines and source of the ability to wage war in the first place. If they bore the burden even for altruistic purposes, then why should they not be the main beneficiaries? The Russian government is, from a democratic perspective, nothing more than a state-sponsored mafia and other bullies and thugs trying to massage their egos and wallets by pursuing out-dated politics and national security policies/strategies derived from a by-gone era. On the other hand, it would be good if the thankless burden of world policing was not always on the shoulders of US and EU. If Russia and China get involved and help out more, despite the immediate geopolitical influence risks/costs to the west, the Arabs (ISIL) and others might begin to see and understand their true colours and redirect their wrath against them instead. Some people like to talk in simple terms such as bad and evil, friend or foe, are they or ar they not, with us or against us. Unfortunately, these are simple minded perspectives sometimes used for communicating to and manipulating the masses, or the product of an adverse stress reaction. Worse still, the demarcation of others as either friend or enemy, like the Sith in Star Wars, dealing in black and white absolutes that are not only not representative of the truth, but back us into corners from which we have no alternatives for digging ourselves out of the hole we have all dug for ourselves. The truth as the Jedi pointed out, is ‘shades of grey’, hence presumably, the drab robes they always wore to remind themselves. Their light sabres were a bit more colourful, though 😉
Like a great many people these days, I have little or no faith in the current establishments (power structures), EU or USA, and much less in the politicians that purport to represent us, amongst whom relevant qualifications and skills for the job seem to be in incredibly short supply. Corruption is clearly a big problem within the upper echelons of western social, political and business society at present. A new way of doing things is needed, or a new social order by design or default from ensuing chaos of inaction and social evolution. In a previous blog article have already discussed at length the Kondratieff cycles that predict this process along with the signs and mounting evidence of its current phase and progress. However, regardless of personal training, experience and educational qualifications, as just one member of a democracy, I have only one vote to cast within the sea of votes of other voters. This is at it should be for any democratic society to be sustainable. It’s only a pity that the ‘one man one vote’ rule has not been enforced in respect to big business and corporations to prevent their undue and unwarranted influence on the democratic process. Bearing in mind that my boys will be conscripts on the front line with Russia when they reach the legal age (perhaps we can move abroad before then and renounce citizenship!?) – One can only hope for the best!
Original source: https://www.facebook.com/I.Bearth/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED
Desperation is wide-spread. These people have been stuck there with nowhere else to go – the French don’t want them! Human dignity is to us paramount, but not to those the rule where they come from, yet their wait in this encampment seems interminable, akin to a prison / detention camp, especially when they thought they were escaping to freedom from abuse and oppression.
What seems reasonable in our culture may not be so in theirs, and vice-versa, as was clearly shown by the scandal of French police having to arrest Muslim women from the beach if they were wearing a Burka. Western feminism as yet has no place in the societies and culture from which these women come from, though even in the developed world we would all be better off without Feminazism. The issue revolves around whether the Burka is seen as an emancipating development for Muslim women is flaunted in our faces like a flag as a cultural and religious provocation that bites the hand that feeds it. This is as much an emotive issue as it is a logical one and clearly there are genuine and decent people on both sides all be they out-flanked by extremists into whose hands they are playing. Much depends on where you are living at the time, for the need to adapt and integrate is an everyday social group issue and skill as well as a cultural one on more international scales. Yet for integration to happen, we must help it along with understanding and compassion. As is usual in any social setting, the new arrivals must make the initial effort to adapt and then integrate, after which the host group may try to ‘meet them half-way’ as the saying goes.
The UK is already overcrowded and suffering yet another identity crisis (third or fourth in my living memory), just as EU is now beginning to due to the volume and speed of migration, nevermind the cultural and religious issues that have dogged this clash of civilisations, modern and ancient. It takes several (4 or 5) generations for migrants to adapt and integrate but, in these large numbers it is more likely they will just form insular ghettos leading to further civil unrest and trouble further down the line. The UK experience with Indian immigrants as well as with Muslim communities has clearly highlighted these risks and related problems long since, having taken in millions of them, so, by comparison the Brexit vote over a few hundred thousand culturally related Europeans seems quite ridiculous and ignorant, if not churlish. It is poignant that much of modern racism and inter-community problems in the UK these days is between the various immigrant communities themselves, having brought all their old and redundant cultural baggage with them. Even so, as we seemingly drown in non-adaptive third world cultures, attitudes and politics that drag us back down into the quagmire our ancestors spilt blood, sweat and tears for centuries to overturn and drag our society out of, much of what we see today as modern liberal civil society is relatively recent and the result of increasingly rapid social developments since the last two world wars, and that includes our dress codes and sense of decorum in public places.
One hundred years ago we were not so different than Muslim and other developing-world cultures, at least in this superficial aspect, my own grandmother even, always wore a head scarf when she went out and probably never wore a bikini in her life, as full body swimwear was the accepted norm in her day. In the public swimming pools however, the issue is more of a practical one related to hygiene and equality. If we cannot wear certain types of swimwear because of hygiene issues, for which, our own culture, religions and churches have already had to adapt, then why on earth should anyone else be allowed because of theirs!? In the UK, the Sikhs already tried to use their first high court judge (appointed under ethnic and cultural equality and integration promotion policies) to get a legal exception made for their national costume which, includes the wearing of a dagger – something that is clearly unacceptable in British society, especially with all the knife related crime problems in inner cities and their schools in particular. Clearly (legal) education was not to rid him of his pecuniary interests and prejudices, let alone truly understand and comprehend the rules and values of our culture and society. If we opened the doors (borders) indiscriminately, the whole world would try to come into UK and EU, then the lifeboat will capsize and sink. The problem is not just about the economics of financing these people whilst they get established here, but of social and cultural absorption. People are fearful of and slow to change, so just how much slower will a whole society and culture be!?
The Syrian migration is not a political asylum issue so much as an exodus of war refugees that has been hijacked by a multitude of others for their own pecuniary interests and geopolitical power purposes. Can’t say as I blame any of them, though the organised crime and human traffickers we could do way with for starters. Without a major military effort and ongoing guerilla warfare style policing and border control operation, this will only happen when the demand dries up – prevention is always better than cure, so we must help ‘solve the problem’. The ultimate and more lasting solution however, can only come from within, so the affected people must find a way to stand tall and put their own house in order, just as our forefathers had to and we too still have to do today lest the entropic forces of crime and prejudice dismantle everything our society has achieved so far. The EU immigration and asylum system (The Dublin agreement) was already straining at breaking-point from just the more normal migration flows from under-developed countries in crisis beyond the EU borders. This is where the root cause of the problems are and where it should be contained (quarantined) and solved if possible – this is basic health, safety, security and risk management principle and practical process for anyone working in the emergency services. Those countries that had the power to do this, conspicuously failed to act and do so, despite repeated warnings and requests for intervention by other local allies ‘in the know’.
The richer EU countries also selfishly dumped all the duties and costs of border protection on the poorer outlying states and still do little to share the burden more fairly. Talk of greater integration and common EU forces misses the point, i.e. the immediate threat and issues! The question is, how many is too many? How many can we absorb and at what rate of influx? How many have actually come over? How many actually stay permanently or return to their homelands once it is ‘safe’? We know that some migration is needed to replenish our stock of young people now depleted by years of economic success in which we cannot afford, cope with or even want large families anymore whilst all the time we live longer. However, no one has been able to or can at present answer these questions. We can’t stand by and leave people to suffer but, we can’t roll over like a welcome mat or we will get walked all over and swamped. The US and others talk much about how EU should accept them all, whilst, they themselves, having stood by and done little to prevent the problem or even in part caused it, cherry picked the refugees they are willing to accept – hypocrites that they are! Funny how some countries can apply criteria for doing this but, the rest of us are not allowed to use such broad categorizations and criteria lest we be labelled racists or otherwise heartless & inhumane whilst, at the same time are seemingly incapable of effectively screen asylum applicants because of practical capability constraints. There is no magic perfect solution here, so as usual, we need to draw a line somewhere, all be it an arbitrary one, based on practical solutions that give an optimal solution under the circumstances. That’s the reality of life!
Although Hilary Clinton, a seemingly genuine moderate, chooses to side with the brow beating ‘Political Correctness’ camp, whatever PC is politically or technically defined as, the attempts to silence and suppress Donald Trump, the feelings and the arguments he voices and even conduct vilification campaigns without actually listening to them let alone answering the questions and issues raised, does them little credit, nor does it help solve the underlying problems. Again, innocuous and narrow if not biased partisan interests are clearly at play here which, should rightly raise strong suspicions about this political camp, or at least some of the driving factions within it. However, this in no way means that I agree with or support ‘Donk’ Trump in any shape or form, my feelings and attitudes towards his politics or him as a person and a politician are in no way favourable. Then again, I am not too enamoured with EU politicians and ‘
Then again, I am not too enamoured with EU politicians and ‘Commissionairies’ right now either! This whole episode has been the biggest farce and screw-up of modern western political times. Furthermore, the constant arguments and barrage of character assassinations over issues which, absolutely no one has the facts and figures for makes the whole debate nothing more than a futile load of bigoted speculation. This is precisely why the EU is trying to install automated border control mechanisms with finger printing and other biometric identity systems that have been long resisted for fear of abuse, not by hackers and other criminals so much as the governments and regulating authorities themselves. For some (the older and wiser members of society), the memory of what happened in Germany when Hitler and his Nazis seized control of the country and started the second world war still looms large. What chance of overturning such a dictatorship would we have now with all this biometric and other high-technology in place and in the hands of similar people? The EU may have been kick-started by economic issues (the Transport strikes triggered by border queues between France and Germany), but, the EU has never been purely a business club. The foundations on which it’s success rests, as for the rest of us, is security, largely achieved through common culture and values.
Rampant political correctness has now exacerbated the problem of ‘mission creep’ and cross-linked electronic systems by trying to use the crisis as an excuse to extend the scheme from immigrants and criminals to the whole EU population. This poses a severe challenge and threat to the principles of privacy and data protection so cherished (so they tell us – they keep compromising on it under pressure from those whose business interests it serves) by the EU. Even before this there was resistance to biometric tagging of immigrants even for fear of being ‘shot by association’ when their information is kept in the same fingerprint database (Eurodac) as real criminals. Migrants are not criminals and UN human rights law and principles mean that even illegal immigrants should not be labelled as ‘criminals’ despite the attempts of some interest groups (governments) to have them treated as such. Even with these massive and hugely expensive systems, there are and always will be huge holes in the net, not to mention the loss of lives at sea by those desperate to escape their lot elsewhere, with or without life jackets even for their young children. Despite the emotional distress such occurrences cause, not to mention the emotional blackmailing conducted by some ‘interest groups’, this is not sufficient reason in itself to simply open the floodgates. The situation management and solution lies elsewhere.
Despite all our history and learning, it seems we keep making the same mistakes all over again with each generation (the price of forgetting history), This is the original message and true meaning of ‘to each generating is born’ the great Sah’tan (Miss-translated as ‘the Devil’) – I.e. YOUR Ego! Yes, not an other-worldly fearful being hell-bent on our destruction, but our own innate over inflated egos! It is basic human psychology that we try to externalise the cause of our problems, rather than look in the mirror, in order to make them easier to cope and deal with, a fact that along with our fear all the churches and their religious doctrines have used and abused against us for their own interests since the beginning. So what does this tell you about the Devil’s counter-part and the original and true meaning of the concept of ‘God’!?
Related Blog Posts:
Building Engaging Learning Experiences through Instructional Design and E-Learning
Private Sector Surveillance Detection And Special Protective Operations
Following migration by sea from Africa to or towards Europe.