Saturday, 8 March 2014

Putin has finally found an ally

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin must be delighted. He has finally found a formidable ally:

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seconds Russia’s position in the Ukraine crisis, reported Syria’s state news agency SANA on Thursday.
In a message addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Assad expressed his solidarity, on behalf of the Syrian people, with Putin’s efforts to “restore security and stability in the friendly country of Ukraine”.
Assad stressed that Putin’s reaction to the crisis in Ukraine is legitimate and adheres to the UN’s objectives that aim “to create a balanced and transparent world based on respecting the sovereignty of countries and the right of peoples to decide their destiny,” reported SANA.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Garry Kasparov: The West should sanction the Russian oligarchs

Many western pundits still think that Vladimir Putin is defending Russia's "interests" (some even call them "legitimate") in Ukraine and elsewhere. Garry Kasparov, writing in the WSJ, knows better:

As I have said for years, it is a waste of time to attempt to discern deep strategy in Mr. Putin's actions. There are no complex national interests in a dictator's calculations. There are only personal interests, the interests of those close to him who keep him in power, and how best to consolidate that power. Without real elections or a free media, the only way a dictator can communicate with his subjects is through propaganda, and the only way he can validate his power is with regular shows of force.
Inside Russia, that force comes with repression against dissidents and civil rights that only accelerated during the distraction of the Sochi Olympics. Abroad, force in the form of military action, trade sanctions or natural-gas extortion is applied wherever Mr. Putin thinks he can get away with it.--
Kasparov also knows what kind of sanctions would be effective:
Thanks to their unfettered access to Western markets, Mr. Putin and his gang have exploited Western engagement with Russia in a way that the Soviet Union's leaders never dreamed of. But this also means that they are vulnerable in a way the Soviets were not. If the West punishes Russia with sanctions and a trade war, that might be effective eventually, but it would also be cruel to the 140 million Russians who live under Mr. Putin's rule. And it would be unnecessary. Instead, sanction the 140 oligarchs who would dump Mr. Putin in the trash tomorrow if he cannot protect their assets abroad. Target their visas, their mansions and IPOs in London, their yachts and Swiss bank accounts. Use banks, not tanks. Thursday, the U.S. announced such sanctions, but they must be matched by the European Union to be truly effective. Otherwise, Wall Street's loss is London's gain, and Mr. Putin's divide-and-conquer tactics work again

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Kissinger on Finland as an example for Ukraine

Henry Kissinger on Finland as an example for Ukraine:

Ukraine should be free to create any government compatible with the expressed will of its people. Wise Ukrainian leaders would then opt for a policy of reconciliation between the various parts of their country. Internationally, they should pursue a posture comparable to that of Finland. That nation leaves no doubt about its fierce independence and cooperates with the West in most fields but carefully avoids institutional hostility toward Russia.

The problem is that Finland does not "cooperate" with the West - it is a member of the European Union since 1995. Or does Dr. Kissinger not consider the EU part of the West?

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

German daily Daily Die Welt confirms Merkel's analysis: Putin "cocooned in his own world"

German quality daily Die Welt comments in an editorial on Vladimir Putin's behaviour at his latest press conference:

"Putin lives in his own world"

Many observers see Putin's appearance as a confirmation, that Angela Merkel was right, when she told US President Barack Obama, that Putin had lost contact with reality. Indeed, he seemed to be cocooned in his own world. And that was the really worrysome in the appearance of a man, who makes decisions about war and peace. He gave the impression of a politician, who has started to believe in his own lies.

Compare this with my take a couple of days ago ...


Julia Ioffe's article in the New Republic is also worth reading:

Today's performance, though, put all that speculation to rest. Merkel was absolutely right: Putin has lost it. Unfortunately, it makes him that much harder to deal with.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Encouraging news from the UK: Developers are abandoning plans for new wind farms

Amid all the gloom created by Russia's aggresion in Ukraine, it's nice to have some really encouraging news from the UK:

Developers are abandoning plans for new wind farms in Britain because they are “no longer financially viable”.
The decision to scrap the wind farms is the first evidence that the spread of turbines across the country is being halted. It follows a radical overhaul by the Government of the consumer subsidy, worth more than £1 billion a year to wind farm owners.
Under the subsidy, wind farms are guaranteed to receive double the wholesale price for the electricity they produce. Under the new scheme, to be introduced later this year, companies will have to sell their electricity to the national grid under a competitive bidding system.
The new scheme will limit the total amount of subsidies available for green energy; previously the subsidy budget was effectively limitless.
The change has led to developers scrapping wind farm schemes amid claims that the new system will make future wind farms unprofitable.

Bye, bye, you bird killing, landscape destroying, ineffecient monsters! You will not be missed!

Putin's own pollster: 73% of Russians reject the Putin's aggression in Ukraine

Even the vast majority of Russians are against Putin's aggression in Ukraine:

At home, this intervention looks to be one of the most unpopular decisions Putin has ever made. The Kremlin’s own pollster released a survey on Monday that showed 73% of Russians reject it. In phrasing its question posed in early February to 1,600 respondents across the country, the state-funded sociologists at WCIOM were clearly trying to get as much support for the intervention as possible: “Should Russia react to the overthrow of the legally elected authorities in Ukraine?” they asked. Only 15% said yes — hardly a national consensus.
That seems astounding in light of all the brainwashing Russians have faced on the issue of Ukraine. For weeks, the Kremlin’s effective monopoly on television news has been sounding the alarm over Ukraine. Its revolution, they claimed, is the result of an American alliance with Nazis intended to weaken Russia. And still, nearly three-quarters of the population oppose a Russian “reaction” of any kind, let alone a Russian military occupation like they are now watching unfold in Crimea.

This is clearly the beginning of the end for Tsar Vladimir. Before long, he will end up in a prison cell somewhere in his vast empire ...

Monday, 3 March 2014

Sergey Lavrov, "the most formidable foreign minister in the world", says that the Russian aggression in Ukraine is a question of "ensuring human rights"

Flashback, October 11, 2013:

Sergey Lavrov has emerged as the probably the most formidable foreign minister in the world. A product of the old Soviet system, he has clarity of mind, and an understanding of the great currents of world affairs.
Neither William Hague nor John Kerry could have dealt with a press conference with the candour, gravity and thoughtfulness that Mr Lavrov did in Bali on Monday. He provided a kaleidoscopic survey of global problems.
His observations on the importance of observing international law, the danger of another war in Afghanistan, and the framework for negotiations with Iran, are extraordinary.

Peter Oborne
Chief political commentator, Daily Telegraph

February 3, 2014:

“This is a question of defending our citizens and compatriots, ensuring human rights, especially the right to life,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in Geneva, where he was attending U.N. meetings.

Sergey Lavrov,
Russian Foreign Minister, "probably the most formidable foreign minister in the world"
on the brutal Russian aggression against Ukraine

And the man (Oborne) still appears to be employed by the Daily Telegraph!

But, thank God, he is now concentrating on something else:

Peter Oborne @OborneTweets
15min ago
Brilliant article in latest Nightwatchman on the biggest ever defeat in first class cricket, by my friends Richard Heller and Khan Shehram.

Angela Merkel has confirmed that Putin is mentally unstable: "In another world"

Angela Merkel has confirmed what has been known for long: Vladimir Putin is mentally unstable

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr. Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. “In another world,” she said.


And this man is in charge of a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons!

Former British ambassador: The Baltic countries and Finland could be next on Putin's list of "ours"

Former British ambassador Charles Crawford points out who should be most worried about Putin's foreign policy:

The key to understanding Russian policy in the former Soviet Union is found in an interview Vladimir Putin gave back in 2003. Asked what his foreign policy was, he said something to the effect of "I aim to keep what's ours."
So much said, in so few words. All hail technique.
Thus, for example, what Russia sees as 'its' might include:
  • any territories ever conquered by the Tsars or Stalin (including eg the three small Baltic republics, large chunks of Poland and Finland etc)
  • any territories that belonged to the USSR
  • any territories that belonged to the Russian SSR
  • any territories where Russian influence 'naturally' belongs
  • anywhere where non-trivial numbers of Russian citizens find themselves outside Russia's current borders (hence the busy policy of handing out Russian passports to Russian-speakers or others showing due fealty to Moscow, eg in Georgia/Abkhazia and now in Ukraine)

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Two large European countries on the first Sunday in March 2014

Two large European countries this afternoon:


Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says "we are on the brink of disaster" and he​ urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to pull back his military from the country.

Speaking to foreign reporters in Kyiv, he said: "This is the red alert. This is not a threat -- this is an actual declaration of war to my country. We urge [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin to pull back his military and to stick to its international obligations as well as bilateral and multilateral agreements that have been signed between Ukraine and Russia."


Most major television channels showed live broadcasts from traditional city carnivals:

The truth about Putin

This is still true:

Obama, Merkel, Cameron and other western leaders of course know the truth about Putin, but they continue to treat him like an ordinary head of state. The ultimate reason for this is fear: Madman Putin is in charge of a huge nuclear arsenal. 

The "sinking Maldives" revisited: Tourism key to "the Maldives's rise to become South Asia's wealthiest nation"

                                This was probably Mohamed Nasheed's most succesful PR stunt.

Only a couple of years ago, warmist MSM were full of stories about the Maldives, "the string of paradisiacal Indian Ocean islands that could become the first nation lost - entirely - to climate change". The tiny country's then president Mohamed Nasheed - the darling of the global warming church - declared that there only was "a window of opportunity of about seven or eight years.''

Today, with Nasheed gone, that "sinking feeling" is also gone, but you will not find the real story in the mainstream media:
The Maldives tourist industry celebrated over one million arrivals last year for the first time in its history, with an increase in 17 percent compared with the previous year’s figures.
Growing from just 2 resorts with a bed capacity of 280 in 1972, the industry now encompasses over 100 resorts with a bed capacity of around 25,000.
Tourism now directly accounts for around thirty percent of the country’s GDP and has contributed to the Maldives’s rise to become South Asia’s wealthiest nation, with GDP per capita doubling over the past ten years alone.
The current government hopes to expand bed capacity in order to achieve the current Tourism Masterplan’s projection of 1.75 million arrivals by 2021.

Neither do the envirofundamentalist media report on these developments:

Best Choice Real Estate Development, a newly established Saudi Arabian real estate investment and development firm based in Riyadh, is developing $100mn Vadinolhu Island located in Laamu Atoll in the Maldives to be ready in 2017 as a premier resort.
Aside from developing the isle as a tourist destination, the international developer plans to offer lucrative investment opportunities to investors.--

Retaj Marketing and Project Management is to sign an agreement to construct hotels, a shopping mall and hotel apartments in the Maldives, according to reports.
The Qatar-based firm has been in negotiations with the Maldives government for nearly 18 months, as part of the company's overseas investment strategy, said Mohammed bin Jawhar, deputy chairman.

Quite a different "window of opportunity" for the Maldives!

The leader of the Free World finally gets tough on Vladimir Putin

Barack Obama, the leader of the Free World, has finally reacted:

The U.S. is preparing to pull out of the next summit of industrialized nations — scheduled in Russia — in protest of Russian military moves in Ukraine, the White House said Saturday after President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke directly by phone.

This bold move must scare the hell out of the dictator!