Tuesday, July 22, 2014
After the downing of the Malaysian plane over Eastern Ukraine, the cold war thinking in East and West has intensified even more. Events are distorted and used to stir up tensions.
Like in my comment to my previous post to take just one example. Another example: Politicians and papers in the West demand that Putin should be treated as a criminal like Gaddafi after the Lockerbie bombing.
You almost get the impression that the passengers were murdered deliberately, and that Putin personally pulled the trigger. And after the crash the bodies were desecrated and their belongings stolen.
After the Russian annexation of Crimea, tensions could gradually have faded. But Western and Russian one-sided interferences in Ukraine have maintained the East-West confrontation. Especially the Russian support for the separatists has been harmful. And after the plane tragedy the resentments in the West have deteriorated considerably.
Black and white thinking now flourish even more. The West and the Ukrainian government are seen as responsible freedom-lovers, while Russia and its allies are perceived as irresponsible evil barbarians suppressing democracy. Of course Russia has its own opposite black and white thinking where the Ukrainian government is a group of fascists, whom the West supports. Right now after the shooting down of the plane, the extreme Western reactions are the most worrying. They will of course be reciprocated from East.
Why this resurgence of cold war thinking in a presumably intelligent civilization? As said modernities like our present typically are finished with an end fight for supremacy. In spite of this after the end of the Soviet Union we have seen a period of peace, understanding and cooperation. It looked as if intelligence had finally taken over. Maybe this was just too good to be true. It is as if the hawks have just been waiting for an excuse to start the confrontations again. It is certainly not so that the separatists in Ukraine or the Kiev government are the only responsible for the worsening global tensions. They and their supporters have contributed, but importantly, they have furnished welcome excuses for others to "start the fire" of the cold war again. This of course still means that all provocations, not least from amateurs and desperadoes, should be avoided. We should not furnish such excuses.
But it can be feared that our civilization will not be the first to avoid confrontation in the competition in the end of modernity. The earlier mentioned decline of politics is a part of the explanation for this. This political decline often means that the sense of responsibility and the willingness to base decisions on more than a few facts or the interests of a single group are lost. And that medium and long term consequences are not considered. Such political thinking is a major danger in global politics. Unless we are very careful!
Monday, July 21, 2014
Ukraine is not a playground!
The shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over Eastern Ukraine should be a wake-up call for the EU, the US and not least Russia.
At stake is not only the well-being of the Ukrainian people, but also of the world, with the risk of negative consequences for cooperation and economic development.
The EU and the US should stop accepting everything the central government in Kiev does. Attacking cities with hundreds of thousands of civilians is unacceptable. It is wrong to see and treat the amateurs in Kiev as responsible politicians.
Russia should stop supporting crazy people n the East. If it can be confirmed that the Malaysian plane was shot down by people connected to the insurrection against the Kiev government, then this just further underlines what already seemed and now even more seems clear, not least in view of their behavior on the crash scene: that parts - though not all - of the pro-Russian fighters are unorganized, uncivilized bandits. Thus it is a pattern like the ones already seen in similar situations after the breaking up of the USSR, like in Transdnjestr (even though the situation here has improved since).
But Ukraine is not Moldova. Donetsk is not Tiraspol. A country of this size and this population can not be treated like a banana republic. Uncontrollable unpredictable bandits are the wrong people for giving the Russian-oriented part of the population freedom and influence. Instead they have damaged the perception of both the separatists and Russia in the public opinion.
In cooperation with the amateurs in Kiev they create division, violence and suffering. And they affect the relations between East and West negatively.
As stated earlier I have a lot of understanding for the Russian points of view of the turning west of Ukraine and for the worries of the people in Eastern Ukraine. That a Western oriented part of a large heterogenous country tries to turn the whole country in a direction not wanted by half the population is unquestionably wrong. Besides Russia has legitimate interests in Ukraine. But it would be wiser for Russia and better for both its influence and the cause of the Russian-speakers to give moral and economic support for POLITICAL opponents of Kiev like the Party of Regions. Time, economy and culture would work for such forces.
And it can be in nobody's interest to let the future for the relations between the great powers be decided by unpredictable desperadoes. The destiny of the world for decades could be affected. On a more general level: the last phase of many modernities have been very violent or at least filled with harmful conflicts. We should do everything to prevent this from happening in our case. God does not play dice with the World. Neither should the big powers of today!
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I feel an obligation to comment on the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel. Never ending attacks and revenge attacks popping up again and again. The pattern is so repetitive that it would be boring if it did not involve so much suffering.
But there is not much to add to what I already have written in "The Middle East, Rome and the United States". It is a fight between the all dominant Western civilization and the Oriental civilization fighting for survival. Israel is viewed by many in the Middle East as a Western occupation force, a spearhead for a foreign civilization on holy Oriental or Moslem ground.
Just two short banal points:
1) Compassion and forgiveness instead of retribution and revenge do not only concern Christians.
Psalm 145 speaks thus about the Lord:
The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
Allah is always referred to as:
Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.
2) Like the situations in Iraq and Ukraine, the conflict between Palestine and Israel shows why democracy and total independence must bee reduced through increased control from above and abroad. The policies in Israel, Gaza, Iraq and Ukraine are intolerable. The conflicting parties are intransigeant and bringing about instability, violence and suffering in the regions. And also spreading terrorism all over the world.
Poroshenko, al-Maliki, Netanyahu and even Lieberman and Hamas were all chosen democratically. But their acts are too harmful to be tolerated without limits set from stronger foreign powers. Such limits should be set, and they will be set by the worlds dominant powers out of responsibility or just loss of patience. This concerns both dictatorial and democratic countries.
Since 1789 there have been numerous wars. What is new is that the world has become too civilized, also outside Europe, to accept too much cruelty. New is also that many conflicts spill over and hit globally in the form of terrorism.
The uniting of "the world" under one country (or two) is the natural end of the modernity in every civilization. It can be of the reasons above or the hunger for power or both.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
We have two new cases of the US spying one of its closest allies, Germany, whose loyalty is only limited by pacifist considerations which are understandable after WW2.
This together with the whole extent of the spying by the NSA should be a wakening up call for the old continent. For years it has not seen that the world and its big players are not ruled only by reason, good will and humanity. And it has not been willing to see that this concerns not only former enemies like Russia with its actions in Ukraine, but also the friends in Washington.
It is not true as many believe in the USA, that Europe and Germany would spy on the Americans like these do on us, if the Europeans had the same means at their disposal. As described in " The European Sung Dynasty" Europe has a naive view of at least the Northern rich world as ruled by good will and reason. You can laugh at this, but it is not exclusively ridiculous. It is driven by decency. After horrible wars Europe has realized what the ideal for relations between nations should be in a perfect world. The problem is just that the world is not perfect. In the EU the ideal is being approached more and more. But outside forces act out of hunger for power.
Europe and especially Germany are decent. What is naive is only that they expect their close ally to be the same. This explains the level of disappointment in the German government. From Germany there certainly is no attempt to stir up transatlantic tensions, just disappointment. Of course German security agencies have activities which go beyond what the public knows. But spying the Americans at the level these do in Europe is out if the question. It would be viewed as indecent. We do not give the Nobel Peace Price to Obama and then start to tap his phone!
That the Americans do such things should be no surprise in the present competition for world hegemony. Furthermore it underlines the US contempt for Europe and belief in its own right to rule. That we do not act likewise, is not a question of lack of capability, but decency.
It would also be recommendable for the Americans to take the public opinion in Europe into consideration. If public opinion is not the only factor, it is still very important for those who want to win the world. If new cases of US disrespect continue to come into the awareness of the public in Europe, not even strong American presence in the media and the internet can make it be forgotten.