The most popular man in Russia right now is Vladimir Putin. Fresh from the international success of the Sochi Winter Olympics, he has managed to engineer a referendum in Crimea that has brought this peninsular, which in the past has been ravaged by war, back into the Russian family. 96% of the residents of Crimea voted to leave Ukraine and unify with Russia. It’s odd, because in 1991, when Ukraine became independent during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, 56% of Crimea voted to leave Russia, and 90% of Ukrainians generally. Of course it did not help that non-Russians were terrified of showing themselves and basically boycotted the vote, opposition media were closed down, and activists arrested. The good old Soviet times are coming back. …Read More
Month: August 2014
If this is springtime in the Arab world, then there are probably a lot of citizens in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Bahrain, Iraq and Syria who would prefer winter. What started out as a promising process leading to democratic elections in some of the countries and the elimination of leaders perceived to be tyrants like Gaddafi (Libya), Mubarak (Egypt) and Ben Ali (Tunisia) has descended into chaos. Citizens in Syria, who thought the time for their Arab spring had come, have ended up on the losing side in a civil war, which has become infiltrated by anti-Western jihadists. With the US exit from Iraq, there are rising casualties as Sunni Muslim rebels fight the predominantly Shiite government, and with the coming NATO exit from Afghanistan, who knows how long the current leaders will survive Taliban resurgence? …Read More
At a time when there is an economic crisis in the world, it does not seem to be a very good idea to have aspirations to be an astrologer. Mother and father are not going to jump for joy, and your government is not going to support you. Your school will not welcome your questions on the subject, your university will not provide any courses, your employer will not appreciate your skills. You may have discovered the magical correlation between human behavior and the cosmos, you may embrace a holistic view, you may value the spiritual riches that come from being receptive to transcendental influences. But this is not going to get you a job. …Read More
At the time of writing – one day before the Scottish referendum on independence – England is shaking in its boots. When an overconfident David Cameron agreed with the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Alex Salmond, the terms of the referendum a couple of years back, just one question was agreed on: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” This unwisely allows people to say Yes for independence, rather than Yes for continued union with Britain. Back then, Cameron along with everybody else assumed that there could not possibly be a majority for independence. But now, one day before the United Kingdom can be torn asunder, the bagpipes have a different tune. Yes and No voters are so evenly divided, nobody can say who will win. …Read More
There is nothing like the feeling that things are out of control to bring on a few nervous tics, and right now it seems not much is going right for the world, seen from a Western cultural perspective. As we approach the last two clashes between those otherworldly planets, Uranus and Pluto, it seems their signature is everywhere. This combination, which takes place on average about twice every 125 years, and last ravaged the world during the Depression and Nazi domination of the 1930’s, shows the forces of revolution and tyranny in violent interplay. Uranus wants change, and Pluto does not mind what the cost is in human terms. They may bring evolutionary development, but the pain threshold is high.