Putin Squanders Olympic Glow to Seize Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin has thrown away the halo of global good feeling that might have come with the success of the Sochi Olympic Games. Russia’s hosting of the Games was marred when armed paramilitary extremists linked to Putin publicly whipped members of the punk rock protest band Pussy Riot, but Putin’s government handled that situation by scolding the responsible Cossacks and denouncing such abuse of citizens.

Continue Reading

Why Kiev Matters

The struggle over Ukraine’s political system is important to the world for a lot of reasons. In short:

  1. It matters whether any human population has fair and transparent, democratically accountable government;
  2. Ukraine is a strategic crossroads, both for political and economic reasons;
  3. The tension over violence against protesters in Kiev could explode into a regional war that no one can afford;
  4. A peaceful resolution is an indicator of whether Russia and Europe can work together;
  5. Ukraine’s strategic value is partly to do with geopolitical spheres of influence, partly about carbon-based energy.

So, what is happening at this hour in Kiev matters to the wider world for moral reasons, for strategic political and economic reasons and because the outcome may determine whether petrostate hegemony will hold sway over the future of more than half a billion people. That authoritarian petrostate model—an outgrowth of both the Soviet dictatorship and the post-Soviet plutocracy in Russia—severely limits the power of individuals and communities to influence government, and to build a more humane, more collaborative, more sustainable future, from the ground up.

Continue Reading

No more posts.