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What Putin is doing is not new in the geo political world.  There is a word for it: “revanche.”   A policy of revanche is designed to recover lost territory and reverse territorial losses incurred by a country.  It is an age-old attempt to grab land under the hubris of patriotism.

In 2011 the United Nations recognized the world’s newest nation in South Sudan, giving international license to a regional, political, and cultural necessity. These UN efforts came on the heels of a half a century’s worth of a bloody conflict. Into this situation, the constitution of South Sudan was birthed. And, consequently, the brightest flicker of hope in South Sudan was the possible role of women in it.

“Egypt had been seeking aircraft quickly, due to the threats that it faces,” said French President François Hollande to journalists in Brussels in early February 2015, after France concluded a 5.2 billion euro deal to sell fighter jets to Egypt. Shortly afterwards, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that France would partially finance the sale with a 3.2 billion euro loan. According to military experts, however, the terrorist threats in Sinai cannot be dealt with using fighter jets. Instead, attack helicopters, which Egypt possesses hundreds, including American Apaches and French Gazelles, are better suited for attacks within the challenging topography of the Sinai.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015 07:02

Russian Armored Bears

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In Philip Pullman’s popular 'His Dark Materials' series, there is a race of largely solitary armored bears who have a society based on the real-life island of Svalbard. They are known as the Panserbjorne, they guard their territories and consider honorable fighting as sacrosanct. They also have opposable thumbs, giving them the ability to manipulate complex objects as do humans, and they consider their armor, what can be considered their clothing, to be their souls.

Both climate change and poor air quality result primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels, and it is within urban areas that these intertwined issues are most acute. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated that urban areas are responsible for more than 70% of all energy related fossil fuel emissions, and this share is expected to grow as people continue to migrate into urban areas. Similarly, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) estimates that urban air pollution is linked to 1 million premature deaths and 1 million prenatal deaths each year, costing 2% of GDP in developed countries and 5% GDP in developing countries, and the World Health Organization (WHO) recently noted that urban air quality is deteriorating. Addressing air quality and climate change impacts will bring economic benefits, but there is still much that can be learned about how best to take care of these issues in terms of both cost and efficacy.

The 45th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum concluded on January 24 with yet another record setting year in number of heads of state and other influential participants in attendance, myriad of sessions ranging from cognitive science and future of robotics to global economic outlook and taking stake of the multiplying political risks hotspot around the world.

The cyber attacks on Sony Pictures Entertainment have become probably the most scandalous and gossip-worthy foreign policy story of the past decade, with North Korea being rocketed back into the spotlight of the American public. During late November and early December of last year, hackers released thousands of private email conversations and other confidential data from Sony’s system, with the apparent goal of threatening Sony into not releasing a comedy film about assassinating Kim Jong Un, entitled The Interview. The FBI asserts that these security breaches were orchestrated by North Korean hackers, and the United States has just begun a new round of sanctions targeting North Korea. While North Korea claims that they were uninvolved with the data leaks and some security experts have blamed disgruntled insiders, the damage has already been done to North Korea’s already shattered reputation.

In an age of security, surveillance, and Snowden, even civilians with nothing to hide may presuppose that they are under some form of surveillance from the government. The public assumption is simple, saying something as innocuous as “bombardier” might be a trigger word that could result in a wiretap without a warrant. While this may very well be the perception in the United States, thousands of criminal networks are still operating regardless of the increased reach of government surveillance. Drug dealers, human trafficking syndicates, prostitutes, and child pornographers are all able to sell, market, and distribute their services and wares openly online and through alternative forms of communication and mechanisms for transactions.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015 07:02

Developed Countries Barriers to Immigration

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The vast liberalization of international trade and the relatively free movement of capital on a global scale no longer move parallel with the freedom of migration. OECD members are afraid to flood their countries with poor immigrants from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. However, developed countries are now willing to accept talented young graduates who gained their education in less developed countries and now want to offer their skills to foreign labor markets for a “better life.”

As the complicated mess of the Ukraine crisis continues to unravel, global commentators have been eagerly suggesting that the escalatory nature of the conflict could lead to a “cyber war.” Although this may be an inflation of the reality, it calls to mind the human costs of such a scenario. Jarno Limnéll, Director of Cyber Security at McAfee, identifies that likely targets “could include ATM networks, e-commerce systems, energy grids, transit and road signals, air traffic control, and certainly military command lines.” In truth, Limnéll is right, but his flag of concern only touches the edge of the enormous hurt that could be felt by us all. The cyber assassin’s tool kit is simple enough to understand, but we should be weary of its ability, capability, flexibility and agility. It is this lethal cocktail of adjectives within the context of limiting damage that must be treated with agreed restrictions for the interest of human life and dignity.

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