25 years since the Belavezha Accords

From Wikipedia:

The Belavezha Accords (Russian: Беловежские соглашения, Belarusian: Белавежскае пагадненне/Bielaviežskaje pahadniennie, Ukrainian: Біловезькі угоди) is the agreement that declared the Soviet Union effectively dissolved and established the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in its place. It was signed at the state dacha near Viskuli in Belovezhskaya Pushcha on December 8, 1991, by the leaders of three of the four republics-signatories of the Treaty on the Creation of the USSRRussian President Boris Yeltsin, Ukrainian president Leonid Kravchuk and Belarusian parliament chairman Stanislav Shushkevich.

Dissolution of SSSR

Twenty-five years ago, three men were able to dissolve a giant country with a pen stroke.  Their signatures change the world in so many ways.  Some important reflections might be useful at this anniversary and one key question remain:

  • Why has not Russian’s average standard of living improved?

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Another important question relevant more than ever:

  • How could Yeltsin forget to say “but” and then continue:  “we need to get Krim back”?

A good analysis to answer the first question can be found in the Globalist article “1913-2013 Russia Bothced Entire Century”

globalist

Norwegian journalist and historian Hans Wilhelm Steinfeldt has a shorter version:

“Russia is like a huge military camp.  Lack of pluralism and private enterprise has effectively hindered technological spin-off from military development and investments into civil society.”

When you ad insane centralization and piratization of the economy over the last 25 years, you find chocking indicators of some fundamental problems:

Life expectancy for men is only around 64 years in Russia.

When it comes to Krim, rumours have it that Yeltsin got too drunk into the afternoon December 8, 1991 – and forgot all about Krim.

So here we are in 2016, facing a future with Putin and Trump.  What have we done to deserve this?  Well, history tend to repeat itself.

Two world leaders heading their two nations both with humongous financial challenges and an angry crowd that have not seen improvements in their life for the last 30 years.  Prospects could worry some people.  But the rest of us, we are optimistic, right?

Anders, Kapp-Norway in the evening December 7, 2016

 

 

“Let us globalize compassion”

Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai are 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai are 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

Two impressive personalities giving remarkable messages to us all.

Our sincere congratulations!

From the speach of Kailash Satyarthi;

Let us democratise knowledge.  Let us universalise justice. Together, let us globalise compassion, for our children!

I call upon you in this room, and all across the world.

I call for a march from exploitation to education, from poverty to shared prosperity, a march from slavery to liberty, and a march from violence to peace.

Let us march from darkness to light. Let us march from mortality to divinity.

Let us march!

From the speach of Malala Yousafzai;

I had two options, one was to remain silent and wait to be killed. And the second was to speak up and then be killed. I chose the second one. I decided to speak up.

Globalization4U, from Gjøvik, Norway

Radicalization and a Royal Arab Dilemma

We are all chocked and saddened by the brutality of IS, yet why do they get such a popular support from many different groups?  Do we understand what is going on, or do we act first of all to score domestic political points?

Arab Radicalization

To stop radicalization within the muslim world, the western world is discussing measures, and today France has started air strikes.  Is force an adequate measure?  Is IS the only target to bomb? In 1789 France led the world in an uprising against the aristocracy and a despot king.  Why should we now defend the aristocracy and despot kings against its people?

There are mainly two important drivers making this hole issue troublesome:

1) The distribution of wealth in the Arab world.

2) The distribution of wealth and power in the United States of America

They both need to be address in order to find the real measures to the Royal Arab Dilemma.

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Some good reading:

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Anders, from the shores of Mjøsa.

Ukraine – again at a crossroad

People are again taking to the streets in Kiev as the country is caught in two fundamental political deadlocks;

  1. Fighting political corruption
  2. Choice between Russian or European affiliation in future political development
The EU flag in Kiev, as the Ukraine society argue over a Western or Eastern path for the future.

The EU flag in Kiev, as the Ukraine society argue over a Western or Eastern path for the future.

This is just another crossroad for a country that never really got its boarders settled.  To understand the sentiments in the street, it might be useful to scroll back for a brief historical summary;

A brief historical summary

Ukraine was known as “Kievan Rus” (from which Russia is a derivative) up until the 16th century. In the 9th century, Kiev was the major political and cultural center in eastern Europe. Kievan Rus reached the height of its power in the 10th century and adopted Byzantine Christianity. The Mongol conquest in 1240 ended Kievan power. From the 13th to the 16th century, Kiev was under the influence of Poland and western Europe. The negotiation of the Union of Brest-Litovsk in 1596 divided the Ukrainians into Orthodox and Ukrainian Catholic faithful. In 1654, Ukraine asked the czar of Moscovy for protection against Poland, and the Treaty of Pereyasav signed that year recognized the suzerainty of Moscow. The agreement was interpreted by Moscow as an invitation to take over Kiev, and the Ukrainian state was eventually absorbed into the Russian Empire.

After the Russian Revolution, Ukraine declared its independence from Russia on Jan. 28, 1918, and several years of warfare ensued with several groups. The Red Army finally was victorious over Kiev, and in 1920 Ukraine became a Soviet republic. In 1922, Ukraine became one of the founders of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In the 1930s, the Soviet government’s enforcement of collectivization met with peasant resistance, which in turn prompted the confiscation of grain from Ukrainian farmers by Soviet authorities; the resulting famine took an estimated 5 million lives. Ukraine was one of the most devastated Soviet republics after World War II. (For details on World War II, see Headline History, World War II.) On April 26, 1986, the nation’s nuclear power plant at Chernobyl was the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident. On Oct. 29, 1991, the Ukrainian parliament voted to shut down the reactor within two years’ time and asked for international assistance in dismantling it.

Globalization a challenge for societies out of sync

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WARNING:  Globalization, accessibility and increased traveling may cause harm.

Both individuals and societies are struggling to cope with globalization, causing frictions, frustrations and even severe consequences as jail sentences.

Among backpackers in South East Asia, knowledge about drug regulations in muslim countries like Malaysia and Indonesia is a well known fact.  Still, people get repeatedly caught and getting severe sentences.

The individual has a duty to prepare for an international travel, and to seek key information about the destination in order to avoid the most obvious pitfalls.

Nations are struggling to sync with globalization.

Dubai Skyline.  Apparently an ultra modern society?

Dubai Skyline. Apparently an ultra modern society?

On the other hand, nations are also struggling to stay synchronized with their ambitions to attract international tourism.  One example standing out is Dubai. Dubai has invested insane amounts in developing the small nation into a tourist hub and destination.  Dubai being a liberal nation on the Arab peninsula, has laws and regulations far from western standards.  Their apparent liberal (ambiguous) alcohol practice allow for consumption within the premises of large international hotels.  There are now numerous accounts of women tourists having been raped in Dubai, and when reporting the felony to the police, they end up being charged for drinking and for having sex outside of marriage.

The old saying is still valid;  When in Rome, do as the Romans.

Tourists must take better care of themselves, on one hand, and nations like Dubai have to modernize and adapt to the flat new world.

Anders, from a sunny Gjøvik, Norway.

The American Dilemma is a Global Dilemma

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The United States of America has a long tradition in keeping secrets, hiding the truth and building “smoke screens” to cover up reality.  Humongous structures of FBI, NSA, CIA and more, are built to administer it all.

Then fortunately, there are individuals who see through the madness and take actions.  Taking a huge personal risk, people like Mark Felt, Daniel Ellsberg and Thomas Drake contributed to saving an important little piece of democracy in the USA.

In the 21st century of globalization, increased transparency, increased complexity and a technological change, we need individuals like Felt, Ellsberg and Drake more than ever.

And the first ones to stick their heads out are called Assange, Manning and Snowden.  They perform a control function similar to that of investigating journalism in the 20th century, and should be our real heroes, rock stars and celebrities. We need these brave individuals in every corner of the world; – In Europe, in Russia, in China and Brasil.

Again and again we see that government will abuse power if they are not “illegally” monitored.  We need to question authorities constantly. Edward Snowden is a true hero and need public support.  The discussion he wants to take place is of fundamental importance to humanity.

http://www.dbtv.no/?vid=2466649900001

Take your time and listen to this important interview.

Edward Snowden, and any other individual, need protection against abusive government and other abusive groups as large corporations, lobbyist groups etc.  The international community need to develop an attitude as well as the tools and structures to handle this.  If not, we need at least to recognize what to do when a situation like this occur.  The right thing to do is to protect Snowden in such a way that a balanced and true hearing can take place.

Anders, from the shores of a flooded Lake Mjøsa, Kapp, Norway

My 4 P-wishes at a crossroad; Peace, prosperity, power and progress!

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It is time to thank you for your cooperation, weather it has been following my different blogs, or cooperation through my various ventures!

In any case, your contributions are truly appreciated!

2012 Seasons GreetingsWe catch up in 2013 for new exiting ventures, to explore new territory and to pave new ground where no man has ever stepped before.

Anders, in a philosophic mood, watching snow falling on Lake Mjøsa, slowely, slowely……..slowely.

 

Global Economy at a Crossroad

As the year 2012 ends, and we wonder what 2013 will bring, UN DESA launch a preview into their “World Economic Situation and Prospects 2013”.  Being at a crossroad new even to scientists and economic specialists, it has never been more difficult to predict next year’s outcome.

Growth of the world economy has weakened considerably during 2012 and is expected to remain subdued in the coming two years, according to the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2013 (WESP), published yesterday by the United Nations. The global economy is expected to grow at 2.4 per cent in 2013 and 3.2 per cent in 2014 a significant downgrade from the UN’s forecast of half a year ago.

Globalization4U brings you a preview into the report her.

Anders, in icy Kapp, Norway

 

Fragile relationships

This year, 2012, marks 40 years since the normalization of a diplomatic relationship between China and Japan.  But it is a fragile relationship.  This we have experienced the last weeks.

Senkakus Islands, a metaphor for a much more serious divide between China and Japan.

To understand the underlying sentiments of this conflict is fundamental for the whole world, as we see a China gaining self confidence and claiming their voice to be heard globally.  Weather it is the control of some insignificant islands, or to protest against an insignificant country handing out a peace price, there are much more important underlying issues at stake.

Some good reading includes:

Nippon.com
New York Times

 Anders, from Café “bocata”, Oslo 

To move with the current, or against it?

The balance of following the crowd, vs moving against the current is sometimes a delicate one.  We need both strategies in our repertoire.

An interesting question for discussion is the one raised by Edward L. Glaeser, an economics professor at Harvard:

Why Has Globalization Led to Bigger Cities?

UN map showing megacities of 5.0 million plus.

If the world is so flat, then why are cities growing so quickly, especially in the third world?

One might have thought that striking declines in the costs of shipping goods and communicating knowledge across space would have led to a great dispersal of population. After all, it is at least technically possible to telecommute over great distances. Yet the share of the world living in urbanized areas increased from 40.9 percent in 1985 to more than 50 percent today.

In the developing world, urbanization has often taken the form of exploding populations in megacities. Mumbai’s population increased to 19 million in 2007 from 10.8 million in 1985. Bangalore, the urban symbol of the flat world, has had its population double over two decades, to 6.8 million today from 3.4 million in 1985.

The growth of these cities and the continuing strength of older urban areas — like New York, London and Paris — is no accident. Globalization and new technologies attract people to big cities, by increasing the returns to urban proximity. While it would be technically possible to sit and write software somewhere in the Vale of Kashmir (at least if you didn’t mind the bullets), the innovators in Indian information technology cluster around one another in Bangalore. America’s computer wizards likewise choose to cluster in Silicon Valley rather than disperse.

Why has information technology led to urban concentration rather than a great programmer diaspora?

Globalization and technological change have increased the returns to being smart; human beings are a social species that get smart by hanging around smart people. A programmer could work in the foothills of the Himalayas, but that programmer wouldn’t learn much. If she came to Bangalore, then she would figure out what skills were more valuable, and what companies were growing, and which venture capitalists were open to new ideas in her field.

The information flows that come from proximity might also help to build the relationships that would enable her to create her own start-up. A remarkable number of information-technology start-ups in India were formed by partners who connected in Bangalore.

Knowledge moves more quickly at close quarters, and as a result, cities are often the gateways between continents and civilizations.

More than 2,500 years ago, the knowledge of the Mediterranean world made its way to Greece through Athens. Twelve hundred years later, Greek and Indian knowledge entered the Islamic world through the Abbasid Caliphate’s House of Wisdom in Baghdad. Eastern wisdom came west again, through Venice and the cities of Spain. The circle continues today, as Western technology makes its way east, again through urban portals like Bangalore. Since there is so much for developing countries to gain economically by integrating with the developed world, the urban gateways to the West attract millions.

There is a great deal of concern today about whether the megacities of Asia are just too big.

After all, from a Western perspective, many developing cities have bad air, bad water, awful congestion and poor housing conditions. The crowded slums of Mumbai can seem pretty terrible, and rural villages maintain their quaint, romantic appeal, at least to people who don’t have to live in them. After all, Gandhi himself wrote that “If India is to attain true freedom and through India the world also, then sooner or later the fact must be recognized that people will have to live in villages, not in towns, in huts, not in palaces.”

But there is no future in rural poverty. Nehru, in his response to Gandhi, had it right: “a village, normally speaking, is backward intellectually and culturally and no progress can be made from a backward environment.” The slums of Mumbai attract hundreds of thousands of migrants because they offer more hope than the static, backward-looking world of rural India. The millions of poor people who choose to live in Mumbai, and Bangalore, reflect the strength of these cities, which offer economic opportunity not found in Gandhi’s beloved villages.

The right response to the problems of megacities is not to get misty-eyed about village life, but rather to work to improve the quality of infrastructure in those growing urban areas.

Abundant land hides many sins, including the failures of government. But when people crowd into cities, the costs of governmental failure become painful and obvious. The great challenge facing the growing cities of India is whether the public sector can take the difficult steps that would lead to clean water, better toilets, faster commutes and less crime. Restricting the growth of India’s cities would mean restricting the economic progress of India’s economy, and that would be a mistake. A better path is to figure out how to make those cities more livable even as they continue to grow.