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Showing posts with label ukraine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ukraine. Show all posts

Thursday, May 25, 2023

25: Ukraine

Wagner Group boss, "Putin's butcher," says Russia at risk of losing Ukraine war and facing a "revolution"

The Wagner group forecasts disaster if Russia does not move into total war footing. Yevgeny Prigozhin has been ramping up pressure on Russia’s military leadership and extending his criticism to the country’s moneyed elites. .

The U.S.-Chinese Economic Relationship Is Changing—But Not Vanishing How “De-Risking” Can Preserve Healthy Integration .

Two Weeks at the Front in Ukraine In the trenches in the Donbas, infantrymen face unrelenting horrors, from missiles to grenades to helicopter fire. ......

If you want to live, dig.

........ shock waves and shrapnel had reduced the surrounding trees to splintered canes. Artillery had churned up so much earth that you could no longer distinguish between craters and the natural topography. ......... A log-covered dugout, where the soldiers slept, was about five feet deep and not much wider. ........ As for the infantrymen, their mission was straightforward: not to leave and not to die.......... The village was controlled by the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization notorious for committing atrocities in Africa and the Middle East. ......... “They were like zombies. They used the prisoners like a wall of meat. It didn’t matter how many we killed—they kept coming.” ........... and the conventional troops who replaced them were far less numerous and suicidal ........ “A lot of the new guys don’t have the stamina to be out here,” Pavlo said. “They get scared and they panic.” ........ The uncanny extent to which both men had adapted to their lethal environment underscored the agitation of the recent arrivals, who flinched whenever something whistled overhead or crashed nearby............ Taking out his phone, he swiped through a series of photographs: “Killed . . . killed . . . killed . . . killed . . . killed . . . wounded. . . . Now I have to get used to different people. It’s like starting over.” .......... He’d been there for six weeks and had not so much mastered his fear as accepted the illogic of running: there was nowhere to escape to. All the same, he was so timid by nature that it was difficult to imagine him repulsing a Russian attack. “I hate weapons and violence,” he said with wide-eyed incredulity, as if he still could not believe where he was. “I’m just trying to stay alive until I can get home.” ......... I spent twelve days with the 28th Brigade, and I never once saw Tynda, Odesa, or Bison put on body armor or a helmet. When I asked Bison about this, he replied, “If I’m going to die, I’ll die.” ........ the veterans had so internalized the soundscape of the war that they knew instinctively where each munition was coming from and where it would land .......... The gun’s operator, a rawboned soccer hooligan with brass knuckles tattooed on his hand, spoke of the Maxim like a car enthusiast lauding the performance of a vintage Mustang. ........... In the course of the past year, the U.S. has furnished Ukraine with more than thirty-five billion dollars in security assistance. Why, given the American largesse, had the 28th Brigade resorted to such a museum piece? A lot of equipment has been damaged or destroyed on the battlefield. At the same time, Ukraine appears to have forgone refitting debilitated units in order to stockpile for a large-scale offensive that is meant to take place later this spring. At least eight new brigades have been formed from scratch to spearhead the campaign. While these units have been receiving weapons, tanks, and training from the U.S. and Europe, veteran brigades like the 28th have had to hold the line with the dregs of a critically depleted arsenal. .......... it was “more important to focus on the accumulation of resources” for future battles. “May the soldiers in the trenches forgive me,” Zaluzhnyi said. .............. his mortar teams had fired about three hundred shells a day; now they were rationed to five a day. The Russians averaged ten times that rate. ............. The most important element of any dugout is the roof. Raw logs are brought on trucks as close to the front as possible, then carried by soldiers to the trenches. A proper roof consists of three layers of logs stacked crosswise under three feet of dirt—a thickness greater than the distance that most projectiles can penetrate during the millisecond between their impact and their detonation. Railroad ties serve as vertical posts. The dugout should be deep enough that the top barely crests the ground; from outside, all you see are steps descending to a subterranean door. ................ “I’d seen how people burn alive inside,” he told me. “One R.P.G. or mortar strike, and that’s it.” ........... and as we approached a white church outside Kostyantynivka I noticed Volynyaka crossing himself. In town, I asked him if the war had made him more religious. “No, the opposite,” he said. “I’ve started to question the existence of God.” ........... According to Volynyaka, “almost everyone” who had not already fled the town was pro-Russian. A clerk at the local grocery store had told him, “We don’t want you here.” I asked him if the hostility had eroded his motivation to keep fighting. He shook his head. “I know it’s my land—why should I care what they think?” ............... and asked me if the soil in the United States was as rich and arable as theirs. The fact that this same soil now shielded them against injury and death had only deepened their attachment to it. ............. In his spare time, he tended the vegetable patch, which he hoped would be sprouting when the homeowners returned. ............. He later told me that his preferred avatar in his favorite video game, Skyrim, was an archer. “grove st 4 life,” a reference to Grand Theft Auto, was tattooed on his forearm. When he found enough bandwidth, he planned to download a game called World of Tanks onto his phone. ........... Then, on the eve of the offensive, a young member of the brigade posted a video of himself and his comrades in which he announced where “we will be attacking.” By the time the video was deleted, it had been viewed more than eleven thousand times. ......... When a sergeant overheard a draftee telling me that he was sick, the sergeant interjected, “Everybody is sick.” .......... “Maybe the drone saw the Starlink satellite,” Ivan said. “Or they saw our toilet. It’s obviously for officers.” (The toilet was just a pit that had been dug deeply enough to afford its occupant protection while squatting.) .......... Ivan grabbed a pastry from the food rations. “I want to eat some cake before I die.” ......... Morale was as crucial an asset as any in the infantry. One day, while I was on the Zero Line, an “Army psychologist” had visited. He did not have a degree in psychology, and his role was limited to identifying soldiers who were incapacitated by fear and could not “overcome their paralysis.” He explained, “I try to convey to them why they must follow their orders. If that doesn’t work, then we send them to a real psychologist.” ............. Ivan claimed that men often faked injuries in a bid to escape the trenches. “It happens all the fucking time,” he said. But, he allowed, such desperation could arise from genuine psychological damage. ............ Almost all the veterans had suffered multiple concussions, but, as Kaban had told me, “If we get sent for treatment, who will stay in the trenches?” ............ Post-traumatic stress disorder did not seem to be an apposite diagnosis for anyone on the front, because the traumatic event was still happening. .................. “It’s easier psychologically to stay here. It’s hard to come back after visiting civilization.” ........ Kaban had recalled going to Odesa a few months earlier and experiencing a panic attack as soon as he exited the train station. The overwhelming stimuli—bustling crowds, speeding cars, jarring city noises—felt like an onslaught of potential threats. Strangers were rifling through their bags, making phone calls; Kaban instinctively reached for his Kalashnikov, only to realize that he was unarmed. When he spotted a group of soldiers patrolling the station, he ran to them, pale and shaking. “Don’t worry,” a soldier assured him. “You’re not the first. This happens a lot.” ........ At the start—when there were no Five Hundreds or fainthearted draftees, and everyone was still a volunteer, galvanized by a profound sense of patriotic duty—Oper had commanded twelve extraordinarily courageous men. He had loved them all, and all of them had died. The losses had broken something in him, and he no longer permitted himself to form comparable attachments to his subordinates. ............. The whole country has been affected by the war, but nobody has absorbed its misery and horror the way infantrymen have. ............ and he did not think that having three children should exclude a man from serving. “It should be the other way around,” he said. “They have more to fight for.” ............. “Just like the Battle of Saratoga, the fight for Bakhmut will change the trajectory of our war for independence and for freedom.” This March, Zelensky told the Associated Press that if Ukraine lost the city Putin would “smell that we are weak” and “sell this victory to the West, to his society, to China, to Iran.”
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रेशमको सजाय माफीका लागि शीतलनिवास पठाइयो २० फाइल
मधुमेह भएकाहरूले निर्धक्क भएर खान सक्छन् यी फलफूल
हिरासतबाट बालकृष्ण खाणलाई सचिव पाण्डेको पत्र–ओली बा र देउवालाई भनेर मिलाउनुपर्छ
दूधमा यो मसला मिसाएर पिउनुका पाँच ठुला फाइदा : प्रतिरोधी क्षमता बढ्छ, हड्डी पनि बलियो

कस्तो छ रास्वपामा रवि-स्वर्णिम केमेस्ट्री ? थुप्रै आर्थिक र राजनीतिक विरोधाभासबीच एउटै पार्टीको उच्च तहमा रहेका रवि लामिछाने र स्वर्णिम वाग्लेको सुरुवाती सहकार्य जम्दै गरेको देखिए पनि यसले दीर्घकालीन निरन्तरता पाउनेमा आशंका बाँकी नै छन् । .
लगातार किन भासिंदैछ न्युयोर्क सहर ? म्यानहटन सहर अहिले सामुद्रिक जलस्तरभन्दा केवल एक वा दुई मिटरमात्रै माथि छ ।
रेशम चौधरी क्रान्तिकारी हुन् : बाबुराम भट्टराई
नागरिक उन्मुक्ति पार्टीले गर्‍यो आन्दोलनको घोषणा
प्रचण्ड, देउवा र ओली आज पनि छलफलमा

मधेश सरकार विस्तार, यादवको प्रतिक्षामा प्रम प्रचण्ड, भित्र भित्रै पाक्दै छ यस्तो खिचडी
रेशम चौधरी जेलमुक्त हुने गरि सरकारले नयाँ विद्ययेक ल्यायो
भ्रष्टाचार विरुद्व जनकपुरधाममा जनमत पार्टीको प्रदर्शन र विरोध
यसै मधेश सरकारमा अन्य दलहरु मन्त्री बन्ने हो : उपेन्द्र यादव जनमतको जिम्मा प्रधानमन्त्रीलाई, आलोपालो मुख्यमन्त्री पाउने हो
यादव र ठाकुर जनकपुरधाममा, मधेश मुख्यमन्त्री यादवको राजिनामा आउने सम्भावना यादव र ठाकुर बिच राती छलफल भई मधेश सरकार परिमार्जनको रुपरेखा तयार हुनेछ ।
मधेश सरकारको नेतृत्व पनि परिवर्तण हुनुपर्दछ : महन्थ ठाकुर
सत्ता गठबन्धनमा उपेन्द्र र डा. राउत बिचमा घोचपेच सुरु, उपेन्द्रको यस्तो आरोप मधेश सरकारमा परिर्माजनको जिम्मा देउवा, यादव र ठाकुरलाई

इमरान खानले इस्लामाबाद उच्च अदालतबाट पाए अर्काे राहत
इमरान खानले भने– ‘मलाई १० वर्ष जेल हाल्न खोजिएको छ’ इमरान खानले सोमबार दाबी गरेका छन् कि देशको शक्तिशाली सैन्य प्रतिष्ठानले उनलाई देशद्रोहको आरोपमा आगामी १० वर्षसम्म जेलमा राख्ने योजना बनाएको छ। ...... इमरान खानले यी ‘अपराधी’ हरूले जसरी ‘चादर र चार दिवारी’को पवित्रता हनन् गरिरहेका जनाउँदै उनले त्यो आजसम्म कहिल्यै नभएको पनि बताएका छन्।

Elon Musk says the ‘laptop class’ needs to ‘get off their moral high horse’ when it comes to remote work Chief executives, trying to bring employees back to the office, argue that working-from-home leads to less engaged and less productive workers....... Musk argued that tech workers—who he characterized as the “laptop class”—were unfair in demanding privileges that other people, like service workers or factory employees, could not enjoy. “You’re going to work-from-home, and you’re going to make everyone else who made your car come work in the factory? You’re going to make people who make your food that gets delivered—they can’t work from home?” Musk asked. “Does that seem morally right?” ...... In-person work sometimes led to COVID outbreaks in sectors like the meatpacking industry where working-from-home was not possible. ....... Musk claimed on CNBC that he only took two or three days off a year, and otherwise did at least some work seven days a week with only six hours of sleep a night. ........ (Musk was seen partying at a music festival in Mexico last weekend hours before a meeting with Emmanuel Macron, joking with the French president that he had to “sleep in the car” beforehand.) ...... CEOs argue that working-from-home hurts company culture, and claim that fully remote workers lose opportunities for feedback and mentoring, hurting their growth. ....... Employee surveys consistently report that workers think they are more productive at home. ......... The battle may be reaching an equilibrium around hybrid work, where employees come into the office for part of the week. The number of U.S. firms demanding in-person work five days a week dropped over the past three months, from 49% to 42% ....... Also on Tuesday, asset manager BlackRock asked employees in an internal memo to start coming in four days a week, up from three, arguing that remote workers missed both “teaching moments” and “market-moving moments” while at home.

Bill Gates is full of regret about missed vacations and broken relationships in commencement speech: ‘You are not a slacker if you cut yourself some slack’ .

Saturday, May 13, 2023

13: Ukraine

बालेनले पोखे आक्रोश– ‘नेतालाई सिधै बागमतीमा चोपल्नुस्’
२४ सै घण्टा निःशुल्क एम्बुलेन्स दिने बालेनको घोषणा

मेयर बालेन्द्र शाहविरुद्ध प्रदर्शन

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

2: Russia



My Country Is Reaching Out to People the West Can’t Stand In a frantic few weeks, he made efforts to initiate peace talks on Ukraine, criticized the supremacy of the U.S. dollar, traveled to China and hosted Russia’s foreign minister. ......... In line with the country’s history of multilateralism and sensitive to its needs, Mr. Lula is charting his own course. ........ China, after all, is Brazil’s top trade partner, importing enormous quantities of iron ore, soybeans and, increasingly, meat. For its part, Brazil imports from China, well, pretty much everything — like pesticides, semiconductors and shiny trinkets and gadgets that fill our dollar stores. ........ “and we are interested in building a new geopolitics so that people can change the governance of the world.” ........ “free emerging countries from submission to the traditional financial institutions that intend to govern us,” pointedly criticizing the International Monetary Fund. ......... To many leaders of developing countries, the global financial system — overseen by the I.M.F. and the World Bank and administered in U.S. dollars — serves to squeeze poorer nations, locking them into debt repayment programs and forestalling investment in infrastructure and welfare. .......... At the New Development Bank ceremony, Mr. Lula said he asks himself “every night” why all countries are forced to do their trade backed by the dollar. While that sounds like a recipe for bad sleep, the concern is not in itself unreasonable. ........... Mr. Lula is also drawing on a Brazilian tradition in foreign policy, based on the principles of multilateralism, nonintervention and the peaceful settlement of conflicts. That’s what lies behind his refusal to sell weapons to Ukraine and efforts to convene a “peace club” of neutral nations to mediate talks between Ukraine and Russia. ........... He has accused the United States of “stimulating the war” and the European Union of not talking about peace — and even said that “the two countries decided to go to war,” implying that Ukraine was also to blame for the conflict. In April he suggested that Ukraine could hand over Crimea to end the war. ......... A U.S. official accused Mr. Lula of “parroting Russian and Chinese propaganda,” and an E.U. spokesman reiterated that Russia was the only one to blame. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, while diplomatic, made clear his unhappiness. ......... Chastened, Mr. Lula soon backed down, underlining that his government “condemns the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.” Even so, he continued to advocate a “negotiated political solution” to the war and reiterated his concern “about the global consequences of this conflict.” .



Ukraine’s Military Says Crimea Blast Was Preparation for Coming Offensive Late Sunday, a day after the Crimea blast, explosions rocked Pavlograd in central Ukraine, and air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine. ........ “the broad, full-scale offensive that everyone expects.” ....... it was crucial to target Russia’s logistical capacity ahead of the counteroffensive ........ A little more than 24 hours later, Russian forces demonstrated their own ability to hit targets well inside opposing territory. ........ Russia has been able to launch deadly strikes far from the front lines, including an aerial assault on Friday that killed more than two dozen people. But it has been unable to break through the Ukrainian defenses in the east ......... Ukraine and Russia have both taken heavy casualties in hard-fought ground campaigns in the Donbas region, particularly around the city of Bakhmut, and the country’s south and east are believed to be the most likely theaters for Ukraine’s coming offensive. But shelling has remained a fixture in the daily lives of civilians from both countries in regions far from the most intense fighting. ........ Russian forces had fired a total of 57 shells on nine communities overnight ....... Evan Gershkovich, an American Wall Street Journal reporter imprisoned in Russia. .......... The State Department this month designated the journalist as “wrongfully detained,” signifying that the U.S. government sees him as the equivalent of a political hostage. ......... the first time that a Western journalist in Russia has been charged with espionage since the end of the Cold War. ........ The area of Bakhmut has been the scene of some of the fiercest fighting on the eastern front. .

The West Tried to Isolate Russia. It Didn’t Work. Another 47 countries abstained or missed the vote, including India and China. Many of those “neutral” nations have since provided crucial economic or diplomatic support for Russia. ......... While the West’s core coalition remains remarkably solid, it never convinced the rest of the world to isolate Russia. ......... Instead of cleaving in two, the world has fragmented. A vast middle sees Russia’s invasion as, primarily, a European and American problem. Rather than view it as an existential threat, these countries are largely focused on protecting their own interests amid the economic and geopolitical upheaval caused by the invasion. ......... the sanctions have not been as devastating as the West hoped. A handful of countries have filled the gap, increasing exports to Russia well above prewar levels .......... China and Turkey made up most of the export gap on their own. ........... Chinese passenger vehicles replaced Russia’s past supply from Western manufacturers. China exported more machinery and semiconductors, too. Other goods produced by multinational firms that can no longer be exported directly to Russia are now flowing through post-Soviet states. ........... President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has opened up an increased flow of goods to Russia, tearing a hole in the Western dam of sanctions. .......... after initially falling post-invasion, trade levels have rebounded because enough countries remain willing to trade with Russia. .........

even though Russia’s economy isn’t thriving, it’s strong enough to keep the war going

........... The weapons have helped Ukraine surprise the world and hold off Russia’s much larger military. At least 40 countries have provided military aid to Ukraine, either by sending offensive weapons or by providing other forms of military aid. .......... North Korea has shipped “a significant number” of artillery shells to Russia ........ Iran has provided Russia with unmanned “kamikaze” drones that Moscow has deployed for attacks against civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. .......... other countries, including China, have continued to supply Russia with dual-use goods like microchips that make their way into military equipment. .......... Russia does appear to be facing a shortage of precision weaponry, like cruise missiles, that require high-tech equipment. And Russian soldiers report a lack of night-vision equipment and surveillance drones on the front line. ........... A lot of world leaders don’t particularly like the idea of one country invading another. But many of them aren’t unhappy to see somebody stand up to the United States, either. ........... Throughout Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, many governments with strong official ties to the United States and Europe don’t see the war as a global threat. Instead, they’ve positioned themselves as neutral bystanders or arbiters, preserving as much flexibility as they can. .............. India has continually defied alignment with either side. .............. President Mohammed Bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates traveled to Russia to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin and said he sought to find a diplomatic solution. He also offered up an Abu Dhabi airfield for the Brittney Griner prisoner exchange. ............. Dubai, in particular, has become a hub for Russians — a haven for oligarchs and pro-Kremlin elites where Western sanctions cannot reach. And Saudi Arabia has said it must pursue its own interests, even if that causes friction in its longstanding relationship with the U.S. ............. Nearly half of African countries abstained or were absent from the vote to condemn Russia, suggesting a growing reluctance in many nations to accept an American narrative of right and wrong. ........... when visited by Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany last month, President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil declined to speak in support of Ukraine, saying, “I think the reason for the war between Russia and Ukraine needs to be clearer.” .......... NATO, described as experiencing "brain death" by President Emmanuel Macron of France in 2019, once again serves the clear purpose of protecting the Western alliance from Russian attack. ......... As the war passes the one-year mark, Russia’s strategy is clear: to wait out the West.
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The Curious Conservative Case Against Defending Ukraine Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis have each expressed their opposition to Western support for Ukraine (though the Florida governor seemed to walk his opposition back); both are keenly attuned to what they think will play well in G.O.P. primaries. .......... Tucker Carlson routinely used his prime-time pedestal to disparage Volodymyr Zelensky, calling the Ukrainian president a “dictator” and comparing his dress style to that of the manager of a strip club. The Buchananite American Conservative is against the war on principle; the Trumpian Federalist is against it as a matter of political opportunism. ........... From Vietnam to Iraq, the antiwar left (both in the United States and abroad) tended to be united by a kind of instinctive pacifism, a belief that war was almost never the right answer. There has also often been a fair amount of anti-Americanism on the left — the Chomskyite view that Washington’s foreign policy is generally a force for neo-imperialism and rapacious capitalism. ........... Some of the more dovish conservative voices on Ukraine, who fear that the war could set off a nuclear conflagration with Moscow, are uber-hawks when it comes to China: They argue that the resources we are pouring into Kyiv should be held in reserve for a looming battle with Beijing over Taiwan. They are also the same people who fault Biden’s shambolic withdrawal from Afghanistan for making America seem weak, without appearing to be the least bit concerned about the signal that an American abandonment of Ukraine might also send. .......... Some of the historical revisionists who embrace Putin’s pretext for invasion — that he was provoked by the West into coming to the defense of ethnic Russians who were “stranded” in a “Nazi” Ukraine after the breakup of the Soviet Union — would never accept those arguments in any other context: They’re the people who believe in the absolute inviolability of America’s southern border when it comes to the “invasion” of Latin American immigrants. ........... Much of this incoherence is partly explained via the George Costanza school of modern conservatism: If a Democrat is for it, they’re against it. .......... something darker is also at work. In Putin’s cult of machismo, his suppression of political opposition, his “almost sublime contempt for truth” (Joseph Conrad’s memorable line about Russian officialdom), his opportunistic embrace of religious orthodoxy, his loathing of “decadent” Western culture, his sneering indifference to international law and, above all, his contempt for democratic and liberal principles, he represents a form of politics the Tuckerites glimpsed but never quite got in the presidency of Donald Trump. ............. The hard right’s reverence for the principles of raw strength and unblinking obedience runs deep. ........... what George Orwell wrote in 1942 about the position of Western pacifists vis-à-vis Nazi Germany: “Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help that of the other.” .

Why Do Russians Still Want to Fight? In over a year of combat, nearly 200,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded ......... in a military operation that has proved both incompetent and ill equipped ......... Morale is reportedly low and complaints common. And yet a significant number of Russian men are still keen to fight — more, in fact, than at the war’s outset. What explains the disconnect? ......... About 36 percent of Russian men are content to be conscripted, with the most supportive group being men age 45 or older. ......... For many Russian men and their families, the war may be a horror. But it’s also the last opportunity to fix their lives........ First, there’s the money. The federal base salary for a soldier is about $2,500 a month, with payment of $39,000 for wounding and up to $65,000 in the case of death. Compared with a median monthly salary of $545, this is a handsome reward — even more so for the approximately 15.3 million Russians living below the poverty line. .......... For those coming back from the front, the state promises fast-tracked entry into civil service jobs, health insurance, free public transportation, free university education and free food at school for their children. And for those who were imprisoned and joined the Wagner private military company, the state grants freedom. .......... As one soldier wrote on Telegram in February, the war confers “a sense of belonging to the great male deed, the deed of defending our Motherland.” .......... By allowing men to escape the difficulties of everyday life — with its low pay and routine frustrations — the war offers a restoration of male self-worth. These men, at last, matter. ........... “It doesn’t matter who you are, how you look,” as one soldier put it. In the communal life of conflict, many of the distinctions of civilian life dissolve. War is an equalizer. ........... While some of the urban middle and upper classes have expressed their discontent with the war by emigrating, the poorer sections of Russian society see things differently. Mistrust of the rich, belief that sanctions actually strengthen the economy and disdain for émigrés all attest to a class-based experience of the conflict. By participating in the war, millions of Russians at the bottom of the social ladder can emerge as the country’s true heroes, ready for the ultimate sacrifice. The risk may be grave and the financial reward uncertain. But the chance to rise in esteem and respect makes the effort worthwhile. ........... The longer the war drags on, bringing more casualties, loss and broken promises, the harder it may become to sustain such levels of acceptance. Then again, it may not. Collective emotional turmoil could deepen the feeling that the war must be won, no matter what. In the absence of an alternative vision of the future, Vladimir Putin and his war will continue to hold sway. .



This War May Be Heading for a Cease-Fire After a year of brutal fighting, in which thousands of lives have been lost, civilian infrastructure destroyed and untold damage caused, the war has reached a stalemate. Neither side will countenance a negotiated settlement. On the battlefield, battered armies contest small strips of territory, at a terrible cost. The threat of nuclear escalation hangs in the air. .......... in the long history of carnage, one war stands out for its relevance to the current blood bath in Ukraine: the war in Korea from 1950-53, where the South Koreans and their allies, headed by the United States, battled it out against North Korean and Chinese troops, backed by the Soviet Union. There are all sorts of lessons to be gleaned from the conflict. But the most important might be how it ended. ........... the conflict — which claimed as many as three million lives and destroyed entire cities — gradually fizzled out, leading to a cease-fire and a temporary division of the Korean Peninsula that proved more lasting than anyone could have imagined at the time. In the end, a stalemated war proved preferable to the alternatives. ............ The decision to start the war in Korea was made by one man: Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union. After initially rebuffing the pleas of North Korea’s dictator, Kim Il-sung, for Soviet permission to invade the South, Stalin changed his mind in January 1950. The reasons were twofold. First, with the impending conclusion of the Sino-Soviet Treaty of alliance, which would be signed in Moscow on Feb. 14, 1950, Stalin knew that he could count on the Chinese to participate in the war if required. ........... Although the two sides fought several battles between 1951 and 1953, the war basically stalled. ......... It was clear by the summer of 1951 that the war was not going anywhere, yet it took two more years — punctuated by a lethal artillery barrage across the line of control and intermittent fighting — before the fighting was brought to an end. ........... the real problem was Stalin’s reluctance to agree to a cease-fire. “I don’t think you need to expedite the war in Korea,” he wrote to Mao in June 1951. “A protracted war, first of all, is allowing the Chinese troops to perfect modern fighting skills on the battlefield and, secondly, is shaking Truman’s regime in America and is undermining the prestige of Anglo-American forces.” ........... The dictator was perfectly happy to let the war continue. The Chinese, the Koreans and the Americans were doing most of the dying, after all. ......... It was only with Stalin’s death in March 1953 that Soviet leaders reconsidered the whole misadventure and prodded their allies toward an agreement. The armistice agreement was duly signed in the little village of Panmunjom on July 27, 1953. It was, crucially, a cease-fire. There was no peace treaty, no negotiated settlement. Technically, the war is still frozen, not finished. ......... The parties most clearly opposed to the idea are those who are fighting it out on the ground: the Russians and the Ukrainians. For Ukraine, repelling an invading force that lays claim to almost one-quarter of its territory, such a position is understandable. ......... if neither side makes significant gains in coming months, the conflict could well be heading for a cease-fire. ........... The conflict will be frozen, a far-from-ideal result. Yet if we have learned anything from the Korean War, it is that a frozen conflict is better than either an outright defeat or an exhausting war of attrition. .



Pope Reveals He’s Working on Secret ‘Mission’ of Peace in Ukraine Francis said he was doing “all that is humanly possible” to help return Ukrainian children taken to Russia and urged Hungary not to slam doors on migrants. ........ Francis said he had privately discussed the situation with both Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary and with the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Budapest, Metropolitan Hilarion. ........ “In these meetings we did not just talk about Little Red Riding Hood,” Francis said. “We spoke of all these things. Everyone is interested in the road to peace.” ......... He has compared Russia’s behavior to massacres under Stalin and has consistently supported Ukrainians and called attention to their plight. .......... As the war enters its 15th month, both the Russians and Ukrainians are preparing spring offensives and few believe a negotiated peace is imminent. ........ “I think that peace is always made by opening channels,” said the pope, who on Thursday met with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal of Ukraine, with whom Francis said he had also discussed a “peace formula.” ......... Francis began the last day of this trip with the same theme he stressed when it began on Friday: inclusivity. In remarks in front of Mr. Orban, the European Union leader with the most hard-right and anti-immigrant stance, the pope urged his flock to welcome foreigners and migrants and to “become open doors” that are “never shut in anyone’s face.” .......... Francis celebrated a large, open-air Mass against the backdrop of the spired Parliament building on the banks of the Danube River. Tens of thousands of faithful, many holding Hungarian and Vatican City flags, crammed into the surrounding streets, watching via jumbo screens and listening to Francis through booming speakers. ............ “How sad and painful it is to see closed doors,” the pope said. “The closed doors of our selfishness with regard to others; the closed doors of our individualism amid a society of growing isolation; the closed doors of our indifference towards the underprivileged and those who suffer; the doors we close towards those who are foreign or unlike us, towards migrants or the poor.” ......... But Mr. Orban, he said, understands Hungary’s history of Ottoman invasion and that “the situation is the same now: They want to get into Europe through Hungary.” Mr. Baksa added that it was left to Mr. Orban to “save” the European Union. ..........

“if I consider myself a Christian, I can’t cherry-pick the Christian values I like,” and so he believed that the country needed to be more inclusive to migrants.

.......... On Saturday, Francis greeted some of the 2.5 million refugees who have poured across the Ukrainian border and into Hungary since Russia’s war in Ukraine began in February 2022, though only about 35,000 remain. ........... Then Francis met privately with Metropolitan Hilarion, whose church, critics say, has sought to give religious legitimacy to Mr. Putin’s invasion. ......... In a possible sign of his efforts to reposition himself as a facilitator of peace, he prayed for protection and peace for the “beleaguered Ukrainian people and the Russian people.”
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The Kremlin says it ‘knows nothing about’ a secret peace mission announced by the pope.

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

5: Ukraine

शरदसिंह भण्डारी १६औँ पटक मन्त्री बन्दा किन खुशी छैनन् जिल्लावासी? २०३८ सालमा भएको राष्ट्रिय पञ्चायत निर्वाचनमा पहिलो पटक विजयी भएका भण्डारी त्यसयता हरेक संसदीय निर्वाचनमा भाग लिँदै आएका छन् । २०३८ देखि २०७९ सालसम्म्म आइपुग्दा विभिन्न दलहरूलाई प्रयोग गरेर मधेसको इतिहासमा नै सबैभन्दा बढी पटक मन्त्री हुने नेताका रूपमा दर्ज भएका भण्डारीलाई लिएर उनको गृह क्षेत्र भने खुसी हुन सकेको छैन । ........ सक्रिय राजनीति गरेको पाँँच दशकमा सत्ता र शक्तिकै लागि आधा दर्जन पार्टी परिवर्तन गरेका उनको सत्तागमनले कुनै प्रभाव नपर्ने महोत्तरी–२ का स्थानीयको बुझाइ छ । उनको राजनीति इतिहासमा २०५१ सालमा पार्टीले टिकट नदिँदा दल त्याग गरेर स्वतन्त्र निर्वाचन लडेको घटना छ । जसले उनको केन्द्रभावमा जनता नभई सत्ता र शक्ति प्राप्तिमा रहेको बुझाउँछ । ....... आफ्ना जनप्रतिनिधि भण्डारी पटक पटक मन्त्री बने पनि गृह क्षेत्र भने खुसी मनाउन सकेको छैन । निर्वाचित भइसकेपछि आफ्नो गृह क्षेत्रमा कमै जाने र जनताको चाहना र आवश्यकताअनुसार काम नगर्ने भएकाले जनतामा उनको सत्तारोहणले खुसी दिन नसकेको हो । ....... शिक्षा, स्वास्थ्य लगायतका आधारभूत जनताको आवश्यकता पूरा गर्न पनि उनले नसकेको महोत्तरी साक्षारता हिसावले देशकै ७५औँ स्थानमा पर्नुले पुष्टि हुने बर्दिबासका निरज अधिकारी बताउँछन् । यहाँ गरिबीकै कारण बर्सेनि धेरैले आत्महत्या गरेका तथ्यांक छ भने रोजगारको अभावले ७० प्रतिशत युवाहरु वैदेशिक रोजगारमा गएका तथ्यांकले देखाएको छ ।

प्रहरीबाट किन कुटाई खाए जसपा अध्यक्ष यादवले
तनहुँ–१ मा त्रिपक्षीय भिडन्त : कांग्रेसको गढमा स्वर्णिमलाई छैन सहज तनहुँ–१ कांग्रेसको गढ मानिन्छ । २०४८ यताका सात निर्वाचनमा २०७४ बाहेक कांग्रेसका पौडेलले जित्दै आएका थिए । गत मंसिर ४ को निर्वाचनमा पौडेलले पाँच दलीय गठबन्धनको सहयोगमा एमालेका उम्मेदवार एकबहादुर राना मगरलाई ५ हजार बढी मतले पराजित गरेका थिए । पौडेलले २५ हजार ३ सय ६१ मत पाउँदा मगरले १९ हजार ९ सय मत पाएका थिए । ....... यता कांग्रेस त्यागेर रास्वपाबाट पहिलोपटक चुनावमा उम्मेदवार बनेका वाग्लेलाई पनि चुनाव जित्न सहज देखिँदैन । मंसिरको निर्वाचनमा रास्वपाबाट उम्मेदवार बनेका विकास सिग्देलले ६ हजार ४४ मत पाएका थिए । प्रत्यक्षमा चौंथो भएको रास्वपा समानुपातिकतर्फ भने तेस्रो ठूलो दल बनेको थियो । रास्वपाले समानुपातिकमा २२ हजार बढी मत ल्याएको थियो । तर, २० दिनमात्र परको चुनावमा वाग्लेलाई आफ्नो पक्षमा माहोल बनाएर चार गुणा बढी मत ल्याउन पक्कै पनि सहज हुने छैन । ....... त्यसमाथि केही मतदाताले वाग्लेलाई ‘टुरिस्ट’ उम्मेदवारको आरोप लगाएका छन् । तर, यति हुँदाहुँदै पनि उनले दिन प्रतिदिन तनहुँमा राम्रो माहोल बनाइरहेको देखिन्छ । विशेषगरी युवा वर्गले उनको बौद्धिकतालाई अनुमोदन गरेर उनलाई संसद् पठाउने चर्चा यतिबेला चलिरहेको छ । अर्थको क्षेत्रमा उनले बनाएको साखले काम गर्यो भने वाग्लेले चुनाव जित्न सक्छन् ।

Thursday, March 30, 2023

30: Ukraine

चीनसँगको शीतयुद्धले बदलिएको अमेरिका अहिलेसम्म दुई देशबीचको द्वन्द्वको मुख्य केन्द्रबिन्दु माइक्रोचिप्स हो ...... अत्याधुनिक चिप्सहरू बनाउन चाहिने सम्पूर्ण लिथोग्राफी मेसिनहरू एउटा डच कम्पनीले बनाउँछ । डेटा केन्द्रहरूमा एआईका अनुप्रयोगहरू चलाउने महत्वपूर्ण ग्राफिक प्रोसेसिङ एकाइहरूका डिजाइनमा अमेरिकाको सान्टा क्लारा र क्यालिफोर्नियास्थित दुइटा कम्पनीले एकाधिकार राख्छन् । ...... अमेरिकाको आधिकारिक नीति डेढ अर्ब जनसंख्या भएको एउटा राष्ट्रलाई गरिब बनाउने रहेको छ । .

के ‘सहकार्ययुक्त प्रतिद्वन्द्विता’ सम्भव छ ? बढ्दो टकरावका बाबजुद यदि अमेरिका र चीनले सहकार्य गर्न सकेनन् भने वैश्विक चुनौती सामना गर्ने काम सहज होला भन्ने ठाउँ रहन्न ....... सन् १९९७ मा जलवायु परिवर्तनमा बनाइएको क्योटो प्रोटोकोल (संहिता) मा रुस, पोल्यान्ड, हंगेरी र अरू पूर्वकम्युनिस्ट मुलुकलाई विकसित अर्थतन्त्रकै मुलुकको बराबरी दिइयो । तर, भारत चीनजस्ता विकासोन्मुख मुलुकलाई कार्बन उत्सर्जन घटाउने क्योटो प्रोटोकोलजस्ता संहिता जारी गर्ने बैठक–सम्मेलनमा कुनै स्थान दिइएन । ......... अहिले विश्व स्वास्थ्य संगठन नै वैचारिक टकरावको मैदान बन्न पुगेको छ । ....... अहिले वासिंटनमा डेमोक्रेट र रिपब्लिकन दुवै को बढी युद्ध उन्मादी हुने भनेर प्रतिस्पर्धा गरिरहेका छन् । अमेरिकी कंग्रेसमा टिकटकका प्रमुख कार्यकारी निर्देशकलाई गरिएको केरकारले अमेरिका आफ्नो प्रमुख प्रतिद्वन्द्वीसँग कुनै पनि कोणबाट नरम रबैया अपनाइरहेको छैन । .

अमेरिकाले नयाँ शीतयुद्ध कसरी जित्ने ? चीन र रुस दुवैसँग अमेरिकाले नयाँ शीतयुद्ध थालेको देखिन्छ । ..... अमेरिकी नेतृत्वको यो पाखण्डले नयाँ शीतयुद्ध मूलतः वर्चस्वको युद्ध हो, न कि मूल्य–मान्यताको हो भन्ने देखाउँछ । ....... चीनले रणनीतिक रूपमा खतरा प्रस्तुत गर्न सक्छ, यसलाई टार्न अमेरिकाले कम्तीमा चीनको आर्थिक विस्तारलाई सहयोग गर्न रोक्नुपर्नेमा वासिङ्टनमा द्विपक्षीय सहमति (डेमोक्रेटिक एवं रिपब्लिकनबीच) नै छ । यो दृष्टिकोणले रोकथामयुक्त कारबाही आवश्यक छ भन्ने दाबी गर्छ र यसको अर्थ भनेको विश्व व्यापार संगठन नियमका विरुद्ध जानु हुन्छ, जुन अमेरिका आफैँले सिर्जना गर्न र अगाडि बढाउन अत्यधिक मिहिनेत गरेको थियो । ....... अमेरिकी राजनीतिज्ञले विश्वव्यापी ‘खोप रंगभेद’लाई समर्थन गरेका थिए, छन् । धनी राष्ट्रले पर्याप्त खोप पाए, तर गरिब राष्ट्रलाई जेसुकै गरुन् भनेर छोडियो । यसबीच, अमेरिकाका नयाँ शीतयुद्धका शत्रुले अन्य राष्ट्रलाई खोप उत्पादन कारखाना निर्माण गर्न वा आफ्नो खोपमा कम लागत वा सजिलै पहुँचयोग्य बनाउन मद्दत गरेका छन् । ........ नैतिकता र अर्थशास्त्रमा नसिहत बाँड्नमा अमेरिका र युरोप अगाडि छन् । ती नसिहतमा ‘म जे भन्छु त्यही गर, नकि म जे गर्छु’ भन्ने हुन्छ । विशेषतः अमेरिकासँग अब हामी उच्च नैतिक चरित्रका छौँ भन्न वा नसिहत दिन कुनै आधार बाँकी छैन । दक्षिणी गोलाद्र्धमा नवउदारवाद र ट्रिकल–डाउन अर्थशास्त्रलाई कहिल्यै स्वीकार गरिएको थिएन । आज यो नीति विश्वव्यापी रूपमा असान्दर्भिक हुँदै छ । अर्काेतर्फ, चीनले गरिब राष्ट्रलाई दिगो पूर्वाधार विकासमा उत्कृष्ट प्रदर्शन गरेको छ, नकि नसिहत दिनमा । यी राष्ट्र ऋणको बोझ बोक्न बाध्य छन्, तर विकासोन्मुख मुलुकमा ऋणदाताको रूपमा पश्चिमा बैंकको आफ्नै व्यवहारलाई हेर्दा अमेरिका र अरू मुलुकले बोल्ने ठाउँ रहन्न । ........ अमेरिकासँग संसारकै बलियो बमवर्षक र क्षेप्यास्त्र प्रणाली हुन सक्ला, तर यस अवस्थामा यी अस्त्रले हामीलाई कुनै सहयोग गर्नेछैनन् । बरु हामीले विकासशील र उदीयमान बजारलाई ठोस सहायता प्रदान गर्नुपर्छ । यो कोभिडसँग सम्बन्धित सबै बौद्धिक सम्पत्तिमा छुटबाट सुरु गर्नुपर्छ, ताकि यी राष्ट्रले आफ्नै खोप र उपचारको विकास गर्न सकुन् । .

प्रधानमन्त्रीले तयार गरे मन्त्रालय बाँडफाँटको प्रस्ताव ‘जनमतबाहेक अरू दलसँग कुराकानी भइसकेको छ । सकेसम्म आइतबार नै गठबन्धनको बैठकमा बाँडफाँट टुंग्याएर सोमबारसम्म मन्त्रिपरिषद् विस्तार गर्ने योजना छ,’ पार्टी बैठकमा प्रधानमन्त्री प्रचण्डको भनाइ थियो, ‘गठबन्धनमा समझदारी बनाउने प्रयास भइरहेको छ । गृह वा अर्थमध्ये एक मन्त्रालय माओवादीको थपिन्छ होला ।’

युक्रेन अतिक्रमणसँगै शीतयुद्ध–२ सुरु रुसले वासिंगटनका झेली र बदमासी राम्रैसँग सिकेको छ भन्नेमा दुई मत नरहे पनि उसले वासिंगटनका कमजोरी र असफलताबाट पाठ सिकेको भने देखिँदैन ........ हंगेरीमा सन् १९५६, चेकोस्लोभाकियामा सन् १९६८ र अफगानिस्तानमा सन् १९७९ मा सोभियत संघले गरेको हस्तक्षेपको शीतयुद्धकालीन शक्ति उन्माद मस्कोको अहिलेको युक्रेन अतिक्रमणमा दोहोरिएको छ । राष्ट्रपति भ्लादिमिर पुटिनका कथनी हेर्ने हो भने शक्ति उन्मादको प्रदर्शनमा रुस सुरुवाती चरणमै रहेको छ । ....... मस्को अविचलित देखिन्छ । इतिहास हेर्ने हो भने रुसजस्ता ठूला शक्ति जतिसुकै कठोर प्रतिबन्ध लागे पनि प्रमुख राष्ट्रिय सुरक्षा स्वार्थ पछ्याउने विषयमा विचलित हुँदैनन् । र, जब प्रतिबन्धले रुसलाई प्रभावित पार्न थाल्छ, मस्को थप उग्र हुने देखिन्छ । ....... अघिल्लो महिना बेइजिङ भ्रमणका क्रममा रुसी राष्ट्रपति पुटिन र चिनियाँ समकक्षी सी जिनपिङले नेटो विस्तारविरुद्ध संयुक्त वक्तव्य जारी गरेका थिए । रुसले अतिक्रमण गरेपछि चिनियाँ सरकारका प्रवक्ताले अतिक्रमण शब्द प्रयोग गरेनन्, बरु दुवै पक्षलाई ‘संयम’ रहन आग्रह गरे । युक्रेनमा रुसी अतिक्रमणको प्रभावलाई आँकेर चीनले ताइवानलाई आफूमा गाभ्ने–नगाभ्ने भन्नेमा विचार गर्नेछ । पुटिनले युक्रेनलाई कृत्रिम राज्य भनेझैँ चीनले पनि ताइवानलाई राज्यको रूपमा स्विकारेको छैन । ...... जसरी पश्चिमले क्रोएट्स, स्लोभेन्स, म्यासेडोनियन र बोस्नियालीलाई ९० को दशकमा युगोस्लाभियाको विभाजन हुँदाको समयमा आत्मनिर्णयको अधिकारलाई मान्यता दिएको थियो, त्यसैगरी अहिले छुट्टिएका क्षेत्रलाई मस्कोले आत्मनिर्णयको अधिकारका आधारमा मान्यता दिएको बताएको छ । र, जसरी अमेरिका र युरोपेली सहयोगीले राष्ट्र संघद्वारा निर्देशित ‘सुरक्षाको जिम्मेवारी’ अर्थात् (आरटुपी) सिद्धान्तका नाममा लिबियाजस्ता राज्यमा आफ्नो ‘मानवीय’ हस्तक्षेपलाई जायज ठह¥याए, ठीक त्यसैगरी रुसले युक्रेनमा आफ्नो हस्तक्षेपलाई जायज ठह¥याउन ‘नरसंहार’ रोकिरहेको दलिल दिइरहेको छ । ....... पुटिनले पूर्वी–युक्रेनका गणतन्त्रलाई मान्यता दिनु तत्कालीन अमेरिकी राष्ट्रपति ट्रम्पले कब्जा गरिएका सिरियाली भूभाग गोलन हाइट्स र प्यालेस्टाइनको पूर्वजेरुसेलम इजरायली सार्वभौमसत्तामा पर्ने अवैधानिक मान्यता दिनु एउटै हो र हालका राष्ट्रपति बाइडेनले पनि ट्रम्पको वैधानिकतालाई समर्थन गर्छन् । ...... रुसले वासिंगटनले गर्ने गरेको झेली र बदमासी राम्रैसँग सिकेको छ भन्नेमा दुई मत रहेन, तर वासिंगटनका कमजोरी र असफलताबाट पाठ सिकेको भने देखिँदैन । वास्तवमा अमेरिकाले पनि आफ्नो गल्तीबाट पाठ सिकेको छैन । ........ जब विदेश मामिलाको विषय आउँछ, ऐतिहासिक रूपमा विश्व मञ्चमा प्रमुख शक्तिको व्यवहार मूलतः भूराजनीतिक एवं रणनीतिक महत्वाकांक्षा र आवश्यकताद्वारा संचालित हुन्छन् न कि शासन प्रणालीबाट । .......

Taiwan and the Fight for Democracy A Force for Good in the Changing International Order ........ The story of Taiwan is one of resilience—of a country upholding democratic, progressive values while facing a constant challenge to its existence. Our success is a testament to what a determined practitioner of democracy, characterized by good governance and transparency, can achieve....... Yet the story of Taiwan is not only about the maintenance of our own democratic way of life. It is also about the strength and sense of responsibility Taiwan brings to efforts to safeguard the stability of the region and the world.

The Solution to India’s Sikh Protests Lies Abroad To stop the return of separatist violence, New Delhi needs help from Western partners with powerful diaspora communities. ........ In 2020, social unrest returned to the forefront in Punjab, as Sikh and Punjabi farmers organized a mass protest movement in response to national farm laws designed to end state subsidies for farmers and open up agricultural markets. Demonstrators occupied India’s capital for more than a year, ultimately leading the government to withdraw the laws. The farmers’ protest movement received widespread international support and galvanized the Sikh diaspora. The protests were mostly peaceful, and many activists who seek an independent Khalistan have sought change through nonviolent means. But the farmers’ protests, along with recent developments in diaspora communities, seem to have spawned a new generation of militant pro-Khalistan leaders. ......... Singh’s group, which was formed in 2021, has reintroduced a violent political rhetoric that romanticizes the militance of the 1980s. Known as Waris Punjab De, or “heirs of Punjab,” the group is allegedly linked to a new wave of violence, including several encounters with the police. ....... the government has set up roadblocks and limited internet service throughout the state. This crackdown has prompted protests in cities around the world, including in London, San Francisco, and Vancouver. ......... India is likely to ask for assistance in stemming this foreign financing, but it could also seek the extradition of those members of the diaspora who can be held legally responsible for supporting violent separatism in Punjab........... Consider Canada, which has a robust Sikh diaspora mostly concentrated around Toronto. There, elected leaders tend to pursue policies in line with the demands of the diaspora, including providing asylum, dawdling on extradition requests, and largely ignoring fundraising for separatist activities. And as the 2020 farmers’ protests showed, the Sikh and Punjabi diasporas can mobilize broad support against the Indian government on the world stage. ........ even though India staunchly supported U.S.-led efforts in Afghanistan, it was mostly sidelined in negotiations with the Taliban and the 2021 U.S. troop withdrawal

Gautam Adani and the New Indian Capitalism The businessman has roots in Gujarat, but he resembles past Southeast Asian tycoons who formed monopolies through political patronage......... Things were going so well for businessman Gautam Adani. In 2022, he briefly became the world’s second-wealthiest man. At the start of this year, India Today anointed him its newsmaker of the year with a fawning profile, calling him the “growth king.” In January, his conglomerate Adani Group was expected to make a follow-on public offering that would raise as much as $2.4 billion. Adani—the man and the group—seemed invincible.