Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

“Enduring Freedom” at Inflated Prices

Filed under: Barack Obama,military,NATO,politics,USA,war and conflict — 01varvara @ 00.00

Billions for war… absolutely necessary… peanuts for the unemployed… that’ll break the budget! I see something wrong here… fee, fie, fo, fum, I smell a neocon bum… don’t take McConnell’s self-serving crapola lying down… you CAN vote in November. Don’t forget… you can have health care for our kids… or you can enrich fatcat HMO execs and bomb builders… THAT’S your choice.

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The continuing stalemate in Afghanistan shall cost US taxpayers another 33 billion dollars…

The US House of Representatives approved a bill financing the sending of up to 30,000 reinforcements to Afghanistan, with a cost projected at 33 billion dollars (999.879 billion Roubles 25.4 billion Euros 21.156 billion UK Pounds). President Barack Obama made the decision on reinforcements to Afghanistan in December last year, and the White House hopes that the surge will lead to a break in the war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. As we told you recently, the American newspaper USA Today harshly criticised US tactics in Afghanistan. The tactics used in these counter-terrorism operations, the newspaper wrote, raised more doubts, and Americans are worried about rising losses in the coalition forces. The question naturally arises… will these 30,000 reinforcements save the situation?

Obama’s tactics in Afghanistan are not clear. In a little while, there  will be no doubt that such tactics, because of the lag between decisions and their implementation, have led to Afghanistan, along with the “invincible” Enduring Freedom, crumbling like a house of cards. Why is that so? The decision to send more forces was made back in December last year, and will be implemented, in the best case, no later than October. There will be almost a year between the request for reinforcement and the actual arrival of the troops. So far, they haven’t joined the fight. Back in August, General McChrystal, the former commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, asked for 85,000 more troops. He wanted them urgently, he said, either increase his forces or put finis to Operation Enduring Freedom. French General Vincennes Deport, one of Europe’s leading military experts, used the same tone, and supported McChrystal’s demands. Half-hearted measures, the general told Mr Obama, would not do. Therefore, either the US should send 100,000 more troops immediately or nothing at all. He’s right; it’s an obvious truth. Once an operation begins to deteriorate, it should immediately be terminated, and no more strength or resources should be spent upon it. Otherwise, the effort shall become many times more expensive. This is equally true of the 33 billion dollars demanded from the pockets of American taxpayers. This 33 billion, we can say, is money down the drain; it’s being thrown to the Afghan winds. The per capita funding for the US troops, if we compare the amount requested annually by the Department of Defence for US operations with the number of American troops, is about one million dollars for every US soldier per year. In this case, it’s 33 billion dollars for 30,000 troops. That is one million one hundred thousand dollars per soldier, not even for one year, at most, it’s for six months. Beginning July of next year, Obama, according to his promises, should begin withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan.

Clearly, this situation is a sham. It would be naïve to hope that the US and NATO would suddenly begin to control the situation. This requires time, it needs at least a year, and you can’t do it in only six months. Furthermore, when you consider that the US and NATO must prepare for their eventual withdrawal by preparing the Afghan army and police as their replacements, then, three or four years may not be enough. It’s no coincidence that all those talking about withdrawal give 2014 as the most probable date for the withdrawal of coalition troops. That’s only with great reservations. However, one could try to accelerate these dates. For example, the same 33 billion could be used to expand the training of the Afghan army and police. Of course, for the US, which has already sunk a trillion dollars (30.299 trillion Roubles 770 billion Euros 641 billion UK Pounds) into Afghanistan, 33 billion isn’t that much money. Yet, for the Afghan army and police, it’s very badly needed funding. Nevertheless, in America, apparently, they focus on other things.

28 July 2010

Pyotr Goncharov

Voice of Russia World Service

http://rus.ruvr.ru/2010/07/28/13734041.html

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To Your Nameday, Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!

To your angel day, Vladimir Vladimirovich! Deacon Andrei is right… it’s right and proper to wish EVERYONE well… you don’t have to like ‘em… you don’t have to agree with ‘em… but you do have to wish ’em well… sincerely and without guile. “Love” and “Like” are not synonyms…

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Both in his broadcasts, and in his life, Vladimir Vladimirovich Pozner preached tolerance and dialogue. However, can anyone remember a situation where he, during a discussion with a normally intelligent interlocutor, changed his original thesis and corrected his original position? This isn’t the first time that he expressed his deep conviction that Orthodoxy is harmful. I am convinced that he has done so over a considerable period, during which time he had the chance to hear the arguments of those who disagreed with him. However, none of these objections affected his position and method. He lectured his audience, but he didn’t convince them. He rearranged the boundaries, “This season, our party decided to adopt such an ideology”. Moreover, his buddies dutifully winked and said to one another, “We are intelligent people, of course, we thought about it that way…” No one thought otherwise… for they would be immediately stripped of the honorary title of “intellectual” and accused of being Nazis without any right of appeal.

Yet, Vladimir Vladimirovich is very useful and indispensable, without him, how would we have learned what people in Washington Television think about us, our history, our present, and our future? Pozner has a weird approach to religion; he takes criteria that may be relevant in assessing human activity and uses them to evaluate all other subjects. Of course, he’s a talented journalist. However, it may well be that he’s not a very good business consultant. Moreover, aren’t one’s talents of little use if one is called upon to work in another field? He evaluates spiritual and religious choices in terms of economic and sociological impact… that’s like saying that the World Cup in South Africa could only be played in the key of B-flat minor… and it could only be played in that single key. Writers used such criteria to signal the “Party-mindedness” of their work. I remember one old atheist pamphlet; it attacked the Old Ritualists because of their alleged dogma prohibiting one to fold their fingers and toes, as a result, milkmaids milked with only two fingers, which reduced the yields of their cows…

There are people who turn to religion for the sake of social approval and economic success. However, this is just a manifestation of small faith. The Church does not approve of their motives. Furthermore, their alleged faith doesn’t have any effect on their lives. Serious religious people are such not for external reasons, they reflect on religious subjects and perform religiously meaningful actions. Supposedly, Vladimir Pozner wasn’t educated in Soviet schools. Why is he so deeply permeated with Soviet stereotypes? Maybe, was it because they were not so much Bolshevik as they were Russophobic? Arguments such as Pozner’s are good for us; we have to remember the basics of historical thinking.

For example, some say that it’s sad for Russia that the Renaissance didn’t occur here, and they blame that on Orthodoxy. However, a Renaissance requires at least two properties:

  • You lost something in the past
  • You are still alive despite that loss

Therefore, to have a Renaissance, you must have lost something, and you know that you need to find it again. Don’t forget, the West understands the Renaissance as the revival of the ancient Greco- Roman cultural tradition. True, Russia was never part of the ancient Greco-Roman culture. However, Russia received this culture precisely through its espousal of Orthodox Christianity, and that started in the tenth century, it didn’t wait for the fourteenth century. It’s true that Russian pagan mages of the period prior to the Baptism of Rus in the Dnepr didn’t know of Plato, Aristotle, or Cicero. However, Orthodox monks began to translate, transcribe, read, and teach the contents of their books. Not all countries were in the Greco-Roman oikumene, and, therefore, could not be part of that Renaissance. Yet, there are many countries in Europe, and it is, I think, very nice that Vladimir Vladimirovich will be able to find places that the Renaissance didn’t touch… for example, Denmark or Sweden, or the Baltic States…

People that love to contrast their “European Home” reflections against Russian national and religious squalor, see only the figure of Ivan Grozny in the whole space of our thousand-year history. They close their eyes and point their fingers, and if one should mention this Russian tsar, they immediately, in party line and unthinking reaction, say, “He was a typically Russian tyrant, history doesn’t know the like”. The fact that the English King Henry VIII was no less bloody, doesn’t register in their minds… Still, Ivan Grozny didn’t create a new church, but Henry VIII created and empowered the Anglican Church… exclusively motivated by his sexual desires. Why, then, doesn’t Pozner fulminate against the Anglican Church, which is headed by the Queen of England to this very day? At the same time, to him, Orthodoxy is a monster that was in bed with the state and grovelled before the state’s power.

I believe that we shouldn’t become angry at Pozner’s remarks, but we should put them into the memory of our laptop or mobile phone, and, then, quote them often before different audiences… with a proper interpretation, of course. So… to your nameday, dear Vladimir Vladimirovich! Whoever it was that named you in honour of Prince Vladimir, a saint that you despise… named you in honour of the Baptiser of Russia.

28 July 2010

Protodeacon Andrei Kuraev

Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=analysis&div=150

Editor’s Note:

Deacon Andrei is the bomb! Nobody skewers the Uniates, sectarians, schismatics, and unbelievers as well as he can… “Orthodoxy is fine music made in the conservatoire… Protestantism is low music made in the honky-tonk bars”… gotta luv a guy like that!

BMD

Court Allows 14-Year-Old Dutch Girl to go on Solitary Around the World Voyage

Filed under: inspirational,legal — 01varvara @ 00.00

Laura Dekker (1995- ), shall she become the youngest solitary circumnavigator in history? I say… let her try! God willing, she shall!

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Fourteen-year-old Laura Dekker, who could become the world’s youngest circumnavigator, is committed to accomplishing a solitary around the world voyage, according to AFP. On Tuesday, a court in the Dutch city of Middelburg allowed her to attempt a solitary circumnavigation, although, in early May, a court in another Dutch city, Arnhem, rejected her application to lift the ban on committing her solitary circumnavigation, and that court demanded the authorities to establish supervision over Laura. As noted by Judge Suzanne Kuypers, the court not only gave the “go ahead” to the dreams of the young traveller, it also “dismissed the application to extend the guardianship” over Laura. In October 2009, a court in Utrecht forbade Laura to begin a journey before 1 July, handing the girl over to the guardianship of child welfare authorities. During this period, the young yachtswoman was prevented from making important decisions concerning her life. In June, the Court of Middelburg extended for one month the guardianship over 14-year-old Laura.

The history of the struggle this young traveller had to achieve her cherished dream began in December 2009, when she fled to the island of Sint Maarten in the Caribbean, to try to slip out to sea, but local residents identified her and she subsequently returned to the Netherlands. The girl herself claimed that she is an experienced yachtsman and first sailed alone on the open sea when she was six-years-old. The dream of a solitary circumnavigation first appeared to her when she was ten-years-old. Laura Decker was born in New Zealand during her parent’s voyage around the world, and she lived afloat for the first four years of her life. At present, 16-year-old Australian Jessica Watson, who successfully completed her voyage on 15 May, three days before her 17th birthday, holds the title of the youngest solitary circumnavigator.

27 July 2010

RIA-Novosti

http://rian.ru/world/20100727/259009357.html

Editor’s Note:

Here’s what the Russian press is saying about Laura. I say… let her go, good luck and Godspeed to her! She was a football in her parents’ divorce case… that’s SO typical. That’s the REAL reason for the earlier court orders. She’s no younger than many a midshipman who sailed before the mast in the age of sail. She knows what she’s doing… she knows the risks. Let her go… and may God bless you, Laura; you’ve got more guts and grit than many “mature adults”.

Good fortune, good winds, and good spirits… you won’t be alone, dear…

BMD

So-called “Patriarchate of Kiev” Rejected Patriarch Kirill’s Call to Repent and Return to the MP

“Unite around me! I am the Great White Hope! Oh… pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…”

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The so-called “Holy Synod“ of the self-proclaimed ”Patriarchate of Kiev” rejected a call to repent of the sin of schism and return to the MP, rebuffing a proposal tendered by the MP Holy Synod at its recent meeting in Kiev. “In declaring the Patriarchate of Kiev ‘schismatical’, the leadership of the MP manipulates believers, introducing delusion into the their consciousness, and into the mind of society as well”, according to a statement of the so-called “Synod” of the schismatical UCO KP issued at a meeting on Tuesday . Their statement noted, “There is no schism in the Church in the Ukraine, but only a division on the basis of jurisdiction (of subordination)”. According to the document, the only possible and acceptable way of overcoming the Church in the Ukraine is “to overcome the current disputes by recognising the autocephaly of a Local Ukrainian Orthodox Church”.

Circles in the so-called “Patriarchate of Kiev” are convinced that the present leadership of the MP tried to involve the Ukrainian authorities in the destruction of their organisation. “From the speeches and statements made by leaders of the MP during the current visit of [Patriarch Kirill] to the Ukraine, it is clear that they do not want a constructive dialogue to overcome the division in the Ukrainian Church, rather, they wish, using the ‘changed political circumstances’ to begin the systematic destruction of the UOC KP, trying to attract the Ukrainian government to their side”, their document said. The UOC KP “Synod” called on the faithful, clergy, and bishops to rally around the “Patriarchate of Kiev” to face “these new manifestations of aggression by the MP in relation to the Ukrainian Church”. In addition, the UOC KP “Synod” hopes to start a constructive dialogue with the UOC MP and issues a call to do everything “to achieve unity of Orthodoxy in the Ukraine, around the single Head of the Church, Christ the Saviour, embodied in the patriarchal throne of Kiev”.

28 July 2010

Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=36685

Editor’s Note:

Has anyone other than me noticed the similarity between the rhetoric of the UOC KP and the OCA? Take, “There is no schism in the Church in the Ukraine, but only a division on the basis of jurisdiction (of subordination)”. Change it slightly to, “There is no schism in the Church in the America, but only a division on the basis of jurisdiction (of subordination)”. Hmm… it DOES sound similar, no? It’s about time we exploded the crackbrained myth of “Pan-Orthodoxy”… there’s no such thing… not in the past… not now… not in the future, either. There are three contenders for the canonical Local Church in the USA… the MP, the EP, and Antioch. The OCA is not even a “contender”… it is nothing but a sock puppet of the MP… it’s “autocephaly” shall be maintained only as long as it is useful and only as long as the OCA doesn’t stray too egregiously (the USA/Canada is a VERY minor sideshow for the Centre… no one pays it much mind at all).

What the OCA should fear is a modus vivendi on the part of the MP and EP. So far, Lyonyo Kishkovsky has manipulated the dispute between the MP and EP to keep the OCA afloat. However, Bart needs aid from the MP on two fronts… he needs money and he needs help in reopening Halki. He’s willing to dicker with Moscow on such things as Estonia, Finland, and the Parisian EP Russians… and Moscow shall make a cosmetic “concession” or two to save Bart’s face. That could include revoking the OCA’s Tomos of Autocephaly… no one at the Centre is committed to it… no one at the Centre depends on the OCA as an ally. By the way, DON’T listen to Alfeyev… he’s an ambitious little weasel, and do note that His Nibs won’t give him a diocese.

In the end, Moscow shall treat with the OCA as it’s treating with the UOC KP… and the healthy elements in the OCA will return to Moscow and the crackbrained konvertsy shall spin off into uncanonical irrelevancy… still calling themselves the OCA… ordaining ever more bishops and clergy… and having ever fewer faithful. Sounds like the TEC, no? Things are never boring in Orthodoxy, kids, that’s for bloody certain.

BMD

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