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Curated by Kenneth Weene
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A Perfect Storm in Central Asia

A Perfect Storm in Central Asia | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it

For years, the five ex-Soviet republics have enjoyed surprising stability. But Russia’s economic crisis is shaking their foundations.

Kenneth Weene's insight:

I feel for the people the region of the stans. These five countries have had little chance to emerge from the Soviet days and I see upheaval in their futures as their economies fail. Does Mr. Putin care? I doubt it. Therein is his greatest weakness; he can't see beyond his fantasies of a greater Putinized Russia. 

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U.S. Begins Military Talks With Russia on Syria

U.S. Begins Military Talks With Russia on Syria | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The diplomatic initiative amounted to a pivot for the Obama administration, which seemed to acknowledge that Russia’s moves, like sending combat aircraft to Syria, had effectively changed the calculus in the civil war.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Long overdue. My biggest critique of the Obama administration's foreign policy and of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State has been the failure to recognize that Russia is a great power with legitimate spheres of influence. It is sad that Russia has had to resort to such gambits to get the U.S. to actually start discussing how to fight ISIS and how to deal with Syria. Making enemies is easy, dealing with friends is easy, but the real work of diplomacy takes negotiation and is difficult. Sadly, Congress has effectively militarized our foreign affairs by downsizing the diplomatic corps and pushing the growth of DOD. To learn more on that, you might want to catch the end of my discussion with Lt. Col. Ron Capps on It Matters Radio, Thurs., Sept 17,. Go to the show website and click on the podcast.

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Russia Burns Dutch Flowers Amid Netherlands’ Inquiry Into Malaysia Airlines Crash

Russia Burns Dutch Flowers Amid Netherlands’ Inquiry Into Malaysia Airlines Crash | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A Russian crackdown on Dutch flower imports is seen by some as a response to an investigation into the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I wonder where Russian flower lovers would get their blooms were Dutch flowers unavailable. Perhaps the Dutch importers should require the Russian importers to pay insurance on shipments to Russia thereby raising the cost to those consumers. While cut flowers are certainly not essential to the Russian people, every little sanction helps if the Putin bear is to be brought to bay.

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Islamic Battalions, Stocked With Chechens, Aid Ukraine in War With Rebels

Islamic Battalions, Stocked With Chechens, Aid Ukraine in War With Rebels | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Acknowledging Moscow as an enemy shared with Kiev, one leader from Chechnya said, “We never ran from our war with Russia, and we never will.”
Kenneth Weene's insight:

We have the beginnings of a great novel or screen play. Just how connected will the warring factions of the world become? What happens when ISIS tries to gain traction is Chechnya? Will Al Qaeda and the Taliban join together to fight ISIS in Afghanistan? Will Tony and Maria meet and fall in love. Seriously, the entire world as musical theater—you got to love it. 

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Syrian Rebels Seize Russian Spy Station Near Israeli Border

Syrian Rebels Seize Russian Spy Station Near Israeli Border | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
When the Free Syrian Army pushed Assad’s soldiers out of a town south of Damascus, the last thing they expected to find was a Russian spy post, a few miles from the Golan Heights.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

As I have said all along, the Russians consider Syria part of their sphere of influence and nothing good will be accomplished there without the Bear's cooperation.

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How I Helped Save the World From Nuclear War | Opinion - Bertie will be on It Matters Radio Jan 31

How I Helped Save the World From Nuclear War | Opinion - Bertie will be on It Matters Radio Jan 31 | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Much has been written about those perilous 13 days in October 1962 when the world was closer to nuclear extinction than it has ever been.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Bertie Mac will be a return guest on It Matters Radio on Thursday, Jan 31. Don't miss the show.

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Russia Surprises U.S. With Accord on Battling ISIS

Russia Surprises U.S. With Accord on Battling ISIS | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Russia left the United States scrambling by reaching an understanding with Iraq, Syria and Iran to share intelligence about the Islamic State militants.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The sweet side of this, Russia and Iran are going to be spending their energies fighting the Islamic State. The sour side is that the United States has to face its loss of hegemony in the Middle East. Wait, maybe that's sweet too. Maybe it's time for the U.S. to stop trying to be the policeman of the world.

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Russian police bust $30 million contraband cheese ring

Russian police bust $30 million contraband cheese ring | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian police said Tuesday they have busted an international ring involved in producing contraband cheese worth about 2 billion rubles ($30 million), arresting six people. The arrests are part of a government…
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Glad to know that the Russian government is depriving its people of one of life's greatest pleasures. Take away my Camembert and you'd have one unhappy camper. 

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Russia to Host World Military Games: China Brought its Own Tank

Russia to Host World Military Games: China Brought its Own Tank | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The ‘World Championship Tank Biathlon 2015’ will kick off on August 1 near Moscow.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

As long as there are boys in the world, there will be war games. So have at it you warriors of August, may Mars make sport of your efforts.

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What Russian Literature Tells Us About Vladimir Putin’s World

What Russian Literature Tells Us About Vladimir Putin’s World | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The country's great authors put Russia’s aggression in context better than any intel briefing can.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Literature can take us inside the soul or the nation or the individual.

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During Cold War, CIA used ‘Doctor Zhivago’ as a tool to undermine Soviet Union

During Cold War, CIA used ‘Doctor Zhivago’ as a tool to undermine Soviet Union | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The spy agency labored long and hard to bring the novel’s humanistic message to the Russian people.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

In today's money driven world, it is easy to forget how important literature can be. We should celebrate and encourage the arts because they not only enrich our lives but help to remind us the purpose for our existence, and (IMHO) that isn't just to accumulate wealth.

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