Search Results: Soviet Union

  • INTERNATIONAL

    Raul Castro's diplomatic love match with Pope Francis

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 13 May 2015
    2 Comments

    They spoke in Spanish and there was genuine Latin American warmness between them during Sunday's historic 55 minute meeting at the Vatican. They will meet again when Francis visits Cuba in September. Castro promised Francis that he would be attending every one of his masses, reminding him that he is a Jesuit alumnus: 'I'm as Jesuit as the Pope'.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The General of the poor and the Iron Lady of industry

    • Barry Gittins
    • 01 April 2015
    15 Comments

    Former Australian Salvation Army world leader General Eva Burrows, who died on 20 March, tried in vain to engage the former British PM in making the preferential option for the poor. ‘Margaret Thatcher was a disappointment,’ the General said. ‘I felt she didn’t have a deep, true feeling for the poor. I invited her to come out on the soup run indirectly and said it wouldn’t be a media event, we’d go incognito, but the answer was no.’

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Obama misfires on Russian 'threat'

    • Tony Kevin
    • 28 January 2015
    15 Comments

    In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama drew rare bipartisan applause with his anti-Russian rhetoric when he said the US was ‘upholding the principle that bigger nations can’t bully the small’. The Cold War ended 25 years ago, yet the desire to weaken Russia has never gone away. This is nonsense. Russia poses no threat to the west. It is just another country trying to make its own way in an unfriendly world.  

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Putting Putin's record into perspective

    • Justin Glyn
    • 17 November 2014
    17 Comments

    Amid talk of whether Vladimir Putin would leave the G20 early and numerous reports of frosty encounters between him and other summit leaders, Western media coverage has portrayed him as an erratic and dangerous dictator whose rule damages the once-great country he leads. But it would be foolish to pretend that the West did not take advantage of the weakness of the former Soviet states in the 1990s. Russia was looted of its assets, many of which found their way abroad.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Sovereign aspirations and political power games

    • Justin Glyn
    • 15 September 2014
    2 Comments

    The problem of who qualifies as a 'people' and what the content of the right is becomes particularly acute when the right to self-determination bumps up against that bedrock of international law, national sovereignty. In some cases, the problem goes away by agreement. The sad truth is that each side adopts the rhetoric that suits it and the result depends on the balance of political powers which each can muster. 

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Signs that East Ukraine has averted mass human tragedy

    • Tony Kevin
    • 11 August 2014
    12 Comments

    On Sunday morning Australian time, we learned that the destructive civil war raging in East Ukraine seemed to be drawing to a close, essentially on Kiev’s terms. It appears that the tense test of wills between Russia and the West generated by the crisis, which briefly last week risked a wider war, has ended in a tacit backdown by Moscow.  

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Ukraine races towards civil war

    • Tony Kevin
    • 06 May 2014
    19 Comments

    Tim Judah, highly regarded historian of the post-Yugoslavia wars of secession, predicted things were about to go very badly in Ukraine. He wrote that in the east he witnessed 'the same brave talk, euphoria, and delusions' that beset Yugoslavs before they 'tipped their country into catastrophe in the 1990s'. Just two weeks later, Ukraine races towards civil war, prompted largely by the provocative clumsiness of Kiev and its Western cheerleaders.

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  • RELIGION

    The peacemaker pope

    • Bruce Duncan
    • 24 April 2014
    7 Comments

    Quite striking is the similarity between the warm response to Pope John XXIII half a century ago and to Pope Francis today. Both broke through the gilded cage of outdated conventions and stereotyped expectations. Both stepped over barriers of ideology or religion to evoke bonds of a common humanity committed to promoting the wellbeing of all people, especially the poor and marginalised. The contexts were of course quite different.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    West wasting breath huffing and puffing over Crimea

    • Tony Kevin
    • 05 March 2014
    18 Comments

    Tony Abbott's 'We warn the Czar' statements were ludicrously over-the-top, though clearly he was responding to a Washington appeal to friendly allies to say something. I hope Australia will not continue to overplay its hand in the Security Council. There is no point in gratuitously offending Moscow on an issue that is outside our strategic area of interest and raises no human rights concerns whatsoever.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Mistaken for Jewish in cold, grand Moscow

    • Howard Willis
    • 19 February 2014
    6 Comments

    On the occasions I got into detailed discussions with strangers in Moscow, a pattern emerged. Saying I was Australian prompted a polite request for clarification: 'But your ancestry?' The reply that I was fifth-generation Australian was treated as an evasion, or met with the assumption that my ancestors were 'bandits'. Generally, Muscovites took a second look at me and the box they ticked was 'Jew'.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Deciphering capitalism's corrupt metaphors

    • David James
    • 07 February 2014
    15 Comments

    'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others'. This was George Orwell's parody in Animal Farm of the vicious use of language in communist states. It was one of his memorable depictions of how the absurdities of language not only reflect evil, but also predicate it. Language was a tool of oppression in communist states. In capitalism it is no less vicious.

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  • RELIGION

    Irrational fear of the Muslim Brotherhood

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 21 August 2013
    9 Comments

    It’s a crude and misleading line of reasoning to declare that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood can’t be committed to democracy because it is an Islamist organisation much like al-Qaida and Hezbollah. On what basis do we label individuals or groups 'Islamist'? Or 'fundamentalist'? Or 'extremist'? How can we have a monolith amongst a set of congregations making up almost one quarter of the world's human population? The history and politics of Islam is just as complex as that of Christianity.

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