Never has a declaration from the pope been more hotly anticipated. The leaking of an early draft of Pope Francis’s latest encyclical—an official addition to Catholic doctrine—certainly helped. The fact that it deals with global warming means that it has been discussed across many media outlets that rarely pay close attention to papal pronouncements. Britain’s left-wing Guardian newspaper even published whole sections of it and live-blogged its release.
This suits the pope’s purpose for the document perfectly. In his introduction he makes clear that, unlike his last encyclical, he is not just writing to members of the Catholic Church. Instead, he writes, “I would like to enter into dialogue with all people.” The Guardian called it “the most astonishing and perhaps the most ambitious papal document of the past 100 years.”
Is Putin getting ready to drop the hammer on the West? The decision was likely made long ago within his inner circle. What we see here is a decision to bring it out in the open without fear of consequences, which lay only on the West’s side for it’s willful suicidal decline.
His full (and long) speech is included within this post, after the salient points summary.
Most people in the English-speaking parts of the world missed Putin’s speech at the Valdai conference in Sochi a few days ago, and, chances are, those of you who have heard of the speech didn’t get a chance to read it, and missed its importance. (For your convenience, I am pasting in the full transcript of his speech below.) Western media did their best to ignore it or to twist its meaning. Regardless of what you think or don’t think of Putin (like the sun and the moon, he does not exist for you to cultivate an opinion) this is probably the most important political speech since Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech of March 5, 1946.
In this speech, Putin abruptly changed the rules of the game. Previously, the game of international politics was played as follows: politicians made public pronouncements, for the sake of maintaining a pleasant fiction of national sovereignty, but they were strictly for show and had nothing to do with the substance of international politics; in the meantime, they engaged in secret back-room negotiations, in which the actual deals were hammered out. Previously, Putin tried to play this game, expecting only that Russia be treated as an equal. But these hopes have been dashed, and at this conference he declared the game to be over, explicitly violating Western taboo by speaking directly to the people over the heads of elite clans and political leaders.
The Russian blogger chipstone summarized the most salient points from Putin speech as follows:
1. Russia will no longer play games and engage in back-room negotiations over trifles. But Russia is prepared for serious conversations and agreements, if these are conducive to collective security, are based on fairness and take into account the interests of each side. Continue reading
The SCO was always intended to be a counter-balance to NATO and the West. With the admission of new states such as India and Iran, it’s looking to tip the balance and push the west of of Asia and Eurasia. This also isn’t limited to a political capacity, but will also involve a military component.
Draft documents on the procedure of the admission new members to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization have been adopted. This is one of the main outcomes of the meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, China, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kirgizstan held in Dushanbe on Thursday.
The adoption of these documents at the next SCO summit will give the green light for admitting the four observer-states, India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia, to the six-member organization.
Documents will be submitted to the SCO summit for the adoption. The summit will be held in Dushanbe in September. At present, Tajikistan holds the SCO presidency. Continue reading
BERLIN (Own report) – In view of the EU’s summit meeting, later this week, the “fracking” lobby and NATO are intensifying their pressure for the EU to initiate the highly controversial “hydraulic fracturing.” There are indications that the German Bundestag could speed up legislation allowing this dangerous gas production technique. The outgoing NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen is implying that fracking opponents are in fact working as agents for the Russian government. This incredible slander coincides with global transatlantic strategies aimed at using the current fracking boom in the USA and other western countries, to significantly weaken or even eliminate Russia’s influence as a producer of natural gas. If Moscow can no longer sell its gas to the EU, it could hardly avoid painful budget cuts. This would have serious consequences for Putin’s position of power at home and his influence in global politics. Regardless of such campaigns, German and US energy companies are pressing ahead with fracking in Europe – while continuing to do business with Russia. Continue reading
BERLIN (Own report) – With the appointment of a foreign minister, who is under heavy criticism for his stance on human rights, the new German government is preparing a global policy offensive. According to the CDU/SPD Coalition Agreement, the government is more determined than ever to help “shape international policy” and play “a strong autonomous role.” Counting on the EU, to couple more tightly its “civilian and military instruments” to intervene globally, the German government will promote EU foreign and military policy at the summit in Brussels later this week. Designated Foreign Minster, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), has been actively involved in Berlin’s geopolitical climb since he became the Chancellery’s coordinator of the German intelligence services in 1998. In 2001, he became Chief of Staff of the Federal Chancellery and played a central role in the German/US-American coordination in the “War on Terror,” which had initially consisted of the abduction and torture of terror suspects. For this, Steinmeier has been repeatedly under criticism – without effect. He will once again preside over the foreign ministry. Continue reading