Russia: Frustrating Foreign Wars
Russia admits that about a third of its population is living in poverty. Many Russians, and foreign economists, believe the real rate is nearly 70 percent. Russian living standards have suffered continuous disasters since 2013 when the price of the major export (oil and has) fell by more than half and has not recovered. In 2014 Russia declared it was at war with NATO and Ukraine. That resulted in economic sanctions that have gotten worse since then. When the current Russian government took power in 2000 it became very popular by keeping a key campaign promise; to reduce the poverty rate. The poverty rate fell from 29 percent of the population in 2000 to just under 12 percent in 2012.
Leadership: Russia Faces Four Front War
For over a decade Russia has been preparing for the dreaded four front war. How did it come to this? It wasn’t easy or preordained. It took a century of bad decisions, botched diplomacy and internal misrule to make it happen. It’s one of those Russian traditions that has evolved into a curse.
A century ago, Russia only feared war on one front, the one facing West. The Western Front was where Russia fought Germany and Austria-Hungary for three years during World War I, before conceding defeat. Russia was forced to ask for a peace deal because it turned out Russia had severe internal problems and another revolution. This was caused by the economic disruption and heavy casualties of the war. This was the second such crises of the 20th century and the primary demand was an end to the war, and the monarchy. Then things got worse as the second revolution escalated into a civil war that went on longer that Russian participation in World War I. The democratic government that won the first revolution and signed the peace treaty that got Russia out of the world war, then lost to a smaller radical socialist (communist) faction that brought back stricter and bloodier autocratic rule than the monarchy ever imposed.
The UK Defies Nuclear Treaties and Strengthens Atomic Arsenal
Within three months of the UK’s complete withdrawal from all institutions of the European Union and from the European Atomic Energy Community on January 31, 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has decided to increase by 40 per cent to 260 the country’s nuclear arsenal to “continue to be the leading European Ally within NATO”. Disarmament activists and experts as well as world parliamentarians have criticized the decision.