Moscow Appoints Its Ambassador To The US. And Blows The Horn Of The Cold War.

July 30, 2008

Moscow Appoints Its Ambassador To The US. And Blows The Horn Of The Cold War.

The new Russian ambassador to the United States has been finally appointed by a presidential decree. He is Sergei Kislyak, who previously held the post of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and handled relations with both North and South Americas. Mr Kislyak has already stated that he is going to do his best to develop relations between Moscow and Washington. He would say that, wouldn’t he, being the new ambassador to the US. It wouldn’t have sounded right if he said something like: ‘I’m not promising anything to these bastards in Washington. They are a disgusting lot, so don’t expect me to choose my words carefully when I deal with them. Besides, they no longer matter and their role in the world is diminishing. So why should I care if our countries don’t talk... 

China Is Accused Of Human Rights Abuse. Don’t Expect Anyone To Lose Sleep Over It.

July 30, 2008

China Is Accused Of Human Rights Abuse. Don’t Expect Anyone To Lose Sleep Over It.

Adam lovejoy writes: Amnesty International has accused the Chinese leadership of breaking its promise to improve the situation with human rights given seven years ago, when the country had won the right to stage the summer Olympic Games. In its report the human rights organisation has pointed out that the Chinese authorities were continuing to suppress political dissent and prosecute and punish people for their views and beliefs. In fact, as Amnesty pointed out, the situation has become even worse in the run up to the Games. It called on the Chinese government to release political activists and allow local and foreign journalists to report freely from China during the Games. While Amnesty’s intentions to highlight human rights abuse in China are understandable, I do not think that anyone... 

BP-TNK Crisis: A Case Of Hypocrisy On All Sides Involved

July 29, 2008

BP-TNK Crisis: A Case Of Hypocrisy On All Sides Involved

I’m sorry, but I find all the drama surrounding the crisis, which is engulfing the British-Russian joint oil venture BP-TNK, to be smacking of serious hypocrisy; both on the part of Russia and the West.Let me explain. For more than six months now BP-TNK – a joint venture between British Petroleum and the Russian oil giant, Tyumen Oil Company – has been going through a crisis caused by the decision of the Russian owners of the group to attempt to change the composition of the board of directors and to review the initial agreement that stipulates how the firm operates. The Russian owners – four oligarchs – are especially keen on getting rid of the BP appointed chief executive of BP-TNK, Robert Dudley, who is now hiding – yes, you’ve heard me right –... 

Barack Obama Gets A Vote: Looking Back On His Trip To Europe

July 29, 2008

Barack Obama Gets A Vote: Looking Back On His Trip To Europe

(This article has been written by Christopher Lee, our new regular contributor). Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is safely home in America. There’s little doubt that Europeans would like to see him in the White House. His tour was such a success that the GOP Abroad team are wondering why is it that no one in Europe talks about John McCain? He is, I’m afraid, John Who? Yes, Europeans exist on foregone conclusions. There is also a mood that goes beyond the idea of ‘we’ll soon be rid of Bush Junior’. Insofar that the European is politically savvy, there is a recognition of the momentous change in political perceptions an election of Obama would mean, in Europe as well as the United States. It’s nothing to do with the potential election of a black... 

A New Cuban Crisis In The Making? No, It’s Just Moscow Waging A Propaganda War

July 26, 2008

A New Cuban Crisis In The Making? No, It’s Just Moscow Waging A Propaganda War

Anton Goryunov writes from Moscow: Russian military chiefs are thinking of turning Cuba into a base for Russian long-range nuclear bombers. I have it on good authority that pilots who fly Tupolev-160 and Tupolev-95MS strategic bombers have already visited Cuba to look at the possible landing strips for future use by the Russian strategic forces. No one really knows whether Moscow has actually decided to turn Cuba into an air base or whether it’s just an idea that is being floated around. Also, no one has explained whether the Russian bombers would be actually based in Cuba or whether they would only land there for refuelling. The official spokesman for the Russian Defence Ministry said that reports about crews having flown to Cuba to choose possible airstrips were false. But, of course,... 

The New Batman Film Is Out. All The Hype Proves Groundless

July 26, 2008

The New Batman Film Is Out. All The Hype Proves Groundless

So, now that the new Batman film, The Dark Night, is out and people have gone to see it I wonder whether the critics, who have been giving it five stars, are now feeling embarrassed for all that hype thta they have created. Because the film was seriously hyped up and presented as if it was some deep and dark piece of drama. Which it is not, of course. In fact, it is nothing outstanding, even compared to the previous instalment of Batman Begins, where at least there was some logic to the plot and you could actually understand why the Caped Crusader was all dark and gloomy.   The Dark Night breaks no new ground, even by the standards of superhero flick. It’s got a shaky story line, its pretentious and is way too long. Christian Bale, who plays Batman, is not  bad actor, but I don’t... 

Barack Obama Makes A Presidential Address In Berlin. He Might Regret It One Day

July 25, 2008

Barack Obama Makes A Presidential Address In Berlin. He Might Regret It One Day

Let’s be cynical for a moment and ask ourselves this: why did Barack Obama, the Democrtic candidate for the US presidency, choose Berlin to make his foreign policy address? No, honestly, why was it Berlin and not, say, Paris or London? Was he, by any chance, trying to associate himself with one of most popular American presidents of the past, who had made a powerful speech in Berlin back in 1963? And why did Obama’s election campaign managers initially ask to hold the rally at the Brandenburg Gate?   We, being cynics in this case, know the answers to all these questions, don’t we? Mr Obama has obviously decided to use his trip abroad and score as much political points as possible on the election trail. He knew perfectly well that both Europeans and, more importantly, Americans... 

BP Continues To Lose Its Grip On BP-TNK. The Signs Are Ominous

July 24, 2008

BP Continues To Lose Its Grip On BP-TNK. The Signs Are Ominous

The conflict between BP and the Russian shareholdres in the joint British-Russian oil venture BP-TNK is intensifying with the UK oil giant having been forced to withdraw all the remaining foreign engineers, who were assigned to work for the group in Russia. 86 foreign engineers have already left the country when their work visas expired and the Russian authorities refused to extend them. In effect it means that BP continues to lose its grip on the joint venture, which is widely seen as target of a possible takeover by the Russian state. The most likely candidate to purchase the group is the state owned gas giant, Gazprom, although there have also been suggestions that the oil company Rosneft may buy a controlling stake in the joint venture. So that you know, Rosneft is very same corporation... 

Tapping Up Players – It Still Happens A Lot In Football

July 23, 2008

Tapping Up Players – It Still Happens A Lot In Football

With Tottenham Hotspur reporting Manchester United to UEFA this week over their alleged underhand tactics in trying to acquire Spurs’s star player, Dimitar Berbatov, the subject of tapping up players is very much back in the spotlight . A football club cannot, under FIFA regulations, approach players from other teams while they are under contract. Unfortunately, this rule is rarely observed and Arsene Wenger quite rightly spoke out against the bullying tactics applied by big clubs in an attempt to unsettle players whom they are targeting. He singled out Real Madrid’s chairman, Ramon Calderon, who came out with endless public statements about his desire to sign up Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo. While Wenger and Tottenham’s managers  have a fair point in their... 

A Search For A National Treasure. Very Strange Choices Are Made

July 22, 2008

A Search For A National Treasure. Very Strange Choices Are Made

There is a rather strange campaign being run at the moment by The Sunday Telegraph and the British Library to pick ‘national treasures’, i.e. outstanding personalities in four categories: public life, the arts, innovation and enterprise and, finally, science. I say strange because the short lists in all four categories, which gave been compiled by groups of ‘specialists’, as they call themselves, from the newspaper and the library include people who should not be there in the first place. In fact, some of the choices smack of blatant political correctness and some of sheer stupidity.   Let’s start with the public life section which supposedly includes ‘campaigners, the opinion formers, the writers, the people we take time to listen to’. The first in the short-list... 

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