Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Et tu Poland? Putin Excluded from Holocaust Commemorations

New Eastern Outlook
January 20, 2015
Ulson Gunnar

Glancing at the headlines one might believe Russian President Vladimir Putin had inappropriately decided not to attend Holocaust commemorations in Poland.

In one breathtaking display of misinformation, Reuters would report in its article Putin will not attend Holocaust commemorations in Poland that, "Sources told Reuters on Monday that Putin was unlikely to join world leaders gathering at the site of the Auschwitz death camp because distrust caused by the conflict in Ukraine has cast a pall on arrangements."

In reality, The Russian leader was never invited by Poland, the nation hosting the commemorations.

The geopolitical thrust and accompanying misinformation is designed to reinforce the perception that Russia is now a hegemonic threat, on par with Nazi Germany during World War II. Reality could not contradict this contrived narrative more.

On June 22, 1941, Operation Barbarossa was launched. Three massive German armies moved at lightning speed into the Soviet Union as part of a long anticipated Nazi attempt to conquer Russia. The invasion would quickly overwhelm unprepared Russian forces bringing German armies up to the gates of several major Russian cities, Moscow included.

Economic War, BRICS, and the Power of Self-Sufficiency

New Eastern Outlook
January 20, 2015
Ulson Gunner

The toughest, most resilient people as both individuals and as societies all generally have one thing in common - self-sufficiency. This by no means suggests isolationism, but rather the ability to survive, even thrive through one's own work using resources at their own disposal. 

As a principle, self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and individualism defined young nations like the United States, catapulting it upon the world stage as a global leader after spending time racked in debt and in England's shadow. By establishing its own industry, its own institutions (including those of a financial nature) and its own military might, the United States transcended the tangled webs of interdependency locking Europe's ever-shifting, fragile alliances together. 

The evolution of human civilization along the lines of socioeconomics and technology has changed the roles, effectiveness and relevancy of those industries and institutions that had once made America great and in turn, those nations that had attempted to emulate such features have now all found themselves within the same boat - the boat of globalization.

Globalization is the hitherto pinnacle of interdependency, crippling any nation that falls foul of those sitting at the center of this entangled geopolitical order. There are many examples of nations that haven fallen foul including Cuba, Iraq, Iran and more recently Russia. In each case, respective economies depended heavily upon imports or exports or both. The response in defense against crippling economic warfare is self-sufficiency. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Alternative Media and the MH17 JIT Reversal

New Eastern Outlook
December 8, 2014
Ulson Gunnar

After weeks of protests and growing suspicion, Dutch authorities overseeing the investigation of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 have finally included Malaysia as a member of its Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

Malaysia had made it clear it was immensely displeased with its inexplicable exclusion from JIT formed after the downing of MH17 over eastern Ukraine. Including NATO members  (Belgium and the Netherlands), a defacto NATO collaborator (Australia) and a potential culprit in the air disaster (Ukraine), Malaysia's exclusion looked to be a part of an ongoing cover-up amid a larger attempt to use the disaster to frame Russia and advance NATO's agenda in Eastern Europe.

The conflict amid which MH17 was shot down is perceived to be a proxy conflict between NATO and Russia. That the investigation includes exclusively pro-NATO members or NATO members themselves, both the conduct of the investigation and any conceivable outcome would be highly suspect. Malaysia, the only nation directly effected by the disaster and perceived of being beyond the direct influence of NATO, would have provided a much needed counterbalance.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

All That Glitters Isn't Gold, Even Gold

New Eastern Outlook
Ulson Gunnar
December 4, 2014

In times of socioeconomic turmoil, gold receives renewed interest. It is seen as a means of exchange with enduring value that can transcend the various currencies that generally displace its use during times of economic growth and stability. However, it must be remembered that gold's value is only as good as the markets within which it is traded. If they collapse, gold's value may become highly unpredictable.

For Gold, Perception is Everything 

Much of gold's value is a matter of perception. Gold's enduring value can be owed to the fact that it has been fully integrated into financial systems since ancient times. Its rarity and aesthetic appeal in ancient times, combined with industrial applications today, have helped it keep its place within international financial systems. While gold holds true value as a natural resource, much of its value still stems from perceived value just like many of the currencies it is seen as an alternative to.

The value of gold is only as strong as the system it is a part of. No matter how valuable gold may be perceived within a functioning economic system, should that system collapse, so too will gold's perceived value. Gold cannot be eaten, used as a source of fuel, nor be used for clothing or housing. Without a functioning market to trade it in, its value becomes highly unpredictable.

Whichever markets survive a hypothetical collapse would serve as one possible means to trade gold. Whether those markets are overseas, or built within the system suffering from collapse, gold's value would depend on the ability for these alternatives to transform physical gold into currency or resources required for maintaining a thriving society. Beyond this, amid a crisis gold could be theoretically bartered, though it would be highly impractical compared to the trading of necessities.