Post excerpts from May to July 2014
Posted July 22, 2014
Whether you engage in arguments with trolls or not, one should realize that there is a massive war on information rampant in the world. Finland is one stage were this conflict plays out.Russia has attacked Ukraine and wages a new type of war. It has been called hybrid warfare, because it combines traditional armed force with cyber attacks, information warfare, trade policy and all manner of other means of coercion and pressure. In addition, maintained plausible deniability is absolutely crucial to the Russian efforts; that means that it retains a way deny its role and meddling throughout the conflict. To achieve this Russia engages in an all-time greatest, and perhaps the most successful, operations of information warfare.
The pawns of this operation are trolls.
These warriors of the information war employ a wide array of weapons taken from a slew of sources that span from advanced rhetoric all the way to school bullying. Trolls create a fog of uncertainty by presenting alternative explanations and at worst they try to silence those with opposing views with fear.
I see that challenging trolls in limited fashion is sensible. What it requires is that you don’t take the responses you get personally. You should consider the troll as a defiant child that you need to talk to in calm and reasonable manner, even if they are shouting at the top of their voice and was acting out in the worst possible way. Mostly it is sufficient to express yourself disagreement shortly, clearly and to the point and your arguments for your stand.
There is more reason than ever to stay vigilant and alert – and active.
Posted July 20, 2014
Honorable President Putin,
In general, it is a very bad idea to give political and military support to a mixed trope of adventurers, fanatics and other troublemakers. If you don’t believe me, ask the Americans.
Every time when America has acted against its own high ideals, that has eventually damaged also itself. Highly ethical, ideological and consistent foreign policy eventually leads to the best results, even if the ugly realpolitik is very tempting.
Now, after the death of 298 civil casualties on the Malaysian plane shot down, how good does the idea of arming and supporting pan-Russian fanatics, badly organized and unruly catalysts for civil war and other warmongering nutcases really look like? Your PR damage because of Southern Ossetia was relatively limited, but now the whole Russia is threatened with a trade blockade but also with infamy and status as a pariah state.
Posted June 5, 2014
The right-wing populists and euro-skeptics had a great win in the 2014 Euro-Parliament elections of the European Union. But does that really mean anything?
Europe has been in the midst of a serious crisis for a good half a decade. The various issues that have tested the stability of Europe: the economic disaster in the Mediterranean Europe, the wave of immigrants, the conflicts between the leading economies in Europe, the flexing of Russia, the intensified criticism on the Euro currency, the rapid changes in the values and economy. The state of crisis has become the default modus operandi of Europe, and yet, the opponents of EU got only some 14 percents of the representatives in the EU Parliament.
There is no way back to nationalism and that is definitely a good thing.
The current situation in Europe offers interesting parallels with the America – but the one from a hundred year ago.
The United States in the early decades of 1900s and Europe today were in the midst of an enormous demographic and economic upheaval. America came through these problems of change. It did require difficult decisions and took several decades but the nation was welded as one.
This is the fate of Europe as well. This election was a populist fart. It stinks, but eventually it helps Europe get its digestion working again.
Posted May 18, 2014
I have studied many, many languages. Now I realize that I should have learned only one. English.
It wasn’t hard to find motivation for studying languages in the world I grew up in. Languages, like French, German and others, were the key to the world. Respectable, educated people knew several foreign languages as a rule.
My strategy was completely wrong. I studied all other languages besides English that I learned from my American friends and pop music. And that’s the level where it stuck as I was too busy studying other languages, becoming an international person.
I hate the flat Euro-English. Most people are not bothered by it. This is not the Europe I wished for, but this is what it became.
Posted May 7, 2014
The gray-haired man pointed with his silver-plated cane where his bunk had been.
Just 29 years ago Auschwitz was a remote historical site, now it is a bustling tourist attraction. My daughter tells me that I shouldn’t be taking pictures, but I do. There is no one who smiles in a selfie taken by the electric fence.
The overarching feeling is sadness, that is at times mixed with horror, like in the gas chamber. My daughter ponders if there has ever been that many deaths in such a small place. Is this place the black hole of human history whose gravity exceeds all mercy?
The soviet army arrived at Auschwitz on January 27, 1945. For Polish this was not the end of their suffering; only the hue of the guard uniforms changed. Fascism and communism are both chips from the same block.
Why Russians are so easily subdued by the tricks former KGB agents? Tricks that first deny the people of democracy, then human rights and finally peace. Archive door are finally ajar and some apologizes have been mumbled, but then there has been a swift retreat to old putrid lies. The history has not been properly addressed in Russia, only skimmed very lightly.