Blog of Mass Distraction

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Expanding Spheres of Influence

Some interesting information I've learned in the past little while concerning some contentious contemporary issues. The dispute in Ukraine has died down a little since the non-confidence vote passed and another runoff has been called. Yushenko has asked his supporters to continue their demonstration in the streets of Kiev for the time being to make sure the runoff goes through as planned. While it's fairly evident that Yanukovych did some vote rigging the first time around, he still has a strong base of support in the East.
Yushenko seems to have some popular support, but it turns out that he isn't immune to the corruption that is associated with Yanukovych and the old guard aristocracy that has controlled things since the end of the Soviet Union. One of his strongest supporters was driven out of politics in Ukraine for massive corruption; and he was Prime Minister when the President was in hot water for ordering the assassination of a dissenting journalist. Much of Yushenko's campaign has been sponsored by the United States and should he take control he'll likely follow the same path that the late Djindjic followed in Serbia, selling off the country's economy to western countries. Not that Yanukuvych would necessarily be any better or worse, but the popular support for Yushenko doesn't really bode well for Ukraine.

There's also been a $100 billion fuel deal between China and Iran. This flies in the face of US policy that has been trying to put sanctions on Iran. In fact, before the deal was reached concerning Iran's nuclear program, China had said it would veto an attempt to put sanctions against Iran.

In Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai was sworn in as the leader of Afghanistan this morning. Foreign dignitaries were there for the ceremony including Dick Cheney. I'm not really sure what you can say about Afghanistan's democratic process when one of Karzai's opponents was general Dostum, a former leader of the Northern Alliance and war criminal. So Dostum will just have to settle for minister of defense. Moreover, one of Karzai's two official deputies is Ahmed Zia Massoud, the younger brother of the late war criminal Ahmed Shah Massoud.

Yesterday was also the somber anniversary of the Montreal massacre. While that type of tragedy is rare, regular violence and poor treatment of women is far more common in North America than most people realize. More than just random violence, spousal abuse happens far too often. And all of the great advances of women in the workplace notwithstanding, women still aren't paid equal salaries for equal work.

On a final light note, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf came to visit the US. While he was in town he did an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, during which he said that the Iraq war was a mistake and has made the world less safe. One of his media people later recanted his statement. While what he said is blatantly obvious, it's still funny to see these guys slip up and say something they're not supposed to.
I can't for the life of me understand why the terrorists haven't attacked our food supply.
Secretary of Health Tommy Thompson, resigned


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