Oil slump leaves Russia even weaker than decaying Soviet Union – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard – Telegraph

English: THE GRAND KREMLIN PALACE, MOSCOW. Pre...

English: THE GRAND KREMLIN PALACE, MOSCOW. President Putin with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. Русский: МОСКВА, БОЛЬШОЙ КРЕМЛЕВСКИЙ ДВОРЕЦ. С Президентом Ирана Сейедом Мохаммадом Хатами. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President George W. Bush of the United States ...

President George W. Bush of the United States and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, exchange handshakes Thursday, June 7, 2007, after their meeting at the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an excellent article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Business Editor at the Telegraph.

via Oil slump leaves Russia even weaker than decaying Soviet Union – Telegraph.

Reading this article, the economic prognosis for Russia is very dire. However, there are other sides to Russia. President Putin and a close group of oligarchs control the power. Putin has been around on the World stage for a long time; he’s a formidable player, and most importantly he understands the weaknesses in the leading Western economies.

I agree with  Evans-Pritchard that Russia has squandered her inheritence but other countries rich in natural resources have done the same. It is only now that we can see that a sovereign wealth fund like Norway’s is best practice.

I cannot see Russia turning to the likes of the IMF. I hope that Russia will reflect and see political acomodations in exchange for economic and trading concessions.

Thoughts?

US has to face own human rights crisis – Global Times

Opposition poster for the 1866 election. Geary...

Opposition poster for the 1866 election. Geary’s opponent, Hiester Clymer, ran on a white supremacy platform. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Logo of Global Times

Logo of Global Times (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Logo of the People's Daily 中文: 人民日报题字

English: Logo of the People’s Daily 中文: 人民日报题字 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a robust op-ed article on US human rights, published in China’s leading tabloid newspaper, Global Times.

US has to face own human rights crisis – Global Times.

The article is well researched and factual. It’s a reminder that the US is still a divided society, with huge variations between the rich and poor, as well as between different racial groups. There is still deep rooted prejudice in certain sections of society.

On the other hand, the article does not compare the US to China on human rights. Over the same time period, it would be easy for a US newspaper to chart China’s record on human rights too.

Personally, I do not think that international comparisons on human rights are particularly helpful, other than to highlight the challenges. Each country has a deep-rooted historic and cultural context. What’s important is to measure each country’s progress over time – on this type of longitudinal measure, the US has made enormous progress. Meanwhile, perhaps China has to face her own human rights crisis?

Thoughts?

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