“Obama’s statement during an interview with CNN is reiterating something that lately has been becoming a second opinion on the matter of Ukraine — the US facilitated the regime change in Ukraine through a planned coup of democratically elected Viktor Yanukovych (former President of Ukraine).
In the past decade US has overthrown numerous governments in Latin America, Asia and Africa and replaced them with leaders of pro western ideology that proved useful for Washington’s geopolitical interests,” independent researcher and writer Timothy Alexander Guzman told Sputnik. US President Barack Obama revealed the United States’ involvement in the Ukrainian crisis from its outset and admitted that the United States “had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine.” (Global Research)
In another interview with NPR, Obama had admitted consulting with OPEC countries to support reduced oil prices to weaken the economy of Russia. Lowered oil prices and a number of sanctions imposed on Russia has done nothing to improve the situation in Ukraine. At this juncture, US is considering openly arming the Ukrainian army and drive Russia into the conflict. US is already involved in a number of wars around the world. Will driving the conflict from middle east to black sea will help bring peace in the world?
In this article we will take a look at western mainstream media and try to understand if US involvement in Ukraine is problem solving or disturbing.
Disturbing or problem solving?
Now we are going to analyze two cases of current importance in US-Ukraine relationship.
Deciding whether to send lethal aid – considering all sides of the question. “The stage is set for U.S. President Barack Obama to authorize shipments of weapons to Ukraine’s ailing military, but now the White House is left to decide if sending that lethal aid will further escalate the already rising war there and prompt a strong Russian response. Opting not to send weapons could encourage President Vladimir Putin to continue to assert Russia’s power over its neighbors, an analyst said on Monday” (International Business Times)
“U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the president will weigh his options carefully and will not be rushed into a decision. Obama’s administration has faced criticism that it struggles to act decisively and project U.S vision at the height of foreign crises. “The timetable is fluid. This is too important to make a snap decision,” one official said. Obama meets on Monday at the White House with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who discussed the peace initiative with Putin on Friday and has made clear she opposes providing lethal arms to the Ukraine government.
Yet tough rhetoric from some Obama advisors has raised expectations of a stronger U.S. response: “The Ukrainian people have a right to defend themselves,” Vice-President Joe Biden told a security conference in Munich on Saturday.” (Reuters)
Lamberto Zannier, secretary-general of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told Reuters he was worried that direct Western military support for the Ukraine government would fan the flames of the conflict: “It may even lead down the line to more direct intervention of Russia in this conflict … Our objective remains that of de-escalating, so I think really the effort should continue to focus on that,” he said at the Munich Security Conference. (Reuters)
“It is hard to find comfort in a plan whose success relies on Vladimir Putin’s sensitivity to death,” Shapiro writes, noting the surging anti-American sentiment in Russia. Direct U.S. military aid to Ukraine would only deepen the anti-West, “anti-imperialist” narratives that have dominated airwaves in Russia over the past year and would reinforce the Kremlin’s own messaging about the conflict as an existential struggle for Moscow’s future.”
Here’s how Zbigniew Brzezinski, former secretary of state in the Carter administration, described the American reaction to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.
We immediately launched a twofold process when we heard that the Soviets had entered Afghanistan. The first involved direct reactions and sanctions focused on the Soviet Union… And the second course of action led to my going to Pakistan a month or so after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, for the purpose of coordinating with the Pakistanis a joint response, the purpose of which would be to make the Soviets bleed for as much and as long as is possible.
The legacy of that American plan to build up the Mujahideen and “make the Soviets bleed” is, of course, still being unraveled. No one wants an Afghanistan scenario, but the calculation behind arming Kiev now is not that different from the one in Brzezinski’s mind more than three decades ago. Sanctions are already in play; some members of Congress think it’s time to apply even more pressure.
About solution: There’s a reason why European leaders, including those of Germany, France and Britain, are desperately seeking a cease-fire rather than an escalation of the conflict. Ultimately, the only imaginable solution is a diplomatic settlement that turns down the heat in the region and allows for rapprochement between Russia and its western neighbors. An influx of Western weaponry and military aid could have the opposite effect, paralyzing any hopes of a diplomatic breakthrough and perhaps even prompt a full-scale Russian invasion. (Original Article on The Washington Post)
Brexit: Three Logistics Concerns for Businesses
After the vote on 23rd June 2016, for many businesses, it seemed there was ample time to prepare for Brexit. However, the UK is now one year away from leaving the EU and naturally, many business owners are becoming increasingly concerned about its impact.
A recent study showed that 94% of UK SMEs feel that the government is failing to listen to their Brexit concerns. There are also fears that HMRC’s new customs system will not be ready by the Brexit deadline.
For businesses, it is clear that there remains a lot of uncertainty about Brexit, including what trades deals may be formed and how they will affect British businesses. This is particularly true for logistics, where these three concerns are growing.
For many companies, their number one concern is cost. In order to offset, businesses facing an increase in operating and logistics costs may have to pass this onto their customers, resulting in higher product prices – this is especially worrying for logistics companies like Tuffnells. This could result in a lower sales volume, making a dent in their bottom line.
This additional spend could come from several areas, including:
- Taxes and tariffs: after leaving the single market, exporting or importing goods may be subject to new charges and restrictions, which could result in higher logistics costs
- Fuel: The exchange rate of the pound dropped after the Brexit vote and it could fluctuate further after the deadline, resulting in increased fuel and transport prices
Coming out of the EU’s single market – where British businesses currently trade tax-free – presents more issues than cost alone. This includes implementing new business systems.
While HMRC are putting their own customs systems in place, businesses also face the same challenge. Staff will require training on new tariffs and customs, logistics procedures will have to be revised, and businesses will have to find systems and methods to deal with these new processes. All of this will eat into business hours and cost companies further money.
The introduction of new border controls will have several affects on British businesses, including cost, delays and further administrative processes. But leaving the EU will limit companies in another way: freedom of movement.
Pre-Brexit, EU workers had the freedom to move and work in any member state, but this will no longer apply to the UK. This means hiring workers from within the EU could be more difficult, time-consuming and expensive. With many British companies hiring migrant drivers to cover the UK shortage, this could severely impact transport.
The announcement of Brexit brought about uncertainty among UK businesses. Unfortunately, only speculation is possible until all trade deals have been announced and Brexit takes effect in 2019. However, if businesses prepare in these areas, it could help to minimise impact.
The Future of the UK Used Car Market
It is an intriguing time in the UK auto market in 2018 with a range of political, economic and social factors influencing the industry. New car sales continue to fall for the 11th consecutive month with diesel taking the brunt of the slide. It is thought that this decline is due to the uncertainty over the Government’s clean air plans (including the 2040 ban on petrol and diesel), but also the economic climate and uncertainty over Brexit.
Sale of AFVs
Although new car sales continue to fall overall, there is evidence that the 2040 ban is influencing consumers with the sales of alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) rising steadily over the last 11 months, including a 7.2% rise in February compared to last year. Although this is unable to offset the free-falling diesel sector, it does show that motorists are beginning to prepare for the green car revolution. Motorists are also aware that there are many incentives for making the switch, plus there is now a wide range of excellent electric cars on the market.
Used Car Market
So, what does all this mean for used car dealerships? Sales have managed to maintain stability amidst the turbulence in the industry with a drop of just 1.1% in 2017 compared to 2016. This was largely thanks to the sale of used electric cars, which saw an increase of a staggering 77.1% in 2017. Hybrids were also up 22.2%. This goes to show that motorists are preparing for the future and still have the need to change automobiles, with the used car market being a much safer place to do this as it is a much smaller investment.
It is easy to see reputable used car dealerships like Shelbourne Motors performing well in 2018 and beyond as more and more second-hand electric cars become available. An increasing number of cities are imposing their own bans ahead of the 2040 ban, plus it is expected that there will be more clarity on the ban and the electric vehicle infrastructure will continue to grow. Additionally, the landscape of a post-Brexit UK will be clearer soon and this could encourage motorists to shop in the used car market.
The future of the used car market in the UK looks healthy despite the fact that there has been a great deal of uncertainty in the UK over the past year. Provided that dealerships are able to provide motorists with a range of second-hand electric automobiles, it is easy to see motorists opting to buy used as opposed to new as this can allow for big savings which is important in the current economic climate. The green car revolution is fully underway and this is what has managed to keep the used car market afloat during a challenging period.
All Steam Ahead as Europe Goes Green
Red, amber, green: and Europe is off on its big green venture. Yep, it’s true, Europe is finally on the right track in regards to future-proofing against climate change. To see just how it is doing this and what it is doing in regards to this, make sure to read on.
The abolition of fossil fuels by 2050
Some of Europe’s biggest countries are seeking to go fossil fuel free by 2050, and it’s brilliant. Denmark, a country widely regarded as being a leader in the struggle for a green future, is one such country seeking to do this. Yes, it might be ambitious. And yes, Danish officials openly admit that it is an ambitious venture. But, this old Nordic country is going full steam ahead with its ‘Energy Strategy 2050’ enterprise anyway in the hopes that within 32 years the whole country will be completely dependant on things that do not hurt our world. In fact, Denmark is even seeking to go one step further and go completely cashless. Well done, Denmark!
Cities are building green infrastructures
It appears that many European cities have seen the light in regards to what they need to do to save our planet and are now building green infrastructures to hold themselves up in the future. Yep, many cities around this famous old continent are changing the habit of a lifetime and going against a grain that has been in place for thousands upon thousands of years by swapping out their old, harmful infrastructures and ushering in new, safer ones to replace them. Bratislava, Slovakia is one such example: it has had a complete overhaul of its transport system and only runs low-emission buses, tree planting has become a serious occupation, roofs around the city have been made green and rainwater retention facilities have popped up everywhere. Yep, the Slovakian capital really has built a green infrastructure, despite a tight budget, and many other European cities are following suit.
Many big cities are clambering for green funding
Speaking of tight budgets, there seemingly is one across the whole of Europe when it comes to going green because many cities within the continent are having to clamber for funding in regards to it. But, thankfully, having to do all of this isn’t stopping these cities from doing so and going as green as they can. Yep, cities across the European continent are using a combination of EEA grants, municipal funding, crowdfunding and green bonds in order to go green: Copenhagen has done so and used its funding to upgrade is floodwater management and lighting systems to make them more eco-friendly, Paris has done so and used its funding to plant in excess of 20,000 trees and Essen, Germany has done so and used its funding to be named European Green Capital for 2017.
So, as you can see, the historic old continent of Europe is more than willing to embrace the future and, more specifically, the future needs of our planet. Let’s just hope that the rest of the world and its leaders *cough* Trump *cough* follow suit before it’s all too late.
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