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Will Adams’ “Republic of Virtue” also end up into the Dustbin of History’s Great Empires?

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] F [/yt_dropcap]ew, even among journalists, and so called Russian experts, are aware that Trump has been in business with Russian oligarchs for a minimum of three decades. In the 1980 the US Treasury Department fined him $10 million for significant, long standing anti-money laundering violations at Trump’s Taj Mahal. It is a well-known “fake secret” that the Taj Mahal was a prime vacation spot for wealthy Russian oligarchs.

It is also well known that Trump incurred into five bankruptcies because he ran companies whose specialty was rigging the game against their customers. It is not very likely that Trump could obtain the large credit lines that his unbounded business appetite required in the US. Yet, given that his business ventures persist till today, and he has in fact refused to divest himself of them upon becoming president, the suspicion persists that he obtained it abroad; from where exactly? From the people for whom he was laundering money in the Taj Mahal would be a good guess. They could easily find way to deliver it to him tax-free.

Given that no one gets rich in Russia without Putin’s consent, and given that Trump has been laundering money for wealthy Russians for years, it can also be suspected that many of his businesses are propped by Kremlin connected cash. Once the evidence of aiding and abetting a regime hostile to the US government is proven, that evidence will prove to be a gun to Trump’s head or his presidency as the case may be. That goes a long way in explaining why Trump refuses to speak in any negative way about the Kremlin. He is a self-interested actor and may be in fact wholly beholden to Russian interests. Moreover, he willingly accepted their help in the campaign for the presidency; in fact, he requested it publicly.

It needs to be stressed, moreover, that Russia’s economy is dependent on oil and it is not among the most advanced. Their military, despite its modernization, is not comparable to that of the US, or China, or NATO. The Russians have compensated by weaponizing a skill at which they have always been very good: manipulation of information, or better, disinformation. They consider that weaponized skill the equivalent of the acquisition of the atom bomb in the late forties which brought them at a par with the US. Now disinformation goes to by the less technical and more disingenuous term of “fake news.”

Russia’s manipulation comes in the form of surrounding Trump with people in its own orbit, the likes of Manafort, or Flynn, or Page. All that Russia had to do is align Trump’s interests with its interests. Trump’s interests are not ideological or very intellectual, they are purely financial.

In any case, ideology is not as important as it used to be during the Cold War, especially after the debacle of the Iraq War. Many Americans now believe that it’s quite ok to deviate from the policy which was pursued by the Atlantic Alliance from the end of World War II till today. Slogans thrown around by Trump such “NATO is obsolete” or “the EU is a fake union” or “Brexit was a good thing,” do no raise any eyebrows as they used to in the 80s or the 90s.

But of course there is the cover-up which is like an alarm bell alerting to the crime. Why was Devin Nunes rush to brief the White House with information he did not even share with his committee members? Why the backtracking on previous statements by Team Trump via the likes of Flynn, Manafort, Page, and Sessions?

The White House is now saying that their former campaign manager Manafort had a “very limited role” in the campaign, that Flynn who was appointed National Security Adviser was a mere “volunteer,” that Nunes has never even heard of Carter Page, the man initially appointed as one of the foreign policy advisors to Trump’s campaign; neither has he heard of Roger Stone, an adviser to Trump since the 1980s.

Why does the Trump branded tabloid National Enquirer assert that Flynn is a Russian spy caught by Trump? This is quite different from what the White House has been asserting all along that the entire investigation is “fake news” and a “Witch Hunt” and that those men were all great heroes and patriots being harassed.

Do blameless operatives act that way? Do these signs indicate a cover-up related to the Russian investigation on which the FBI is now intently focusing? These questions remain to be answered and clarified.

As Adams found out, to his surprise, when he studied the history of Republics throughout the ages, republics usually self-destroy once they abandon virtue and embrace public corruption and power for power’s sake. Then the end justifies any means, ethical or unethical. We now call that mind-set Machiavellian geo-political thinking. This may be going on as we speak, and those who minimize the matter need to ponder Adam’s conclusions on the issue of republics of virtue which betray their ideals and journey downward toward tyranny and eventual extinction.

Contrary to those who insist on ridiculing and trivializing this story of the nexus between the Trump campaign and Russia, it may prove to be the most important story of our time. The response to the remarkable efforts by the White House to stonewall its investigation will either prove the resilience of the US Constitutional Democratic government, or it will accelerate its slow descent into the dustbin of history’s great empires. History will eventually render its verdict.

Professor Paparella has earned a Ph.D. in Italian Humanism, with a dissertation on the philosopher of history Giambattista Vico, from Yale University. He is a scholar interested in current relevant philosophical, political and cultural issues; the author of numerous essays and books on the EU cultural identity among which A New Europe in search of its Soul, and Europa: An Idea and a Journey. Presently he teaches philosophy and humanities at Barry University, Miami, Florida. He is a prolific writer and has written hundreds of essays for both traditional academic and on-line magazines among which Metanexus and Ovi. One of his current works in progress is a book dealing with the issue of cultural identity within the phenomenon of “the neo-immigrant” exhibited by an international global economy strong on positivism and utilitarianism and weak on humanism and ideals.

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Zimbabwean peacekeeper selected as UN Military Gender Advocate of the Year 2021 Award

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Following reports of sexual and gender-based violence against women collecting firewood in Rubkona, South Sudan, Captain Irene Wilson Muro and and Major Winnet Zharare (2nd from the right) reached out to local women to discuss ways to stem the abuse. Photo: UNMISS

A Zimbabwean peacekeeper who recently completed her assignment with the UN Mission in South Sudan, will receive the 2021 United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award. 

Military Observer Major Winnet Zharare, 39, served in Bentiu, South Sudan in 2021-2022, and will receive the award from the Secretary-General António Guterres during a ceremony marking the International Day of UN Peacekeepers on Thursday, 26 May 2022.

Created in 2016, the United Nations “Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award” recognizes the dedication and efforts of an individual military peacekeeper in promoting the principles of UN Security Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, as nominated by Heads and Force Commanders of UN peace operations.

Secretary-General António Guterres commended Major Winnet for her award. “Major Zharare is a role model and a trailblazer. Through her service, she has demonstrated the invaluable role that women play in building trust, advocating for change and forging peace,” he said. “Her example shows how we will all gain with more women at the decision-making table and gender parity in peace operations,” Mr. Guterres added. 

Major Zharare expressed her gratitude and pride in receiving  the award which, she said, “motivated [her] to maintain [her] course towards gender equality.”

“My parents gave us equal opportunities with my brothers, so I believe that equal opportunities should be given to both men and women in all aspects of life,” she added.

Major Winnet Zharare deployed to UNMISS in November 2020. Throughout her 17-month-long service, she advocated for gender parity and women’s participation, within her own ranks, among local military counterparts, and in host communities.

As the Chief Military Information Officer in UNMISS’  Bentiu field office, she helped ensure that patrols included both women and men to improve protection efforts as well as build trust between host communities and the Mission. Her efforts also contributed to an increase in  gender-aggregated data so that issues raised by local women and girls would gain appropriate attention.

Advocating for gender parity and womens’ participation in an environment where they are traditionally excluded from decision-making, she encouraged local civilian and military authorities and community representatives to involve both men and women in meetings with the UN. Her diligence and diplomatic skills quickly gained her the trust of local military commanders who would systematically reach out to her on issues pertaining to women’s protection and rights. During her patrols and numerous community engagement initiatives, Major Zharare also successfully encouraged men and women to work together in farming and in the construction of dikes around Bentiu town to alleviate food shortages and prevent further displacement.

Major Zharare is the first Zimbabwean peacekeeper to receive this prestigious award.

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‘New dawn’ for Europe as War in Ukraine Strengthens EU and Support for Enlargement

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The European Union surprised the world, and even itself, with the speed, scale and unity of its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This “new” Europe is ready to project both soft and hard power on the world stage, European leaders told participants at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022.

Christine Lagarde, President, European Central Bank, on the panel at the session, European Unity in a Disordered World?, said the Ukraine war has revealed how powerful Europe is collectively: “This is a new dawn for Europe.”

The war on Ukraine has also revealed weaknesses – including global supply chain vulnerabilities and over-reliance on Russian energy, she said, but Europe is addressing this and can begin to flex its muscles on the global stage. “Europe has untapped purchasing power, trading power, technology power, pension power and moral power.”

Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, reinforced the point. “This is Europe’s moment,” she said. “Europe can become the global project for peace.”

Mistakes of the past will be rectified, she said. “For way too long we did not seriously consider an energy union where we can rely on each other rather than on a country that can switch us off at any time.”

Referring to the EU’s support and defence of Ukraine, she was emphatic: “This is not the time to talk about face-saving for Russia or appeasement.”

Eduard Heger, Prime Minister of Slovakia, also on the panel, said: “If Ukraine falls to Russian aggression, Slovakia is next.” He added that we must continue to provide military support as well as step up humanitarian aid. “Above all we need to give Ukrainians hope.”

“Let’s not compromise – we must remain faithful to the values of the EU – freedom, rule of law, human dignity and equal rights.”

Micheál Martin, Taoiseach of Ireland, said of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: “The people of Europe have spoken. Enough is enough.” In response there is much stronger unanimity between member states and more support than ever to accept the accession of new members.

He continued: “We see the EU’s future in terms of the green economy and in terms of the digitalization but also in terms of enlargement.”

Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, called on European member states to continue to raise their defence spending. “The NATO alliance members are inseparable, but Europe must play its part,” he said. “This will help transform Europe from a soft power to a hard power.”

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Geopolitical Crises Forcing Leaders to Face up to Difficult New Realities

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Poland’s President Andrzej Duda delivered a harsh rebuke to Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, pledging “100% support” for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and calling for Moscow to pay reparations to Kyiv. “I simply cannot accept that Russia can violate international law with impunity.”

Russian aggression against Ukraine has revived unity within the West and highlighted for many Western nations the importance of democratic values. Finland and Sweden, notably, have set aside their longstanding policies of neutrality and applied to join NATO. “We are in a totally new situation and have to wake up to that,” said Pekka Haavisto, Finland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, noting that the collapse of the post-war European security architecture, as well as Russia’s increased appetite for risk, were among the major factors prompting Finland to apply for membership.

Haavisto said that in this “grey time” between the Nordic country’s application to join the alliance and its potential full accession, when it will enjoy mutual security protection under Article 5 of the NATO charter, NATO members have given Finland and Sweden assurances that they will guarantee security. Asked about Turkey’s stated objection to extension of membership to Finland and Sweden, he expressed confidence that Helsinki can address concerns.

Alarmed by an increasingly competitive geopolitical landscape marked by mounting frictions between the United States and China, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, emphasized the need for cooperation.

“If we learned anything from COVID, it is that we need to focus on cooperation and I think we need to continue to look towards avenues to foster that cooperation. Even when there is difference, when there’s competition, we need to find mechanisms to talk to each other.” He noted that Saudi Arabia, which values both its extensive trade relationship with China and its national security relationship with the US, is well-positioned to facilitate dialogue between the world’s leading powers.

Prince Faisal’s remarks were echoed by Pakistan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar, who commented on the “binary choice” that countries with close ties to both China and the US are increasingly asked to make. “We are typically asked this question all the time: Who do you choose? It shows how far we have fallen as a global community,” she said. This is particularly difficult, she noted, for a country like Pakistan, which is already in fiscal crisis and now faces “the superimposition of a food security crisis”.

Gregory W. Meeks, Democratic Congressman from New York’s 6th District and Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign, praised the bipartisan support for a recent Senate bill pledging $40 billion in humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine, as well as the broad international support that Ukraine has received.

He also focused on the potential food crisis, emphasizing the need to break the blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports so Ukrainian grain can be delivered to the many countries that depend on it. “You got to open [the port of Odessa] up because that’s not been just limited to what’s happening in Ukraine; this threatens the entire world.”

Madrid is host to next month’s NATO summit and Spain’s Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares Bueno, praised the alliance’s response to Russian aggression in Ukraine. But he emphasized the threat that the looming food crisis, if left unresolved, could pose to Europe. Noting that the Sahel – the region of North Africa bordering the Sahara – is not only already deeply food-insecure, he warned that rising cereal prices could set off a potentially destabilizing northward migration. “Unity is our best defence.”

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