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Posts Tagged ‘ ukraine ’

Realpolitik: Big Boy Games, Big Boy Rules

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Today we learned of a fracture in the western alliance system as French and German leaders head off to Russia for peace talks on the Ukrainian crisis. This is a desperate and misguided attempt to reach a resolution, which in all likelihood is going to fail. The inescapable fact is that Russia is an aggressive state with a belligerent leader, who has thus far only played the realpolitik game. Already torn up is the German-brokered ceasefire from late 2014, not to mention treaties from the nineties which guaranteed Ukrainian border integrity. Without anyone effectively challenging Putin, there is no reason to believe that he will sit down and settle a political solution. The famed strongman of world politics will only back down and make terms when the alternative for him, continued belligerence, is the worse option.

One can only wonder where Angela Merkel’s reputation as the Iron Lady of Europe came from. So far she has only continually reiterated her country’s unwillingness to fight or supply arms to the Ukrainians as well as opposing proposals for new stationing of NATO troops in Eastern European countries. This stance is undoubtedly popular in a Germany which is still dealing with war guilt towards Russia and is more sceptical of its relationship with the United States. Merkel has also previously been praised for her understanding of Russia, having grown up in East Germany and for her fluent Russian. However her understanding had an obvious blind spot in the Crimea crisis. German-backed energy deals with Russia were no hindrance to the illegal annexation of Crimea and invasion of East Ukraine. Europe has effectively been caught with its pants down. Continue reading

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Crisis Year: International Relations 2014

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In a morose way, 2014 has been a fascinating year for those with an interest in International Relations. Resurgent Russia and Islamic State have presented two prominent challenges to western liberal world order. The optimistic ‘end of history’ liberalism of the 1990’s now feels like a golden bygone era of stability and prosperity. In its place is a world where the hegemonic power of the United States is limited by insurgencies and despotic powers. In the field of international relations, realist scholars have had a long awaited ‘we told you so moment’. John Mearsheimer has ruffled many feathers with his article in Foreign Affairs ‘Why the Crisis in Ukraine is the West’s Fault’. Regardless of how palatable it is, Mearsheimer’s argument is frustratingly robust, and he presents credible counters to his critics. EU and NATO expansion has encroached into a region that Russia considers critical to its own security, and the latter has firmly drawn a line in the sand, violating international treaties and norms in a display of pure power politics. Although Russia is paying a price, it has asserted itself outside of its own borders in a way that the west cannot prevent. It seems that at long last, balancing is occurring, and the ‘rest’ are pushing back against the ‘west’ after a decade of diminishing US legitimacy and soft power. Continue reading

Comparing Global Beer Prices

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I drink beer to supplement my bones with vitamin D and prevent bone degeneration. Saying that makes me feel I’m making a healthy lifestyle choice every time I pop a bottle. I could be, at least according to the International Journal of Endocrinology that had published a study on the health promise of beer (you can also check our previous infographic that matched beer against wine for health benefits).

But here’s the better news—beer can be dirt cheap in some corners of the planet. If you’re traveling and you enjoy a couple bottles of beer (and some more) after a day’s tour, our infographic will help you find the country where you can get really cheap “vitamin D shots”.

It doesn’t matter if you’re going to Central/Eastern Europe or Southeast Asia; both regions can get you drunk really cheap. Vietnam and Ukraine are the hands-down winners with beer at fifty nine cents per bottle. Other beer-friendly countries include: Cambodia, Czech Republic, China, Serbia, and Panama. Continue reading

News in Brief – Vatican F-Bombs And Ash Wednesday Woes

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It’s all kicking off in the Football Association of Ireland after a 14-year-old boy was allegedly subjected to racial abuse during a school cup match. The African born player was taunted with “monkey chants” every time he touched the ball causing the referee to suspend the match. Classy. It’s possible the noises were misinterpreted though, have you seen the kind of people that follow football? For some of them this might actually as much grasp as they have on language.
Continue reading

The Globalisation Of The NBA

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Brooklyn Nets kicked off the first global game of 2014 with a resounding 127-110 win over the Atlanta Hawks at London’s 02 Arena last Thursday.

Over the past 35 years the NBA have played 147 games globally, visiting 20 different countries including China, Germany, Italy and Russia amongst others.

Yet the globalisation of the NBA has extended far beyond bringing the game cross continent.  Continue reading

GAA Hawk-Eye Failure Justifies German Decision

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The German Football League (DFL) has ruled out the introduction of goal-line technology in the wake of Bayer Leverkusen’s ‘ghost goal’ because of the standard of the available systems.

Few in Ireland would blame them given the discrepancies associated with such systems during this year’s Minor Hurling Championship.

Leverkusen claimed a 2-1 victory over an aggrieved Hoffenheim last weekend as a result of Stefan Kiessling’s 70th-minute goal, which came after his header had missed the target but crept in through a hole in the side netting.

Hoffenheim have called for the game to be replayed, but the German FA (DFB) has said it will abide by FIFA rules, which state that a referee’s decision is final once play has restarted. Continue reading

Ten Crucial Moments In European World Cup Qualifiers

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With the nine automatic 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil qualification spots sealed in Europe, plus the eight contenders in the upcoming play-offs known, for many it is hard not to think how different it all could have been.

The final matchday of the European qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup saw group winners Bosnia-Herzegovina,England,Russia and Spain join already qualified Belgium,Italy,Germany,Netherlands and Switzerland on the plane to Brazil. Continue reading

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