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Charles Martin

The Russian Regeneration: Rethinking the Putin Years

It is all too easy for would be analysts of global politics to oversimplify amazingly complex situations. It is impossible to avoid seeing examples of respected intellectuals making the mistake of assuming singular causality and of viewing conflicts as dichotomous struggles between good and evil. While the latter tendency is clearly the result of modern philosophical movements like feminism and post-colonialism, where conflicts are represented as being between an oppressed margin and an oppressive centre, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly from whence the former draws its basis. The careers of Noam Chomsky and David Horowitz are testaments to the extent to which such thinking has impacted academia. The imprisonment of Pussy Riot, and many far less well publicised attacks on free expression in Russia, will not have come as a surprise to Russia watchers around the world. Do they represent the final nail in the coffin of the Russophile optimism of the post-soviet era? Has Russia returned to the darkness of the Brezhnev era from the promising heights of glasnost and perestroika? If so, why? Simply put there are many answers and none of them are entirely satisfactory. One could hardly call Putin a champion of economic liberty, but neither is he the brutal authoritarian he is often accused of being. Putin was hand-picked by Boris Yeltsin as a successor with liberal reform in mind. Putin had indeed been the head of the KGB but was also considered to be a pragmatist and a pro-American. It is unfair to see his appointment as one of Yeltsin’s many blunders. Despite his faults Yeltsin was no fool and had, by this point, been off the drink for many years. His misjudgement was not of Putin’s character but of the political environment into which he would be thrown. Putin had very little… Read More

Britain’s Most Shameful Export: Who Is George Galloway?

As SAIA week approaches discussion about Israel and Palestine has become normative among the politically minded students of Carleton University. While this subject often brings out the worst from both sides one factor was unusually concerning to me. As a British immigrant I was disturbed to hear the esteem in which a certain Mr. George Galloway is held by many at this institution. It must therefore be my duty to shed light on one of the more shameful exports of my homeland. It should be known that this man was once a member of parliament for the British Labour Party but now finds himself proselytizing to the deaf ears of sleeping talk SPORT listeners in the early hours of the weekday (hardly the centre of British political debate). This dramatic fall from grace should be enough to permanently undermine the legitimacy of this charlatan but it appears that his credibility remains intact in this country. Galloway puts on a far more presentable face when in America or Britain and the late Mr. Hitchens’ leaflet presented at their debate in the U.S.A contains facts about Galloway that are perhaps not well understood by the Canadian public. Among other things was Galloway’s role in the diversion of funds from the Oil for Food program. Galloway was cleared of the most serious allegations (on mere technicalities) but was convicted of misappropriating British taxpayer money. This money contributes to Galloway’s own significant fortune, much of which has been presented to the terrorist organization Hamas without shame or remorse. Galloway’s support for Saddam Hussein is well publicized, which does not excuse it, and his attempt to legitimize a state which was described by a U.N official as “a concentration camp  with a mass grave beneath it” is an apt demonstration of the morals of this… Read More

The Battle Against the Politicized Lies of the Envirofascists

All hail the new religion of the left. The old messiah has returned to replace poor Barrack and to save the ignorant hordes from themselves! Not only are we robbing ourselves and each other of basic dignities with our conservative ways, but we are robbing future generations of their lives by bringing on an Armageddon with our selfish and, you guessed it, capitalist lifestyles. Our frivolous materialism comes at an unimaginable price to the very survival of the planet. Worried? Don’t be. It’s all a lie. Like all good schoolboys, I once worshipped the religion of climate change and bought into the dogma of how a massive carbon footprint was the fault of globalisation and could only be prevented by buying “fair trade” or worse, supporting overtly neo-Marxist environmental organisations. Fortunately, as the perpetual cynic that I am, I thought to look into this myself. The truth is considerably more complex than the dogma that the pseudo-scientific fraudsters have continuously espoused. Language is so important to discourse and the language used by the green movement shows the totalitarian approach that they bring to their cause. Men like myself become “deniers”. This word choice is interesting because not only does it equate me with those who deny the holocaust but it also implies that I, like some depraved drug addict, am in denial of an obvious truth. Merely to question the infallibility of man-made, carbon-driven climate change is to become a dangerous lunatic who needs an Orwellian kind of “re-education”. So much for free speech! So what of the debate? Well the envirofascists have their side shoved down the throats of impressionable children from the age of about three. A cousin of mine once came home crying because of the ticking off he got for the non-biodegradable wrapping of his chocolate… Read More

Obama’s Foreign Policy Harms American Interests Abroad

It is with almost tedious consistency that commentators on the subject of the fast approaching American Presidential election tell the public that this will be a battle won and lost on economic policy and the creation of jobs. This has had the unfortunate effect of insulating the American focus and of putting international relations into the background. In recent years Canada has offered the U.S.A ample proof of the propensity of international relations to have a tangible impact on the success of an economy. Stephen Harper has stimulated Canada’s recovery with a number of productive new trade relationships with the likes of China, South Korea and the E.U. It is rather disappointing that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have both been so domestically focused that neither has proposed significant exploitation of potential new trade agreements and relationships in order to boost the struggling American economy. Worse than this is the open and ill-conceived vilification of the country which potentially could hold the key to American economic salvation, China. China, as we all know, is a huge market and our own Prime Minister Harper has correctly identified it as a hugely promising economic partner. While the Sinophobic rhetoric coming from both sides in Washington may not be backed up by actions it is unquestionable that creating an atmosphere of distrust and vitriol around China will do little to encourage the kind of bilateral co-operation that has the potential to be so beneficial. This is compounded by the increasing influence of China in regions like Africa and Central Asia where Chinese economic expansion will likely lead to fundamental changes in global geopolitical structure. China threatens Russia’s sphere of influence in Central Asia and is successfully exchanging economic and infrastructural investment for increased political influence. While it is foolish and sensationalist to plan… Read More

The Falklands debate is over

Argentine President Christina Fernandes de Kirchner’s labeling of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to fly the Falkland Islands flag as a celebration of war and lost life was the latest in an extremely pointless and avoidable war of words between the two over the sovereignty of the Falklands Islands. To most casual observers, and apparently many member states of the increasingly clueless United Nations, it is hard to understand why these small islands on the Argentine coastal shelf should possibly belong to the U.K.   A lack of information, and perhaps even a lack of effort truly to understand the debate, is leading to increased support for Argentina’s frankly laughable claims to the islands and the oil that speculators appear convinced is off their shores. It is no coincidence either that Kirchner is waging this aggressive and public diplomatic war at a time when the economy of Argentina is struggling, as it was during the first Argentine occupation in 1982. Cameron need not descend to such pitiful levels but does so because he would equally benefit from what would be a well-timed distraction from the disappointing nature of his first term in office. Firstly it is important to clarify exactly why there is no legitimate argument over sovereignty. Argentina’s claim to the Falklands is as part of its heritage from the Spanish empire, although no formal agreement was made with the Spanish. Argentina claims, rather hypocritically, that the existence of this British island is merely a remaining vestige of colonialism that should not survive in the modern world. This claim falls down rather quickly. The original settlers in the Falklands were in fact French and although a formal agreement was made whereby the land became the possession of the Spanish Empire this ceased to be relevant decades before Argentina… Read More
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