NEWS AND STATISTICS

By Lennart Ask

2017-05-09 – HAS CRIMEA done a “CREXIT” FROM UKRAINE?

Crimea is a peninsular in the north part of The Black Sea hosting the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the city Sevastopol and was previously part of the Soviet Union. When Ukraine became independent in 1991 Crimea became The Autonomous Region of Crimea within Ukraine. At the same time Sevastopol had its own administration outside The Autonomous Region of Crimea, but within Ukraine.

In the 2001 Ukraine census the three major ethnic groups on Crimea was Russians (60.4%), Ukrainians (24.0%) and Crimean Tatars (10.8 %). Ukrainians has never exceeded 26.5 % of the population on the Crimea peninsular, dating back to 1897 census [1].

Both 62 % of Ukrainians and 62 % of Russians on Crimea did think that Ukraine was going in the wrong direction in a 2011 study [2]. The main problem on Crimea, at this time, was unemployment, control over inflation, corruption and low industry production. A large majority [61 %] was against military cooperation with the US [only 21 % was in favorer]. Ukrainians and Russians were however united against that Crimean Tatars should be compensated with land, for being deported by Stalin.

The study in 2011 also stated that Crimean’s were against Ukraine joining the EU [51 % against and 31 % for] and very much against joining NATO [85 % against and 5 % for]. The Ukraine & NATO maneuver on Crimea - Sea Breeze 2006 - was cancelled due to anti-NATO protests and the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea declared Crimea a “NATO free territory” [3].

US Department of State “Ukraine 2013 Human Rights report” declare that the 2012 election in Ukraine did not meet international standards for fairness and transparency and that security forces commit human rights violations, including torture.

Russian is the primary language spoken on Crimea [4], but also the primary language in business, courts and in education.

In November 2013 the Ukraine pro-Russian president refused to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union and instead seeking closer ties with Russia [5]. This resulted in the Euromaidan protests in Kiev. Bloomberg [6] reported in December 2013 that the Ukraine President was seeking a loan for up to $15 billion from Russia. Ukraine’s gas debts to Russia at this time were $2.2 billion [7].

Professor Philip Raworth from Alberta made the following analysis [8]: “Anti-Ukrainian and pro-Russian feeling has existed in Crimea ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The ousting of the pro-Russian Ukrainian President Yanukovych on February 22, 2014 and his replacement by a pro-European and nationalistic Ukrainian administration led to violent demonstrations in Crimea and precipitated the intervention of Russian forces. The situation was further worsened by the initial – and unwise – decision of the new authorities in Kiev to make Ukrainian the sole language throughout the country including Crimea. The decision was reversed but the damage was done.”

As a result of the Ukraine decisions The Supreme Council of Crimea announced in late February to hold the Crimean referendum, 2014. Voters on Crimea would vote on independence from Ukraine or joining Russia. The Prime Minister of Crimea claimed control of all military, police and other security forces and asked Putin for support of keeping peace [9]. The result of the referendum was in favor of joining Russia and Crimea and Sevastopol applied and was admission as federal subjects of Russia.

The referendum and the annexing to Russia were considered illegal by Ukraine, the European Union, USA, etc. Elections did not meet international standards for fairness as one would expect with two non-democratic [11] and corrupt counties [12] involved and the US and EU have implemented sanctions against Russia.

Several polls, after the annexation [13], show that more than 82 % of the Crimean’s felt that the result of the referendum reflected the view of the people. In a January 2015 poll [14] only 4 % was against joining Russia and 51 % reported their well-being had improved [10]. 

The Swedish professor Sverker Oredsson states in January 18th 2017 in Dagens Industri that the West has to be wise and diplomatic and admit that Crimea has been and will continue to be part of Russia.

Sweden support sanctions on Russia but do not argue for sanctions on Turkey for the occupation on Northern Cyprus, Israel for the occupation on the West Bank etc. or Morocco for the occupation of West Sahara.

Where is the logic in this Swedish “diplomacy”?

Lennart Ask

References:

1)      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Crimea

2)      Study 2011 by the International Republican Institute Baltic Surveys Ltd. / The Gallup Organization

3)      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_anti-NATO_protests_in_Feodosia

4)      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_language_in_Ukraine

5)      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_pro-Russian_unrest_in_Ukraine

6)      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-12-17/yanukovych-preparing-to-meet-putin-for-loan-amid-protests

7)      http://www.nato.int/docu/review/2014/NATO-Energy-security-running-on-empty/Ukrainian-conflict-Russia-annexation-of-Crimea/EN/index.htm

8)      An Introduction to the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Philip Raworth, B.A. (Hons), M.Phil., LL.B., LL.M, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta

9)      http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2014/03/ukraine-crimea-leader-asks-putin-help-20143184757803489.html

10 https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2015/03/20/one-year-after-russia-annexed-crimea-locals-prefer-moscow-to-kiev/#470251bf510d

11)   Democracy Index: Ukraine 86 and Russia 136

12)   Corruption Index: Both on place 131

13)   Broadcasting Board of Governors, Gallup and Pew Research Centre

14)   Ukrainian branch of Germany's biggest market research organization, GfK

 

2017-04-19 – JOINING NATO IS NOT DEFENDING DEMOCRACY AND SEEKING POLITICAL SOLUTIONS!

Only one third of the 28 NATO members are ranked as “Full democracy” [Source: Democracy Index 2016]. Two members – Albania [ranking 81] and Turkey [ranking 97] – are defined as “Hybrid regimes”, the last step before “Authoritarian”, while the other 61 % are defined as “Flawed democracy”.

There are five countries that are in discussions to join NATO (Georgia [78], Montenegro [85], Ukraine [86], Macedonia [95] and Bosnia Herzegovina [101]) that all are “Hybrid regimes”. President Trump ratified Montenegro’s accession to NATO on the 11th of April 2017.

One would expect that Sweden, with ranking 3rd in Democracy index and Turkey, with ranking 97, would have significant differences in opinion related to several issues in a military context. Not to mention US [A “Flawed democracy” with ranking 21] total ignorance of international laws.

The main threat to Sweden is the potential that Russia would invade the Island of Gotland, according to the warmongering members of the Swedish parliament. Why Russia would attach a member of the European Union is unclear, while Gazprom [the majority of the shares are controlled by the Russian Government] at the same time are investing €3.6 billion in Nord Stream II [A second pipeline to deliver gas to EU]. The probability that Russia will invade Gotland is not zero but probably in that area. So what is the real reason for joining NATO?

The opportunity to engage in war and to demonstrate war materials, including the aircraft JAS is probably a better incentive. We saw this happened in Libya, where Sweden joined forces with the Authoritarian regimes (Jordan, Qatar and United Arab Emirates) to “take out” an Authoritarian leader - Muammar Gadhafi. Sweden participated in creating a chaos in Libya and the county has fallen in Democracy Index from 125 in 2011 to 155 2016 and are one of the most corrupt country in the world today [Corruption Index ranking 170]

With the new NATO applicants Ukraine and Georgia, the opportunity to engage in war will improve significantly. The Crimea and Donetsk (East Ukraine) conflicts are well known but Georgia in the unstable region in Caucasus, with two autonomous enclaves under Russian control, may be unknown to most Swedes.

In June 2016 Sweden participate in the NATO military exercises in the Baltic region and this week the US four stars General David G. Perkins visited Gotland. With the ongoing Swedish and NATO military activities in the Baltic Sea, Sweden and NATO may well manage to provoke incidents in the this area.

It is interesting to see these Swedish military activities in the context of Foreign Minister Margot Wallstöm’s conclusion after Sweden’s 100 days in the UN Security Council, when she states – the answers reside in political solutions!

Lennart Ask

 

2017-04-10 - SWEDISH PARTIES WANT TO INVEST IN MILITARY SPENDING INSTEAD OF SOCIAL WELFARE!

The Centre Party (C) and the Christ Democrats (KD) did change their view on NATO and decided 2015 to join the two warmongering (krigshetsande) parties the Liberals (L) and the Moderate Party (M) in support for joining NATO. The Alliance (C, KD, L and M) in Swedish politics are now united and pro NATO.

President Trump has addressed that only a few of the NATO members make the their fair contribution to NATO – 2 % of GDP – and want countries like Germany (1,18 %), Denmark (1,1 %), Italy (1,1 %), The Netherlands (1,13 %), Norway (1,47 %), Spain (0,93 %) and Canada (0,93 %) to increase defense spending [Source: NATO 2015 spending].

Sweden is currently (2015) spending 1.1 % of GDP [Source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)] on defense and would need close to 40 000 000 000 (40 billion) Swedish crowns to reach the 2% target. This is equivalent to the total spending on Justice (police 21 billion, prisons 7.8 billion, courts 5.3 billion, legal counseling 2.5 billion, prosecutors 1.4 billion and the security police 1.1 billion) in order to understand the impact this would have on the national budget.

The Alliance is not in favor of taxes, which will leave them to reduce welfare spending. Joining NATO would require significant cuts (~4.5 %) in the budget that will most likely hit the welfare sector. It will be interesting to see how the Alliance intends to finance the proposed NATO membership before the general election 2018!

Lennart Ask [First published on www.kongelf-forlag.se]

 

2017-02-26 - MR PRESIDENT

I am a Swede and a 10th generation immigrant and I do not think that you are right on your remarks about Sweden. However I do accept your honest statement “You think our country’s so innocent?” and I do not think that the US is innocent. You are actually guilty!

But first, let’s address some basic facts comparing our countries:

Forbes magazine rate Sweden the world’s most business friendly country with a GDP of 4,2%. With the US on 23rd place, with GDP at 2,6%. Some more numbers where Sweden outrank the US:

GDP per person 51 638 (US), 55 186 (Sweden) - GDP growth the last decade (10 years) 38% (US), 44% (Sweden) - Trade balance -2,7% (US), 5,4% (Sweden) – Debt to GDP 104% (US), 40% (Sweden) – OECD better life Index 9th place (US), 6th place (Sweden) – Life expectance age 79 year (US), 82 year (Sweden) – Murder rate per 100 000 inhabitants 5,0 (US), 0,9 (Sweden) – Portion of the inhabitants that are part of work force 62,9% (US), 65,3% (Sweden) – (Ref: Henrik Mitelman Dagens Industri 21 February 2017)

So we are doing all right in Sweden. But let’s address the issue on immigration.

The Republican President George W Bush started the war in Iraq 2002. He’s motives were that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction, something that was considered “fake news” by Mr. Hans Blixt – former manager of IAEA (The International Atomic Energy Agency). I may add that Iraq has the world's second largest proven oil reserves”. Also “with Washington running the show, "friendly" companies expect to gain most of the lucrative oil deals that will be worth hundreds of billions of dollars in profits in the coming decades.” (GPS forum)

The United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, declared explicitly that the US-led war on Iraq was illegal. Mr. Annan said that the invasion was not sanctioned by the UN Security Council or in accordance with the UN's founding charter. (2004 The Guardian).

In the US Military prison Bucca in Iraq did the Islamic extremists and the Ba'athists loyal to Saddam Hussein, meet. The result of the mixing of organized military discipline with highly motivated, highly active ideological fervor is what we see today. (CBS News)

The war in Iraq did spill over to Syria and has caused additional migration of refugees to Europe. However the number reaching the EU from Syria, according to the late Swedish Professor Hans Rosling (in April 2015), is only 2%, while 66% is internal refugees and 32% has fled to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

The total US cost for the Iraq war is estimated to $3.9 Trillion ($3 900 000 000 000) according to Brown University 2013. More than 70 percent of those who died of direct war violence in Iraq have been civilians — an estimated 134,000 (2013). The Iraq War will ultimately cost U.S. taxpayers at least $2.2 trillion. Because the Iraq war appropriations were funded by borrowing, cumulative interest through 2053 could amount to more than $3.9 trillion.

The total number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq was 4,488 (2013) compared to 2 996 people that died in the 9/11 attacks. At least 3,400 (2013) U.S. contractors have died as well, a number often under-reported.

 So, the US is actually responsible for a lot, including the current migration crisis.  

We don’t build walls in Europe. In fact we did tear down the Berlin Wall. But I sure hope the international community can make US pay for the misery that your country has caused the people of Iraq and Syria!

Lennart Ask [First published on www.kongelf-forlag.se]

Swede (10th generation immigrant from Belgium) and a God Man, appointed by a Swedish Court 

 

2017-01-28 - SWEDEN AND DEMOCRACY IN THE UN SECURITY COUNSIL

 “On 28 June 2016, Sweden was elected by a wide margin as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2017–2018 term. In 2017 Sweden will take its seat on the Security Council with the five permanent members – China, France, Great Britain, Russia and the United States – and the nine other non-permanent members. Sweden will hold the presidency of the Security Council in January 2017, the first month of its two-year term.” [http://www.government.se/government-policy/sweden-in-the-un-security-council/]

According to the Democracy Index 2016, an index compiled by the UK based Economist Intelligence Unit, the permanent members [with veto rights]  of the Security Council represent “full democracy”, “flawed democracy” and “authoritarian” regimes, but no “hybrid regime” such as Turkey.

“The US has been downgraded from a “full democracy” to a “flawed democracy” because of a further erosion of trust in government and elected officials there.” [http://www.eiu.com/public/topical_report.aspx?campaignid=DemocracyIndex2016]

One issue that Sweden as presidency might address could be democracy?

2017-01-24 NO NEED TO MAKE SWEDEN GREAT AGAIN!

We are already great according to FORBES list of the world's most business friendly countries. The rating includes 11 factors, including corruption, innovation, taxes, property rights, investors protection and technology. Here is a sample of the rating:

2016-12-23 HOW CAN A LOOSER WIN?

A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user” (Theodore Roosevelt, 26th US President). Hillary Clinton got roughly the same number of votes that President Obama received four years ago en route to his reelection, but she nonetheless lost the presidency to Donald Trump, who came in at least 2.8 million votes behind her. (LA Times). More than $1 billion was raised in support of the two major-party candidates. Democracy is sometimes referred to as "rule of the majority", but not in this case! The real reason to have an Electoral College is to protect slave states.  “In a direct election system, the South would have lost every time because a huge percentage of its population was slaves, and slaves couldn't vote” (Professor Akhil Reed Amar Yale University). Among the Founding fathers we have slave owner Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd US President.

An undemocratic election system and $ is the answer and remember: Promise everything to everybody (Quintus 64 BC)

2016-11-14 - HOW TO WIN AN ELECTION:

5. Promise everything to everybody: Except in the most extreme cases, candidates should say whatever the particular crowd of the day wants to hear. Tell traditionalists you have consistently supported conservative values. Tell progressives you have always been their side. After the election you can explain to everyone that you would love to help them, but unfortunately circumstances beyond your control have intervened. Quintus assures his brother that voters will be much angrier if he refuses to promise them their hearts´ desire than if he backs out later. 

How to Win an Election is an ancient Roman guide for campaigning that is as up-to-date as tomorrow's headlines. In 64 BC when idealist Marcus Cicero, Rome's greatest orator, ran for consul (the highest office in the Republic), his practical brother Quintus decided he needed some no-nonsense advice on running a successful campaign.

2016-11-02 - GIRLS OPPORTUNITY INDEX by Save the Children Fund.

The Save the Children Fund is a charity registered in England and Wales (213890) and Scotland (SC039570). Registered Company No. 178159.