2019-07-23 nap bejegyzései

(2904) Három világprobléma (vagy csak egy?)

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Szerző: Dimitri Orlov

Five years ago, when Angela Merkel, at the time the respected leader of the European Union’s largest economy, was interviewed on the subject of the biggest problems facing the world, she opined that they would be the following three key ones:

• Russia’s annexation of Crimea
• Ebola epidemic
• ISIS in Syria

I am happy to report that over the intervening period all three of Frau Merkel’s most important problems facing the world have been solved, and she can now retire in peace. Ironically, none of them have been solved by her, her government, her nation, the whole of the EU, or the collective West in its entirety.

After the rhetoric surrounding Crimea died down, it turned out that the Crimeans themselves voted overwhelmingly to join Russia while Russia only acceded to their lawful demands. The Crimean Tatars—a significant minority—are particularly happy now that their language has become one of the three official ones, joining Russian and Ukrainian. Meanwhile, the rhetoric in Western media has stayed the same, but the facts behind it have turned out to be null and void. The use of the term “annexation” is particularly fact-free: in international law, annexation requires the use of force; voluntary annexation is not even a thing. Although the phrase “annexation of Crimea” is still heard in Western media, the phrase rings hollow because the world’s number one problem has thus been solved. So, who solved it? Umm… The Russians?

The Ebola virus has been known since 1976 but gained notoriety in 2014 when 2258 cases of Ebola infection were recorded in Equatorial Guinea. Later it spread to neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone, but it was at that early moment that Western mass media started ramping up their fearmongering, claiming that an Ebola pandemic is about to engulf the world. The explanation for this running start soon followed and was freely offered by its main beneficiaries: two Western pharmaceutical companies, US transnational Merck and British THK GlaxoSmithKline. Serendipitously, both of these companies both developed and stockpiled mass quantities of their respective Ebola vaccines just in time for the scare campaign. The effectiveness of these vaccines proved to be ineffectual, but they sold a lot of them anyway.

And then, at the height of the epidemic, a large group of specialists arrived, set up field hospitals and conducted a massive operation that ranged over the entire affected region looking for signs of infection. In a short period of time, these specialists developed a new vaccine, Gam-Evac Combi, which turned out to be orders of magnitude more effective than the American or the British ones. The epidemic was quickly ended. It was at that point that the entire episode vanished from Western media. But it would have been very interesting to find out more. For instance, was the epidemic spontaneous, or was its ground zero specifically chosen? There have been reports from the affected region of militants targeting Western medical teams; are they beginning to suspect something? In any case, where did these other, non-Western specialists come from, and who developed the effective Ebola vaccine? Who were they? It was… the Russians, again.

Five years ago, the situation in Syria was indeed dire: ISIS, or the Islamic Caliphate, had taken over a large part of the country, terrorizing the local populations and threatening the rest of the country. But then… I’ll cut to the chase this time, Russia intervened. It turned killing terrorists into a wonderful training exercise for its military. Over the following years, over 63000 Russian service personnel, including 25000 officers and over 400 generals, were rotated through Syria. The Air and Space Forces performed 39000 sorties, destroying 121466 ISIS targets. Transport aviation delivered 6077 tonnes of humanitarian assistance by parachute. On the ground, 1220 physicians and 10 specialized medical teams provided medical care to 88318 Syrians. If you’ve noticed, Western media hardly mentions ISIS at all any more; this is mostly because it no longer exists. Although the Syrians and the Iranians did quite a lot to help, Russia can take most of the credit. (The US can take credit for destroying the Syrian city of Raqqa, where there were plenty of civilians, but from which ISIS was mostly absent at the time).

Perhaps Frau Merkel would be so kind as to volunteer a new list of thee most important problems the world faces… for Russia to solve? Or perhaps we should start ignoring the noises emitted by Western politicians and mass media on this topic of world’s biggest problems because, you see, we can tell what the world’s biggest problem is without their help: they are.


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