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The first real test on 2o22 – Russia vs US

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While the United States got bogged down in the Middle East, Russia, like a middle child wanting to play with its older siblings, has been doing anything it could to gain global attention. But just how far will Vladimir Putin go?

Russia has convinced itself its sovereignty is under threat from NATO, a defensive alliance.

Its actions over the past two months, amassing 100,000 troops on the border of Ukraine, have been designed to ram home its intentions – give us what we want or we will create a headache in Eastern Europe which will rival anything China could do.

Putin is a man with a mission. Since he came to power, he has tightened control and punished those who defy him. What’s happening in Kazakstan is an example of how easily Putin will use force to force what he wants. The art of his power is that he waits for Kazakstan to ask him for help. Genius.

However, getting the Russian troops out after they deal with the protesters will be another story, but not a story the United States will be comfortable being compared to.

This latest Russian revolution began the moment the Berlin Wall came down. If the past 30 years have taught us anything, it’s that democracy only thrives in countries that want it.

Russian citizens have never enjoyed the benefits of real democracy, and you only have to walk the streets of Moscow to see how Russia’s version of democracy has failed the people.

Why is Russia misbehaving?

Citizens who were once looked after by the state now live homeless, in scenes reminiscent of poverty in many western cities, including the US and Australia.

In Soviet Russia, you just weren’t allowed to be homeless on the street. You could never be fired from a job. “We pretend to work, they pretend to pay us”. But no one was homeless.

It’s an important representation of why so many Russian citizens still support the tight control of Vladimir Putin. For centuries, Russians have tolerated, even supported, strong leadership.

You might call it a dictatorship, you might call it authoritarian – but the Russian’s call it theirs.

Just ask a cab driver how he feels about Mikhail Gorbachev.

The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev

The more the US celebrated its success in crippling the Soviet Union, the more the Russians missed it in the years that followed. It’s always seems easier to go back to your ex when you get tired of searching for a new partner.

It’s the economy

But just like democracies in the west, it’s all about the economy. And Russia’s economy, despite its glamorous space program and aviation revival, is still a pittance compared to the nations it compares itself to.

So like any good leader in the face of economic realities, Putin went into his dance.

Threatening, or perhaps promising, to get the old Soviet band back together, as shocking as that song would sound.

Which is where Ukraine finds itself in a difficult spot. Having spent the past decade trying to woo the West, and being wooed by the West.

The mere suggestion is enough to make the Kremlin see red (as if there were any other colour). The Kremlin has called NATO membership for Ukraine a “red line.”

US/Russia talks

So now the stage is set, the stakes are high for the talks which kick off this week in Geneva.

The outcome of the meetings, and how Russian President Vladimir Putin chooses to view them, will have enormous consequences for the safety of Ukraine, as well as the future of NATO and the EU.

Fears of an escalation of the war in eastern Ukraine will be in the air as Western and Russian officials meet first in Geneva, then in Brussels, and then in Vienna to discuss, among other things, Russia’s demands for what it calls security guarantees.

But its demands will almost certainly fail. Which is exactly the game of chess the Russian leader likes to play.

US. and NATO officials have have already called out some of Russia’s demands, such as a bar on NATO expansion and the withdrawal of NATO infrastructure from Central and Eastern Europe, are nonstarters.

Any dismissal of his terms could give him the excuse he wants to invade Ukraine, though Napoleon and Hitler never found it too easy to launch an invasion in a European, let alone a Soviet winter.

Neither Biden nor Putin will be attending the meetings in Europe over the coming weeks. They have held numerous phone calls recently.

How to keep Russia inside the tent

So what does Russia want? Well, it didn’t take well to being kicked out of the G8 when it annexed Crimea. It took revenge by undermining anything its hackers would gain access to.

Like any kid with middle child syndrome, perhaps all Moscow needs is to feel like they are welcome back inside the tent The problem is, the West doesn’t know how to discipline Moscow when it inevitably tries to burn the tent down again.

Ukraine will be off the agenda when Russia and US diplomats meet. As absurd as it sounds at first, given Kiev is the reason the talks are taking place, it may turn out to be the beginning of something long needed: An ongoing conversation between the US and Russia.

For both countries have more in common than they care to admit. Every nation needs an enemy, whether it’s a democracy or an autocracy. But the jousting from both sides for supremacy, has led the world down a dangerous path.

Ahron Young is an award winning journalist who has covered major news events around the world. Ahron is the Managing Editor and Founder of TICKER NEWS.

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Amazon Prime’s ‘The Boys’ Season 4 will explore contemporary political polarisation

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Show creator Eric Kripke hints at a narrative that will not shy away from uncomfortable truths, promising a season that challenges viewers to confront their own beliefs and biases.

Known for its bold satire and unflinching critique of societal issues, the series seems poised to dissect the current climate of division with its trademark blend of dark humour and gritty realism, as reported by Reuters.

Director/Filmmaker Rob Fantozzi unpacks the latest from The Boys and beyond in the entrainment world. #featured

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Tesla shareholders approve historic $56B Elon Musk pay package

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Tesla shareholders have voted to approve Elon Musk’s unprecedented $56 billion compensation package, underscoring their confidence in his leadership and vision for the electric car company.

The package, which is tied to ambitious performance targets, includes a mix of stock options and bonuses contingent upon Tesla’s financial and operational milestones over the next decade.

As reported by Reuters, the approval underscores the support that Musk enjoys from Tesla’s retail investor base, many of whom are vocal fans of the mercurial billionaire.

The proposal passed despite opposition from some large institutional investors and proxy firms.

#featured

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The secret aspect of exercise and trauma release

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Recent studies have shed new light on the profound impact sedentary behavior is having on mental health.

A meta-analysis revealed a strong correlation between increased sitting time and higher rates of depression.

Now, many experts believe that movement and exercise are not only beneficial for mental health but also play a crucial role in trauma release.

Jenni Crumpton Ross, the President and CEO of Kula for Karma joins Veronica Dudo to discuss.

#IN AMERICA TODAY #trending #mentalhealth #business #wellbeing

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