Stalin, Hitler and the fatal mistakes of Operation Barbarossa

Stalin never lost his penchant for executing his officers. In the catastrophic early days of the German invasion, he shot eight generals

Stalin, Hitler and the fatal mistakes of Operation BarbarossaAdolf Hitler launched the German invasion of the Soviet Union – Operation Barbarossa – in the early hours of June 22, 1941. Initially, it looked like a triumph. The Soviets were caught flatfooted and German troops advanced 480 km into Soviet territory within the first week. It looked like an eastern version of the blitzkrieg…

Napoleon was a bitter man in his final years

He bitterly resented his exile to St. Helena, blaming it all on Wellington

Napoleon was a bitter man in his final yearsA childhood history book included a reproduction of Jacques-Louis David’s famous portrait of Napoleon crossing the Alps. It’s an idealized representation, not a realistic one. Mounted on a rearing Marengo – his grey Arabian stallion – the man who became emperor of the French and conqueror of Europe gives off an invincible vibe. Two recent…

Democracy may not always be the best form of government

We’ve been taught in the West that democracy is the ideal form of government. But is it?

Democracy may not always be the best form of governmentLooking at the world through the lens of the media, it’s difficult to gain a clear perspective on what type of government works and what doesn’t, who’s a good leader and who’s bad, and where people are happy and where they’re not. We’ve been taught in the West that democracy is the ideal form of…

To protect democracy, we must protect local media

Our 21st-century reliance on tech giants to supply us with information has resulted in fake news, clickbait and polarized societies

To protect democracy, we must protect local mediaIt’s not news to say that our consumption of media has changed dramatically in the 21st century. Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and look objectively at the impact of these changes and begin thinking about how our media can be improved. For most of the 20th century, the media was controlled by…

Autocratic regimes use energy as a weapon

International power politics employed by the likes of Russia have resulted in many countries looking for new energy sources

Autocratic regimes use energy as a weaponBy Mark Milke and Ven Venkatachalam Canadian Energy Centre Russia cut off the natural gas supply to Ukraine in mid-winter 2009, ostensibly over a pricing dispute. It was a reminder that energy can be used as an economic and political weapon by autocratic regimes – in this instance, Vladimir Putin’s Russia. We have more recent…

The people versus Donald Trump

When a leader suggests he will subvert the democratic process, voters have recourse. We’ve seen it in the Philippines and elsewhere

The people versus Donald TrumpAn apocryphal story circulated in the Philippines in the early 1980s of a dinner party conversation between President Ferdinand Marcos and Catholic Bishop Jaime Sin. Marcos reportedly said, “I really admire those Americans. They know the results of their presidential elections the day of the election.” In response, Sin reportedly said, “Well how about us…

It’s time we all stood up for Julian Assange

What message do we send dictators and the people who live under their tyranny if we don’t have the courage to live up to our own ideals?

It’s time we all stood up for Julian AssangeIt’s very rare to hear Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson and scholar Noam Chomsky agree on anything but a largely underreported topic brings both ends of the political spectrum together: the Julian Assange affair. In a recent interview, Carlson’s guest Glenn Greenwald pointed out that efforts to silence Assange go back to the administration of…

China targets everyone in the world

The Communists have issued arrest warrants for six pro-democracy advocates living outside Hong Kong

China targets everyone in the worldIn a little noted move, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) flexed its imperial muscle – criminalizing criticism of it anywhere on the planet – by issuing an arrest warrant for U.S. citizen Samuel Chu, a pro-democracy advocate for Hong Kong. In fact, by publishing this op-ed, this media outlet and I are breaking CCP laws…

The Congo’s great liberation turned into abject failure

How great plans quickly descended into decades of dictatorship, corruption, kleptocracy and violence

The Congo’s great liberation turned into abject failureThe year 1960 was auspicious for European decolonization of Africa. In rapid succession, no fewer than 17 countries became independent. One of them was the Central African territory previously known as the Belgian Congo. June 30 was its magic date. And given its vast natural resources, some people had high hopes. Alas, things quickly turned…
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