For Russia: War is now a Grim Reality ~ link ~
Russia has had to use its military forces in Ukraine, arguably the most important neighbor it has in Europe.
The conflict over Ukraine, in Moscow’s view, reflects the fundamental reality of an “intensification of global competition” and the “rivalry of value orientations and models of development.” Against the background of economic and political instability—crises and popular movements—the global balance is changing in favor of emerging power centers.
Transcending the 'Soul Hackers' ~ link ~
It is in this environment that the 20th century German philosopher Josef Pieper observed that while modern man is “looking out for the powers of corruption in a mistaken direction,” the lords of the technocracy “establish their rule before his eyes.” Modern man is diverted down a multitude of false paths toward dead ends, but he remains all too often oblivious to what is happening right under his very nose. His ignorance, often willful, lends strength to those who would seek even more power to control and manipulate him.
So while the public is held in a state of anxiety over North Korea and other manufactured phantoms, media reports have surfaced (and not for the first time) revealing that US police departments are utilizing their position in the new security architecture to scan and monitor social media and other online activities. In his endless benevolence, Big Brother is peering over your shoulder in order to develop a color-coded “threat rating.” Hence, as the 20th century science fiction writer Philip K. Dick foresaw, the age of “pre-crime” is upon us. As is normative in our times, the blatant power grabs of the surveillance state go mostly unnoticed and unprotested by the masses.
If you look at the events leading up to the downfall of the Roman Empire, you would have a hard time not noticing the similarities to the United States. Members of the wealthy classes in ancient Rome fled to the countryside to set up independent fiefdoms for tax evasion purposes. Just before the Facebook IPO in 2012, Eduardo Saverin, the billionaire co-founder of Facebook, renounced his American citizenship and headed to Singapore. This was part of a not so elaborate scheme to avoid capital gains taxes on the sale of Facebook stock. And he's not the only one. In 2004, 158 people renounced their citizenship every 3 months. In 2014, 789 people were leaving every 3 months.