"The world is waiting for the grand idea of universal toleration. It will be a great acquisition to civilization. Nay, no civilization can long exist unless this idea enters into it. Nо civilization can grow unless fanaticism, bloodshed and brutality stop. Nо civilization can begin to lift up its head until we look charitably upon one another, and the first step towards that much-needed charity is to look charitably and kindly upon the religious convictions of others. May more, to understand that not only should we be charitable, but positively helpful, to each other, however different our religious ideas and convictions may be". - Vedantic Thought for the Month
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VEDANTA MASS MEDIADon't trifle with the Russian bearl  

 

 

 

 

 

 

               Don't trifle with the Russian bear

              
The Pioneer

               

              

 

 

      The West is needlessly trying to get a foothold in Russia's backyard, writes Andrei Vavra

 

 

      The 9/11 tragedy, when two planes hijacked by terrorists hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, encouraged Russia and the United States, the world's two most powerful nuclear states, to join hands in the fight against the common threat.

 

      We thought it would also open the door to a new era in international cooperation, with the global powers standing up as one to build a fair and safe world order, contrary to the end of history predicted by Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama, an American philosopher, political economist and author.

 

      Alas, it turned out that joining forces against someone is much easier than working together for a noble goal. It turned out that there are more things keeping us apart than can bring us together. We cannot "stand up as one and fight" because now is the time of mutual complaints and accusations, mistrust and irritation.

 

      In short, all our expectations, dreams and forecasts have been proved wrong. Memorial ceremonies for the victims of the September 11, 2001 tragedy are a chance to stop and think why our dreams, which seemed within reach seven years ago, have not materialised.

 

      In the seven years since then, the world has not become a safer, more stable and comfortable place to live. The counter-terrorist alliance has split, first over Iraq and later because of Iran. Disregarding Russia's arguments, the West recognised Kosovo's independence.

 

      New lines of division have appeared in the world, and the US is preparing to deploy anti-missile systems in Europe close to Russia's border. Russia's closest neighbours, Georgia and Ukraine, have been invited into NATO. We have not found a common language for dealing with partners, or agreed a common development strategy.

 

      Taken together, this amounts to failure to promote mutual understanding.

 

      Russia is suspected of nurturing poisonous plans and is pictured as a country hostile to the West and its values.

 

      When Georgia attacked South Ossetia, the world entered what seems like a long period of very cool relations between Russia and the West. The inviolability of borders and territorial integrity are very painful issues, which is why the West has not supported Russia's decision to recognise the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

 

      The international community is not moulding its policy to suit Russia. In fact, they have decided to treat Russia as an outcast, despite the apparent fact that it did right in the conflict with Georgia.

 

      The trouble is that separatism (or the right of nations to self-determination) is too big a threat to encourage an adequate reaction to Russia's decision. It is not surprising then that Spain, Belgium, Britain, Cyprus, Turkey, China, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia and many other countries have not supported Russia.

 

      Russia has again been branded an aggressive bully ready to act contrary to the opinion of the majority of the international community. It is being pushed into isolation.

 

      This is unlikely to affect the quality of life in Russia, and energetic explanations of its stance will eventually put everything right. However, they did not try to understand the people of Russia even before South Ossetia, and understanding is crucial for cooperation.

 

      Irrespective of someone's stand on "sovereign democracy," one must recognise Russia's right to a stance and to pursue a foreign policy in its own interests. Nobody has yet cancelled national interests, have they?

 

      Attempts to use measures usually applied to small countries in relations with Russia are counter-productive. Russia is a huge country straddling two continents.

 

 

      - The writer is a senior political analyst based in Moscow.

 

 

 

 

 

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International Yoga Day 21 June 2015
International Yoga Day 21 June 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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