(I) Războiul fake news în era digitală. Tacticile care mențin Rusia pe primul loc

Ați auzit probabil de atâtea ori vorbele pline de însemnătate ale celebrului scriitor George Orwell, autor al romanului distopic 1984: “Cine controlează trecutul controlează viitorul, cine controlează prezentul controlează trecutul”. Omenirea nu se află însă în punctul unei conspirații generale, ci este, dacă privim cu detașare, la fel de fragmentată ca în toată existența sa. Este drept însă că se cuvine să apreciem corect mijloacele prin care se duc astăzi bătăliile lumii noastre, precum și schimbările ce au avut loc în plan tehnologic, schimbări deloc de neglijat, ce par să fi propulsat cetățenii în mijlocul unei tornade informaționale.

Accesul liber, instant și fără costuri semnificative la informații din toate planurile închipuite și dorite este fără doar și poate cel mai mare dar al epocii în care ne-a fost dat să existăm. Neglijarea și nerespectarea acestui aspect poate duce la pierderea privilegiului de care beneficiem. Cu toate acestea, precum o sabie cu două tăișuri, acest avans remarcabil al omenirii din ultimele două decenii a produs interesante mutații de natură psihologică, nu atât în rândul generației millennial și post-millennial crescute concomitent cu dezvoltarea tehnologiei, ci mai ales între generațiile anterioare boom-ului IT. Continue reading →

Dangerous liaisons in the Middle East: forget friends and foes; say hello to enemy of my enemy

Instability in the Middle East region has never been more complex than in these past 2 years, which have proven – if that was even necessary – that fragmentation can lead to a chaotic climate. Like the motion of the atoms, sometimes impossible to predict, the dramatic unfolding of events in Syria and Iraq has lead to peculiar short-term alliances. Understanding what is going on is crucial for Europe’s security in the near future.

The conflict in Syria began slowly during the Arab Spring, in 2011 consuming lives and recourses like any civil war would do, especially if spiced up with some new type of radical fighters. Meanwhile, Iraq was a mess – with a post-war violence surging so much that the economy and stability could not show any kind of recovery.

Things continued in a similar manner, yet without important developments, until the very interesting spring and summer of 2014 when new events established the premises of the current situation. Russia invaded Crimea and prompted an urban guerilla type of civil war in Eastern Ukraine, causing the Western world (the EU and NATO) to engage in sanctions and to acknowledge the new power ambitions of their neighbouring superpower. Iranians chose a new and more moderate president – Hassan Rouhani in 2013– which started a clever PR campaign next year in order to get the sanctions lifted for his country, which was sinking in debt and growing economic and social struggles. It’s worth remembering that Iranians and Russia were providing military aid to the Damascus regime led by Bashar al Assad, and maintained their indisputable support for the Syrian president, from the start until present times.

This stable love triangle between Syria, Russia and Iran is not hard to understand given the fact that Russia needed to become the no 1 voice in the Middle East affairs, a region where Continue reading →

What makes refugees so disturbing to Europeans

It has been a hot summer so far in Europe. Everywhere you go, people endlessly talk of air conditioning , heat, holidays and Grexit. It is indeed the season during which Europeans travel most, fulfilling the middle classes’ need for getaways. I often find myself sitting with friends at some fancy looking cafe in downtown Bucharest complaining about the city, as if we were infested with some kind of local boredom.

‘I wish I’d just leave for another country. Right now, right away. Leave every unattended issue in my life and fly away’ – it’s not unusual to hear these words should you pass by our table. And it’s not the fact that we don’t travel- we actually do: some for business, some for adventure and others just for the pleasure of it. It’s actually the lack of challenges or conflicts in the surrounding environment that allows such narcissistic features to take upon our lives. It’s characteristic of the new European lifestyle, established after WWII with the creation of the EU. I might call it middle class now, but its roots could be found in the ‘bourgeois’ lifestyle.

But do either of us young Europeans understand the enormous privileges of living on the Old Continent? We might at a frivolous level, but deep inside it is impossible to acknowledge that we are truly living in a bubble. Continue reading →

The need for Good. Reason why

I am a curious person. This feature has influenced a lot of aspects of my daily life, as well as past time activities. I am also a thorough observant. My greatest challenge in life is not to discuss details of what I encounter in my day to day life, as well as my experiences.

I often like to laugh about this ‘indiscreet’ characteristic of myself and tell strangers: ‘This is why I decided not to be a spy. I love sharing.’

This short introduction was necessary for you to understand why I took the initiative of establishing a new category on my website, one that would be called “#Faith in Humanity Restored”. It’s this urban phrase that I considered to be most appropriate in describing my intentions: I wish to write personal stories with moments that I felt to be a confirmation that Good prevails in this life. I also wish to encourage people to remember and note these kinds of experiences and submit them to my email address diana.m.rusu@gmail.com in order to be published.

One might find it odd to mix such stories with international affairs, geopolitics, war and revolutions. But this is me. I am a sum of contrasts and I tend to balance ‘serious, pragmatic, hard-to-take’ information with positive and apparently unimportant details of life.

And since a picture is worth 1000 words as they say, hopefully our testimonies will be accompanied by photographs.

Don’t be shy people, share your thought in 100 or 1000 words. Let us spread the message that goodwill exists and will forever balance the bad in our world.

The hidden side of the Greek crisis. Why numbers don’t count

Human nature is one important aspect of any social movement, because it is this feature that no economic forecast or political development could ever control. It is complex, unpredictable and occasionally becomes a destroying force.

Leaving aside the geopolitical circumstances, the European unity & peace project, later called the EU, was created one the basis of compromise and forgiveness. It may sound like a Wilsonian type of phrase, nevertheless, not only that it made sense at the time –after two catastrophic global wars- but it expressed people’s need to be reminded that the Good could prevail. It’s never easy to set aside the nationalistic factor that usually feeds the ego and leads to an escalation of intolerance towards ‘the others’. The ECC that later became the EU was a promise of establishing European values, such as social justice and democracy, that would erase nationalistic ambition in favour of all members of the ‘family’. It was promoted by visionary politicians, such as Schuman, Delors, Mitterand, Schmitt, that have witnessed the ashes left behind by the horrors of the race for world supremacy. It also meant rebuilding Europe also economically, nevertheless, the prospects of deeper integration were thought to be a long term careful process.

Looking back in history, one might conclude that the decision to establish a pan European project after WWII has proven to have been a 6 decade-long success story: economically and socially. The prospects of constant growth, cultural development, free trade and free movement, along with a good standard of living throughout the continents’ Member States seemed to have kept under control the monsters of lying inside human nature.

“The mere fact that Europe faces no major military threat nowadays (ed. note: 2012) could make the continent a victim to its own narcissistic differences”.

Continue reading →

Egypt’s officials: foreign journalists, forbidden to use religious terms for describing ISIS

After the latest development on ISIS’s way to build its dream caliphate – reaching the Sinai Peninsula- the Egyptian Foreign Ministry has decided to issue a style guide document regarding the description of the terrorist group in the Middle East for the foreign press corps based in Cairo. Although, there have been some discussions in the Arab speaking world whether the media should stop labeling ISIS/IS/ISIL (which literally stands for “The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Levant”), up till now there were no legal restrictions for the international media.

Among other, Egyptian Foreign Ministry asks journalists to refrain from using especially terms such as Islamist,jihadists, Islamic State, Caliphate – which are ISIS’s own descriptions of itself and its mission on Earth- in order not to perpetuate “negative connotations which are largely based on heinous stereotypes and ill-informed predisposition”*. Continue reading →

Europe enters the defense stance

Europe finds itself these days in a breaking point that is setting up the necessary circumstances for a preview of a future radical redefinition of its social, economical and security policies. The emergency summit held in Brussels on the 23rd of April was the first step of the defense stance that the EU is entering.

After decades of being a promised land for migrants from Africa, the Middle East and central Asia, Europe started feeling more and more pressured by the complexity of the migration issue. How do you address this issue without being political incorrect in an European Union that wants to prove itself as a model of evolved civilization? Without contradicting your own tolerant European speech? Well, the EU leaders have spent the past few years wondering about it, but closing an eye, due to the complications that would start if such this problem would be raised. To put it frankly, no one wanted to take upon the responsibility of opening Pandora’s box and dealing with this real inside problem, even more so as the extremist right wing parties and movements in Europe became seriously involved in blaming immigration for anything wrong in their countries. Continue reading →

The new President of Romania: expectations vs reality. Part 1

As a Romanian journalist I find it difficult to write about the internal politics without assuming that I will be labeled. This ridiculous situation has escalated in the past years due to the increasing fights among different political parties (including the President), which has made it practically impossible for the press to maintain an objective eye on the domestic affairs.

Nevertheless, this surprising win of Mr. Klaus Iohannis, mayor of Sibiu and president of the Liberal Party, has been received with so much curiosity both inside Romania and out, that it certainly deserves an analysis.

For those political experts who ask themselves whether a wave of fundamental changes will occur in Romania’s foreign affairs, as well as domestic ones, let us take a look at the factors that might influence- or not- a shift. Continue reading →

Margaret Thatcher, despre reunificarea Germaniei: “Trăsătura ei este dominația. Veți crea o Europă germană”

Margaret Thatcher, regretatul premier al Marii Britanii, nu a făcut niciodată un secret din opoziția sa declarată față de reunificarea Germaniei (proces derulat între 1989 și 1990). Ideile sale sunt marcate de o franchețe care excede corectitudinea politică impusă astăzi liderilor politici occidentali. Cu toate acestea, ele par a fi o sumbră și neliniștitoare predicție despre vremurile pe care le trăim.

Publicația americană Huffington Post a marcat aniversarea a 25 de ani de la căderea Zidului Berlinului printr-un material special, ce cuprinde o discuție din 1995 între cei mai puternici lideri mondiali de la finalul Războiului Rece: Mihail Gorbaciov, Lady Margaret Thatcher, George Bush și Francois Mitterand. Cei patru foști șefi de stat și de guvern și-au reamintit momentul zero al căderii Cortinei de Fier, argumentându-și poziția la acea vreme. Continue reading →