Prof. Mihail Konstantinov (66)

  • War for civilisation

    War for civilisation

    The most important war is the war for human civilisation. Of course, as any other war in the history of humanity, this one is also ultimately about gaining control over resources. But this time it is the ultimate resource of Earth. Of course, we are talking about the war of radical Islam against everyone else, including the less radical movements of Islam. The situation is touchingly reminiscent of the religious wars of 16th-17th century Europe when the two branches of the western Christian civilisation (Catholicism and Protestantism) very nearly destroyed each other, which would have given all the power in the region (and the world) to the still rising Ottoman Empire.

  • Comedy of Errors

    Comedy of Errors

    The Comedy of Errors was the first play (1592) of William Shakespeare, the Great Bard from Stratford-upon-Avon. Ever since, the term has been used to imply any series of dull and ridiculous actions, which, at best, can make audiences laugh, but at worst, can result in tragic consequences. Arguably the darkest of comedies of political errors in the world’s newest history unfolded on 20 March 2003, when US President George W. Bush waged the Second of the Persian Gulf wars with the launch of the Operation Iraqi Freedom.

  • Europe needs wake-up call

    Europe needs wake-up call

    France, West Ger­ma­ny, Ita­ly, Bel­gi­um, Lux­em­burg and the Neth­er­lands aimed for two things with the cre­a­tion of the Euro­pe­an Coal and Steel Com­mu­ni­ty in 1951. The offi­cial pur­pose of this organ­i­sa­tion was to uni­fy the six coun­tries' pro­duc­tion and trade in the sec­tor. But the main goal was left unstat­ed - name­ly, to cre­ate such polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic depend­en­cies in Europe so as to make anoth­er war between France and Ger­ma­ny impos­si­ble.

  • Crimea echoes Kosovo conflict

    Crimea echoes Kosovo conflict

    On 16 March, the Auton­o­mous Repub­lic of Cri­mea held a ref­er­en­dum to decide wheth­er it will leave Ukraine and become part of Rus­sia. Locat­ed on the Cri­me­an pen­in­su­la, the auton­o­mous repub­lic has an area of 26,000 square kil­o­me­tres and a pop­u­la­tion of 2 mil­lion peo­ple, or exact­ly one quar­ter of Bul­gar­ia's. Giv­en the eth­nic com­po­si­tion of the pop­u­la­tion (60% Rus­sians, 25% Ukrain­i­ans and 13% Tatars), the out­come of the vote was a fore­gone con­clu­sion.

  • Leadership wanted

    Leadership wanted

    When the Sovi­et Union dis­in­te­grat­ed in 1991 (a his­tor­ic devel­op­ment Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vlad­im­ir Putin once called "the great­est geo­po­li­ti­cal dis­as­ter of the 20th cen­tu­ry") gen­u­ine lead­ers were at the helm of West­ern pow­ers - George Bush Sr. in the US, Fran­cois Mit­ter­rand in France, and Hel­mut Kohl, who was Chan­cel­lor of the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­ma­ny.

  • Properties of large numbers

    Properties of large numbers

    Math­e­ma­ti­cians deal with num­bers by which the gen­er­al pub­lic under­stands pos­i­tive inte­gers (also called nat­u­ral num­bers) like 7. Of course, as peo­ple versed in the mat­ter know per­fect­ly well, there are oth­er kinds of num­bers. But the gen­er­al pub­lic is right in its own way too, because nat­u­ral num­bers form the basis of math­e­mat­ics. 'God cre­at­ed inte­gers, the rest was the work of man­kind', the great Ger­man math­e­ma­ti­cian Leo­pold Kroneck­er said. Some 2,500 years ago, stu­dents of the Ancient Greek math­e­ma­ti­cian, Pythag­o­ras believed that every­thing could be explained with the help of inte­gers and their ratios. Even­tu­al­ly it became clear that this was not exact­ly the case, which threw ortho­dox Pythag­o­re­ans into despair. Accord­ing to leg­end, the first man to rec­og­nise the exis­tence of irra­tion­al num­bers (any num­ber that can be expressed as the ratio of two inte­gers) was thrown over­board by his hor­ri­fied fel­low Pythag­o­re­ans, who vowed to keep the dis­cov­ery a secret.

  • The price of hypocrisy

    The price of hypocrisy

    Hypoc­ri­sy is not deemed one of the Sev­en Deadly Sins accord­ing to Chris­tian eth­ics mor­al cat­e­go­ries, but it is close to one of them, pride, and the two often go hand in hand. Hypoc­ri­sy puts off and alien­ates peo­ple and is appall­ing enough from an aes­thet­ic per­spec­tive. And, it is so com­mon today, that we have stopped notic­ing it. How­e­ver, we should not make light of it because when turn­ing a blind eye to hypoc­ri­sy, we are no longer able to see the impend­ing evil.

  • Like peo­ple, empires can be their own worst ene­my

    Like peo­ple, empires can be their own worst ene­my

    Against the back­drop of a sta­bil­iz­ing Rus­sia and the impress­ive rise of Chi­na, India, Bra­zil, Tur­key and oth­er emerg­ing play­ers on the world stage, cracks in the US self-pro­claimed role as the sin­gle most pow­er­ful nation in the world are becom­ing more and more con­spic­u­ous.

  • Democracy in crisis

    Democracy in crisis

    The phrase 'de­moc­ra­cy in cri­sis' can refer to both a dem­o­crat­ic sys­tem of gov­ern­ment whose prin­ci­ples are under­mined as well as one oper­at­ing in a time of cri­sis. The fol­low­ing anal­y­sis focus­es on these two relat­ed con­cepts. First, let me remind you that democ­ra­cy (the term orig­i­nates from Greek and trans­lates as "rule by the peo­ple") is a form of gov­ern­ment in which pow­er, be it state or local, comes from the peo­ple and (ide­al­ly) is exer­cised in the name of the peo­ple. In real­i­ty, democ­ra­cy, even in its West­ern vari­e­ty, is a far cry from its roman­tic image of a smooth path to pro­gres­sive soci­e­ty's bright future. This is espe­cial­ly true for democ­ra­cies estab­lished by force, as is the case with Afghan­is­tan, where inter­na­tion­al efforts are doomed to an igno­min­i­ous end. Lead­ers of NATO mem­ber states and US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama in par­tic­u­lar should real­ly read more. Books on the Brit­ish and Sovi­et empires' dis­as­trous ven­tures into this proud moun­tain­ous coun­try would be espe­cial­ly help­ful.

  • Cat in gloves

    Cat in gloves

    In the wake of the 11 Sep­tem­ber 2011 attacks, atti­tudes to the two fun­da­men­tal human val­ues - free­dom and secu­ri­ty - have sig­nif­i­cant­ly changed in the US and glo­bal­ly. It is a known fact that we can­not have them both ful­ly. But it was great US pol­y­math and civ­ic activ­ist Ben­ja­min Frank­lin (1706-1790) who said: "Those who would give up essen­tial lib­er­ty to pur­chase a lit­tle tem­po­rary safe­ty deserve nei­ther."