Tuesday, September 19, 2017


I see that Vladimir Putin is performing masculinity again:

A statue of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the AK-47 assault rifle, has been unveiled in central Moscow in a controversial ceremony that merged military pomp with religious ritual.

The nine-metre (30ft) monument depicts Kalashnikov clutching his eponymous automatic weapon. Tuesday’s event was attended by high-ranking Russian officials including Vladimir Medinsky, the culture minister, and Petr Biryukov, Moscow’s deputy mayor.

“This is Russia’s cultural brand,” said Medinsky, before a Russian Orthodox priest blessed the statue.

“He created this weapon to defend his motherland,” said Father Konstantin, shrugging off suggestions that it was inappropriate to sprinkle holy water on a statue of a weapons designer. Some members of the crowd crossed themselves as the priest blessed the monument.
Okay, Putin wasn't performing masculinity there personally. He was elsewhere, passing up UN ceremonies in New York to do this:
Vladimir Putin watches display of Russian firepower near EU border

A large-scale Russian military exercise that has spooked western countries has entered its final phase, with helicopters, fighter jets, missiles and tanks employed at a firing range close to Russia’s border with the EU.

Vladimir Putin was among those watching the 45-minute display of firepower on a cold and rainy Monday afternoon at the Luga firing range, about 70 miles (113km) from the border with EU member state Estonia. The Russian president, joined by the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, and a number of army generals, watched through binoculars from a viewing platform.
This is one of the biggest Russian military exercises since the end of the Cold War:
From September 14 to 20, the Russian and Belarusian militaries are holding a joint war game to simulate fending off an attack from Western powers. Russia says only 12,700 troops — as well as 70 planes and helicopters, 280 tanks, 200 artillery weapons, and 10 ships — are participating in the drills.

But foreign officials, including German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, believe the number is closer to 100,000. That’s significant because if a military exercise involves 13,000 troops or more, then foreign officials must be formally invited to watch, according to an international agreement — and the 12,700 number is suspiciously just under that mark.

Western leaders are especially worried about the exercise. NATO accused Russia of using the last Zapad drills in 2013 to prepare for its invasion of Ukraine the following year. Now some leaders, such as Lithuania’s Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis, fear having Russian troops amassed near NATO territory. "We can't be totally calm. There is a large foreign army massed next to Lithuanian territory," Karoblis told Reuters.
Meanwhile, our president just addressed the United Nations and scared the crap out of much of the world:
President Donald Trump threatened Tuesday to "totally destroy" North Korea and its "Rocket Man" leader, warned the "murderous" Iranian government that it cannot endure, and declared that much of the world is "going to hell."

In his first speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Trump also urged nations to band together to fight "evil" — even as he extolled the virtue of respecting national sovereignty and insisted that America isn't looking to impose its "way of life" on others.

The at-times contradictory remarks were filled with soaring rhetoric that touched on everything from "God" to "chaos," and the dark tones were reminiscent of Trump's inaugural address, in which he promised to bring an end to "American carnage."
Trump is also planning to increase the number of CIA drone strikes, while lifting restrictions intended to prevent civilian casualties. Oh, and of course he wants to have a huge military parade in Washington on July 4.

We have decapitation- and torture-happy drug gangs. We have ISIS losing territory and responding by urging followers to commit random acts of violence that get the Islamic State no closer to a caliphate, but mostly shed blood for the sake of shedding blood, publicly and very visibly, as if just being the most badass terrorists on the planet is ISIS's only goal now.

I don't know if we have a more dangerous world today than we've had in recent decades, but the world certainly seems to be more full of men who beat their chests and say, "Look! I'm dangerous! I'm really incredibly freaking dangerous! Pay attention to me! Respect my dangerousness!" Adult-bodied eleven-year-old boys acting out, in other words, with very dangerous weapons.

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