Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals…

Read the 5 March scan  

World – This week featured article is Seumas Milne’s The demonisation of Russia risks paving the way for war” for The Guardian. Milne, by emphasising  how “Politicians and the media are using Vladimir Putin and Ukraine to justify military expansionism” and stressing how it is “a dangerous folly” – which we borrowed as title, perfectly summarises the tragic escalation towards war we are currently living.

The anti-Russian sentiment has reached such a paroxysm, supported by analysts, who never use evidence, nor anymore footnotes to substantiate their claims or judgement, and mix good analysis with convenient ones, where inconvenient facts are forgotten, that any attempt to try coming back to better researched analysis, seems futile and doomed. Armies of researchers would be necessary to critically appraise each article, sorting out what is evidenced (and referring to the evidences), from what is assumption, and what is just belief. A few good analyses are still made, such as the excellent article posted by Ambassador Matlock on the murder of Nemtsov (see The Weekly for the links). There, the absence of any evidence – as is so often the case when working on contemporary issues – is acknowledged rather than hidden, and followed by a detailed analysis with estimations of likelihood for each potential scenario.

Yet, such honest approaches to complicated problems are increasingly few and far between. Against any logic and good sense, a murder happens and within two minutes everyone knows the responsible must certainly be Putin; a plane crashes and within two hours everyone knows that it must certainly be Putin, or the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk. And when a few months later the Dutch Safety Board in charge of the enquiry asserts that it is so difficult to know what exactly happened that a supplementary year is necessary (see report here), no one points out any inconsistency between the two attitudes.

Meanwhile, Russia increases its own, and this time real (assuming the information given in the Irish Examiner, see The Weekly for link, is correct, of course), dangerous moves, e.g. incursions in British and Irish airspace. Indeed, no country nor leader can afford for long to fail to respond when full-blown escalation is occurring as is the case now.

In the meantime, there is an acceleration in the BRICS’ attempt to end the supremacy of the US Dollar (see the article on Kazakhstan), as we have been monitoring here over months, which is quite a strong indication that not all countries are against Russia.

And thus escalation goes on.

If there had been an opportunity for peace a few weeks ago with the Minsk agreement as we argued (see Minsk and the probability of war), the window of opportunity is obviously now closed. There may not be another one. In this case the outcome may only be grim, unless current hawks realise what they are doing, which seems quite unlikely but miracles may happen, unless good sense prevails, including within the population at large, so important to politicians when elections loom, unless other players – and we should to the least add China to the European list given by Milne –  step in and have enough clout and power to put a stop to this “folly”. Could other events coming from the so unstable Middle East also put the escalation on hold? They would most probably need to be perceived as a clear and immediate direct threat, and not a remote one, to act as a brake. In this case, though, this would mean that more tragic events have taken place.

Energy and Environment – Among others, Dr Daum underlines that “in the last few weeks there have been challenges to the integrity of climate data, the accuracy of data analysis, and funding issues that might call into question the trustworthiness of climate scientists. It is important that processes be transparent so that anybody is able to pull the thread on all of these issues. It is also important to determine if these issues are about the natural uncertainty expected in any scientific process, or if some scientists have been dishonest.” Interestingly, and in a related way, he also points out the difficulty of understanding complex processes including feedbacks across “problems’: “it is almost instinctive to assume that increased carbon dioxide levels will lead to increased growth in forests. However, recent information tells us that insect populations may change in response to elevated carbon dioxide levels and thereby limit the capacity of forests to serve as carbon sinks .”

The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. 

The information collected is crowdsourced. It does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilising problems and issues.

If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.

Featured image: “C-band Radar-dish Antenna”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons