Bioneers, under its parent foundation, Collective Heritage Institute, is a nonprofit organization based in New Mexico and California that promotes practical and innovative solutions to global environmental and bio-cultural challenges. The organization operates within a philosophy that recognizes and cultivates the value and wisdom of the natural world. Official Programs include Moonrise Women’s Leadership, Restorative Food Systems, Indigeneity (Indigenous Forums,) Education for Action, and the award-winning Dreaming New Mexico community resilience program.
Bioneers is also widely recognized for producing innovative media covering subjects such as environmentalism, rights of nature, social justice, sustainability and permaculture. Bioneers Radio is broadcast on local radio stations across the U.S., as well as having segments featured on national NPR stations.
Bioneer (root: “biological pioneer”) is a neologism coined by founder Kenny Ausubel. It describes individuals and groups working in diverse disciplines who have crafted creative solutions to various environmental and socio-cultural problems rooted in shared core values, including whole systems, (anticipatory) thinking, a view of all life as interdependent, and sustainable mutual aid.
An engineer examines the engine of an SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missile in Dnipro, Ukraine, on July 26, 1996.
Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/AP
UKRAINE WAS ONCE home to thousands of nuclear weapons. The weapons were stationed there by the Soviet Union and inherited by Ukraine when, at the end of the Cold War, it became independent. It was the third-largest nuclear arsenal on Earth. During an optimistic moment in the early 1990s, Ukraine’s leadership made what today seems like a fateful decision: to disarm the country and abandon those terrifying weapons, in exchange for signed guarantees from the international community ensuring its future security.
The decision to disarm was portrayed at the time as a means of ensuring Ukraine’s security through agreements with the international community — which was exerting pressure over the issue — rather than through the more economically and politically costly path of maintaining its own nuclear program. Today, with Ukraine being swarmed by heavily armed invading Russian troops bristling with weaponry and little prospect of defense from its erstwhile friends abroad, that decision is looking like a bad one.Nations that sacrifice their nuclear deterrents in exchange for promises of goodwill are often signing their own death warrants.
The tragedy now unfolding in Ukraine is underlining a broader principle clearly seen around the world: Nations that sacrifice their nuclear deterrents in exchange for promises of international goodwill are often signing their own death warrants. In a world bristling with weapons with the potential to end human civilization, nonproliferation itself is a morally worthwhile and even necessary goal. But the experience of countries that actually have disarmed is likely to lead more of them to conclude otherwise in future.
The betrayal of Ukrainians in particular cannot be understated. In 1994, the Ukrainian government signed a memorandum that brought its country into the global Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty while formally relinquishing its status as a nuclear state. The text of that agreement stated that in exchange for the step, the “Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.”
Ukraine’s territorial integrity has not been much respected since. After the 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea by Russia — which brought no serious international response — Ukrainian leaders had already begun to think twice about the virtues of the agreement they had signed just two decades earlier. Today they sound positively bitter about it.
“We gave away the capability for nothing,” Andriy Zahorodniuk, a former defense minister of Ukraine, said this month about his nation’s former nuclear weapons. “Now, every time somebody offers us to sign a strip of paper, the response is, ‘Thank you very much. We already had one of those some time ago.’”
UKRAINIANS ARE NOT the only ones who have come to regret signing away their nuclear weapons. In 2003, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi made a surprise announcement that his nation would abandon its nuclear program and chemical weapons in exchange for normalization with the West.
“Libya stands as one of the few countries to have voluntarily abandoned its WMD programs,” wrote Judith Miller a few years later in an article about the decision headlined “Gadhafi’s Leap of Faith.” Miller, then just out of the New York Times, added that the White House had opted “to make Libya a true model for the region” by helping encourage other states with nuclear programs to follow Gaddafi’s example.
Libya kept moving forward. It signed on to an additional protocol of the International Atomic Energy Agency allowing for extensive international monitoring of nuclear reserves. In return, sanctions against the country were lifted and relations between Washington and Tripoli, severed during the Cold War, were reestablished. Gaddafi and his family spent a few years building ties with Western elites, and all seemed to be going well for the Libyan dictator.
Then came the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. Gaddafi found that the same world leaders who had ostensibly become his economic partners and diplomatic allies were suddenly providing decisive military aid to his opposition — even cheering on his own death.
Promises, betrayals, aggression: It’s a pattern that extends even to countries that have merely considered foreclosing their avenues to a nuclear deterrent.
Missile silos abandoned by the Gaddafi regime are left in the desert at a military base in Lona, Libya, on Sept. 29, 2011.
Photo: John Cantlie/Getty Images
Take Iran: In 2015, the Islamic Republic signed a comprehensive nuclear deal with the U.S. that limited its possible breakout capacity toward building a nuclear weapon and provided extensive monitoring of its civilian nuclear program. Not long afterward, the agreement was violated by the Trump administration, despite the country’s own continued compliance. Since 2016, when Trump left the deal, Iran has been hit with crushing international sanctions that have devastated its economy and been subjected to a campaign of assassination targeting its senior military leadership.To date, no nuclear-armed state has ever faced a full-scale invasion by a foreign power, regardless of its own actions.
The nuclear deal was characterized at the time as the first step toward a broader set of talks over regional disputes between Iranian and U.S. leaders, who had been alienated since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Instead, the deal marked another bitter chapter in the long-troubled relationship between the two countries.
To date, no nuclear-armed state has ever faced a full-scale invasion by a foreign power, regardless of its own actions. North Korea has managed to keep its hermetic political system intact for decades despite tensions with the international community. North Korean officials have even cited the example of Libya in discussing their own weapons. In 2011, as bombs rained down on Gaddafi’s government, a North Korean foreign ministry official said, “The Libyan crisis is teaching the international community a grave lesson.” That official went on to refer to giving up weapons in signed agreements as “an invasion tactic to disarm the country.”
Perhaps the starkest contrast to the treatment of Ukraine, Libya, and Iran, however, is Pakistan, which developed nuclear weapons decades ago in defiance of the United States. Despite being criticized at the time for contributing to nuclear proliferation and facing periodic sanctions, Pakistan has managed to insulate itself from attack or even serious ostracism by the U.S. despite several flagrant provocations in the decades since. Today Pakistan even remains a security partner of the U.S., having received billions of dollars of military aid over the past several decades.
Given the mortal hazards that nuclear weapons pose to life on Earth, nonproliferation remains a worthwhile collective goal. Humanity will not benefit from a renewal of the nuclear arms race, and the ideals behind a U.S.-backed rules-based liberal order are morally attractive. A world in which they were truly applied would probably be a fairer and more peaceful one than what has existed in the past, yet we must also recognize that the liberal order can and will fail. That lesson is especially true for small nations outmatched by great powers.
Given the tragedy we are witnessing in Ukraine today — where, despite its past assurances, the international community has remained a passive observer — leaders of small countries must be forgiven for thinking twice before sacrificing their deterrent, regardless of what the leaders of great powers already armed with nuclear weaponry may say.
One of the most common interpretation of this card is that it represents a dangerous or treacherous man – which, IMHO, is a very superficial way of looking at a Court card.
Certainly this Prince can be sly, dishonest and untrustworthy – but only when badly dignified by the cards around him. The card can also sometimes come up to mark a person who is angry, or vengeful.
But the pure Prince of Swords type is a highly intellectual and usually well-educated person, with a rapid fire mind and a great capacity for abstract thinking. He produces ideas with astonishing speed, but often moves on too quickly to follow through or elaborate on them. He can be challenging, entertaining, stimulating – and completely exhausting!
The card represents a private person, who defends his inner space quite determinedly. This is some-one who is hard to get to know – in fact, you’ll probably not succeed entirely no matter how long you know him. He is a thinker, and chooses those he shares his thoughts with carefully. He’s usually also very independent, and often appears unemotional and cold.
Sometimes the Prince of Swords will come up to represent somebody who is embarking on a serious course of occult study – with the Knight indicating the dedicated initiate.
The bad reputation comes from one peculiarity of this card and the Knight of Swords, I think. They both tend to appear when a man is angry, violent or vicious. However this is a function of the Suit – Swords deal with conflict and pain quite extensively. So don’t imagine that every Prince of Swords you see is bad – most of them aren’t.
Magomed Tushayev, (L) & Ramzan Kadyrov (Photo via Illia Ponomarenko, defense reporter, The Kyiv Independent)
One of the top warlords and close advisor to Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov was killed Saturday in the battle for Antonov Airport, also known as Hostomel Airport, an international cargo airport and testing facility northwest of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
Magomed Tushayev, head of the “141 motorized regiment” of the Chechnya National Guard was killed during a skirmish with the Ukrainian military’s elite Alpha Group. His death was confirmed by Illia Ponomarenko, defense reporter for the Kyiv Independent, a Ukrainian news agency, and by a spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Tushayev’s death came as Kadyrov, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on Saturday that Chechen fighters had been deployed to Ukraine and urged Ukrainians to overthrow their government, according to Reuters.
In a video posted online, Kadyrov boasted that Chechen units had so far suffered no losses and said Russian forces could easily take large Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, but that their task was to avoid loss of life.
“As of today, as of this minute, we do not have one single casualty, or wounded, not a single man has even had a runny nose,” Kadyrov said, denying what he said were false reports of casualties from Ukrainian sources.
“The president (Putin) took the right decision and we will carry out his orders under any circumstances,” said Kadyrov.
Tushayev, who was one of three top advisors and military commanders for Kadyrov, prior to the Ukrainian invasion by Russian forces, was directly involved in the campaign of terrorizing the LGBTQ community in Chechnya.
Sources with Russian-based human rights organizations confirmed that Tushayev played an unspecified role as recently as May 2021 when human rights activist and a gay man, Ibragim Selimkhanov, was abducted from a subway station in the Novogireyevo District of the Russian capital of Moscow by four Chechen operatives and flown against his will to the Chechen capital of Grozny.
Selimkhanov was questioned by Chechen security operatives, working for Tushayev, seeking information on human rights activists and independent journalists engaged in assisting LGBTQ people in the North Caucasus region. He later escaped returning to Moscow.
Activists from the Russian LGBT Network pressed the Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) of the Russian Ministry of Justice with an official complaint about the kidnapping of Selimkhanov, which in late August 2021, the governmental body refused to take further action.
Since 2017, human and LGBTQ activists noted that Chechen security operatives and other officials in the Kadyrov regime, including Tushayev sources confirmed, have rounded up dozens of men on suspicion of being gay, held them in unofficial detention facilities for days, humiliated, starved and tortured them, in what has been dubbed Chechnya’s “anti-gay purge.”
The international multiple award-winning film documentary “Welcome to Chechnya,” details the purge and also documents the experience of lesbians, whose horrific ordeals are usually perpetuated by family members in the Muslim-majority region.
Additional reporting by Brody Levesque and Illia Ponomarenko
The impacts of climate change are becoming more evident here in Hawaii. We hear a lot about climate change being linked to sea level rise, especially living here on a group of islands. Not only will we look at the effects that the climate crisis has on our state, we will also discuss the hope for change and small actions that residents can take to help.
The Telegraph When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 the West had an historic opportunity to form a close and friendly relationship with Russia. As Russian tanks roll into Ukraine, the question becomes: what went wrong? To discuss the history behind the current invasion Steven Edginton is joined by the Russia expert Mark Galeotti in the latest Off Script podcast. Watch the full episode above or listen on your podcast app by searching “Off Script”. Subscribe to The Telegraph on YouTube ► https://bit.ly/3idrdLH Get the latest headlines: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/ Telegraph.co.uk and YouTube.com/TelegraphTV are websites of The Telegraph, the UK’s best-selling quality daily newspaper providing news and analysis on UK and world events, business, sport, lifestyle and culture.
Why is Vladimir Putin threatening to take another bite out of Ukraine, after devouring Crimea in 2014? That is not an easy question to answer because Putin is a one-man psychodrama, with a giant inferiority complex toward America that leaves him always stalking the world with a chip on his shoulder so big it’s amazing he can fit through any door.
Let’s see: Putin is a modern-day Peter the Great out to restore the glory of Mother Russia. He’s a retired K.G.B. agent who simply refuses to come in from the cold and still sees the C.I.A. under every rock and behind every opponent. He’s America’s ex-boyfriend-from-hell, who refuses to let us ignore him and date other countries, like China — because he always measures his status in the world in relation to us. And he’s a politician trying to make sure he wins (or rigs) Russia’s 2024 election — and becomes president for life — because when you’ve siphoned off as many rubles as Putin has, you can never be sure that your successor won’t lock you up and take them all. For him, it’s rule or die.
Somewhere in the balance of all of those identities and neuroses is the answer to what Putin intends to do with Ukraine.
If I were a cynic, I’d just tell him to go ahead and take Kyiv because it would become his Kabul, his Afghanistan — but the human costs would be intolerable. Short of that, I’d be very clear: If he wants to come down from the tree in which he’s lodged himself, he’s going to have to jump or build his own ladder. He has completely contrived this crisis, so there should be no give on our part. China is watching — and Taiwan is sweating — everything we do in reaction to Vlad right now.
Which brings us back to the central question: Vlad, why are you in that tree?
For starters, don’t look for the answer in Ukraine. If Putin decides indeed to take another bite out of Ukraine, it will be first and foremost because Putin thinks it will strengthen his chance of staying in power in Russia, which for him is always paramount.
To understand how invading Ukraine again could serve that end, one has to go back to the shift Putin made in the last decade: He went from selling himself to the Russian people as the leader who would enable them to overcome their poverty of wealth in the post-Cold War era to the leader who would enable them to overcome their poverty of dignity in the post-Cold War era.
I learned this from Leon Aron, a Russia expert at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of “Yeltsin: A Revolutionary Life,” who is now writing a book about the future of Putin’s Russia. The way Aron put it, when Putin came to power at the end of 1999, he was able to benefit from the restructuring of the Russian economy by Boris Yeltsin; from significant foreign investment; from rising oil, gas and mineral prices; and from improved political stability.
Russians associated Putin’s first two terms — 2000 to 2008 — “with unprecedented wealth accumulation in modern Russian history,” said Aron.
But beginning in 2011 and stretching all the way to 2019, Russia’s economy stagnated because of lower energy prices and, most of all, institutional impediments to growth: Putin’s preference to tap Russia’s natural resources, not its human resources. No Silicon Valleys for him — except cyberhackers. That would require real rule of law, secure property rights and the unleashing of talented people, who ask too many questions like, “Vlad, where did your money come from?”
“Putin’s response to this economic stagnation and the political peril it represented was to shift the basis of his regime’s legitimacy from economic progress, which made Putin so popular in his first two terms in office, to Putin as the defender of a motherland besieged by the West,” Aron told me. “Putin concluded that if he was going to be a president for life, he had to be a wartime president for life.”
Writing in The Hill, Aron quoted Russian opposition columnist Sergei Medvedev as recently observing: “Putin has forged a nation of war that has battened the hatches and looks at the world through a lookout slit of a tank. … The degree of military-patriotic hysteria [in] Russia today brings to mind the U.S.S.R. of the 1930s, the era of athletes’ parades, tank mock-ups and dirigibles.”
This is classic wag-the-dog politics. Putin is a thug, but he’s a thug with an authentic Russian cultural soul that resonates with his people. His obsession with the Soviet Union and his nostalgia for the power, glory and dignity it gave him and his generation of Russians run deep. He was not exaggerating when he declared in 2005 that the breakup of the Soviet Union was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century.
And because Ukraine, and its capital, Kyiv, played a central role long ago in Russian history, and because Ukraine was a bulwark and breadbasket of the Soviet Union in its heyday, and because perhaps eight million ethnic Russians still live in Ukraine (out of 43 million), Putin claims that it is his “duty” to reunite Russia and Ukraine. He blithely ignores the fact that Ukraine has its own language, history and post-Soviet generation that believes its duty is to be independent.
For Putin, losing Ukraine “is like an amputation,” remarked political scientist Ivan Krastev, chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria. “Putin looks at Ukraine and Belarus as part of Russia’s civilizational and cultural space. He thinks the Ukrainian state is totally artificial and that Ukrainian nationalism is not authentic.”
The reason Putin has accelerated his Ukraine threat — which I would call “marry me or I will kill you” — is that he knows that under Ukraine’s current president, Volodymyr Zelensky, the process of Ukrainization has accelerated and the Russian language is being pushed out of schools and Russian television out of the media space.
Said Krastev: “Putin knows that in 10 years the young generation in Ukraine will not be speaking Russian at all, and it will have no identification with Russian culture.” Maybe best to act now, thinks Putin, before the Ukrainian Army gets bigger, better trained and better armed — and while Europe and America are in disarray over Covid and in no mood for war.
And then there are just the raw geopolitical motives. In creating the crisis around Ukraine, said Krastev, “Putin is inviting the West to a funeral for the post-Cold War order.”
For Putin, the post-Cold War order was something imposed on Russia and Boris Yeltsin when Russia was weak. It involved not only pushing NATO into Eastern European countries that were once part of the Soviet NATO — the Warsaw Pact — but also pushing NATO and European Union influence into the former Soviet empire itself, in places like Ukraine and Georgia.
Putin’s troop buildup says to the West: Either we negotiate a new post-Cold War order or I will start a post-post-Cold War confrontation.
As longtime readers of this column know, I was a vigorous opponent of NATO expansion after the Cold War. It is one of the stupidest things we ever did — focusing on “NATOizing” Poland and Hungary rather than building on an amazing, largely nonviolent, democratic revolution in Russia and locking it into the West. Nurturing that Russian revolution to fruition would not have been simple, but by pressing ahead with NATO expansion we made it easy for an autocratic nationalist like Putin to lock himself in power by telling the Russian people that only he could keep NATO and the West from destroying Russia — militarily, culturally and religiously.
That said, I don’t weep for Putin. He is the human embodiment of one of the oldest Russian fables: A Russian peasant pleads to God for aid after he sees that his better-off neighbor has just obtained a cow. When God asks the peasant how he can help, the peasant says, “Kill my neighbor’s cow.”
The last thing that Putin wants is a thriving Ukraine that joins the European Union and develops its people and economy beyond Putin’s underperforming, autocratic Russia. He wants Ukraine to fail, the E.U. to fracture and America to have Donald Trump as president for life so we’ll be in permanent chaos.
Putin would rather see our cow die than do what it takes to raise a healthy cow of his own. He’s always looking for dignity in all the wrong places. He’s rather pathetic — but alsoarmed and dangerous.