Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hail The Glorious Estranged Motherland

Easing back into normal business, let's do a Wikileaks run. Don't imagine much attention's been paid to the more recent cable dumps since Tuscon.

*China has been complaining about "well-fed foreigners" pointing fingers at them.
*The US is concerned about the influence of the Mafia in southern Italy. Oh, yes. They still have some amount of pull in the US. They didn't go away with John Gotti.
*The Whale Wars people are a bunch of counterproductive idiots.
*If you think China is a problem for Tibet, you ought to hear them talk about climate change sometime. (The previous link handles this one too.)
*There is radioactive soil in Kazakhstan that needs securing.
*And here's a cable about negotiations over a region called Transdniester.

Transdniester, you ask? Is that a hockey player or something? Yeah, me too. Transdniester is a little strip along the eastern edge of Moldova, which itself is wedged between Ukraine and Romania. They consider themselves independent (the "capital" being Tiraspol) and in fact more Soviet than anything else- remember, Moldova was a part of the Soviet Union- greatly preferring the Russians to the Romanians, and holding firm on any negotiations due to the presence of Russian troops after the Soviet breakup. The rest of the world has refused to play along. They control a good chunk of Moldova's infrastructure, but then, Moldova controls a good chunk of Transdniester's too.

Transdneister has, however, adopted some elements of capitalism, resulting in what MSNBC described in 2009 as a "surreal" picture of someone eating a burger while talking on a cell phone in front of of pictures of Che Guevara, Vladimir Lenin, and the most productive workers in town.

The region deals largely in two things: organized crime, and poor people. The crime centers around trafficking of, well, whatever, really, but primarily, drugs, weapons, and people.

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