How will the Ukraine military confrontation end up?

How will the Ukraine military confrontation end up?

The background to this dispute between two closely connected countries is complicated. Ukraine became part of the Soviet Union in 1922. In the years that followed, there was a significant integration of the economies and populations of the two countries. At the present time some 40% of Ukraine contains mainly Russian speaking people. Gas, one of Russia’s primary exports, is piped across Ukraine to major customers in Europe. Ukraine is a large country, with 45m people, compared with 143m in Russia. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, to many Russians (and Ukrainians), the separation felt more like splitting a country than the consequence of dismantling an empire.

In order to understand the war which is currently taking place in the Ukraine (it is indeed a war), it will be helpful to review the progress of both countries since 1991. In the 90s, the economies of both countries collapsed. The causes of this are not hard to find. 70 years of state control of the economy and insulation from the effects of the market had impoverished the population and extinguished normal market dynamics. Prices of basic services and commodities such as rent and foodstuffs had been frozen for decades. Consumer products beyond the absolute basic requirements for existence had disappeared from the shops. More than half the economy, such as remained, was devoted to defence spending.

From 1991, with the economies of both countries being run on free market principles, there was an immediate and wrenching adjustment. Hyperinflation continued for several years, as price levels adjusted to prevailing market levels. As funds dried up for paying government subsidies and defence spending, the economies of both countries fell by 1996 to roughly half the previous level. In 1998, Russia stopped payment on $40Bn of rouble denominated bonds.

Boris Yeltsin became president of Russia in 1991, succeeding Mikhail Gorbachev. He remained in this position until 1999. For much of his presidency he was very unpopular as a result of the economic crisis. He was an excessive drinker and suffered a number of heart attacks. In 1999 Yeltsin resigned having named Vladimir Putin as his successor.

President Putin’s 14 year period as the effective Russian leader has been highly successful in terms both of its economic impact (at least until 2014), and of the administrative improvements which he has achieved. His governance record has, however, increasingly reflected an autocratic approach and this, together with the impact of the 2014 military involvement in Ukraine, have severely damaged Russia’s international reputation.

Russia’s economy was transformed from 2001. Until 2007, annual GDP growth was 7%. Unemployment and poverty were both halved. Russia had assumed all of the Soviet Union’s foreign debts in 1991, but by 2005 all of these had been repaid. A new tax administration was established and a low, flat rate of profits tax introduced. Major police and military reforms were introduced, including the reduction of the army to 1m men. Very large investment in high tech industries was made, including $42Bn in the nuclear power industry.

Underpinning these changes was a focus on the exploitation of Russia’s energy resources as the key to the country’s economic revival. In view of Ukraine’s geographical position to the south west of Russia, most of the gas pipelines that carry gas to Europe, a major customer for Russian gas, transit Ukraine. Additional pipelines to Europe have been built that do not cross Ukraine territory, and others are under construction. However, over 60% of Russian gas supplied to Europe still transits via Ukraine.

In the east China is also a very important customer for Russian gas. A pipeline with an estimated cost of $77Bn to carry gas to China is under construction, and is claimed to be the largest construction project in the world. There has also been very large investment in the exploitation of Russia’s oil reserves, including significant foreign investment. The Russian economy declined in 2009 after the financial crash, but subsequently resumed growth.

Ukraine’s first post independence leader, President Kravchuk, was replaced in 1994 by President Kuchma. Kuchma became increasingly unpopular, he took few pains to conceal a significant level of corruption, including the 2004 acquisition at a very cheap price by his family of Krivorizhstal, Ukraine’s largest steel mill. Kuchma was replaced as president in 2004 by President Yushchenko, who was regarded by western observers as representing a more democratic approach than Kuchma. In the “Orange Revolution” election of 2006 Yushchenko combined with Yulia Tymoshenko in opposition to Victor Yanukovych, who represented the Russian speaking region of Ukraine in the east. In the 2010 election, Yanukovych was elected president. In 2011, Tymoshenko was jailed over her handling of the 2009 gas dispute with Russia.

Between 2001 and 2008, Ukraine’s economy achieved similar growth to Russia’s, around 7% pa GNP growth. In Ukraine’s case, this was largely based on its traditional industrial strategy of exploiting gas supplied very cheaply from Russia. In the case of certain former Soviet satellites, including Ukraine and Belarus, gas continued to be supplied at (very low) Russian consumer prices into the 2000s. Based on this, Ukraine continued to develop its large steel and metal manufacturing industries, as well as its successful agricultural industry. Ukraine also benefitted from transit fees for the transmission of the bulk of the Russian gas sold to European countries.

However, the impact of the 2008 financial crisis was far more severe in the Ukraine than in Russia. A collapse in the steel price was highly damaging to steel manufacturing, a key Ukraine industry. In 2010 the IMF offered to advance $15Bn to alleviate the financial crisis, although the offer was later withdrawn in the light of Ukraine’s refusal to raise domestic gas prices. Subsequently, the financial condition of the country continued to deteriorate.

The deterioration in Russia – Ukraine relations, and the present military conflict, can be traced back to the announcement by President Kuchma in 2002 that Ukraine wished to join NATO. This was followed by the supply in 2003 of Ukrainian troops in support of the US invasion of Iraq. In 2006, Russia briefly cut off supplies of gas to Ukraine after accusing Ukraine of diverting gas intended for the European Union (EU) to Ukraine domestic use. It also accused Ukraine of not paying for gas supplied. This was followed by a more serious dispute in 2009 following Russian accusations that large sums owing by Ukraine for gas remained unpaid. In addition, the gas price was disputed. Russia terminated gas supply for a 13 day period, during which neither Ukraine or a number of European countries were supplied with gas.

In late 2013, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets to protest against President Yanukovych’s intention of abandoning a plan to sign an associate agreement with the EU, and in addition receive a $15Bn EU loan. Moscow responded with an offer to replace the $15Bn loan, and also proposed to reduce the price of gas supplied. This proposal was not taken forward, and in February 2015 President Yanukovych fled to Russia.

These events were the precursor to the outbreak war in Ukraine. In March, Russia invaded the Crimea, a Ukraine region located on a peninsula of land in the Black Sea containing predominantly Russian speaking people. Next month, separatists in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions gained military occupation of parts of the area. Government forces responded with military operations. In May, businessman Petro Poroshenko was elected president, and shortly afterwards he signed the association agreement with the EU. In July, a Malaysian airliner containing 298 people was shot down by a missile fired from eastern Ukraine.

Fighting in eastern Ukraine has continued until the present. Ceasefires have been negotiated involving Ukraine and separatist negotiators, as well as the governments of France and Germany, but none has been effective in stopping the fighting, which has so far involved more than 5,000 deaths. There have been repeated accusations that Russian troops and weapons have been deployed in support of the separatists.

Before considering the likely outcome of the confrontation, let us consider the position of Vladimir Putin. He is entitled to considerable credit for his achievement in stabilising Russia both politically and economically since 2000. Until the impact of western sanctions in 2014, the country was placed on a sound economic footing. The investment in oil and gas development and in pipelines for transportation to customers in the west and east, has been highly effective. Other industries have grown to become substantial from a virtually zero base 25 years ago. Administrative institutions have been rebuilt or developed from scratch. The military forces have been reorganised.

Against this, Putin has received much criticism in the West for operating what is called “crony capitalism”. Huge financial power resides in the hands of a few oligarchs who became rich following the privatisation of major industries in the 90s. Like the Ukraine, the shadow (untaxed) economy is far larger than that of most western states. Television is state owned, which may partially account for Putin’s personal popularity in Russia, he currently has a more than 80% favourable rating. The response by western governments to the seizure of the Crimea was to eject Russia from the prestigious G8 group. Successive financial and trading sanctions have been applied by Europe, the USA, and other countries, involving bans on transactions and freezing of assets of many large Russian banks and other corporations, and specific individuals.

The sanctions have adversely affected the Russian economy, which has also been affected by the collapse in the oil price. GNP is expected to decline in 2015. The ruble declined sharply, and interest rates rose to 17%. In Germany, whose trade with Russia, both imports and exports, is the largest in Europe, the economy was adversely affected in late 2014 with a brief fall in GNP.

What will the outcome of this confrontation be? The newly elected Ukraine government is strongly resisting the military activities of the separatists. The economy remains weak, but financial support is being provided by the EU, together with the support offered by the associate agreement with the EU. President Obama, in spite of a reputation for being reluctant to interfere in the affairs of foreign countries, has been vocal in pressing his European counterparts to engage in sanctions. The US government has recently discussed offering military equipment to the Ukraine forces.

What are Putin’s objectives? He appears since at least 2002 to have been following a strategy of restraining Ukrainian independence, partly on the commercial front where Russia remains heavily dependent on Ukraine for reliable, low cost transit of Russian gas to European customers. He clearly also feels vulnerable to the threat of political or military links by Ukraine to the EU or to NATO. Russia has a recent history of military action against what it sees as recalcitrant former satellites in the south. In the 90s there was a lengthy military engagement against Chechenya. In 2008, Russian troops invaded Georgia in the dispute over South Ossetia.

Putin seems content for the time being to accept the financial impact of sanctions against the Russian economy and its people. While some oligarchs may be unhappy about the impact on their businesses, the Russian people seem to accept economic stress as a result of the return to a more aggressive stance for their country in international affairs. As long as Russia’s military involvement is limited, the financial and military cost of intervention should not reach the catastrophic level of the Russia / Afghanistan war of the 80s.

Putin seems unlikely to give up in Ukraine for the time being. If the war continues to drag on for two or more years, Putin may feel the need to escalate military activity and intervene with troops. What would be the western response? In 2016 the newly elected president may have a more aggressive stance in international affairs than Obama. Does that mean American and Russian troops will again be fighting in Europe, this time on opposite sides? America may feel that it would prefer to defend western interests in the Ukraine, and consequently reduce the chances of Russian aggression spreading to other former satellites, for instance, the Baltic States or Poland.

If there is indeed a serious escalation, the ultimate solution may be the partition of Ukraine into a western, pro west country, and an eastern, predominantly Russian speaking country. Such a solution would need to be secured by western guarantees, for instance the placing of United Nations troops in the country to protect it from attack.


德国的攻势终于由于将军住克博 (zhukov) 率领的那个很成功从旁边的打击。这个打击透过德国很长和弱的提供线。这个德国失败以后,德国军过俄国撤出,然后在卡克博 (Kharkov) 城市附近站住了。很多冲突在乌克兰的土地发生了。在卡克博反对的军总包含很多千坦克和飞机,也有几百万的兵员。这是历史上最大的战斗之一。结果再次是德国的失败。二年后五月1945,第二次世界大站爆结束了,结果是盟军的胜利。这时候苏联的领域从在西头东德国达到在东头西伯利亚, 也包括二十九千万人口。



1991年米哈伊尓戈尔巴乔夫辞职了以后,包里斯叶利钦成为俄国的总统。他直到1999保留过这个职位。由于经济危机,他总统任期的一大分上,他不是流行。但是总统普京自从2000年为俄国领导四十岁时期很成功,原因是经济发展得很快 (至少直到2014年),也是管理的重要进步。但是那些相关气的争议,也2014年在乌克兰上军事当事包括拿下他叫克里木的地区,很损害俄国的国际名誉。





American History 美国十九世纪历史

The USA was founded early in the 17th century by settlers from Europe in the east of the country. The earlier settlements were in the south east. The  focus was agriculture, including cotton and tobacco. These crops were very successful, partly because of the use of slaves brought from Africa.

美国早十七世纪在国家东方被欧洲定居者建国了。那些最早的聚落在东南成立了。首先他们集农业,包括棉和烟草。这些作物很成功, 大部分的原因是定居者使用了从非洲运输的奴隶。

北方的聚落先在博此饨 (Boston) 和纽约成立了。扩展向西方以后发生了。到十九世纪的时候,北方的工业发展得很快,北方的人口比南方增加很快。到一八六零年代的时候,新的定居者向西扩大了领土,到达那个很长很宽从北向南流的密西西比河。密西西比河大约于半分国家。

In 1861 President Lincoln became president of the USA. He determined that new states which were being established in the western half of the country would not be allowed to have slaves. The slave owning states in the south strongly objected to this restriction. Consequently eleven states seceded from the United States. Subsequently, Southern (Confederate) troops attacked military installations. This led to the Civil War between the northern and southern states. President Lincoln’s intention in the war was to prevent the secession of the southern states, which would have led to the break up of the country into two halves.

一八六一年林肯先生为美国的总统。他决定在西方成立的新省不以后允许拥有奴隶。在南方拥有奴隶的省对于这个限制很不满意。所以十一省从美国推出了。而且南方也叫同谋的部队攻击了些兵堡。这个事件造成了北省和南省之间的战争。总统林肯向站争的意图是阻止南省推出的情况。他想如果南省离开国家的话, 可能美国近二个半分隔了。

The troops on both sides who fought the war were initially militia with limited military training. However, both sides rapidly conscripted additional troops. By the end of the war, the north had recruited around 2m troops, southern recruitment was around 1.1m. The main weapon used by the infantry was the musket, a primitive, slow firing weapon loaded from the muzzle. In spite of this, there was a high casualty level on both sides. It is estimated that some 620,000 soldiers lost their lives during the war. Many of these casualties arose from the deployment of unprotected troops against opposing forces protected by entrenched positions and ditches. The high casualty rates foreshadowed the slaughter suffered by  armies in the wars of the twentieth century.



At the beginning of the war, the southern states were in a far weaker position than the north. The northern industrial base was far more prosperous than the agricultural economic base in the south. The southern armies deployed against the north were typically outnumbered two to one. Moreover, the northern navy implemented a naval blockade which effectively curtailed southern export business and helped to cripple the economy.

战争开始的时候,南方省的情况比北方弱多了。北方工业基础比南方的农业经济繁荣极了。 北方军兵的数比南省军高一倍。而且北海军执行了一个海上封锁。这个作用很有效,紧缩了 南方的出口,也帮助削弱南的经济。


The continuation of the war for four years was attributed to one main factor, which was the quality of the military leadership of the two armies. General Robert Lee, the southern  leader, is generally regarded as one of the great soldiers of history. He made rapid decisions and attacked his enemies decisively. He gave his subordinates considerable delegated control, and treated them with respect. By contrast, in the early years of the war, no northern general achieved decisive victories. One after the other was replaced after suffering calamitous defeats. Finally, after his victory in the siege of Vicksburg on the Mississippi river, General Grant was given command of the northern forces. General Grant proved to have the leadership qualities and strategic understanding required to bring his stronger forces to victory over the south.


战争继续四岁的情况由一个因素出现,原因是每军之间的领导性质很不同。上将扰把特李 (Robert Lee), 为南省的领导,他平常算了历史最重要的兵之一。他办军事果断,也打击敌人的时候态度坚决。他给下属充分转授控制,也亲切得对待同志,很尊重他们。反而早时期的战争时,没有北方的上将获得什么决战。领导军成效失败以后,些上将快代替了。但是跟着他的密西西比河上的比则博各 (Vicksburg) 围城的胜利,上将各然特 (Grant) 终于接受了北军的控制。上将各然特的领导和战略性能力使他北比南更大的军收到胜利。

For the first two years of the war, the northern armies attempted to conduct a series of assaults against Richmond, the capital city of the south. Richmond is only about 150 km from Washington, the capital city of the USA. This resulted in several major battles, including two battles at Bull Run, and also Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Each of these was a defeat for the north, and after all of these battles, the commanding general was replaced.

先两岁的战争时,北方的军发起了些反叫日车梦得 (Richmond) 南首都的进攻。日车梦得距美国首都的哇性饨 (Washington) 只约有一百五十公里。结果是两军进行了些重要的战斗,它们 包括在博乐润的两战斗,也进行了发日得日颗自博颗 (Fredericksburg) 和 全色落自比乐 (Chancellorsville). 结果所有的战斗都是北方的军失败乐。每重要的战斗以后,上将代替了。

As a result of these victories, General Lee was encouraged to conduct an offensive war against the north. He marched his troops into territory north of Washington, and reached the town of Gettysburg some 130 km north of the capital city. Lee intended his troops to occupy high ground near the town, but dilatory action by a subordinate general allowed the troops of the northern General Meade to secure this position. The main activity of the battle comprised a series of assaults by Lee’s troops on the northern entrenched troops at the top of the hill. These included a famous infantry assault by General Pickett known as Pickett’s charge. The southern attacks were all repulsed, and led to the retreat of Lee’s army to their territory in the south. Lee’s unsuccessful strategy at Gettysburg may have resulted from overconfidence after his earlier victories.

这些胜利策励上将李反北方的领土进攻。他近北边的叫哇性饨 (Washington) 首都 的领土领导了他的军,快到达了从首都向北约一百三十公里叫各提自博各 (Gettysburg)的城乡。李打算了他的兵力应该占城乡附近的一个高地方,但是一位下属耽误了,由于允许了北方上将密得 (Meade) 的军占这个区位。战斗开始以后,李的兵力很多次攻击了在山顶上的那个坐守军。进攻包括了一个由上将批颗特(Pickett)的有名兵力进攻,总叫批颗特的进攻。所有南方军的冲锋都被打退了。由于李的军向南方后退了。可能李的战略不收到了成效是因为他跟着他的胜利感觉盲目乐观。

In early 1864 General Grant led a northern army south in a further attempt to conclude the war. The far higher standard of leadership provided led to victories for the north at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania. An attack on southern troops dug into woods at Cold Harbour proved to be a tragic mistake, and General Grant withdrew his troops after heavy losses. Finally, General Lee’s army fled south in front of the much larger northern army, and was effectively imprisoned in the town of Petersburg during a nine month siege. Lee’s army at last broke out, but was finally surrounded at Appomattox, and surrendered, thus ending the four year war.

早一八六四年上将各然特向南领导了他的军, 他希望了结束战争。他的领导素质比那些前上将好极了,结果是在比乐得那色 (Wilderness) 和 色破特自以乐班以阿 (Spotsylvania) 的胜利。一个反在口乐得哈博 (Cold Harbor) 近树林坐守的那个南方的军效果了悲惨错误,而上将各然特上将李的军终于更大的北方军前向南出亡了,然后被近叫批特自博各(Petersburg) 的城乡囚禁了。北方的军围攻了城乡九月。李的军才离开了城乡, 但是终于在阿破吗头西被包围,投降以后,从而结束了四岁的战争。

The result of the War was the retention of the United States in its existing form, and the surrender by the southern states of their slaves.


How did personal computers happen?个人电脑怎么发生了?

In the 1960s, IBM and other manufacturers were making mainframe computers and selling them to large banks and other corporations, and to governments. They contained large numbers of silicon chips, printed circuits, tape drives for storing data, and various peripheral devices. Each computer needed a large, air conditioned room to house it. The cost of each computer was millions of dollars. In the 70s, smaller, cheaper computers called mini computers emerged, although they still needed a lot of space and  were expensive to buy.

六十年代,IBM 和别的制造业者生产着住架电脑, 给大银行和别的公司也给政府消过它们。这些大电脑包含很多硅片,印制电路,资料检索系统,也各种周边电子器件。需要摆每个电脑在一个大使用空调的大室里。每个电脑的价格是很多千万的元。七十年代, 更小, 更便宜的叫小型电脑的电脑出现, 但是它们还是需要很多空间,也很贵。

In 1971, Intel invented the microprocessor. Instead of using a great many chips, like an IBM machine, a microprocessor was a single silicon chip. Popular Electronics magazine commenced a search for the world’s first computer based on a single chip. In January 1975 the cover of Popular Electronics showed the Altair computer. This was a very basic device, and only had enough computer memory to store one small paragraph. However, Altair managed to sell computers totalling $13m in a single year.

1971 年, 英特尓发明了那个微处理器。这个器不根IBM电脑一样使用很多硅片,反而微处理器是单一硅片。流行电子杂志开始搜索世界第一只利用单一硅片的电脑。1975年一月流行电子包杂志显了河鼓二电脑。这是一个很简单的器,只包含够存储容量存一个小段。但是河鼓二一年的电脑消售总是九千万元。

Later, a very clever engineer called Steve Wozniac teamed up with Steve Jobs, who was not an engineer but was very excited about the possibilities of the new technology. Wozniac designed a very basic computer which was called the Apple, and then a more sophisticated machine with a screen and keyboard called Apple 2. This was the first really successful personal computer and sold many thousands of units world wide.

一个很聪明叫史帝夫握则泥阿课的公程师以后根史帝夫乔布斯合作了。史帝夫乔布斯不是一个工程师, 但是他关于新技术的机会恨兴奋。握则泥阿课先生设计了一个很简单叫苹果的电脑,也设计一个更复杂既有屏幕也有键盘叫苹果二的器。这是世界上先取得非凡成就的个人电脑,全世界的销售很多万的单位。

The success of the Apple 2 persuaded IBM that it needed to enter this new market, even though the selling price of each computer was a tiny fraction of the price of a mainframe computer. In order to complete the design, they needed an operating system to drive the chips and other devices in the machine. As they did not understand small computers, they approached Bill Gates, who, with other shareholders, owned a small software company called Microsoft, which at the time had 32 employees. Microsoft delivered an operating system called MS DOS which was used on the new IBM computer. Bill Gates was a very clever businessman, and he retained the IPR for MS DOS and was able to licence it later to many other computer manufacturers, thus eventually turning Microsoft into a more valuable corporation than IBM.

苹果二的成功说服过IBM重要进去这个新市场,虽然每个人电脑的价格比住架电脑的很小。为了完成那个设计,他们需要一个软件系统, 原因是需要制导电脑里的硅片和别的器。由于IBM的工程师不知道小电脑,他们接触了比乐给特子 (Bill Gates), 叫微软小公司的主人之一,那时候微软有了三十二工员。微软生产了一个叫MS-DOS的软件系统。所以那个新的IBM个人电脑利用这个软件。比乐给特子是一位很聪明的商人,所以他保留了MS-DOS的专利权,能以后核准向很多别电脑公司,终于微软比IBM贵多了。

The IBM PC, as it became known, was one of the most successful products in history. There are now approximately 5Bn PCs in use. One of the reasons for its success was that it attracted many software developers to produce software to be used on the machine, thus making it extremely useful in a large number of applications. Initially the software was word processors, spreadsheets and databases, but tens of thousands of applications were eventually designed for use on these machines.


那个叫IBM PC的电脑是历史里最有成功的产品之一。世界上有十亿多了.成功的原因之一是那个人电脑吸引了很多软件专家生产很多利用电脑上的软件。首先软件只是很简单,但是终于很多万的软件产品为了根这些器利用设计。

A further development by Microsoft that made PCs much easier to use was Windows. A design of this type was initially included by Apple with their Macintosh machine, but Windows was a far more popular application. Yet another development came in 1995 when Microsoft introduced the Internet Explorer browser, which enabled a further major application for the PC, as an Internet terminal.


Many PC users have now graduated to using tablets, a smaller, more convenient device than the PC. A further development is the smart phone, which means that the user owns a computer that only has the size of a phone. Fifty years from a computer the size of a room to a computer in your hand!


The Middle East中东

The area known in the West as the Middle East lies between the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to the west and Iran in the East. It covers a distance west to east of approximately 1300 kilometres. Today the Middle East is one of the richest regions in the world, based on the possession of vast reserves of oil. It is also an area of conflict, with armed disputes between Shia and Sunni religious sects, as well as conflict between Muslim forces and western Christian nations. How was the Middle East created, and how has the present situation arisen?


To find out we need to return to the foundation of the Roman Empire in Italy around 2,700 years ago. As it expanded over the next 1,000 years, Rome grew to cover vast areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. The distance to the eastern periphery from Rome became so great that it became necessary to establish an eastern administrative centre at Constantinople on the Bosphorus. This was a narrow channel linking the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. After Rome finally collapsed in 471AD, the eastern Empire became known as Byzantium, and continued to prosper. Constantinople was eventually overcome in 1453 by armies of the Ottoman Empire, based in Turkey.


The Ottomans themselves created a large empire, which extended from Austria in the West to Iran in the East. Thus the Ottoman territory included the land we now know as the Middle East. After about 1680, this empire started to decline, and by the beginning of the Great War (in Europe) in 1914 was near to collapse. The Ottoman Empire, or Turkey as it was now called, allied with Germany in the Great War, and was thus on the losing side. As a consequence, its Middle Eastern territories were dismembered, resulting in the creation of a number of new countries.

奥斯曼也成立一个从西头的奥地利到东头的伊朗很大的帝国。从而奥斯曼土地包括现在叫中东的区域。大概1680年以后,这个帝国开始衰落, 到1914年开始从1914到1918世界战争的时候,这个帝国的终结很近了。奥斯曼帝国,那时候叫火鸡,1914-1918战争里跟德国联了,从而失败了。由于它中东的土地肢解了,所以被成立些新的国家。

Unfortunately, a number of these countries have suffered nearly a century of intermittent conflict and dispute. Syria, which has no oil, has recently been engaged in military conflict for several years. Iraq has large oil reserves, but its population is a mixture of Shia and Sunni Muslim sects, which has led to conflict. In addition, in 2003 President George Bush in the USA led an attack on the country resulting in a war and subsequent unrest. Israel was created as a new country in 1948 and has become a stable and prosperous country created from the immigration of jewish settlors from many different countries. However, Israel has been involved in a number of wars with its Muslim neighbours.

不幸这些国家受到了几乎一个世纪的冲突和辛苦。没有油的叙利亚最近鏖战这几年。伊拉克有很大的油储量,但是人口包括什叶和逊尼的教派,结果是冲突。再说,2003年美国总统乔治布什打击那个国家,由于发生了一个战争,也很多动乱以后。1948 年以色列这个新国家成立,自从成为很稳定也兴荣的国家,从很多不同的国家到以色列的犹太移民。但是以色列根它的穆斯林邻居抗了些战争。

Saudi Arabia has been one of the most stable countries in the region. It was founded in 1933 in a vast southern area of the Middle East essentially comprising a largely uninhabited desert region. However, in 1938 oil was discovered in the country. It eventually transpired that not only is this one of the largest oil reserves in the world, it is also the easiest and cheapest to access. The cost of extraction of these reserves is less than 70 yuan per barrel, compared to more than 400 yuan per barrel for US shale based oil. 


The “oil war” from late 2014, in which Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries have continued to produce oil in competition with growing volumes of US shale oil, has led to the halving of the price of oil. It is expected that the benefit of cheaper gasoline will have a favourable impact and help the global economy to grow in 2015.


European Union 欧盟

The European Union (EU) is a very large economic area, and contains over 500 million people. Its income comprises 23% of the world’s gross national product, which makes it the largest economic entity in the world. It is China’s second most important customer, and is responsible for 16% of China’s exports. So what exactly is the EC? When did it come into existence, and why?


It is probably easier to describe what is not. Firstly, it is not a country. It comprises 28 different countries, and each of these countries has its own Government and legislature. It does not have its own armed forces, military issues remaining the responsibility of individual countries.

说明欧盟不是比是更简单。首先,欧盟不是一个国家。 它包含二十八不同的国家,每个国家有自己的政府和立法机关。欧盟没有自己的军,每个国家保留武事负责。

The EU has its beginnings after the end of the Second World War. This war was the third major war in less than a century involving Germany and France as opponents. Many politicians thought that an organisation should be developed that could find negotiated solutions to issues, rather than resorting to armed conflict to settle problems. The first step was the creation in 1951 of the European Coal and Steel Community. Arising partly from experience with this body, in 1957 six European countries, including Germany and France, signed the Treaty of Rome, creating the European Economic Commission, which later became the EU.

EU 第二次世界大战以后开始了。这个争战第三世纪以内包括为对手德国和法国。很多政客觉得很重要发展一个团体能找到事的谈判答案,比用冲突解决问题更好。第一步骤是1951年的成立欧洲煤炭和钢共同体。一点由于这个经验,1957年六欧洲包括德国和法国的国家,签过罗马的条约,从而成立欧洲经济委员会,以后成为EU.

The EU has its own President, its own Parliament, and a Council of Ministers. It is essentially a free market in goods, with trade between the 28 countries being carried on on a tariff free basis. Goods entering the EC from external countries bear import duties. In addition, 19 of the countries in the EU have entered the euro zone, thus adopting the euro as their common currency.

EU有自己的总统,也有 自己的议院或者一部长会议。它主要是一个自由贸易市场,而国与国之间的贸易用没有关税的基础。从外边的国家进EU的货受到关税。再说,十九欧洲的国家进过欧元区,从而采用欧元为普通的货币。

In the years since its formation, as explained above, the EU has never taken the final step of becoming a country in its own right. However, it is has progressively taken responsibility for the direction and management of many areas of policy that were formerly the responsibility of its member states. It has done this by passing legislation, and issuing directives, covering specific policy areas. These areas include social policy, the environment, health and safety, competition policy, travel, employment and energy. Very large numbers of directives have been issued, as a consequence of which detailed aspects of daily life, business and legal matters are now covered by EU legislative and regulatory direction.

自从欧洲的基础,如上所述,EU从来每有下最后的步骤自己成为一个国家。但是它逐步抓治理很多以前成员国家负责的政策事由。为了做到这个情况,EU为办理具体的政策事由,做了法规和发出指示。相关政策是由包括社会政策,环境,健康和安全, 竞争政策,行路,就业和能源。很多指示现在发出了,由于很多详细生活的事,也行业和合法的方面现在以EU法规或者指示办理。

The EU has a successful history covering nearly six decades of protecting the peace of Europe. However, its economic record is generally regarded as less successful, and has been affected by the retention by its member countries of economic independence, as well as by the competing interests of the 28 different countries. EU financial policy has been heavily influenced by German economic policy, as the largest and richest state. The German tradition has been to focus on reducing inflation, whereas many other EU countries would prefer to see economic policies that encourage growth.


After the financial crisis in 2008, many of the banking systems of the EU countries were threatened with collapse, particularly Spain, Greece, Italy and Ireland. In 2012, the European Central Bank (ECB) promised, if necessary to protect the financial stability of the EU, to buy bonds issued by member countries. This was a clever proposal because it achieved the objective of stabilising the financial position of EU member states, but no bonds were ever in fact purchased.

2008年的金融货币危机以后,很多EU国家银行的系统瓦解威胁了,特别是西班牙,义大利,希腊和爱尔兰。2012年,欧洲中央银行(ECB) 承担了买成员国家发行的债券,如果为保护EU的金融稳定必需了。这是一个很聪明的意见因为它达到稳定EU国家的金融情况的目的, 但是不用发行什么债券。

Notwithstanding this improvement, economic growth in the EU has been poor. Since 2008, China’s annual economic growth has not been below 7%, and growth in the USA and UK has been around 2%. EU annual growth by comparison has typically been less than 1% pa. Unemployment in the EU remains above 11%, compared with far lower figures in the three countries mentioned. The ECB has recently announced that it will inject new funding into the EU economy in order to stimulate economic growth, reflecting measures taken by China, USA and the UK several years ago, shortly after the 2008 crisis.

虽然这个进步不错,EU发展过很慢。2008年后, 中国每年的经济增长率百分之七多了。美国和英国增长率百分之二左右。但是EU的增长率平时百分之一以下. EU的失业率还是百分之十一以上,比别三国家的更小多了。ECB最近公布了,为了刺激经济,打算近金融系统里注资。2008危机后,中国,美国,英国 直接近金融系统里注资,ECB的耽误很长。