Gwynne Dyer is an independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries. His new book is 'Growing Pains: The Future of Democracy (and Work)'.
It's easy to imagine Vladimir Putin coming into the shop marked "Sweden", breaking some fine china accidentally on purpose, and growling: "Nice little shop you've got here. It would be a pity if something happened to it." But Sweden is not a pottery shop, Mr Putin is not a Mafia capo, and what's going on in the Baltic now is not a protection racket.
'Bongbong" Marcos didn't just win the presidential election in the Philippines this week. He won it by a two-to-one landslide, despite the fact that he is the extremely entitled son of a former president who stole at least US$10 billion and a mother who spent the loot partly on the world's most extensive collection of designer shoes (3,000 pairs).
We were talking recently about how clever the Ukrainians had been to call the invading Russian troops "Orcs" even before all the atrocities in the Russian-occupied towns around Kyiv came to light. Then Tina said: "If Putin's troops are Orcs, then he must be Sauron."
Last Sunday Vladimir Soloviev, the anchor of Russia's most popular current affairs show, Sunday Evening, was delivering his usual all-is-going-splendidly take on the war in Ukraine when he suddenly went off-piste. The United Kingdom, he suggested, is planning to use nukes against the Russian forces in Ukraine.
Four years after the Soviet Army fought its way into Berlin in 1945, Moscow built a huge memorial in Treptower Park to the 80,000 Russian and other Soviet soldiers who died taking the city. (5,000 of them are actually buried in the park.) And Berliners instantly took to calling it the "Tomb of the Unknown Rapist".
Two weeks ago, the three biggest wars in the world were in Ukraine, Ethiopia and Yemen. Now truces have silenced the guns and the air strikes in two of the three. They are only temporary truces so far, but there is a reasonable chance that they could grow into something more permanent.