Saturday Morning News

Middle East Chaos Creating A Wider Conflict Zone
Robert Kaplan writes in Politico Magazine contends the chaos in Middle East is a “prologue to the drama sweeping much of the temperate zone of Afro-Asia all the way to China. Indeed, so much else is going on beyond the Levant that the media overlooks: not necessarily violent, but increasingly and intensely interrelated. Understanding it all requires not a knowledge of Washington policy alternatives, but of classical geography.”

He argues this occurs as a result on one region either becomes more or less chaotic impacts the region has with other regions.

“A chaotic Afghanistan affects every country around it, as would a chaotic Myanmar if its different religious and ethnic groups were to further undermine central authority in the capital Naypyidaw. On the other hand, an Afghanistan or Myanmar that draws infrastructure and transportation investment also erases the artificial divisions of area studies by leading to a more fluid geography.”

Are There Lessons To Be Learned From Munich?
It seems as if hardly a week goes by that a politician does not argue that the world must “learn the lessons of Munich,” regardless of how relevant the comparison might be. The Hoover Institution’s Bruce Thornton takes a less-political stance in examining the lessons – if any – we can learn from what most view as the greatest diplomatic disaster of the 20th Century.

Before making any argument, Thornton is clear to add a cautionary note that “the modern idea of progress––the notion that greater knowledge of human motivation and behavior, and more sophisticated technology, are changing and improving human nature––suggests that events of the past have little utility in describing the present, and so every historical analogy is at some level false.”

He goes on to say that the value of Munich as “a historical analogy, have nothing to do with a material calculation. Rather, the capitulation of the British and the French illustrates the perennial truth that conflict is about morale.”

“And, as Munich also shows, that failure of nerve will not be mitigated by diplomatic negotiations. Talking to an enemy bent on aggression will only buy him time for achieving his aims. Thus Munich exposes the fallacy of diplomatic engagement that periodically has compromised Western foreign policy. Rather than a means of avoiding the unavoidable brutal costs of conflict, diplomatic words often create the illusion of action, while in reality avoiding the necessary military deeds. For diplomacy to work, the enemy must believe that his opponent will use punishing force to back up the agreement.”

Is China Serious About Tackling Climate Change?
That is the question posed to several energy experts who are working with the Chinese government on ways it can reduce its carbon footprint.

A Look At Japan’s Military Build-Up
In the last year, Japan has become far more aggressive in its use of and planning for its military. J. Berkshire Miller of National Affairs examines what the impetus is behind Japan’s first military strategy, but it is not one simply designed to react to aggression from China and North Korea.

“Japan’s new defense doctrine will also transcend hard security areas in order to encompass a stronger role for the SDF in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts. It is important to stress that the SDF’s modernization and potential new mandate will remain largely defensive in the East China Sea while becoming proactive on soft security issues,” Miller says, adding that much “of the alarmism over Japan’s supposed national security tilt is misplaced.”





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