Friday Reads

Russia Warns Sweden Against Joining NATO
Viktor Tatarintsev, the Russian ambassador to Sweden warned the country that if it gives up its non-aligned status and makes a move to join NATO, “there will be counter measures” from Moscow.

“Russia will have to resort to a response of the military kind and re-orientate our troops and missiles,” he warned Sweden’s largest newspaper. Nearly one in three Swedes think the country should join Nato, a major poll suggested last month.

up from 29 percent of Swedes in 2013 and 17 percent in 2012.

Global Peace Index Finds Syria Least Peaceful Nation
The Institute for Economics and Peace released its latest Global Peace Index, a statistical analysis of the state of peace in 162 countries over the last nine years, and found that

While global peacefulness remained largely stable over the last year, a number of indicators and countries did deteriorate while others improved. The most substantial changes in the Index occurred in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) where “several countries suffered from an upsurge in violence related to sectarian strife and civil conflicts, resulting in the region being ranked as the least peaceful in the world,” the report found.

The increase in violence cannot be viewed in a vacuum because it has global ramifications, particularly in terms of refugee crises impact on economic growth.

In 2014, the world spent 13.4 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on costs associated with violence, equivalent to the total economic output of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the UK. Of that figure, more than $3 trillion was poured into military spending.

China Preparing Civilian Ships For Military Uses 
China has started to require civilian ships to meet military standards so they can potentially be used in conflict, Agence France Presse reports. The regulations “will enable China to convert the considerable potential of its civilian fleet into military strength.”

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