German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks as part of a visit of the Joint Operations Command of the German armed forces, in Schwielowsee near Berlin, Germany, March 4, 2022 (AP photo by Michael Sohn).
Last week, Germany’s lower legislative chamber, the Bundestag, held a historic vote to amend the country’s constitution to allow for a massive expansion of its military forces. The vote tally—567 to 96, with 20 abstentions—was one more sign that when Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, he upended not only the architecture of global security, but also, in some cases, fundamental, long-established beliefs about national defense. In the case of Germany, one of the most significant effects of Russian aggression has been the blow it dealt to the notion of pacifism that has guided the country’s defense policies since World War [...]
A protester lights candles to mark the anniversary of the 1989 military crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests, outside the Victoria Park in Hong Kong, June 4, 2021 (AP photo by Kin Cheung).
The events of June 4, 1989, in Tiananmen Square were part of a distinct moment in time. At the heart of what took place there that day was a question of succession hovering over Deng Xiaoping, the then-paramount leader whose stewardship of the Chinese Communist Party stood at a crossroads following the death of Hu Yaobang, the CCP’s former general secretary. June 4 was an opportunity for the protesters in Tiananmen Square to communicate not only to their political leaders, but also to Mikhail Gorbachev, the then-leader of the Soviet Union who was visiting China at the time. The square [...]
An officer on board a Vietnamese coast guard vessel films a Chinese coast guard vessel sailing in the waters claimed by both countries in the South China Sea, May 15, 2014 (AP photo by Hau Dinh).
Ukraine’s successes in resisting and even turning back an invasion by a numerically superior Russian force has raised expectations in East Asia that smaller nations in the region could conceivably fend off an attack from a large military like China’s. Taiwan, of course, has long struggled with executing such a defense strategy, but since its strategic considerations are in many ways unique, other countries nominally threatened by China may not be able to draw as many lessons from Taipei’s experience. Ukraine’s performance in its war against Russia, on the other hand, may look to them like a more relevant model—for [...]
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