The world admires Germany and would like to see more active engagement from the country. But Germans themselves are reluctant and Chancellor Merkel has steered clear of taking on more global responsibility. Berlin should rethink its role in the world.
When a German reads current travel guides about Germany, written by foreigners clearly enamored of the country, he feels noticeably better afterwards. The travel guides praise Germany as a colorful, high-energy, beautiful country, a European power center in every possible way, a miracle world of culture and technology, inventive and with an entrepreneurial spirit, “truly … a 21st-century country.” Continue reading
The country’s constitution bans it from having a traditional standing army. But its so-called Self Defense Force is one of the world’s most sophisticated armed bodies.
FORTUNE — On paper, Japan is a pacifist nation. It ranks 6th on the Global Peace Index, a list tabulated by peace activists at Vision of Humanity. Japan’s constitution makes illegal a traditional standing army. But a recently published defense white paper shows the extent to which the country has one of the most well-equipped “invisible” armies in the world.
Japan’s armed forces are euphemistically dubbed the “Self Defense Force” (SDF) — officially it’s an extension of the police. Continue reading
Syria itself is a proxy country for the Soviet Union against the Western powers. If it can control countries in the Middle East, it can control the world’s oil flow. While not all of the world’s oil comes from the Middle East, it is taking advantage of the Western world’s naïveté in thinking it has to depend mostly on these countries for supplies, not its own vast reserves of domestic energy such as shale in Colorado or in Canada. Arms exporting, as noted within the article plays a huge role as well. Russia is ranked number four in the world under this category, and second in terms of export value. Nevertheless, here is The Jamestown Foundation on the strategic importance of both Syria and Turkey according to Russia:
Russia has been an unwavering supporter of President Bashar al-Assad and one of the prime suppliers of weapons to the Syrian military. Moreover, Russia and China have used their veto power in the UN Security Council to prevent sanctions and an arms embargo against Damascus. The Russian authorities reacted angrily to the plane’s interception. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the Turks of endangering the lives of the passengers, of not allowing Russian diplomats to meet the reported 17 Russian passport-holders on board while the plane was searched, and demanded explanations (Interfax, October 11). Continue reading