The instinct of Westerners is to react negatively to recent news of a Greek-Russian natural gas deal that would allow the so-called Turkish Stream pipeline to eventually transport natural gas through Greece into Europe. The West and Russia are, after all, in a standoff over the Ukraine Crisis. Meanwhile, it appears the primarily motivation behind the Greek decision is wishful thinking and weak progress on efforts to ease a eurozone funded bailout amid an impending collapse of the Greek economy.
Even with the Ukraine Crisis, bypassing Ukraine and rerouting gas supplies through politically troubled NATO member Turkey is a risky gamble for the Russians and Greeks. Not only is there a risk the pipeline might not be build and Greece might default on a potential Russian “advance,” thus further hindering the Greek economy should the deal fall through, the deal puts a wedge between Greece and the rest of Europe. It is important to note experts doubt the Turkish Stream pipeline is even commercially viable. Meanwhile, it provokes a conflict of interest between Turkey and the rest of NATO, which is certain to result in further backlash against Russia.
To the military mind, nuclear bombs save lives. They save the lives of fellow soldiers. They save the lives of fellow citizens. They save military resources, require little sacrifice, and nullify almost all of a faceless enemy’s defense. They compress years of bloodshed, agony, and terror into mere moments of loss. In short, they are an efficient, sanitary, and humane means of waging war.
Both Korea and China were spared from nuclear war during the Korean War, but there were military strategists promoting the nuclear option. The Korean War was thoroughly devastating to the Korean People, but dozens of nuclear strikes across the Korean Peninsula and China would have changed the very makeup of the human population. Asia has Western ideals, diplomacy, and democracy to thank for the decision of US leadership to table their nuclear strategy instead of immediately turning to the power of the atom to save American blood and treasure.
Reoccurring issues like the Greek Debt Crisis remind us it is a small world after all. Unfortunately, a lack of progress over Greece’s debt problems is once again causing turbulence in the European Stock Markets. Clearly, the European Union is expected to experience the fallout of Greek economic troubles, because Greece is part of the European Union and shares a currency with the rest of the Eurozone. Much of the International Community will, however, also feel the ripple effects of Greek’s economic woes.
It can be somewhat puzzling as to why a small, poor nation like Greece can have such a far-reaching impact on the rest of the globe, especially when the troubles of a highly populated nation like Pakistan or a closer nation to the US , such as Mexico, can go unnoticed. The relationships poor countries like Greece enjoy with rich countries such as Germany determines their ability to affect the rest of the world. On the other hand, globalization is to blame for the interdependency that allows national and regional issues to affect the International Community.
Just over a year ago, the Islamic State was forcing itself into the spotlight by seizing towns like Mosul as the Iraqi army scattered into the wind at their approach. In a moment of unguarded honesty, President Obama admitted earlier this week that he still does not have a strategy to defeat the Islamic State. To critics, it was a scandalous confession of his incompetence, but the truth is that the Obama Administration has limited options and the Islamic State is a fluid organization demanding a fluid response.
In terms of military strategy, the Obama Administration’s airstrikes and limited engagement are the actions of a country taking on a support role. Recognizing the US is still recovering from the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, while the Ukraine Crisis and South China Sea Crisis present a far greater threat to America’s vital national security interests, this is an appropriate role.
The truth is that any endgame strategy against the Islamic State will depend on America’s allies, particularly America’s allies in the Middle East. Unfortunately, it has taken a year for those allies to take ownership of the threat to their own regional and national security. In many respects, they are just beginning to come together to battle the Islamic State and they need greater US leadership in all aspects of the anti-terrorism campaign.
“Lower taxes, less regulation” has become the battle cry for many proponents of business, espeically those in the political world. Free trade is, of course, a natural progression for those seeking to promote business interests. Even as the world flirts with a second Cold War or a third World War, the campaign for expanded free trade marches on, but free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are not necessarily pro-business.
Increased trade can open new opportunities for business to sell their goods and services. In turn, it can offers consumers greater access to those wares, including less expensive versions of domestically produced goods. For investors, it provides cheaper access to global investment opportunities. Above all, it provides businesses the opportunity to operate in whatever environment is most advantageous to their needs.
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