In 1991, when they disbanded the Warsaw Pact, the countries of Central Europe officially declared their independence from the Soviet Union (though the breaking of the bond really took place two years earlier). This newfound independence did not, however, translate into a common voice or common position based on history and circumstance. The region almost… Continue reading Recreating Central Europe
Last month I visited Ningxia province, in China’s northwest. It is a relatively poor region, with a large Muslim population, a considerable stretch of desert, and a growing petrochemical industry. It is far from the unrest of Xinjiang province to the west and the maritime disputes of the South China Sea to the east. Ningxia… Continue reading Is China’s Rise Still Peaceful?
According to the Chinese zodiac, the heavens circle around every 12 years. The Year of the Snake, the creature that sheds its skin to emerge anew, marks a time of great transformation. Indeed, for the last quarter century, the world has experienced three profound shifts at 12-year intervals, beginning with the Year of the Snake… Continue reading Participatory Totalitarianism
Policy analysts, pundits, and politicians have long predicted that the North Korean government will go the way of East German Communism. Just as the seemingly impregnable Honecker regime rapidly disintegrated along with the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the Kim dynasty in North Korea has been expected to collapse at any minute. This minute, of… Continue reading Why North Korea 2014 Is Not East Germany 1989
The end of the Cold War promised a remapping of European security. The Warsaw Pact disbanded officially in 1991, though it had functionally ceased to exist at the end of 1989. NATO, without its longstanding opponent, no longer had a raison d’etre. The logical structure to replace the two-bloc system was the Conference on Security… Continue reading Detente from Below