A political dispute in Japan over an alleged cover-up in a UN peacekeeping operation in South Sudan highlights a bigger regional problem with international operations that are no longer about maintaining, but more about imposing, peace.
An invitation from RUSI Japan to participate in a roundtable in Tokyo in late May gave the author a great opportunity both to present a view of European security to Japanese experts, and to re-immerse briefly in local perspectives on the risks facing their region.
In his statement at the White House in 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a commitment not to militarise the artificial islands China built in the South China Sea. Observers wondered how China defined the term ‘militarisation’. And it is this lack of clarity helping to fuel speculation over Beijing’s strategic ambitions.
The Trump administration appears eager to change its position frequently, keeping both friends and adversaries on their toes. The snag is that, at least for the moment, allies are more rattled than potential enemies.
A great deal of rhetoric is expended over China’s gigantic investment initiatives. Still, many of the economic projects are real, and Western governments will be well advised to understand their purpose.