NATO boss: World at historic danger point

Red scare: The Kremlin has requisitioned over 4000 train carriages to move troops west.

Is he right? Tensions with Russia are boiling over as it plans military manoeuvres this week. The nuclear threat from North Korea intensifies. But others say we live in the best of times.

Thousands of Russian troops, tanks, and aircraft gather for mass training drills in Belarus this week.

Some think Russia simulating a huge attack on Eastern Europe. Moscow claims that 13,000 troops will be involved; but Western leaders expect 100,000 soldiers.

Russia claims that the exercises will be defensive. But others say they could be used to attack Ukrainian territory.

NATO head Jens Stoltenberg, said yesterday that the world is “more dangerous” than at any point in the last 30 years.

Meanwhile Kim Jong-un has the rest of the world on red alert in the North Korea nuclear weapon crisis. The UK defence secretary pointed out: “London is closer to North Korea and its missiles than Los Angeles.”

Today, Americans will fall silent for the anniversary of the September 11th terror attack. It ignited the War on Terror, with conflict in the Middle East, and terrorism in Europe. Yet, according to Stoltenberg, even those perils pale in comparison to those of the present.

A generation ago, things were very different. The celebrated historian Frances Fukuyama declared the “end of history” and said the world had reached a state of permanent peace and civilisation.

Raise the alarm

“It only takes one person to make war,” say some. The balance of power is held by some war-hungry men. Putin has already started several wars. Donald Trump has promised “fire and fury”. And nobody is sure what Kim Jong-un is capable of. It just takes one of them to set off a devastating chain of events. We are in danger.

“There’s less space for war now,” argue others. We are more connected than ever. Putin and Kim Jong-un both know that there is more to gain from co-operating with the West than fighting. Of course there are still dangers, but overall the world is a safer place than it was a generation ago.

You Decide

  1. Is the world in the most dangerous era for a generation?

Activities

  1. Compare a map of Europe in 1970 and a map of present day Europe. What new countries are there? Can you work out why the map has changed?

Some People Say...

“The second world war would have happened whether Hitler was alive or not.”

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
We know that Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014, annexing Crimea. We know that the Russian government was very angry when Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania joined Nato. We also know that North Korea has the capacity to produce a nuclear bomb.

Word Watch

Training drills
Known as “Zapad”, taking place every four years.
NATO
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, currently made up of 29 Western nations. Member states agree to defend each other.
September 11th
Four planes were hijacked of which two were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York City.
War on Terror
Primarily refers to the US-led invasions of Afghanistan in 2001, and Iraq in 2003.
End of history
Argument that after the fall of the Soviet Union, Western democracy would dominate the world, ending international conflict.

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