Articles and analysis

While the world anxiously watches the Korean peninsula, or the South China Sea for signs of incipient war, the level of armed conflict around the world has continued to exact a deadly toll. Just ten conflicts accounted for more than 80% of the fatalities worldwide, according to this year's Armed Conflict Survey, produced by the London based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Nick Watts was at the launch for us.

In 2017 Britain will be the world's third biggest defence spender and second biggest aid donor. Indeed, according to IHS Janes Britain will in 2017 spend 54bn or $66bn on defence, whilst the British government's own figures show that London will spend some 13bn or $17bn on aid and development. Hoorah!

And yet Britain's defence budget is apparently again in crisis with some estimates suggesting Britain's armed forces face a 20bn/$26bn funding gap between defence commitments and defence investment. This gap matters. The entire point of Britain's defence strategy is to leverage the power of alliance and coalitions by acting as a leadership hub or 'framework' power in the worst-case event of multiple and simultaneous crises.

Over its sixty-seven-year history, officially, the People's Republic of China looked up to foreign countries as inspiration only twice. In the early 1950s the Soviet Union guided the Communist Party of China. Yet by 1969 the two countries nearly went to war over ideological and territorial disputes. Then, after a long hiatus, Deng Xiaoping's visit to Singapore in 1978 ushered in a prolonged period of keen interest in the city-state's recipe for economic success, write Niv Horesh and Jonathan Paris in "The National Interest" .
In Singapore, Deng found a dynamic and fast-growing polity run by ethnic Chinese, while Hong Kong was still a British colony. Partly for that reason, Hong Kong society could not be openly extolled by the Communist Party of China (CPC).

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