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Assignment: NATO and The EU

Assignment: NATO and The EU

Assignment: NATO and The EU


Among the countries standing in line to join the West are Albania, Montenegro, and Serbia. Ukraine and Georgia have also expressed a desire to join both NATO and the EU. But the euro crisis, which started with a small country (Greece) and now threatens to spread and possibly call into question the survival of common currency, has created new burdens for EU members (especially Germany) and a collective sense of self-doubt in Brussels. Whether the new realities translate into a greater reluctance to admit new members only time will tell.

Amid all of Europe’s “negatives” in these difficult times, it’s easy to lose sight of the positives. For all practical purposes, totalitarianism (Communism, Nazism, Fascism) has disappeared from the map of Europe. There are still countries where elections are a farce and freedom of the press is a fairytale (Russia and Belarus, for example), but they are now few and far between.*

Asia: Aging Tigers—Still Strong Or Endangered?

Like the former communist states of Eastern Europe, Asia’s “four tigers”—South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore—were also in transition in the 1990s. (Under the terms of an 1898 treaty, control of Hong Kong reverted to China in 1997.) Other Asian “tigers” were emerging as well, including Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. All competed with Japan, Asia’s “economic miracle” and model of an export-driven economy. But already in the 1990s, the rise of China—combined with Japan’s sinking economic fortunes—signaled a big change in the global balance of power and put Asia’s tigers on notice: Beware of the Dragon!

South Korea: Beleaguered but Resilient

The economic transformation of South Korea, from a poor country dependent on agriculture to a modern industrial state powered by a technologically advanced manufacturing sector, was complete by the turn of the twenty-first century. South Korea achieved an impressive economic growth rate of more than 7% a year between 1971 and 2014.