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"China and Russia not Nato’s enemies, Emmanuel Macron says, as he defends 'brain death' remarks"

Vor dem NATO-Gipfel in London hat Frankreichs Präsident Macron erklärt, dass Russland und China nicht als Feinde des Bündnisses behandelt werden sollten. Stattdessen sollte die Bekämpfung des Terrorismus in den Vordergrund gerückt werden, so Macron. "'Is our enemy today Russia? Or China? Is it the goal of Nato to designate them as enemies? I don’t believe so,' Macron said at a joint news conference in Paris alongside Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. 'Our common enemy today in Nato is terrorism, which has hit each of our countries.' France is looking to shake up the 70-year-old military alliance created to provide collective security against the Soviet Union. Macron alarmed his European allies this month by declaring he wants improved relations with Vladimir Putin despite the aggression in Ukraine that has seen Russia excluded from global forums like the Group of Seven. 'Nato is a collective defence alliance,' Macron said. 'Who is our common enemy? What are our common issues? These are questions that deserve clarification.'"

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"Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to announce formal withdrawal of the extradition bill and set up a committee to look into causes of protest crisis"

Hongkongs Regierungschefin Carrie Lam will die umstrittene Gesetzesvorlage über eine Auslieferung von Tatverdächtigen nach China nach wochenlangen Protesten offenbar endgültig zurückziehen. "Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is set to formally withdraw on Wednesday afternoon the much-despised extradition bill that sparked the nearly three-month long protest crisis now roiling the city, sources have told the Post. A source also revealed that she will set up an investigative committee to look into the fundamental causes of the social unrest and suggest solutions for the way forward, stopping short of turning it into a full-fledged commission of inquiry, as demanded by protesters. Whether the committee will be independent is yet to be determined. The decision to withdraw the bill will mean that the government is finally acceding to at least one of the five demands of the protesters, who have taken to the streets over the past 13 weeks to voice not just their opposition to the legislation, but the overall governance of the city in demonstrations that have become increasingly violent."

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"Angry, fearful Hong Kong needs to call a truce and get some sleep, even if it can’t end the unrest"

Christian Chan und Frendi Li empfehlen den Kontrahenten in Hongkong einen "Waffenstillstand", um zur Ruhe zu kommen und der außer Kontrolle geratenen "Polarisierung, Entmenschlichung und Radikalisierung" auf beiden Seiten Einhalt zu gebieten. "Society has been divided into police and protesters, black shirts and white shirts, or blue ribbons and yellow ribbons – a legacy of the 'umbrella movement' in 2014. And the in-group versus out-group dynamics are playing out again in the current conflict: the out-group is seen as homogenous, and the problematic behaviour of a few is ascribed to an entire group. In addition, the whole group is thought to have a single, common, malicious motivation for their behaviour. (...) Many have offered solutions to help de-escalate the conflict. Here we throw in a few more as clinical psychologists and researchers. Firstly, we need a truce. Everyone is exhausted. (...) Secondly, this crisis should be treated as a public health disaster. Using a disaster-relief framework allows us to deploy health and mental health professionals accordingly. (...) Thirdly, we need a campaign to remind ourselves of our common identities, as Hongkongers and human beings."

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"For Hong Kong to have a future, its young people must have hope"

Winston Mok verweist auf die sozialen Ursachen der Massenproteste in Hongkong. "(...) beyond the immediate triggers, ultimately, economic issues are driving the despair, disillusionment and desperation of Hong Kong’s younger generation. Hong Kong’s youth must be seen in a global context. First, while the younger generation in developing countries can expect a better standard of living than their parents, the opposite is true for developed economies — Hong Kong included. (...) Behind its posh facade, Hong Kong is a failed capitalist experiment with glaring social inequalities. The radicalised youth will not be pacified unless there is a major renegotiation of the social contract. (...) Hong Kong is a ticking time bomb, decades in the making. The latest events are just the sparks that lit the fuse. What culminated in the explosion we are witnessing can be traced to the colonial government’s policies, or lack thereof. Is the central government being unfairly singled out as the punchbag? Beijing has a narrow base among Hong Kong business elites. As a nominally socialist party, it has failed to effectively cultivate Hong Kong’s middle class and working class. The extent of uncontrollable frustration among large swathes of Hong Kong’s population has caught China’s leaders by surprise. But it should not have been a mystery: class conflict leading to class warfare. That Beijing failed to anticipate, let alone defuse, the crisis would probably earn it a 'fail' grade from Marx."

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"Washington should stop shooting its mouth off about Hong Kong, when even Donald Trump is being sensible"

Tom Plate meint dagegen, dass die USA gut daran täten, sich aus der Krise in Hong Kong herauszuhalten. "Back in the British colonial masters’ days in the sun, they had granted the inhabitants of Hong Kong no more democracy or proper representation than they had other colonies. Today’s pathetic complaints from British MPs in London about Beijing’s rough handling of their former possession are therefore more of a joke than a Mr Bean comedy routine. Just as farcical is the US State Department’s holier-than-thou attitude to Beijing’s outrage over a meeting between a US consul and Hong Kong pro-democracy activists. (...) In this climate of tension and with the prospect of tragedy hovering, Hong Kong is not something to be trifled with by otherwise professional US diplomats or bloviating US officials such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Instead, a simple if quiet apology should have been offered to the Xi Jinping government trying to keep some political distance from the fired-up anti-Hong Kong nationalists; they’d like nothing more than for the People’s Liberation Army to storm Hong Kong with all the ferocity and misplaced rectitude of French paratroopers hitting Algeria."

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"China tries to bridge gap in knowledge about the US following criticism that misreading of Donald Trump helped trigger trade war"

In China wird der Handelskrieg mit den USA auch als Folge des eigenen Missverstehens der amerikanischen Intentionen betrachtet, schreibt Zhenhua Lu. "China has increased the number of government-funded studies into the US and trade this year following criticism that gaps in the country’s understanding of America has left policymakers unprepared to deal with Donald Trump’s presidency and the subsequent trade war. When Trump started the still-unresolved dispute last July, Chinese academics faced heavy criticism that they had underestimated the US president and his administration’s resolve to confront Beijing. (...) Shi Yinhong, an international relations professor specialising in US-China affairs at Renmin University in Beijing, said the authorities had realised they needed to prioritise research into the US and trade to overcome their lack of know-how when it came to dealing with Washington. 'It proved that our world outlook had important gaps, which made us unprepared for the increasing trend towards selective ‘decoupling’ [with China],' Shi said."

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"US criticism of China rings hollow when America itself has betrayed its own ideals"

Robert Delaney bezweifelt, dass die USA gegenüber China eine "kulturelle Überlegenheit" für sich beanspruchen können. Dem entstehenden Überwachungsstaat in China könne z.B. die teilweise Abkehr der USA von ihren eigenen Idealen gegenübergestellt werden. "(...) the ultimate expression of Washington’s departure from the country’s ideals was Trump’s assertion that arms sales to Saudi Arabia were more important than a response to the apparent political killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. China may have squelched the political rights that had started to emerge in the 1980s and 1990s, but the Chinese Communist Party never staked its legitimacy on them. In a world where access to information is key, America would appear to have a lead, but the US can’t win this debate as long as it’s at war with its own cultural values."

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"A third US-North Korea summit is the last best chance for resolving nuclear crisis"

Glyn Ford sieht in einem dritten Gipfeltreffen zwischen Donald Trump und Kim Jong Un die wohl letzte Chance, um den laufenden Verhandlungsprozess zu einem positiven Ende zu führen. "The elephant in the room remains: security guarantees for North Korea. The US belabours the point that North Korea once said it would not necessarily demand the withdrawal of US troops from the south, yet fails to acknowledge the decades of it demanding exactly that. If the US were to end its hostile policy, what better demonstration of commitment than withdrawing US forces from the peninsula? It is inconceivable that this will not be on the table at a future meeting even if ultimately Pyongyang would allow Washington to buy out the demand with concessions. (...) It would be no surprise – and suit Washington – if some time after the G20 summit in Osaka, there was a blitzkrieg summit in Pyongyang."

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"How to make the most of China’s accidental rise as a European power"

Emilian Kavalski von der University of Nottingham Ningbo in China meint, dass sich die EU der neuen chinesischen Rolle als "Stakeholder" in Europa nicht grundlos widersetzen sollte. Die erkennbare Abwehrhaltung in Brüssel entspringe einer Fehleinschätzung der globalen Zielsetzungen Pekings. "The accusation that China wants to split up Europe has no validity merely because politicians and pundits repeat it. Has anyone ever answered satisfyingly what exactly China would gain from a weakened and divided Europe? Don’t forget the Western end of the belt and road plan is the common European market. Central and Eastern European countries are mere way stations to far more lucrative markets in western Europe. Although China’s growing influence does warrant monitoring, a European strategy that picks a fight with a great power over fictional geopolitical tensions is in need of explanation – especially when China’s presence in Europe is dwarfed by Russia’s. (...) It is impossible to wish away China, and unwise to ignore the fact that it is already a European stakeholder. Instead, a pragmatic approach to China should preserve the diversity of roles that the country, as an accidental European power, could play in the context of European aspirations."

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"Why the price of Europe following the US’ Huawei boycott may be far too high"

Der norwegische Kolumnist Arild Vollan bezweifelt angesichts der amerikanischen Boykottkampagne gegen Huawei, dass der chinesische IT-Konzern vom Aufbau des europäischen 5G-Netzes ohne immense Kosten und Zeitverluste ausgeschlossen werden kann. "The 5G network is an extension of 4G. If Huawei is not used, the existing 4G network must first be dismantled, and this would be a huge undertaking, costing enormous sums of money. Norway currently has 14,000 Huawei base stations, and the cost of dismantling a Huawei 4G base station and replacing it with a Nokia or Ericsson base station is about 600,000 krones (US$70,500) per station. Vodafone UK recently issued a strong warning: if the UK wants to stop using Huawei, the roll-out of 5G will be seriously delayed, at enormous cost to the UK. And ultimately it is British subscribers who will have to foot the bill for boycotting Huawei. Why should Europe pay the costs, take the risks and gamble with their economic development and growth? Blindly following the US will have enormous consequences for European business. It will delay the development and deployment of artificial intelligence and the next generation of wireless services – just to support the US’ new-found policy of protectionism."

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"Duterte, Modi, Widodo. Re-elected or not, their populism will live on"

Richard Heydarian erwartet, dass populistische Politiker wie Rodrigo Duterte in den Philippinen in Asien auch künftig Wahlsiege feiern werden. "From Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines to Narendra Modi in India and Joko Widodo in Indonesia, recent years have seen political outsiders capture power through the promise of wholesale transformation of their societies. Whatever the election results, which will probably favour the incumbents, their brand of populism will be here to stay unless their liberal counterparts provide a more palatable alternative that addresses the needs of the aspirational middle classes. Though their backgrounds and operations are diverse, these political figures have in common four basic characteristics. (...) Though they have fallen short of fulfilling many of their original promises, thanks to bureaucratic inertia and the complexity of challenges in an era of globalisation, upcoming elections are unlikely to derail their brand of populism or dislodge them from power."

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"'Prepare for war', Xi Jinping tells military region that monitors South China Sea, Taiwan"

Chinas Präsident Xi Jinping hat bei seinem Besuch des regionalen Militärkommandos im Süden Chinas deutlich gemacht, dass sich die dort stationierten Truppen auch auf einen möglichen Kriegsfall vorbereiten müssten. "One of the primary missions of the Southern Theatre Command is overseeing the South China Sea, an area where tensions and military activity involving China, the US and other powers have been growing steadily. (...) Military observers said Xi’s comments were most likely intended to boost morale and reiterate Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. 'It’s likely intended as a signal to the US in particular and any parties that Beijing perceives to be causing provocation [in the disputed waters],' said Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore."

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"Guantanamo prison to stay open at least 25 years"

Das umstrittene US-Gefangenenlager Guantanamo soll nach den Worten des zuständigen Konteradmirals John Ring mindestens 25 weitere Jahre bestehen. "In January, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order, reversing his predecessor Obama’s ultimately fruitless 2009 directive to close the facility that has drawn global scorn. Following Trump’s move, 'they told us we are going to be here for 25 years or more,' said Ring, Commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo. The Pentagon 'sent us a memo saying plan to be open' for at least 25 years, Ring said during a visit regularly organised by the US military for journalists, with the aim of showing that prisoners are treated humanely at the American enclave in communist Cuba’s southeast."

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"China pledges US$23 billion in loans and aid to Arab states as it boosts ties in Middle East"

China hat umfassende Kredite und Freihandelsverträge im Nahen Osten in Aussicht gestellt, berichtet Laura Zhou. "It comes as Beijing tries to shore up its geostrategic footprint in the Middle East, a key part of its 'Belt and Road Initiative' that aims to connect China to Africa and Europe through a network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks. Replacing the United States in 2010 as the largest trading partner to the bloc, Beijing has been boosting its economic ties with Arab countries, which remain largely defined by China’s energy demands – over half of its worldwide crude oil imports come from the Middle East."

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"China may take bigger role as 'guarantor and mediator' after Trump-Kim nuclear talks"

Laura Zhou berichtet dagegen, dass Peking von einem zunächst symbolischen Erfolg des Gipfeltreffens zwischen Donald Trump mit Kim Jong-un ausgehe und bereit sei, beide Seien bei einer Einigung zu unterstützen. "Beijing is expected to take a bigger role in Korean peninsula negotiations after US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meet on Tuesday – helping the two sides to push forward any deals they make. The role would be as a 'guarantor', Chinese analysts say, not just of progress on the denuclearisation Washington is seeking, but also to ensure what Kim wants most: the safety of his regime."

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"North Korea’s nuclear test site has collapsed ... and that may be why Kim Jong-un suspended tests"

Die von Nordkorea angekündigte Schließung einer Atomtestanlage ist der South China Morning Post zufolge möglicherweise darauf zurückzuführen, dass die Einrichtung kollabiert ist und nun eine radioaktive Kontamination droht, die auch China und andere Nachbarländer betreffen könnte. "North Korea’s mountain nuclear test site has collapsed, putting China and other nearby nations at unprecedented risk of radioactive exposure, two separate groups of Chinese scientists studying the issue have confirmed. The collapse after five nuclear blasts may be why North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared on Friday that he would freeze the hermit state’s nuclear and missile tests and shut down the site, one researcher said. (...) One group of researchers found that the most recent blast tore open a hole in the mountain, which then collapsed upon itself. A second group concluded that the breakdown created a 'chimney' that could allow radioactive fallout from the blast zone below to rise into the air."

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"China wins its war against South Korea’s US THAAD missile shield – without firing a shot"

Südkorea habe im Streit um das amerikanische Raketenabwehrsystem THAAD gegenüber China Zugeständnisse gemacht und Peking damit zu einem wichtigen diplomatischen Sieg mit möglicherweise langfristigen regionalen Folgen verholfen, schreibt David Josef Volodzko. "Beijing, which claims the system’s radar can be used by the United States to spy on China, retaliated against the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system with unofficial sanctions against the South. Seoul has now agreed to accept military constraints in return for the lifting of those sanctions, creating a worrying precedent for Beijing’s rivals in the region. The military constraints are known as the 'three nos', meaning Seoul agrees there will be no further anti-ballistic missile systems in Korea, no joining of a region-wide US missile defence system and no military alliance involving Korea, the US and Japan. This is an enormous sacrifice but for reasons both economic and political Moon had few other options."

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"Chinese in the Russian Far East: a geopolitical time bomb?"

Ivan Tselichtchev von der Niigata University of Management in Japan fürchtet, dass die verstärkte ökonomische Kooperation Russlands und Chinas im Fernen Osten aufgrund des wirtschaftlichen und demographischen Übergewichts Chinas und wegen historischer Territorialkonflikte zu neuen Spannungen zwischen beiden Ländern führen könnte. "(...) the issue of Chinese presence in the RFE touches a raw nerve in Russia, largely for two reasons. First, Russians view it in the context of the enormous and growing economic and population incongruence with China and second, the three-decades-long Sino-Soviet confrontation, including border clashes in the late 1960s. China’s population is about 10 times that of Russia. The population of the RFE, comprising seven provinces, is only a little more than 6 million – an average density of less than one person per square kilometre. (...) Since 1991, the RFE has lost about a quarter of its population. China’s gross domestic product is almost 10 times that of Russia’s and the gap is increasing."

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"On relations with China and North Korea, Trump has the makings of a statesman"

In seinen ersten hundert Amtstagen habe US-Präsident Trump insbesondere im Umgang mit China und der Nordkoreakrise "instinktive staatsmännische Fähigkeit" an den Tag gelegt, meint der Historiker und frühere Berater des US-Außenministeriums John Barry Kotch. "(...) in interacting with foreign leaders at the White House and at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Trump has demonstrated an intuitive grasp of statesmanship, his signature 'art of the deal' persona on display. (...) The key question is whether Xi and Trump can play a credible 'good cop, bad cop' routine, which will require deft diplomacy combining Chinese economic leverage with US military muscle. (...) In this connection, Trump has subtly ratcheted up the pressure on the North, letting it be known in Pyongyang as well as Beijing that the military option is no longer off the table. (...) Equally importantly, it will require keeping in mind the overriding policy objective, most clearly expressed by Admiral Harry Harris, the US Pacific Commander, who told a congressional committee this week that the US goal was to bring Kim Jong-un 'to his senses, not to his knees'."

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"Why Japan is relieved about Trump"

Der Besuch von Premierminister Abe in Washington sei in Japan von vielen Bürgern als großer Erfolg interpretiert worden, berichtet Julian Ryall. Es herrsche Erleichterung vor, da Präsident Trump sowohl die Handels- als auch die Sicherheitsbeziehungen zwischen beiden Ländern bekräftigt habe. "'I’m not sure if 70 per cent praised the outcome of the meeting because my sense is that most people here are simply indifferent,' said Mayako Shibata, a university student. 'People don’t care if Trump is the president – it could have been Bush or Obama – but they just want Japan to have a good working relationship with America in terms of security and trade,' she said. 'People around me were saying they were worried about the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal, but now it looks like there will be a bilateral deal, so that problem is solved and businesses are happy,' she told This Week in Asia. 'And I think Abe might secretly have been quite happy when North Korea fired that missile because he could use it as evidence of the importance of the security alliance,' she added."

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"Trump’s phone call, arms sales and the future of Sino-US ties"

Das Telefongespräch Donald Trumps mit der Präsidentin Taiwans lässt China Wendy Wu zufolge befürchten, dass die USA unter dem kommenden Präsidenten Taiwan noch stärker mit Waffen beliefern könnten. "Together with Trump’s Twitter messages, the phone call has triggered huge concern in the mainland about further weapon sales to the island after Trump is sworn in on January 20. It has been interpreted as a signal of further confrontation between the China and US. The last arms sales were announced by the Obama administration in December 2015 after a suspension of four years, the longest interval between two arms sales to Taiwan, when cross-strait ties during the administration of Ma Ying-jeou were friendlier."

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"When Mosul falls, will Islamic State head to Asia?"

Auch in Asien wachse die Sorge vor der Rückkehr kampferprobter Dschihadisten, die gegenwärtig für den IS in Mosul kämpfen, schreibt Bhavan Jaipragas in der South China Morning Post. "There is rising concern among regional counterterrorism officials that the US-backed war machine encircling Islamic State (IS) is inadvertently spawning a jihadist alumni network in Southeast Asia and elsewhere made up of fleeing militants seeking a safe haven in their home countries. 'The threats posed by foreign terrorist fighter returnees are real and imminent,' Jeremy Douglas, the representative for the UNODC in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, told This Week in Asia. 'Increasing military pressure on [IS] in Syria and Iraq is now expected to result in more returnees including many that will want to pursue violent jihad in the region.'"

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"Why are Malaysia, Singapore nervous as Iraq looks to retake Mosul from Islamic State?"

Die Regierung Malaysias fürchtet Bhavan Jaipragas zufolge, dass die Vertreibung des "Islamischen Staates" aus der irakischen Stadt Mosul zu einer massenhaften Rückkehr von Dschihadisten in ihre Heimatländer in Südostasien führen könnte. "'It will be thousands of them. This is why it’s important for us to have a trilateral relationship with Indonesia and the Philippines. We need to ensure we can get as [much] intel as possible to strengthen and to protect our region,” [The country’s defence minister, Hishammuddin Hussein,] was quoted as saying in the New Straits Times newspaper. (...) 'I think this is going to be an imminent threat. When the fighters return to countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, they will build a kind of alumni network, like the fighters from Afghanistan nearly two decades ago,' said Ridlwan Habib, a counterterrorism expert at the University of Indonesia. Ridlwan said the returning fighters would bring with them 'new strategies and skillsets'."

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"Lost in limbo: Refugee crisis may create generation of stateless children, experts warn"

Strikte Einbürgerungsgesetze in Europa könnten eine Generation staatenloser Kinder entstehen lassen, so eine Warnung des European Network on Statelessness (ENS). "An ENS report, which analyses nationality laws in 47 European countries, says flawed laws and birth registration procedures mean thousands of children are growing up stateless across the continent. It also highlights emerging concerns over the risk of statelessness to some children born in exile to Syrian refugees. (...) Problems are compounded in cases where the father is absent or has been killed because discriminatory Syrian laws prevent mothers passing their nationality to their children. An estimated 60,000 babies have already been born in exile in Council of Europe member Turkey, which is hosting some 2 million Syrian refugees."

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"Balance of superpowers - Comparing the armed forces of US and China"

In der South China Morning Post ist als Reaktion auf die internationale Kritik an den wachsenden chinesischen Rüstungsausgaben eine Infografik veröffentlicht worden, die verdeutlichen soll, dass der chinesische Militärhaushalt im internationalen Maßstab und insbesondere im Vergleich zu den USA keineswegs außergewöhnlich sei. "Even after several years of double-digit spending increases, China’s military reach is limited to its home territory. The reach of the US armed forces includes historical ties with traditional allies, geographic distribution and cutting-edge technology, as well as income through arms exports."

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"US experts warn of cyberattack risk over further sanctions on Russia"

Russische Hacker könnten US-Experten zufolge auf die möglichen neuen Sanktionen gegen Russland mit verstärkten Cyber-Attacken gegen den Westen antworten. "Cybersecurity specialists consider Russian hackers among the world's best at infiltrating networks and say evidence exists that they have already inserted malicious software on computers in the US. The Financial Services Roundtable, an industry group that includes Citigroup and Bank of America, was watching for any signs of hacking attacks, although nothing appeared imminent, said Paul Smocer, head of the technology policy division of the Washington-based trade group. 'A cyberattack is a real concern that we all need to have,' Smocer said. 'Nation states' ability to launch cyberattacks is certainly real nowadays, and so in any conflict, I think that the possibility exists as we worry about escalation.'"

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"Jihadist in Iraq may push into Baghdad ahead of elections"

Der französischen Nachrichtenagentur AFP zufolge könnten radikalislamische Kämpfer im Irak vor den Parlamentswahlen ihren offenen Kampf gegen die Regierungstruppen in die Hauptstadt Bagdad tragen. "The latest clashes, just weeks before parliamentary elections, raise key questions over the capacity of the army and police to repel militant attacks. Anti-government fighters currently hold all of Fallujah, a town that is just a short drive from Baghdad, and other pockets of territory. The push by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) into the Abu Ghraib area, sparking clashes in nearby Zoba and Zaidan and a failed assault on a military camp in Yusifiyah, illustrate the group's ambition, even with Fallujah under military siege. In perhaps the most worrying sign of ISIL's capabilities, anti-government fighters paraded with dozens of vehicles last week in broad daylight in Abu Ghraib, just 20 kilometres from the capital, according to witnesses and videos posted to YouTube."

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