A military base in Djibouti, growing contributions to UN peacekeeping operations, port calls to countries around the world, and joint exercises with Russia in the Mediterranean and the Baltic Seas: in recent years the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)has expanded its international footprint, and it has left no doubt that it plans to become a
Pakistan’s armed forces are among the most modern, largest and well funded in the world. Within them, the army is the largest unit and the most powerful institution in the country. In the late 1950s, it became a key political force and increasingly infiltrated the economy. Its penetration into crucial political decision-making became entrenched in the ’80s, while the greatest penetration into the economy and society took place in following decade, and has not been reversed to date. In the paper we will see how the army turned into a key player on the political scene and came to control a wide economic sector, what factors may have contributed to its “over-development” and what are its implications.
Since the partition of the Korean peninsula, the crises between Seoul and Pyongyang have ranked high in the US political agenda. Nonetheless, the profile that the Obama administration has chosen to keep is relatively low. This choice has triggered criticisms, however the posture has brought its own benefits. Moreover, in a difficult economic situation, and in the face of increasing pressures for the curtailing of government expenditure, the ‘low profile’ approach meets the demands of a Congress whose support the White House increasingly needs. The main uncertainty is in the attitude of the PRC. However Beijing, more than any other nation, has a keen interest in keeping East Asia stable. This does not mean that China will become a sort of ‘US cop’ in East Asia. However, some forms of localized cooperation can be envisaged; a cooperation that could strengthen, as China will progress in occupying the international position that its leadership believes the country deserves.