Decoder: The myth of an international community

Decoder: The myth of an international community

When Russia invaded Ukraine, the “international community” stood back. But is there such a thing? What, if anything, can bring the world together? The entrance to the United Nations in Geneva is obscured by the emblems of a dozen international economic and...

Blaming the “international community” for inaction is easy. But does this community actually exist, or is it just tantamount to the United States and company? Correspondent Bernd Debusmann runs it down in this Decoder.

Exercise: Divide students into nine groups. Each group will be assigned one of the regional organizations mentioned in the article: NATO, European Union, Arab League, G-7, G-20, ASEAN, OAS, African Union, BRICS. Groups should research their assigned organization and identify the organization’s main objectives and stance on current international tensions (e.g. war in Ukraine, economic sanctions on North Korea, nuclear proliferation, etc.). Can these regional groups work together to create a true international community, or are their interests too disparate? 

Decoder: Why Japan matters more than ever

Decoder: Why Japan matters more than ever

Japan remains a global economic powerhouse and is becoming an ever closer political partner of the West. People walk at a pedestrian crossing in Ginza shopping district in Tokyo, Japan, 31 March 2023. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)  This article was produced exclusively...

ND correspondent and Asia specialist John West takes students to Japan in this Decoder explaining the island nation’s growing geopolitical importance and evolving defense strategy. Ranked the 17th-most democratic country in the world ahead of both the United States and France, Japan remains a key Western ally in a region fraught with tension.

Exercise: Geography has always played a significant role in the founding of civilizations and countries, shaping a nation’s economy and security. Launch a class discussion about how Japan’s geographic location and topography may have influenced the developments described in the article. Then, have students brainstorm how your country’s own geographic location (and geographic features like mountains, water sources, etc.) affects its role and influence on a world stage. This exercise is particularly well-suited to be a complementary lesson after students learn about the conditions of Japan’s surrender after World War II, highlighting the lasting effects of history in the present day.

Tag: politics