The Christian Science Monitor Weekly

Vol 106 / Issue 20

The Christian Science Monitor Weekly Digital Edition

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 9 of 47

70 billion Amount, in dollars, of capital outfows from Russia in the frst three months of 2014, compared with $63 billion in all of last year. 700 Pounds of weapons-grade pluto- nium Japan says it will turn over to the United States after a summit on nuclear security. 63 billion Pounds of "bycatch" discarded glob- ally every year by fshing operations, according to one estimate. 18,107 Boxes of Girl Scout cookies claimed to have been sold by Katie Francis of Oklahoma City, surpassing the old record by 107 boxes. 18.92 Hourly wage, in dollars, that a US worker must earn (on average) to adequately aford a two-bedroom apartment at average fair-market rates. (See story, page 11.) 1 trillion Number of scents the human nose can distinguish, 100 million times as many as reported in literature since the 1920s. 7,094 Number of international adoptions by US couples in 2013, a 69 percent decline from the peak of nearly 23,000 in 2002. 59 Percentage of Europeans who sel- dom or never exercise or play sports. Sources: Reuters, The New York Times, Oceana, USA Today, National Low Income Housing Coalition, Science, US Department of State, Eurobarometer P R I M E N U M B E R S Paris – If President Obama's visit with the secretary-general of NATO in Brussels had happened before Russia annexed Crimea, it might have garnered little attention. The alliance, formed in 1949 at the start of the cold war, has strug- gled to defend its relevance since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991. Soul-searching has begun in earnest this year as NATO prepares to with- draw entirely from Afghanistan. But the crisis with Russia, and in particular President Vladimir Putin's assertion that Moscow has the right to defend Russians living anywhere, has breathed new life into NATO's raison d'être. Two years after the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize for six decades of ad- vancing peace, Russia's antagonism has bolstered those who argue for the continued relevancy of NATO's historic mission as a counterweight to Moscow. "You could see how NATO was a bit in search of a mission post-Af- ghanistan ... and then Russia gave it an answer," says Nicu Popescu, an analyst at the EU Institute for Secu- rity Studies in Paris. "This militari- zation of politics, driven by Russia, has led to the rediscovery of NATO's importance." Some point to Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, which states that an attack against one NATO member is an attack on all. Others want national defense entities and the alliance to focus on new security threats, namely global terrorism. Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea after the fall of pro-Russian leadership in Kiev has given cre- dence to those who want NATO to return to its roots. Newer EU mem- bers from the East have long feared Russia's intentions. US Vice Presi- dent Joe Biden visited recently to re- assure Poland and the Baltic nations that as NATO members they would be protected by the United States in the case of Russian aggression. More broadly, budget cuts in de- fense in both the US and Europe, and the shifting American attention to terrorism and, more recently, to China's military buildup, have called into question NATO's relevance. Before he retired in 2011, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates rebuked Europe for not fulfilling its commitments to security. Indeed, the vast majority of NATO members do not meet the organization's goal of spending 2 percent of gross do- mestic product on defense. "If current trends in the decline of European defense capabilities are not halted and reversed," Mr. Gates said, "future US political leaders – those for whom the cold war was not the formative experience that it was for me – may not consider the return on America's investment in NATO worth the cost." This prodded Europeans to take a hard look at their capabili- ties without the US. And while Mr. Obama has stood firm with Europe in the crisis in the Ukraine, Russia's willingness to use force has been another "wake-up" for Europe. Still, as long as the confrontation remains economic and political, not military, it may have little long-term effect on European attitudes toward NATO and the use of military force, says Elvire Fabry, a senior research fellow at Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute in Paris. Govern- ments will remain constrained by slow economic growth. But the crisis "is increasing the perception that Europeans will remain exposed to important risks to their security and need to be well prepared," she says. Nor is it clear that NATO forces are prepared for any confrontation in Europe. US Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove told Reuters that Russia's actions should lead the alliance to rethink the readiness of its forces in Eastern Europe. In 2008 NATO members shelved a proposed expansion of the alli- ance to Ukraine or Georgia, a move seen as a sop to Russia. This debate still simmers: Some argue that ex- tending closer to Russia's borders is a strategic mistake that will only provoke Moscow. – Sara Miller Llana / Staf writer crisis in Ukraine NATO revisits its mission Russia may drive alliance back to its cold-war roots Drill: A Romanian special forces soldier descended from a helicopter to the USS Truxtun during joint military exercises in the Black Sea March 19, a few hundred miles from Crimea. Stoyan nenov/ReuteRS flight 370 The search goes on At press time, ships, planes, and satellites were combing a search area the size of Alaska for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet. For our latest stories, go to 10 The ChrisTian sCienCe MoniTor Weekly | april 7, 2014

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Christian Science Monitor Weekly - Vol 106 / Issue 20