Editorial – War and Weak Signals – While progressing through the raw mass of information of The Weekly and editing it, initially, it seemed obvious the editorial should focus on Obama’s visit to Asia, the TPP and especially on the U.S. President’s assertion in the Yomiuri Shimbun regarding the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands: “The policy of the United States is clear — the Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall within the scope of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. And we oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands” (through Stars & Stripes). The accommodating Chinese News reactions to this American statement, as a willingness to keep the U.S. outside the dispute, are also to be underlined (BBC review).

Meanwhile, interestingly, three unrelated pieces of information seem to indicate the possibility of new developments in Europe and the U.S. in the area of opposition and protest movements  (see the viral “Oligarchy study“,  reaction to Thomas Piketty’s book and Legrain’s “need for a European Spring”).

Tomas photo
Photo of Slaviansk – Courtesy of @TomasRafa from his 24 April 2014 11:38 tweet – see also his website documenting New Nationalism through Europe

Then, news came, through radio and twitter, of the Kiev government’s attack on Slaviansk and of the fatalities among protestors (e.g. RT), followed by Putin’s statement that ““If the current Kiev authorities really started to use army against people inside the country, this is a very serious crime against their own people,” and “A military operation against Ukrainian civilians will entail consequences for Kiev authorities, who make these decisions, including consequences for mutual relations between Russia and Ukraine” (Itar-Tass). The new Russian “extensive military exercises” at the Ukrainian border that immediately followed (RT) are a strong warning of what might happen next if the situation does not de-escalate, i.e. war to put it bluntly, while Itar-Tass (Russian news agency) by also reporting the Secretary General of the OSCE statement, may indicate that hopes are still for dialogue. Nonetheless, the situation is extremely tense and volatile.

Here, we are definitely not in the classical case of scanning the horizon for distant and weak signals, but in crisis’ indications. Thus, should we disregard those very strong signals? Considering the momentous changes that acute crises and war bring across all areas, it seems difficult – and could even be a mistake – to disregard them. What should be done is to look at other weak signals through the framework of the potential evolutions that could be brought about by the acute crises. The questions we should thus ask and answer could be, for example, “how now to interpret Obama’s statement and his Asian visit considering the ever escalating tension in Ukraine?” “How could the renewed interrogations regarding the reality of a fair democracy in the West interact with war in Ukraine and what could be the multidimensional impacts?” Or, as far as the revision of the “hype” on Big Data (The Economist, Brookings) is concerned, in which way could Big Data analysis be impacted and impact crisis and war?

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Ukraine, war, weak signal, political risk

Featured image:  April 24, 2014  St Petersburg – Photo: the Presidential Press and Information Office – At the First Media Forum of Independent Regional and Local Media.