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LA STAMPA

Across Border From North Korea, A Visit To The Quiet Heart Of US Power In Asia

The largest US military base in Asia is Yongsan, in the South Korean capital. Long considered a plum and relatively safe posting, there is new uncertainty in the face of an untested new leader in North Korea, and growing US interest in containing China&am

A South Korean navy sailor and US army soldier at Yongsan (Joint Chief of Staff)
A South Korean navy sailor and US army soldier at Yongsan (Joint Chief of Staff)
Ilaria Maria Sala

SEOUL - Every Sunday, the soldiers of the American military base of Yongsan, in the South Korean capital, are authorized to trade in their uniforms for civilian clothes. On one such Sunday earlier this month, Sergeant Harding, who works at the base newspaper, The Morning Calm, was waiting in front of the gate in a holiday sweater studded with Christmas pins, one of which read "Free Hugs."

After a quick inspection at the checkpoint, we were admitted to the largest American base in Asia, which houses a total of 28,000 people, including 20,000 soldiers.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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