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Geopolitics

Extra! Massive 8.2 Earthquake Hits Southern Mexico

In Mexico City on Sept. 8
In Mexico City on Sept. 8
Stuart Richardson

earthquake_disaster_milenio_mexico

Milenio, Sept. 8, 2017

A massive earthquake struck off the coast of the Mexican state of Chiapas just after midnight, and Friday's front page of the Mexican daily Mileniorecorded its strength in bold, black letters: "8.2º Richter," a once-in-a-century seismic event.

Local authorities have already confirmed five fatalities. This figure will likely rise as communities begin to sift through the rubble. Many also fear that the seismic activity will generate a tsunami, further affecting the region, though initial reports suggest that the expected three-meter high waves will not cause significant damage.

The earthquake comes amid a series of natural phenomena that have devastated this part of the world. Much of the Caribbean and the U.S. Southeast is hunkering down as Hurricane Irma tears through the region, following the widespread damage and flooding caused by Harvey.

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Geopolitics

Smaller Allies Matter: Afghanistan Offers Hard Lessons For Ukraine's Future

Despite controversies at home, Nordic countries were heavily involved in the NATO-led war in Afghanistan. As the Ukraine war grinds on, lessons from that conflict are more relevant than ever.

Photo of Finnish Defence Forces in Afghanistan

Finnish Defence Forces in Afghanistan

Johannes Jauhiainen

-Analysis-

HELSINKI — In May 2021, the Taliban took back power in Afghanistan after 20 years of international presence, astronomical sums of development aid and casualties on all warring sides.

As Kabul fell, a chaotic evacuation prompted comparisons to the fall of Saigon — and most of the attention was on the U.S., which had led the original war to unseat the Taliban after 9/11 and remained by far the largest foreign force on the ground. Yet, the fall of Kabul was also a tumultuous and troubling experience for a number of other smaller foreign countries who had been presented for years in Afghanistan.

In an interview at the time, Antti Kaikkonen, the Finnish Minister of Defense, tried to explain what went wrong during the evacuation.

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“Originally we anticipated that the smaller countries would withdraw before the Americans. Then it became clear that getting people to the airport had become more difficult," Kaikkonen said. "So we decided last night to bring home our last soldiers who were helping with the evacuation.”

During the 20-year-long Afghan war, the foreign troop presence included many countries:Finland committed around 2,500 soldiers,Sweden 8,000,Denmark 12,000 and Norway 9,000. And in the nearly two years since the end of the war, Finland,Belgium and theNetherlands have commissioned investigations into their engagements in Afghanistan.

As the number of fragile or failed states around the world increases, it’s important to understand how to best organize international development aid and the security of such countries. Twenty years of international engagement in Afghanistan offers valuable lessons.

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