All in War

What Explains the Russia-Ukraine Conflict?

Public protests against governments are common. But it’s unusual when a neighbouring country takes advantage of the protests and invades. That’s what happened to Ukraine in 2014, when demonstrations in the capital city of Kiev prompted Russia to attack. Within weeks, Russian soldiers seized thousands of square miles of Ukrainian territory, including the strategic Crimean peninsula. They are still there. Ukraine’s government is no longer sovereign over all of Ukraine. How did this happen?

Why is German Manufacturing So Good?

For years, Audi advertisements have used the slogan “Vorsprung durch Technik.” Only a fraction of the millions who have read or heard the words know what they mean (“Progress through technology,” is the answer). The ad campaign works because people associate German design and manufacturing with quality, precision, and technical brilliance. Whether it’s Carl Zeiss lenses, BMW motorcycles, Bosch dishwashers, or Lamy pens, people buy German with the expectation of excellence. How did Germany get so good at manufacturing?

Why are Terrorists Attacking Kenya?

When people imagine Kenya, most think of safari parks filled with lions, leopards, and wildebeest. That may change, however, if Kenya continues to be the scene of sickening terror attacks. Tourist numbers are already down. People are worried that the lions won’t be the only predators they encounter on their trip.

What's the Difference Between Sunni and Shia Muslims?

Curiosity is a good quality, but what about when it is prompted by violence? Such is often the case with ethnic and religious divisions. It would be nice if people were intrinsically interested in the difference between Catholics and Protestants or Hutus and Tutsis, but most aren’t. It sometimes take a tragedy to make people curious. Sadly, that’s the case for the divide between Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims. The cycle of violence between them has been going on for more than a thousand years. What caused the bitter divide?

Why Do Famines Occur in Africa?

Go into a school and ask children to draw a picture of a famine victim, and the colour of crayons they'll grab is easy to predict. The stereotype of a person suffering from famine is African. And it’s accurate. In the 1800’s famines took place on every continent. In the past 40 years, by contrast, all famines except one have been in Africa. Why? There are several possible explanations. I’ll give you the best four.