TOPIC OF THE DAY:-“Systemic crisis”

At the heart of it, the crisis in the Korean peninsula reflects an endemic and worrying disorder in the contemporary international system. For one, international diplomacy has failed in the region. The ability of the great powers to compromise and reach a workable consensus to deal with global crises seems to have considerably reduced especially with the arrival of Mr. Trump and the assertion of China and Russia. What is even more worrying is this: the failure of the great powers to arrive at a workable consensus in crisis situations is perhaps a sign of the times to come. Second, the current crisis is further intensified by the deal-breaking tendencies of Mr. Trump. For instance, his administration’s tirade against the Iran nuclear deal, the end result of long, arduous negotiations, is sending out all the wrong signals to the international community. If Kim’s North Korea is decidedly revisionist, Mr. Trump’s revisionist tendencies are equally damaging. What is also becoming clear today is that isolating states that “misbehave” does not resolve conflicts. Be it Pakistan, Iran or North Korea, isolating states in the international system can only further complicate existing crises. The reason why we have been able to restrain the development of Iranian nuclear weapons is precisely because the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, plus Germany) reached a historic nuclear deal in 2015 despite pressure from within the U.S. and countries such as Israel to use force against Tehran. Had it not been for this deal, we would have had quite a mess in our neighbourhood today. Finally, and at a deeper level, the disarmament platitudes of the N-5 (or the five nuclear weapon states) and no progress on their disarmament commitments have eroded the faith of the nuclear have-nots in the global nuclear order. In an indirect but relevant way, such erosion of a normative global order has contributed to the North Korean crisis. Therefore, those lamenting how Kim’s nukes will weaken the non-proliferation regime have only themselves to blame for it.


1) Contours

Meaning: An outline representing or bounding the shape or form of something.

Example: “she traced the contours of his face with her finger”

Synonyms: Outline, Shape

2) Trade-distorting

Meaning: Used to describe a tax or action that changes the normal characteristics of trade.

Example: Some experts believe that trade-distorting agricultural subsidies are partly responsible for increases in global food prices.


3) Contentious

Meaning: Causing or likely to cause an argument; controversial.

Example: “a contentious issue”

Synonyms: Vexed, Debatable

4) Prerequisite

Meaning: Required as a prior condition.

Example: “the student must have the prerequisite skills”

Synonyms: Necessary, Required

Antonyms: Unnecessary, Non-essential

5) Unravel

Meaning: Investigate and solve or explain (something complicated or puzzling).

Example: “they were attempting to unravel the cause of death”

Synonyms: Solve, Resolve

Antonyms: Complicate

6) Credence

Meaning: Belief in or acceptance of something as true.

Example: “psychoanalysis finds little credence among laymen”

Synonyms: Acceptance, Belief

7) Scepticism

Meaning: A sceptical attitude; doubt as to the truth of something.

Example: “these claims were treated with scepticism”

Synonyms: Doubt, Distrust

Antonyms: Conviction, Belief

8) Lukewarm

Meaning: (of a person, attitude, or action) unenthusiastic.

Example: “Britain is lukewarm about the proposal”

Synonyms: Indifferent, Apathetic

Antonyms: Enthusiastic

9) Underpin

Meaning: Support, justify, or form the basis for.

Example: “the theme of honour underpinning the two books”

10) Combative

Meaning: Ready or eager to fight or argue.

Example: “he made some enemies with his combative style”

Synonyms: Aggressive, Bellicose

Antonyms: Conciliatory

11) Rhetoric

Meaning: Language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect, but which is often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.

Example: “all we have from the Opposition is empty rhetoric”

Synonyms: Bombast, Bragging

12) Ill-afford

Meaning: If you cannot afford to do something, you must not do it because it would cause serious problems for you.

Example: He can ill afford to fail any of his exams.

Synonyms: Degrade, Decline

13) Imperative

Meaning: Of vital importance; crucial.

Example: “immediate action was imperative”

Synonyms: Crucial, Critical

Antonyms: Unimportant, Optional

14) Disarm

Meaning: (of a country or force) give up or reduce its armed forces or weapons.

Example: “the other militias had disarmed by the agreed deadline”

Synonyms: Demilitarize

Antonyms: Arm

15) Disincentivise

Meaning: Discourage (a person or course of action) by removing an incentive.

Example: “such policies disincentivize those on average incomes”

16) Reconciled

Meaning: Settle (a quarrel).

Example: “advice on how to reconcile the conflict”

Synonyms: Reunite, Placate

Antonyms: Estrange, Alienate

17) Consolidating

Meaning: Strengthen (one’s position or power).

Example: “the company consolidated its position in the international market”

Synonyms: Strengthen, Harden

18) Irrational

Meaning: Not logical or reasonable.

Example: “irrational feelings of hostility”

Synonyms: Unreasonable, Illogical

Antonyms: Rational, Logical

19) Concessions

Meaning: The action of conceding or granting something.

Example: “this strict rule was relaxed by concession”

Synonyms: Admission, Acceptance

Antonyms: Denial, Retention

20) Disharmony

Meaning: Lack of harmony or agreement.

Example: “we will become ever more a nation of social disharmony”

Synonyms: Discord, Friction

Antonyms: Harmony