Beijing's involvement in the Syrian conflict (seemingly, the "world's conflict") has so far concentrated on military and financial support to Bashar al-Assad. But, the People's Republic of China's reluctance to join the fight is being tested by reports of Muslim Uighur's making their way to join the multi-national ranks of ISIS.
Consider the word "crisis" in the modern world. Which would be the first geographical region that comes to your mind when you think about "crisis"? Maybe not Europe? At least, perhaps not until recent months, when the region became plagued with two major crises -- the financial one caused by our Greek friends, and the currently trending news item, the migrant crisis.
This time the world has institutions, practices and early-warning systems in place to encourage more far-sighted policy-making. Political leadership, however, remains trapped in national agendas, or smaller. Unless that changes, unless governments - and the publics to whom they are accountable - embrace the need to use and refresh those institutions, we will have learnt nothing from the previous, and finite, eras of peace.
In my view, those countries with a nuclear deterrent are putting themselves more at risk from today's threats. We're not spending our money wisely. We're taking the heat off those countries without nukes. They're letting us spend the cash on Trident while they focus on what matters: tackling terrorism and stopping the growth of terrorist groups.
I do not want to sound cynical in suggesting that human life has a price. It is priceless as far as I am concerned. But this is a world that is not of my making. It operates according to rules that are sometimes quite absurd, and whether we agree or not, there is a societal consensus that human life, too, has a price.
We should have seen it all coming. The civil war and the underlying tensions rocked Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula should be no surprise to us. Indeed the unprecedented rise of Islamic extremism and the foundation of an organisation like ISIS, along with the independence and anti-EU movements in Britain, along with many other global issues.
As Israeli military operations reignited in Gaza on July 8, the familiar indignant echo of "something must be done" rang out around the liberal and non-interventionist quarters of the Western world in a show of solidarity with the trampled Palestinian people that, while admirable, all too often fails to delineate exactly to whom the appeals for reason should be addressed.
Most people are familiar with what is known as Hard Power. The idea that someone with more swords, bigger guns and overwhelming military ability can force someone to do something against their will but which is almost entirely in favour of those holding the gun. History is full of situations, the ancient Chinese, Persians, Romans all the way through to the British, French, American and Russians...
Good old Vlad is propping up the news again as the shiftiest world leader. Apart from Kim Jong Un. Or Xi Jinping. Or King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Or - who's that bloke who controls the biggest, most notorious 'intelligence' agency in the world? Oh, of course, US President Barack Obama. Or, for that matter, his chum David Cameron...
It's been proposed that, since it's popular in Russian law, it's not the job of the Western world to change it. This is ridiculous on many levels. Firstly, a human rights violation is a human rights violation, regardless of whether anyone, majority or minority, elite or common, thinks it's a good thing.
As the British government seeks to ensure that centenary activities fully mark the contribution of Empire and Commonwealth soldiers, can it find common ground to reflect Australian and Canadian pride in the birth of a nation, Indian and Pakistani concerns about getting the form of recognition right, and South African scepticism about the contemporary relevance of a conflict fought between long lost Empires?
Just like the courtesy of learning a few words of the language, for someone from the UK travelling to countries with different memories of WWI than ours, learning a little more about the scale and legacy of this truly global conflict can be invaluable in effectively navigating and building relationships of trust.
I like the US as country and I love Americans as people. I feel comfortable enough generalizing to that effect. But I'm often so overwhelmed by "American-ness" these days, that I feel in danger of neglecting opportunities for new perspectives and daily variety in favour of the US. It's a real effort to escape from this risk in the Britain of today, and indeed in much of the Western world. One country should not hold that particular power over the rest of the globe.