Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 67

Welcome back, we hope you enjoyed the Summer. In case you did not follow: The Islamic State did not disappear, and it actually is becoming ever more vicious. Libya is in shambles, still. NATO is reinforcing the Eastern front, never so militarized since the end of the Cold War. Mass migration from the southern shore of the Mediterranean is a constant pressure for European states, and is straining the relations among them. And we might continue, ad libitum (not a list of pleasant things, though). The coming Fall is going to be hot.

Debate on what the Islamic State is, and what to do about it, continues to rage, as the group’s activities show relentless activism. Isis often described as a mystery, but on the MonkeyCage Costantino Pischedda sheds light on the logic that underlie its behavior, which is not “baffling” if one reads recent civil literature in political science.

Dealing with multiple challenges on several fronts, NATO is encircled by “ice and fire” Admiral (ret.) James Stavridis a former NATO supreme allied commander and a clear fan of Games of Thrones, argues. This requires restructuring the Alliance, and the first step should be strengthening and extending the existing partnerships – that already lists 22 members. Better joint training, engagement in “real-world” operations, and clearly showing the benefits of joining the partnership should be guiding this process.

If partners are important, NATO members are clearly crucial. A recent piece on the National Interest casts a dark shadow on Germany’s armed forces. A centerpiece of NATO Cold War strategy, the article argues that these forces are now badly underfunded and incapable of playing the central role on the hot Eastern Front.

Enough for current events. Moving back in time, Paul Lewandoski offers the recipe of the Oppenheimer Martini, from the man who was in charge of the Manhattan Project. There is also a very brief history of the bomb-making effort, celebrating its 70th anniversary this summer.

Finally, and on a much lighter tone, Marvel is releasing details about the Spring 2016’s likely blockbuster, Captain America: Civil War (no trailer yet). This is Grantland’s Dave Shilling analysis of the match-ups, with Iron Man team easily the favorite to win.






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