Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 77

Hot topics abound, as usual. The causes of the Russian plane’s crash in Egypt last week have not yet been ascertained. But it seems that they give another reason for a dispute between the West and Russia. Media of the latter, says The Atlantic’s Brian Whitmore, even suggest a conspiracy masterminded by Western powers.

Time for presidential primaries’ debates. “Outsiders” are in the lead in the Republican field. We know something of Donald Trump’s foreign policy ideas, but very little on Ben Carson’s. This FP article depicts the views of the retired surgeon’s foreign policy advisor.

The new President is likely to find a pretty confused situation (to say the least) in the Middle East. And American troops that have stepped up their commitment from training missions to direct engagement. This is one of the latest reports on anti-ISIS actions in Iraq and on the uneasy relations between US and Iraqi forces.

More on the background, but not necessarily less important. Micah Zenko makes the case for “Red Teams”. Having second opinions and fostering an organizational culture and set-up that accept dissent and promote skepticism can lead to overcome the worst cases of organizational myopia, and forcefully argues that US armed forces should do that in a new book. But, is it a cost-free strategy?

The brain drain is clearly not just an Italian problem. The US military is struggling to attract and then retain the best minds, not an easy thing when the bureaucratic constraints are cumbersome, note David Barno and Nora Bensahel.

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