Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 8

Less talking about current events this week, we take some time to explore interesting stuff that does not always make the headlines.

Rosa Brooks’ “Portrait of the Army as a work in progress” describes the transformation of the US Army as it needs to refocus away from heavy deployment and is constantly challenged by the idea that technology could solve almost everything (and in a cost-effective way). “Regionally Aligned Forces” (RAF) are an attempt to overcome the current challenges by offering a model of forces ready for intervention in particular geographical areas, not to repeat errors linked to lack of cultural sensitivity that characterized recent expeditions.

The Atlantic features a James Fallows’ piece titled “Fear of Flying”, a tale of the disconnect between danger and fear. If you have always thought that “You Are More Likely to Be Killed By Boring, Mundane Things than Terrorism”, or on the contrary you’re very worried about terrorism, this is the thing to read.

Once again about robots, this Amnesty International blog post is about “stopping them before it’s too late”. As a reminder that future warfare will be influenced by technology but also by regulation, and how policy-making will deal with robotics matters (as much?) as the opportunities provided for by scientific and technological advancement.

On the London Review of Books a piece under the category of “seen from outside”, or how the foreign press sees Italy. It has little to do with defense, but a lot to do with the narrative about Italy. As usual, prejudices and conventional narratives emerge here and there. For Italians to dismantle them and for foreigners who know about Italy to come up with more nuanced accounts.

As European elections approach, Venus in Arms comes up with an endorsement. Not a political one, of course. Just go to the website of the project “EU and I” sponsored by the European University Institute and discover your political preferences as it comes to voting this weekend.

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