Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 33

It is hard to be a saint in the city (so sings Bruce Springsteen), but it is also very hard to be a good  SecDef. Or at least to last very long in that position. Ashton Carter will have to deal with the several challenges associated with the office, as most of his predecessors, so Fred Kaplan predicts.

While DoD’s leadership changes, American intelligence goes through a painful process of assessment of its actions after 9/11. Foreign Policy’s Micah Zenko reports on the Senate’s newly released documents on torture, the most controversial of the CIA’s policies. A lot of work done, but still many loopholes.

With powers rising on the horizon (China), or becoming more assertive (Russia), nuclear deterrence experts restart debating “how much is enough” and how to design the US nuclear arsenal. Jerry Meyerle restates a classic argument about the need for flexibility.

Tensions in the Middle East have been touching (again) Jerusalem in the past few weeks with car attacks and with increasing political instability in the Israeli cabinet (new elections in March). The ICG’s Nathan Strall discusses the mounting “rage in Jerusalem”.

Tired of reading? Watch the Afghanistan’s correspondent Anand Gopal discussing the prospects for the country and why insurgent groups gain strength in the arc of instability,

 

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – Week 32

First of all, the end of South Stream. Putin announced that he would scrap the strategic gas pipeline. So Russia will abandon the project. As reported by The New York Times, South Stream was “a grandiose project that was once intended to establish the country’s dominance in southeastern Europe but instead fell victim to Russia’s increasingly toxic relationship with the West“. Here you’ll find the report of The Moscow Times.

Moving from Russia to Iraq, it is worth noticing that Iran is deeply involved in military operations against the ISIL. The Pentagon revealed that Iranian fighter jets (F-4E?) have bombed Islamic State militants in eastern Iraq in recent days.

Remaning in Arlington, Ashton Carter emerges as  the top choice to replace outgoing Secretary Chuck Hagel. Here you’ll find the scoop (CNN). Carter served as Deputy Defense Secretary under both Leon Panetta and Hagel. His main focus has been the management of the defense budget (should we expect some changes also for the F35 programme?).

“Vice” provided several funny articles on “how to invade or conquer” different countries, such as Scotland, France, Russia or the UK. A sort of paradoxical sic-fi perspective on current security affairs. Also ViA contributed regarding the case of Italy.

Finally, one of the most important news of the week: Star Wars. Here the “The Force Awakens” Official Teaser. A lot of discussion on the new lightsaber. A suggestion: Dont’ underestimate the power of the Dark Side…

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