Top 5 by Venus in Arms – Week 86

This week we start with pundits, IR theories and US foreign policy. The question is: “Do the greatest op-ed pages in America discriminate against foreign policy realists?”. Here some possibile answers.

Is Ebola over? The epidemic  has killed more than 11,000 people. However, as reported by The Guardian, the efforts to prepare for pandemics have been chronically underfunded.

Moving to contemporary warfare, here you’ll find an interesting analysis on the never-ending crucial role of the artillery in the battlefield. Even in Syria.

What about “Brexit“? Der Spiegel provides the last news on the EU strategy to keep Britain from leaving.

Finally, a song. We already missing you.

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 39

“Terrorist hunt” has been in the agenda for decades, but recent events brought the practice under the spotlight even more. The New Yorker’s Mattathias Schwartz critically discusses the NSA strategies of controlling phones, arguing this is not necessarily bringing success, while it has high costs.

Non-traditional threats have been attracting the attention of armed forces in recent years. This is the account of the American General leading the mission to fight Ebola virus, on of the most recent, and demanding, of the new US Army’s missions.

Frequent travellers might worry about how widespread conflicts might affect their flights. The Israeli Defence Forces’ blog proposes an article on how technology can guarantee safety to airplanes – and their passengers – even in the midst of missile attacks.

While facing a complex range of new missions, armed forces are also rethinking the weapons they need. Which will be around in the next 20 years and beyond? The interplay between growing resource constraints and the rapid development of anti-access/area-denial weapons, for instance, is potentially underpinning the potential demise of stealth technology.

You might remember that in a 80s movie, Clint Eastwood flies an airplane invisible to radars. Well, now he’s an acclaimed director and just released a new movie, American Sniper. Is that a patriotic war movie or (another) disillusioned take at the myths of war and combat?

 

 

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 41

“Terrorist hunt” has been in the agenda for decades, but recent events brought the practice under the spotlight even more. The New Yorker’s Mattathias Schwartz critically discusses the NSA strategies of controlling phones, arguing this is not necessarily bringing success, while it has high costs.

Non-traditional threats have been attracting the attention of armed forces in recent years. This is the account of the American General leading the mission to fight Ebola virus, on of the most recent, and demanding, of the new US Army’s missions.

Frequent travellers might worry about how widespread conflicts might affect their flights. The Israeli Defence Forces’ blog proposes an article on how technology can guarantee safety to airplanes – and their passengers – even in the midst of missile attacks.

While facing a complex range of new missions, armed forces are also rethinking the weapons they need. Which will be around in the next 20 years and beyond? The interplay between growing resource constraints and the rapid development of anti-access/area-denial weapons, for instance, is potentially underpinning the potential demise of stealth technology.

You might remember that in a 80s movie, Clint Eastwood flies an airplane invisible to radars. Well, now he’s an acclaimed director and just released a new movie, American Sniper. Is that a patriotic war movie or (another) disillusioned take at the myths of war and combat?

 

 

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 24

First of all, the “battle for Kobani“. Kurdish forces and Isis militants are fighting for the control of the Syrian border town of Kobani. According to the Turkish President Erdoğan the US air strikes are not the proper solution for the crisis. As reported by The Guardian, he said that Turkey wants to fight both Isis and the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK). For sure, the presence of ‘passive’ massive military forces at the border (and the repression of domestic demonstration) while the Isis is trying to control Konani well illustrates the political approach of Ankara towards the war in Syria. Indeed, US appears as “frustrated” over Turkish inaction

Regarding war and political violence we suggest this insightful article by The National Interest: “What Our Primate Relatives Say About War”. Why war? Rousseau and Hobbes provide different perspectives that are here examined through chimpanzee and bonobos.

Here you’ll find recent updates on the Ebola outbreak while here the Pew Research illustrates some recent polls concerning the US confidence in the federal government to prevent a major crisis. So far, no evidence of widespread alarm.

The excellent Unredacted focuses on the new book by Peter Kornbluh and William M. LeoGrande “Back channel to Cuba”. The book investigates the relationship between  Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Cuba, providing also new views on Fidel Castro’s intervention in Angola in 1975.

Finally, after 25 years, Twin Peaks comes back! No additional comments are needed, just..damn good coffee!!

 

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 23

As news of the first case of Ebola outbreak on American soil (in Dallas) spread, some experts are evaluating if Ebola can be weaponized and used as a WMD. It seems that the recent discovery of files related to biological weapons development in an Islamic State’s recovered laptop brought attention back to WMD as a tool that can fall into the hands of “terror”.

Re-emerging threats might lead to further expansion of surveillance by security agencies. Activist and software geek Brad Templeton talks on a BigThink video interview about the NSA’s attempt to access to so-called quantum computer technology, which might expand the agency’s ability to break cryptography and manage big data.

Focus on the Middle East sometimes distracts from events happening elsewhere. “Close encounters” between Chinese and US aircrafts in the South China Sea are small but important hints that international politics is on the move in the Pacific.

Defense industry is always on the move, even with budget cuts affecting the several armed forces and leading to downsizing of programs (Italy to begin with). Still, the US military at least is always tuned to exploit new technologies, such as 3D printing, to improve the effectiveness and/or efficiency of some of its processes and programs.

Western prisoners in the hands of IS, not to forget other cases where kidnapping is a consolidated strategy for armed groups, are everyday news. Jumping back in history, it is insightful to read about the experience of the longest held American prisoner of war, John Downey, recluded in a Chinese prison for two decades after the Korean War.

 

 

 

 

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