Top 5 by Venus in Arms – Week 31

Hunting for a new SecDef in the US started as Chuck Hagel left his post on Monday. Failing, allegedly, to convince President Obama that the Pentagon has a coherent strategy to deal with ISIS. To fill the vacancy, someone should be very knowledgeable about Russia too.

Drone policy is one of the hottest issues for the CIA as well as the Pentagon, and it also plays an important role in the new season of Homeland. Debate rages on ethics and effectiveness, but it seems that in Iraq and Syria the largest problem for the US is drones’ scarcity.

Given that, how effective is “conventional” airpower in dealing with the issue? DefenseOne provides a calculation of “how many flying hours it takes to kill a terrorist”.

Always on robots, John Little of BlogsofWar discusses the implications of advancements in robotics in a podcast. The argument? Technological innovation might not favor the inventors but rather those who can exploit more fully because they have less ethical constraints.  

Food for thought (as usual) by Stephen Walt. In a list of the Top 5 Foreign Policy Lessons of the Past Twenty Years  you will find controversial and counterintuitive statements. Probably even something that stirs up rage. But it’s realism as it best.

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 9

First of all, Darth Vader. He lost. Not because of the return of the Jedi but in recent Ukrainian election. In a very dramatic scenario, take a look at this strange story. Anyway, from Alderan to Crimea, it is always a matter of power, empires and rebels. For a more serious analysis of the crisis in Ukraine see the ICG report “Running out of time”….

Harsh civil-military relations in France. The problems for the French cabinet are not limited to the shocking electoral success of the extreme right.  France’s top military chiefs threatened to resign, fearing new budget cuts. Their concern is related to the country’s ability to conduct operations in places like Mali and Central African Republic. This is not the best moment ever for President Hollande.

We suggest a quite interesting analysis on the forgotten never-ending crisis of Somalia. Despite the adoption of the inadequate label of “failed state” (which is a Weberian, Westphalian useless framework of analysis), the article provides an insightful outlook of the country, between greater expectations and Al Shabab.

Intelligence and incredible malfunctions. Here you’ll find the report of how the White House has mistakenly identified CIA chief in Afghanistan. As illustrated by “The Washington Post”: “The CIA’s top officer in Kabul was exposed Saturday by the White House when his name was inadvertently included on a list provided to news organizations of senior U.S. officials participating in President Obama’s surprise visit with U.S. troops”. What a surprise…(in the meanwhile Obama announced the plan to keep almost 10.000 troops after 2014).

Finally, we suggest this new blog on global politics and other stuff. “Relations International” has excellent contributors, so we have great expectations. There are already a lot of brilliant posts, from deterrence to Inigo Montoya (a luminous career for him, as we can see in “Homeland”…)

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