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 17.

The dramatic crisis in Gaza is ongoing. Among several comments and op-eds, last week we focused on this alternative view regarding the widely debated Iron Dome. According to the MIT Professor Theodore Postol, the effectiveness of the system is overrated. Here and here you’ll find updated data and analyses on Iron Dome.

Apart from the ground war, IDF and Hamas are clashing also in terms of communication efforts. “The New York Times” provides an interesting account of such “struggle for domestic and international opinion”. In other words, a “clash of narratives” as a new level of propaganda war.

With the global attention devoted to the conflict in Palestine, we should not forget the worsening of security conditions in Libya. The website “Libya Body Count” well illustrates a war scenario: around 250 deaths only in July.

The F35 is a “hot issue” (and this is not a reference to the recent engine fire…) in the US. Here “The National Interest” highlights five possible ways to replace the JSF. Too late? The debate is still lively and controversial.

Finally, an Italian perspective. During the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Italy will coordinate EU policies leading to the negotiations of the new post-2015 development Agenda. If you are interested in development cooperation look at this website (in English) that shows a lot of data regarding Italian aid programmes.

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – Week 4

Quite difficult not to start with Ukraine, with the crisis apparently escalating (again). In the midst of several commentaries, data can be useful. Fivethirtyeight provides the usual insightful analysis on which regions might be the next Crimea, according to electoral, polling and demographic data.

A movie by David Cronenberg, a few years ago, beautifully reconstructed Russian mafia penetration in London. But Russian money as well might play a role in influencing UK stance on the Ukraine crisis. On Foreignaffairs.com Jonathan Hopkin and Mark Blyth offer a bleak but interesting picture of the links between London as a financial center and Russian money.  A catch-phrase: “(…) the Ukraine crisis has crystallized a broader trend in British politics: the increasingly subordinate attitude of the government toward the capital’s super-rich, many of whom are not even British citizens”.

Military transformation is taking place pretty much everywhere these days, in least in rhetoric. Israel has a long reputation of translating words into practice in the field, and here you can find more info on where that transformation is going: in a few words, more cyber and less tanks.

The US Army is also thinking about how to prepare for future challenges. A post appeared on Rand Corporation’s website pushes for the Army to remain “ready for battle” and avoid transforming itself in an organization devoted to nation-building or peace-support operations.

Finally, legendary reporter Seymour M. Hersh explores the international dimension of the Syrian civil conflict, providing a detailed account on intelligence that led to the escalation of the crisis, and Obama’s threat to intervene because of the alleged regime’s use of chemical weapons in August 2013. Hersh lucidly argues that intelligence on Syrian rebels developing their own gas was available, and that Erdogan’s government in Turkey was much more involved in helping rebels than generally recognized.

 

 

 

 

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