Top 5 by Venus in Arms – Week 85

Happy New Year from Venus in Arms! What resolutions did you set? It also depends on how you see the world around you evolving. This is how James Lindsay see the world around the US in 2016, and which questions should drive US national security planning.


2016 begins with an enduring rivalry getting hotter. The relationships between Saudi Arabia and Iran are critical. Generally this was noticed by most people (consumers), because of oil prices increasing, but not this time, as Keith Johnson reports.


2016 is Presidential elections time! We’ll examine national security platforms of the contenders in the coming months. In the meanwhile, while primaries still rage, let’s explore the most unlikely (early opinions) and still most successful candidate on the Republican side, Donald Trump.


2016 is likely to be characterized by the continuation of the “migrant crisis”. So the Italian Defence Minister Pinotti argues, as the underlying causes of the crisis (e.g. instability in Libya) have not been solved.


Finally, on our own resolutions. One is to read more books. As the dissolution of states in the Middle East has been making the headlines in the past months, we might as well start from a better understanding the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, and read Eugene Rogan’s The Fall of The Ottomans (Allen Lane).


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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 69

The migrant debate dominates in Italy, Europe, and elsewhere. Inflamed by hard-liners’ rhetoric, sensationalisms, it is tough to make sense of its many facets. No single piece can do, but starting with the “facts” (yes, we know, do ‘facts’ even exist? Let’s pretend) is always a good thing. The Council of Foreign Relations provides an informative background of the crisis, with numbers, key definitions of legal terms, a quick view of European states at the forefront of the crisis, and opinions on responses (or lack of) undertaken.

On the other side of the Atlantic, migration represents a hot topic, all the more so as primaries campaigns go on. The US-Mexican border will be the object of discord. Brookings’ Vanda Felbab-Brown provides an overview of the challenges ahead.

More traditional defense concerns keep playing a key role in the US. America is almost ready to assign a multi-billion dollars for the new Long Range Strike Bombers, which for about 550$ mln each should also have other capabilities (intelligence gathering, battle management, …).

The movie moment. Zero Dark Thirty attracted a lot of attention when it was released for its documentary style. It was by several observers considered as supportive the Obama administration’s storytelling of the events. The Atlantic’s Spencer Kornhaber argues that the officials who discussed with director and producers also received substantial material benefits for their help in the vivid reconstruction of the hunt.

The real battle of today though, at least as Venus in Arms is concerned, takes place tonight in Lille. No German tanks in the zone: Italy faces Lithuania in the quarter finals of EuroBasket. Follow live here. Or pay the money to listen to the legendary basket voice Flavio Tranquillo on SkyTv (which we did).

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