Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 41

While ISIS keeps killing hostages, admits the loss of the Syrian city of Kobani, and attacks Kirkuk, US President Barack Obama tries to place the threat posed by the Islamist group in context. It’s one of the many themes addressed in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

This comes in a period of thorough rethinking of American strategy in the past decade and beyond. Robert Grenier on The Atlantic tells his role in trying to prevent the US intervention in Afghanistan by convincing the Taliban to hand over Osama Bin Landen.

In the meanwhile, the US Administration is also rethinking about the state of its nuclear arsenal. Perhaps trying to re-pivot to Asia after events kept the attention on the Middle East, Obama wants to spend hundreds of million dollars  in renovating the nuclear triad, raising several critiques.

Australian Lowy Institute for International Policy features an interesting debate on how to deal with terrorism. Anthony Bubalo’s piece deals with the classic  dilemmas  of democracy balancing the fight on terror and civil liberties.

Finally, a lot of debates on military matters have been raised by recently released movies, starting with American Sniper. Walter Isaacson, well known for his biography of Steve Jobs, tells a part of Alan Turing’s story, celebrated by Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game.

 

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 11

Celebrations for D-Day went by without major breakthroughs on Ukraine. “Unfreezing” between the two presidents does not yet have clear consequences. The New York Times accounts the 15 minutes of their interactions here. More a narrative than a thorough analysis. It is not meant as a critique, quite the contrary: some many words spent on the Ukrainian crisis, so little yet accomplished.

Technology features heavily in modern warfare and Venus in Arms Top 5 follows the trend. Though not linked to defense in this specific occurrence, there has been a quite hot debate on the machine that apparently passed the Turing Test. Slate’s David Auerbach reminds us not to go too fast on the issue. For those who grew up with the Skynet fear and the chance of the good Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) saving us from intelligent machines, this might be good news.

The evolution of AI and robotics, in any case, remain one of the top issues in defense matters. Our (senior…) fellow defense blog War on the Rocks features its own view on the topic, and this is a great review on war’s new grammar. After the debate in the 90s and early 2000s on how the RMA was changing the way of warfare, let’s be ready for endless (but often very interesting) discussions on AI, robotics and future war.

A new project by Glenn Greenwald (who was one of the leading journalists in the Snowden case) on journalism in the era of information society: It’s called First Look Media and here you can find one piece on the Guantanamo Bay affair (the issue: why is not closed yet, notwithstanding Obama’s declarations?). Stay in touch, Greenwald has some talent for opening Pandora’s boxes. If not this time, in future work.

To conclude, less words and more (beautiful) pictures. The New Yorker features a slideshow a photos on Burma. The shots portray an area of the country where an insurgency against the government was staged in the past years by the K.I.A.

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