Top 5 by Venus in Arms – Week 6

There would still be a lot to read about the Ukraine crisis. The general impression is that – with a few exceptions – time had the effect of sobering up comments (on both sides of the preference spectrum) and letting more nuanced analyses emerge. This is one by King’s College Anatol Lieven, pragmatic though far from optimistic.

For 100 years after the outbreak of WWI, debate on its causes had been one of the liveliest topics in academic, and sometimes even policy, debates. No wonder there is a small resurgence this year, in coincidence of the anniversary. The Economist’s blog on religion and public policy assesses the claim made by (very) few but influential thinkers arguing that the decline in faith was a driver of war. Perhaps small explanatory power in the traditional sense, but nonetheless interesting argument.

From 1914 to 1994 and  then 2014, it’s election time in South Africa. Given the weight of the country in collective memory as far as important elections go, it is important to look for “how” they take place, not just their result. Which is quite a given, with the ANC super-favorite. Mail & Guardian explains some tricks for tactical voting, so that the ANC wins, but not too much.

Robots matter (and will matter more). Michael Horowitz talks about the prospects for the US on robotics, not very good apparently. This might the last of a long series of pieces on the decline of American power, which is nonetheless in relatively good shape. Still, it’s worth reading: it might as well be that these new technologies, contrarily to the most that have been traditionally used in warfare, have a very short process of catch-up.

Relatedly, this is an article about banning the use of drones for hunting purposes in New Mexico. The article is very short and, one might say, slightly off-topic. Still, it sheds light on how technologies that can have “dual” (or more) uses are increasingly accessible and in need of clear regulation. With drones rapidly evolving and being commercialized, the regulatory problem is here to stay. And the impact of technological innovation on “agency” in the security realm deserves further and thorough scrutiny.

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