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"The Next Administration Should Bring the Shadow Wars into the Light"


Daniel R. Mahanty und Rachel Stohl empfehlen der kommenden Biden-Regierung, sich von den seit 9/11 üblich gewordenen "Schattenkriegen" der USA zu verabschieden. "A Biden administration may be eager to make certain symbolic reforms and to temper the most visible aspects of the 'forever war' (e.g., by reducing troop levels in Afghanistan), yet preserve the option of using covert lethal action and secret surrogates to counter threats with lower perceived cost and less apparent risk to U.S. forces, and all on the basis of an expansive interpretation of the President’s constitutional authorities. Then-candidate Biden referred to these programs, taken to mean drone strikes and operations conducted by special operations forces, during this primary campaign as 'light footprint' operations. Dabbling on the margins would be a mistake. If we have learned anything in twenty years, it’s that clandestine and covert operations carry their own, often underestimated, risks for the executive branch, to include blowback from civilian casualties (without the ability to publicly defend the purpose of an operation), mission creep, and public distrust."

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"Could Trump Assassinate A World Leader and Get Away With it?"


US-Präsident Trump hat vor kurzem zugegeben, dass er kurzzeitig ein Attentat auf Syriens Präsident Assad erwogen habe. Katie Bo Williams erklärt, warum die rechtliche Einordnung eines solchen Schritts keineswegs leicht wäre. "'Assassination' is a fuzzy word that has more rhetorical than legal force, but it is nominally banned under an executive order that grew out of President Ford’s Executive Order 11905. That first iteration 'prohibited any member of the U.S. government from engaging or conspiring to engage in any political assassination.' Its latest iteration, EO 12333, states that 'no person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in or conspire to engage in assassination.' The term 'assassination' goes undefined. 'And therein lies the rub!' said Rachel VanLandingham, a military justice expert at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles who once served as the chief of international law for U.S. Central Command, which oversees most American troops from the Middle East to Afghanistan. 'Context is everything.'"

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"19 Years After 9/11, Politicians Need to Stop Overhyping Threats"


Nach Ansicht von Joshua A. Geltzer sollte der Jahrestag der Anschläge vom 11. September 2001 als Gelegenheit genutzt werden, um die gängige Praxis der politischen Überschätzung aktueller Gefahren zu hinterfragen. "The 19 years since 9/11 have taught us that sustainable American national security depends on securing not just our physical, and now digital, infrastructure but also our mental resilience. Strengthening our cognitive infrastructure doesn’t mean getting Americans to agree on everything, consume the same news sources, or think of their American identity uniformly. We’re happily too diverse for that. But it does mean ensuring that America’s collective consciousness isn’t so susceptible to manipulation by hostile actors that we tear ourselves apart, embrace fiction over fact, and do to each other what our adversaries are unable to do to us themselves."

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"Will Trumpism Change Republican Foreign Policy Permanently?"


Thomas Wright von der Brookings Institution meint, dass der "Trumpismus" die US-Republikaner außenpolitisch dauerhaft verändert haben könnte. "Trump has upended decades of Republican foreign policy. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush put freedom and democracy at the heart of their worldview. They supported United States alliances and embraced free trade. Trump sees U.S. allies as free riders who take advantage of Americans. He is a protectionist who loves tariffs. He is naturally drawn to authoritarian strongmen. And he sees U.S. foreign policy as purely transactional, with no larger purpose of building a better world. Trump did not just challenge Republican orthodoxy. He also blew up its establishment. Now, if he loses, his supporters will likely blame the Never Trumpers, now including former National Security Adviser John Bolton, for the president’s defeat and for everything a Biden administration subsequently does. With many of these officials pushed aside, new foreign-policy voices in the GOP are poised to fill the vacuum."

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"Why The Future of Belarus Matters to the United States"


Patrick Tucker meint, dass die Krise in Weißrussland die Strategie Russlands und des Westens lange prägen könnte. Russland betrachte den Nachbarstaat als wichtigen Verbündeten, langfristig könnte das Land allerdings wie die Ukraine ins westliche Lager wechseln. "If Lukashenko goes the way of Yanukovich, it again shows that Moscow’s strongmen aren’t so unstoppable. 'He cannot afford to have the authority in Belarus to be overthrown,' said [Deutsche Welle columnist Konstantin Eggert]. 'The only thing that would suit Moscow is for Lukashenko to go of his own volition, which is now impossible, only because if Lukashenko goes today, or tomorrow, or in a week’s time, it will look as a flight.' This leaves the possibility of Putin using military force to back up an increasingly embattled ally against the Belarusian population. But polling in Russia suggests that 'this is not particularly popular with the Russian population,' who have become increasingly wary of Putin’s foreign adventures and, while a majority of Belarusians may consider themselves Russian, Russian citizens simply 'don’t believe Belarus needs saving,' said Eggert. Either way, experts say Belarus won’t be able to continue on as it has after the events of this week. Eventually, it will either fall toward the West, depriving Putin of an essential supporting government against NATO expansion or will fall toward Russia and NATO’s presence in Poland and Lithuania will become even more essential."

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"Deepfakes Are Getting Better, Easier to Make, and Cheaper"


Deepfake-Programme, die unter Experten als potentielle sicherheitspolitische Bedrohung gelten, werden Patrick Tucker zufolge nicht nur immer besser, sondern auch leichter zugänglich. "Deepfakes — computer-generated images and footage of real people — have emerged as a major worry among the national security set. A new paper from researchers at FireEye finds that tools published to open source repositories such as GitHub are reducing the amount of technical expertise required to produce ever-more-convincing deepfakes. Moreover, they are increasingly easy to purchase from disreputable marketing and PR firms. (…) As strategist Peter Singer has pointed out, the enormous volume of new, grainy, filmed-at-home video footage, over platforms such as Zoom, means deepfakes will be more difficult to stop simply because people are becoming more used to consuming lots of grainy, choppy, video-footage. 'The quality bar does not need to be exceedingly high when it comes to synthetic generations; it only needs to be 'good enough' for even just a subset of vocal users to not question it in a world characterized by rapid, high-volume information consumption.' There’s a reason deepfakes are emerging as a major national security concern, impersonating groups like journalists is becoming an increasingly common tactic among key adversary groups."

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"How ISIS Made Money on Facebook"


Der "Islamische Staat" habe zur Finanzierung seines "Kalifats" in Syrien eine Facebook-Plattform zum illegalen Verkauf geplünderter Artefakte betrieben, schreibt Jenna Scatena. Sie hat mit zwei Männern gesprochen, die diesem Treiben ein Ende setzen wollten und dabei zumindest einen Teilerfolg erzielt hätten. "By 2014, the group had turned Facebook into a vertically integrated one-stop shop for looted items: It was not only the best place to sell them, but the best place to research and verify an artifact’s authenticity, assess its monetary value, and recruit and train new looters and smugglers inside and outside Syria. Looting soon became one of ISIS’s main income sources in regions such as Aleppo, and one of the only job options for residents trapped in these ISIS-controlled territories. This January, the UN Security Council released a report on terrorism financing, citing Facebook as 'a tool for the illicit trafficking of cultural property' that benefits ISIS. (…) Paul and Al-Azm had gotten what they wanted — kind of. While Facebook now bans the sale of historical artifacts in its written policy, it does not proactively enforce it — instead, it acts only if a user reports the content, which Paul argues is unlikely to happen, because most trafficking occurs in private groups. 'This is why we see everything from wildlife to drugs to conflict antiquities continue to flourish on the platform,' she said in a call to me the day the policy was released. 'Whether there is a policy against it or not.'"

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"With Cold War Language, Pompeo Defines Trump’s Plan for 'Totalitarian' China"


US-Außenminister Pompeo habe die Spannungen mit China in einer Grundsatzrede in den Worten des Kalten Krieges beschrieben und dabei fast eine Strategie des Regimewechsels verkündet, schreibt Katie Bo Williams. "In a major foreign policy speech on U.S.-China relations, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cast ratcheted-up tensions with Beijing in Cold War terms, announcing that Washington would seek to change Beijing’s behavior and stopping just short of calling for regime change. He described Beijing — and Chinese President Xi Jinping — as a generational threat to 'free democracies around the world,' a totalitarian and hegemonic regime that must not be treated like a normal nation. (…) 'If we bend the knee now, our children’s children may be at the mercy of the Communist party,' Pompeo said. (…) 'We have to keep in mind that the CCP regime is a Marxist-Leninist regime. General Secretary Xi Jinping is a true believer in a bankrupt totalitarian ideology,' Pompeo said. 'American can no longer ignore the fundamental political and ideological differences between our countries just as the CCP has never ignored them.'"

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"Why China Wants Trump to Win"


Trotz der angespannten Beziehungen zwischen den USA und China würde eine Wiederwahl Donald Trumps im November in Peking wohl mit stiller Freude aufgenommen werden, meint Michael Schuman. "From Beijing’s perspective, while a Democratic presidency may restore a more predictable form of American diplomacy, that may not best serve Chinese interests. In fact, four more years of Trump — though likely packed with annoyances and disputes — might present tantalizing opportunities for China to expand its influence around East Asia and the world. Of course, we can’t know with certainty what outcome China’s senior cadres prefer, or if they even agree among themselves. No candidate should expect an endorsement from People’s Daily. Still, there are clues. In a highly unusual comment, the former Chinese trade negotiator Long Yongtu reportedly told a Shenzhen conference late last year, 'We want Trump to be reelected; we would be glad to see that happen.' The president’s tweets make him 'easy to read,' Long said, and thus 'the best choice in an opponent for negotiations.'"

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"What if Biden Wins?"


Defense One hat sich in einem dreiteiligen Spezialreport mit den möglichen Folgen eines Wahlsiegs des Präsidentschaftskandidaten Joe Biden für die US-Außenpolitik beschäftigt. "In speeches and statements and interviews, the candidate and his advisors have been sketching out a foreign policy that would put the United States, as Biden has said, 'back at the head of the table.' And over the past month, Defense One asked dozens of his aides, advisors, surrogates, and former Obama administration colleagues what the world might expect from his presidency. What they said is that Biden may not radically change the nation’s military, deviate from the era’s so-called great power competition, or even slash the bottom line of the Pentagon’s $700 billion budget. But how that money is spent, how the United States competes, and how the military is deployed to advance American interests certainly would. But if Biden wins, will the world follow him? Will Americans?"

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"Defund the Europeans"


Nach Ansicht von Benjamin H. Friedman und Harvey M. Sapolsky sollte die von US-Präsident Trump geforderte Reduzierung der Zahl der in Deutschland stationierten US-Truppen dagegen nur der erste Schritt eines Abbaus permanenter US-Stützpunkte in ganz Europa sein. "We’re often told that bases in Europe are key to U.S. military activities further afield in the Middle East. Recent U.S. experience suggests that this is a better rationale for closing European bases than for keeping them. In any case, Europeans will still seek U.S. friendship and provide bases if needed after a U.S. drawdown. Good relations needn’t depend on permanent garrisons. It’s time to defund our subsidization of rich European countries through NATO. This doesn’t mean entirely abandoning them, not immediately at any rate. It means reducing the U.S. defense commitment in Germany and elsewhere in Europe in recognition of the continent’s historic safety, recent Russian mischief notwithstanding. We can safely tell the Europeans we’ll be there if they really need us, in the safe assumption that they won’t. Let’s go back to the old plan, where their ability to take care of themselves means they should."

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"The Generals Are Speaking Up. Is That a Good Thing?"


Die offene Kritik von US-Generälen an Präsident Trump ist von einigen Experten mit Bedenken aufgenommen worden, berichtet Katie Bo Williams. "(…) some scholars of the appropriate relationship between civilian and military leadership in U.S. governance and society — known colloquially as 'civ-mil relations' — said the weight being placed on the judgment of former uniformed military leaders is as dangerous as the use of uniformed officers to police civil unrest and lawful protest on American soil. 'The generals won’t save us, and — if they do — we’re already lost, and even more lost than we realize,' tweeted Jim Golby, a combat veteran, former West Point professor, and civ-mil relations scholar. That’s because civilian control of the military is considered a bedrock principle of the U.S. form of government, explained Mara Karlin, a former Pentagon official who now directs strategic studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. (…) 'If this isn’t a civil-military relations crisis, I don’t know what is,' Karlin said. 'I think it’s really important that folks appreciate the magnitude and the character of what’s happening right now and recognize that we’ll be living with the baggage for a while now.'" 

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"Army Scientists: All Strains of COVID-19 Can Be Covered by One Vaccine"


Wissenschaftler des US-Militärs sind Patrick Tucker zufolge optimistisch, dass die Entwicklung eines Corona-Impfstoffs bereits Ende des Jahres gelingen kann. Das neue Serum würde zudem mehrere COVID-19-Stämme abdecken, so die Hoffnung der Experten. "Army scientists say that they are 'very optimistic' that they will have a vaccine by the end of the year that will be effective against any COVID-19 strain. The vaccine candidate, currently being tested in hundreds of mice, was developed by Army scientists. The Army is also working to accelerate and evaluate candidates being produced by AstraZeneca and other pharmaceutical companies under the White House’s 'Operation Warp Speed' program, which aims to have a vaccine ready by year’s end. A vaccine that could handle multiple strains is important because some reports suggest that there may be as many as eight strains circulating around the globe, but scientists don’t know enough yet to be sure of that."

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"The Intelligence Community Wants New COVID-19 Tracking Tools"


Die US-Geheimdienste wollen bei der Bekämpfung der Corona-Pandemie neue Instrumente zur Verfolgung möglicher Infizierter einsetzen, berichtet Patrick Tucker. "The U.S. intelligence community’s research lab has put out a call for new data tools to track and predict the spread of COVID-19 and its effects. But some of the items on the wish list sound well beyond the current state of the art. Friday’s announcement from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency, or IARPA, seeks new tools for rapidly diagnosing COVID in people with and without symptoms, via contactless methods such as breath analysis. It seeks tools for contact tracing among populations without mobile phones, via the Internet-of-things or other means — and do it while preserving privacy."

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"A Foreign General Is Helping to Lead US Army Europe. Other Commands Should Take Heed"


Elisabeth Braw berichtet, dass die US Army Europe mit Jared Sembritzki einen Brigadegeneral der Bundeswehr zum neuen Stabschef ernannt und damit ein wichtiges Zeichen gesetzt habe. "Though the transatlantic relationship may be sailing through choppy waters, the U.S. and German armies are demonstrating collaboration that’s vital for both sides. (…) When he leaves U.S. Army Europe in about two years’ time, Sembritzki too is likely to keep rising through the Bundeswehr ranks. But the biggest beneficiary is the U.S.-German relationship, which has for the past several years been suffering at the political level. Indeed, pundits have taken turns to declare it moribund or even dead. At the military level – the foundation of the transatlantic alliance – the U.S.-German relationship is far from over. On the contrary, with Sebritzki’s appointment the U.S. and German ministries have just given it another boost."

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"The Miner’s Canary: COVID-19 and the Rise of Non-Traditional Security Threats"


Nach Ansicht von Anca Agachi vom Atlantic Council sollte die Corona-Pandemie als "Vorbote" einer neuen sicherheitspolitischen Landschaft verstanden werden, die von nicht-traditionellen Bedrohungen geprägt sein wird. "These challenges will act as threat multipliers, further exacerbating existing security dilemmas and the complexity of the 2020s. COVID-19 is the template for what lies ahead, that is, unless we take action. The sooner we understand the fundamental transformation ahead of us, the sooner we can adapt our concepts and institutions to guarantee the safety of people, states, and the international community. (…) COVID-19 can be a bleak template of how non-traditional security threats ravage the international system. Without action, we may see in the future a worrying pattern of extensive loss of life, compounded subsequent shocks and even outright conflict. In 2015, regional events like the migration flow to Europe during 2015-2016 from the Middle East and North Africa was arguably a key factor in social polarization and the renaissance of the extreme right in places like Germany, France, Poland and Hungary. Today, the pandemic is leaving in its wake one of the worst economic crises since the Great Depression. Continued levels of low growth combined with high levels of unemployment can be a recipe for rising populism and further political fallout in the new decade."

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"No, ISIS Isn’t Resurging Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic"


Daniel DePetris empfiehlt, die zuletzt wieder gestiegene Zahl von Anschlägen durch Anhänger des "Islamischen Staates" in Irak, Syrien und Afghanistan nicht als "Comeback" der Terrormiliz überzubewerten. "A spate of recent attacks show the group’s capabilities haven’t advanced in a year. (…) ISIS attacks have taken the form of rudimentary operations like hit-and-run shootings, suicide bombings on soft targets like hospitals, and pot-shots against military checkpoints. In Iraq, this is hardly a sign of a comeback; if anything, it illustrates just how little support ISIS fighters have among an Iraqi population they once lorded over with extreme brutality. (…) ISIS is not the cause of Iraq’s troubles, but rather a symptom of Iraq’s decrepit and shaky politics. It’s a problem U.S. troops simply cannot solve with endless bombing runs, deployments, or training missions — nor should they be expected to solve it."

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"Afghanistan To Resume 'Offensive' Actions Against Taliban In Blow To Peace Deal"


Die afghanische Regierung hat die Wiederaufnahme offensiver Militäroperationen gegen die Taliban angekündigt. Einige Experten fürchten Katie Bo Williams zufolge, dass dieser Schritt den fragilen Friedensprozess zerstören könnte. "The Afghan government was not a party to the negotiations that led to the peace deal in Afghanistan, and the exact impact of Ghani’s announcement is a matter of debate. It was not clear to what extent U.S. military leaders in Kabul were consulted before Ghani’s announcement, or whether U.S. forces will be supporting their Afghan partners in resumed offensive operations against the Taliban. Also unclear is the impact on the U.S.’s withdrawal plans. (…) Some close watchers of the almost two-decade conflict in Afghanistan argued that a total breakdown of any formal reduction in violence was inevitable because the U.S. shoehorned Kabul into a peace agreement that it was not a part of negotiating. 'I would argue 'there never was a peace deal,' and that was the problem from the start,' said Bill Roggio, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies."

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"America’s Allies Are Becoming a Nuclear-Proliferation Threat"


Einige der engsten Verbündeten der USA stellten derzeit mehr oder weniger offene Überlegungen zur Anschaffung eigener Atomwaffen an, warnt Pete Mckenzie. Dies treffe selbst auf Deutschland zu: "Days after the 2016 American election, Reuters published an interview with Roderich Kiesewetter, foreign policy spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc. Reacting to President Trump’s victory, Kiesewetter declared, 'Europe needs to think about developing its own nuclear deterrent.' (…) The publisher of one influential conservative newspaper even suggested that Germany develop its own nuclear arsenal. 'We initially thought this was going to go away because of how vociferous the opposition was; that it was a phantom debate among fringe elements,' said Tristan Volpe, fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s nuclear program. 'But it’s come back at least four times with some serious people weighing in as proponents.' Germany is not unique. Of all the Trump administration’s global impacts, one of the most worrying is a sudden increase in the risk of nuclear proliferation among American allies, many of whom are considering a nuclear path which America may be unable to control. (…) The most significant steps by an American partner are being taken by Saudi Arabia. It is pursuing civil nuclear capabilities and, according to Carnegie’s Volpe, 'have been quite reluctant to foreswear the option to enrich uranium down the road. They’ve been very coy around it. Well, working-level officials in Saudi Arabia have been very coy.'"

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"Dems Call for 'War' on Coronavirus, But Military Says Help is Limited"


Eine zunehmende Zahl von US-Demokraten fordert eine Beteiligung des Militärs im "Krieg" gegen den Coronavirus. Das Pentagon hat Katie Bo Williams zufolge zurückhaltend reagiert. "Pentagon officials speaking to reporters Monday afternoon cautioned that the military’s ability to create hospital facilities to help handle the growing cases may be limited. 'We do have tent hospitals, deployable hospitals. The challenge is, they’re designed to take care of trauma patients and combat casualties,' U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs, the Joint Staff surgeon, told reporters at the Pentagon and on a conference call, 'We don’t have any 500-bed hospitals designed for infectious disease outbreaks.' The military’s largest moveable medical facility is USNS Comfort, the Navy’s hospital ship. But Friedrichs cautioned that the Comfort is also not designed to care for highly infectious disease patients — its close quarters and enclosed spaces are the opposite of public health recommendations for preventing the spread of the virus."

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"When Your Work Is Classified, 'Work From Home' Doesn’t Work"


Um die Ausbreitung des Corona-Virus einzuschränken, wird Beschäftigten derzeit geraten, von zu Hause zu arbeiten. Marcus Weisgerber erklärt, warum diese Empfehlung in Verteidigungsministerien, Sicherheitsbehörden und privaten Sicherheitsunternehmen nicht so einfach umzusetzen sei. "Set aside the workers who build planes, ships, tanks and other weapons on special assembly lines around the country. Plenty more are holders of security clearances who can’t do their jobs without special computers and facilities that protect classified information. Among them: analysts, war planners, and engineers designing next-generation weapons. But the situation is murky even for the hundreds of thousands of government contractors who don’t need access to secret information. As the Pentagon begins sending nonessential employees home, it’s unclear what’s going to happen to them. (...) As for the government workers and contractors who must access classified information, there’s no alternate, for now at least, to having a secure government facility. 'You can’t go home on your laptop and plug it in and get classified data,' Berteau said. 'It’s my personal belief…that we could do a lot more than we are doing.' But, he noted, it would likely cost a lot to buy the equipment needed to make that happen."

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"A Military-Funded Biosensor Could Be the Future of Pandemic Detection"


Das US-Militär entwickelt gegenwärtig einen Biosensor, der Patrick Tucker zufolge bei der frühzeitigen Entdeckung potentieller Pandemien zum Einsatz kommen könnte. "Why are pandemics so hard to stop? Often it’s because the disease moves faster than people can be tested for it. The Defense Department is helping to fund a new study to determine whether an under-the-skin biosensor can help trackers keep up — by detecting flu-like infections even before their symptoms begin to show. Its maker, Profusa, says the sensor is on track to try for FDA approval by early next year. (…) The announcement comes as the United States grapples with COVID-19, a respiratory illness that can present in flu-like symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath. The military is taking a leading role in vaccine research, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday. 'Our military research labs are working feverishly around the horn here to try to come up with a vaccine. So we’ll see how that develops over the next couple of months,' Milley said."

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"Esper Plays Nuclear War: Russia Nukes Europe, US Fires Back"


US-Verteidigungsminister Esper hat an einer geheimen Übung des US Strategic Command teilgenommen, in der das Szenario eines "begrenzten" Atomkriegs mit Russland in Europa durchgespielt wurde. "The 'mini exercise' held at U.S. Strategic Command headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, on Thursday comes just weeks after the U.S. confirmed that it has deployed controversial low-yield nuclear missiles on Navy submarines, and as the Trump administration asks Congress to approve $44 billion to buy new nuclear weapons and maintain its existing arsenal. 'The scenario included a European contingency where you’re conducting a war with Russia and Russia decides to use a low-yield, limited nuclear weapon against a site on NATO territory,' a senior defense official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified military drills. The U.S. fired back with what the senior official called a 'limited response' to Moscow’s nuclear attack in Europe. 'During the course of the exercise, we simulated responding with a nuclear weapon,' the official said."-

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"Where Could the US Put Its Post-INF Missiles?"


Seit dem Ende des INF-Vertrags mit Russland werden in den USA Überlegungen darüber angestellt, welche neuen atomaren Mittelstreckenraketen entwickelt und wo sie stationiert werden könnten. Samantha Bowers zufolge bezweifeln einige Experten, dass die USA in Asien entsprechende Standorte finden werden. "Steven Pifer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, noted that even missile-defense deployments are a hard sell to America’s Pacific allies; reaching any sort of hosting agreement would 'take a lot of American negotiating capital.' And even if some allies agree to host U.S. missiles, the Heritage Foundation’s Dean Cheng said, they may not be willing to involve themselves in a crisis between the United States and China or Russia. (…) U.S. allies in the region, notably Japan and South Korea, already are developing intermediate-range missile technology. The experts were more sanguine about the chances that deploying new post-INF missiles would destabilize the Asia-Pacific region. They noted that Russia and China have already been manufacturing and deploying such missiles. 'The U.S. deployment of these missiles would not introduce a new capability into the region, but rather give the U.S. more options to meet a growing military challenge from Beijing,' said Abraham Denmark, who runs the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Asia Program."

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"America Has Come Full Circle in the Middle East"


Angesichts des von Präsident Trump eingeleiteten Rückzugs der USA aus dem Nahen Osten erinnert Uri Friedman an den Beginn des amerikanischen Nahost-Engagements im Jahr 1958 unter Präsident Eisenhower. "In 1958, U.S. leaders stood at the threshold of an American era in the Middle East, conflicted about whether it was worth the trouble to usher in. A year earlier, in the context of the emergent Cold War and fading British and French power in the region, Dwight Eisenhower had articulated and received congressional approval for what became known as the Eisenhower doctrine. The United States had for the first time staked out national interests in the Middle East — oil, U.S. bases and allies, Soviet containment — and declared that it was prepared to defend them with military force. (…) even if Trump doesn’t get his way entirely, he will undoubtedly seize on additional opportunities to reduce the American military presence in the Middle East, as fed-up Americans and progressive presidential candidates push in the same direction. When Eisenhower elected to open that 'Pandora’s Box' back in 1958, his justification was that it would be 'disastrous' if 'we don’t.' Perhaps nothing signals the coming post-American era in the Middle East more than the fact that so many U.S. leaders these days fear the disastrous consequences of leaving the box open."

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"Saudi Arabia’s Phone Hacking Shows We Need Better Encryption — Not Backdoors"


Der Fall des angeblichen saudi-arabischen Hackerangriffs auf das Telefon von Amazon-Chef Jeff Bezos bestätigt nach Ansicht von Patrick Tucker, dass die Entwicklung wirksamer Verschlüsselungstechnologien wichtiger als die Verfügbarkeit geheimer "Backdoors" für staatliche Geheimdienste sei. "(…) the Bezos saga also shows the importance of encrypting other files such as in storage on the device, which is common, or backup files stored on clouds like iCloud, which is not. The Justice Department has knives out for both end-to-end encryption and for backup file encryption. Reuters reported this week that U.S. officials persuaded Apple to drop plans to allow people to encrypt the files they back up using the company’s iCloud service. In the two years since, Apple has given users’ files to the government when presented with a warrant — including in December, after a Saudi military pilot killed several people at a Florida naval air station, Reuters reported. But Apple’s cooperation didn’t stop U.S. Attorney General William Barr from publicly pressuring the company to decrypt the shooter’s iPhone as well, and to build backdoors into future products. The company responded: 'We have always maintained there is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys. Backdoors can also be exploited by those who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers.'"

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"Building Post-INF Missiles Would Be a Waste, or Worse"


Nach Ansicht von Kingston Reif von der Arms Control Association sollten die USA nach dem Ende des INF-Vertrags auf neue Mittelstreckenraketen verzichten. In diesem Beitrag widerspricht er den Argumenten der beiden Sicherheitsexperten Rebeccah Heinrichs und Tim Morrison, die für eine beschleunigte Entwicklung entsprechender Raketen plädiert haben. "In an op-ed published last month in Defense One, Rebeccah Heinrichs, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, and Tim Morrison, a former top official on arms control and Russia on the National Security Council, call for accelerating development of conventional missiles formerly banned by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. They also recommend sharing the development burden with allies. Morrison and Heinrichs claim these systems are an essential response to Russia’s fielding of the 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile that violated the INF Treaty, and to the growing military prowess of China, which was never a party to the treaty. In addition, they assert that the missiles would strengthen the U.S. ability to strike new arms control agreements. But their arguments are unconvincing."

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"Trump’s Fixation on the Hostage Crisis Is Driving His Iran Policy"


Die feindselige Einstellung des US-Präsidenten zum Iran kann nach Ansicht von David A. Graham auf die Geiselnahme von US-Diplomaten in Teheran 1979 zurückgeführt werden. Donald Trump zeige nur selten Interesse an historischen Zusammenhängen, in manchen Bereichen pflege er allerdings hartnäckige "Obsessionen". "For example, Trump continues to speak about immigration as though countries are deciding who to send overseas, an idea that seems to stem from the Mariel boatlift. The Iran hostage crisis seems to be another of these: a long-running fixation which has remained not only the central lens, but perhaps the only lens, through which Trump views relations with Tehran. On Factba.se, an invaluable compendium of Trump’s interviews, public remarks, tweets, and more, the first mention of Iran and hostages comes in an October 1980 interview with journalist Rona Barrett. (…) Here we can see the essential ingredients of Trump’s approach to Iran and the Middle East today: an obsession with respect, especially perceived disrespect; an impulse toward quick, short military action; the desire to take oil; and a focus on the hostage crisis. These have persisted ever since. (…) The consistency of Trump’s views on Iran over the decades is remarkable because his positions on practically everything else (the Iraq war, his party affiliation, abortion, health care) have shifted, sometimes repeatedly, over the years."

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"Can Anything Stop the Flow of Advanced Weapons into Libya?"


Nathan Vest von der RAND Corporation warnt vor den Folgen einer uneingeschränkten Einfuhr von hoch entwickelten Waffen in Libyen. "Weapons previously unseen in the conflict have now arrived. Videos have circulated purporting to show anti-Hifter fighters using an advanced Chinese-made FN-6 man-portable air defense system to shoot down an MiG-21 jet fighter. Hifter-aligned forces have posted videos of themselves using anti-tank guided missiles to destroy enemy vehicles and using thermal sights of advanced Russian-made ATGMs for targeting and reconnaissance. U.S.-made Javelin ATGMs were discovered in Gharyan, south of Tripoli, when anti-Hifter forces captured that town in June. (…) If Libya becomes a nexus for growing expertise and potential outflow of arms, increasingly deadly regional armed groups could further destabilize the region. As was the case between 2012 and 2014 when Libyan arms bolstered the arsenals of terrorist and separatist groups, light weapons could proliferate into Libya’s fragile neighbors, a number of which are grappling with mounting ISIS- and Al-Qaeda-linked insurgencies."

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"A New Nuclear Deal? Start with New START"


Auch Daryl G. Kimball und Shannon Bugos von der Arms Control Association empfehlen der US-Regierung, das russische Angebot einer Verlängerung des New-START-Abkommens sofort anzunehmen und nicht aus taktischen Gründen darauf zu hoffen, dass der Vertrag unter Chinas Beteiligung neu verhandelt werden könnte. "(...) instead of taking 'yes' for an answer on New START, Trump appears to be holding out hope for the negotiation of a separate and even more ambitious nuclear arms control deal — one that covers tactical (not just strategic) nuclear arms and includes nuclear-armed China. Beijing, he claims, is 'extremely excited about getting involved' and would 'certainly' be brought into such a deal. Talks with other nuclear-armed states aimed at reducing and eventually eliminating all types of nuclear weapons are necessary and overdue. But there is no realistic possibility of concluding a new trilateral deal with Russia and China before New START expires in 2021. One big reason: Beijing has repeatedly said it is not currently interested in an arms control deal based on numerical limits. (…) A more realistic approach on China would be for the United States and Russia agree to extend New START, then begin talks on a follow-on treaty that sets limits well below those of New START if China agrees not to increase the size of its stockpile and adopts some transparency measures. However, such arrangement would be difficult to pull off and would likely take years to achieve."

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Innerstaatliche Konflikte

Vom Kosovo nach Kolumbien, von Somalia nach Süd-Thailand: Weltweit schwelen über 280 politische Konflikte. Und immer wieder droht die Lage gewaltsam zu eskalieren.

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Zahlen und Fakten


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