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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, 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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"Macron’s 'NATO Brain Death' Quote Shows Why the US Has Always Outplayed France"

Mit seiner harschen NATO-Kritik habe Frankreichs Präsident Macron an die Tradition seines Amtsvorgängers Charles de Gaulle angeknüpft, schreibt Kori Schake. Auch der strategische Hintergrund des französischen Vorgehens erinnere an frühere Zeiten. "Like de Gaulle, Macron would unify Europe under France’s conception, with Germany footing the bill. Like de Gaulle, Macron envisions the United States, the United Kingdom, and France (representing Europe) bringing their military power into a Directorate of Three to determine security policies for the West. But the strategy runs aground, both for de Gaulle and for Macron, on two shoals. First, France hasn’t yet convinced its European partners that it is more reliable than the United States. (…) The second difficulty is that Macron expects other Europeans to increase their military contributions while not taking their concerns into account. (…) The U.S. has traditionally outplayed France on transatlantic issues because American policies have been more congenial to European sensibilities, and because the U.S. has taken pains to build consensus. (…) American policy ought not to be as alienating to Europeans as Macron’s. Which means that the right policy response from the United States to Macron’s denigration is to get back to doing what American foreign policy does at its best: Live American ideals and stand quietly resolute with America’s allies."

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"Betraying The Kurds Makes Things Harder for US Operators Everywhere"

Der "Verrat" an den syrischen Kurden wird es dem US-Militär künftig deutlich schwerer machen, bei internationalen Einsätzen lokale Verbündete zu finden, erwartet Jerry Meyerle. "Trust is a powerful commodity that has saved many lives in shadowy battlefields across the Middle East. But it takes a long time to build and can be gone in an instant. The abrupt withdrawal from Syria and cynical disregard for the Kurds’ contribution to the ISIS fight will undermine that trust and put U.S. forces and their missions at risk. (…) The sudden withdrawal from Syria, the openly callous disregard for long-standing relationships with Kurdish forces on the ground, and the cynical talk about taking Syrian oil as if that were the objective all along, will undermine the credibility of these promises in the future. It will be more difficult for U.S. military advisors and special operators to find willing local allies and to build the trust necessary to aggressively prosecute threats to America and survive in places where a heavy U.S. footprint is not possible."

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"SecDef: China Is Exporting Killer Robots to the Mideast"

US-Verteidigungsminister Mark Esper hat Patrick Tucker zufolge offiziell bestätigt, dass China autonome Kampfdrohnen an Länder im Nahen Osten verkaufe. "'As we speak, the Chinese government is already exporting some of its most advanced military aerial drones to the Middle East, as it prepares to export its next-generation stealth UAVs when those come online,' Esper said today at the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence conference. 'In addition, Chinese weapons manufacturers are selling drones advertised as capable of full autonomy, including the ability to conduct lethal targeted strikes.' The Chinese company Ziyan, for instance, markets the Blowfish A3, essentially a helicopter drone outfitted with a machine gun. Ziyan says it 'autonomously performs more complex combat missions, including fixed-point timing detection, fixed-range reconnaissance, and targeted precision strikes.'"

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"Pentagon Vows to Guard the Syrian Oil That Trump Wants to Seize"

Das Pentagon hat bekräftigt, dass die Ölanlagen im Osten Syriens im Fall eines Vormarsches syrischer oder russischer Truppen militärisch verteidigt werden sollen. Die juristische und völkerrechtliche Grundlage dieser Mission sei fragwürdig, schreibt Katie Bo Williams. "Legally — under both international law and domestic law — the United States is in Syria only to fight ISIS. At home, the U.S. relies on congressional authorizations passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks to prosecute the war on ISIS. Internationally, the justification for the U.S.’s incursion into Syria is a 2014 request from Iraq for collective self-defense against ISIS. But Trump put an extreme strain on the legal justification for the oilfields mission on Saturday, when he told reporters at the White House that the United States 'should be able to take some.' (…) 'Protection against Russian and Assad regime forces where U.S. forces are on the ground would fall under inherent self-defense authorities, and is entirely appropriate,' said Brett McGurk, the former State Department envoy for defeating ISIS, who resigned in protest in December over the Trump administration’s Syria strategy. 'Being on the ground for the express purpose of denying those countries access to natural resources, however, would likely require a new legal basis, as it does not fall under the 2001 AUMF.'"

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"Trump Made His Real Syria Mistakes Months Ago"

Nach Ansicht von Daniel DePetris hat US-Präsident Trump seinen tatsächlichen strategischen Fehler in Syrien dagegen bereits vor Monaten begangen. Nach der Zerschlagung des IS-Kalifats hätte die US-Regierung auf einen Deal zwischen der Assad-Regierung und den Kurden drängen und sich danach zurückziehen müssen, so DePetris. "One can draw a straight line between the bloody fight going on in north Syria and Trump’s reluctance 10 months earlier to pull American troops out of the country. From the moment the United States chose to stick around, the administration deliberately chose to transform the mission from battling the Islamic State to serving as the external protector of Kurdish aspirations in Syria’s north. Washington’s troop presence, in turn, gave Kurdish officials false hope that the U.S. would indefinitely deter a Turkish invasion from the north that, based on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rhetoric and actions, would occur sooner or later. (...) While there is no love lost between the Kurds and the Assad regime, the two were at least open to a detente of sorts. An agreement would have given both sides something to savor: for Assad, overall control in a part of Syria that has been out of his reach since the start of Syria’s war 9 years ago; for the Kurds, a deterrent against a Turkish assault. Regrettably, Washington refused to endorse such an arrangement and even obliquely threatened the Kurds with a loss of support should they approach Damascus."

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"The US Is Trying to Restore Deterrence in the Gulf. That Won’t be Enough"

Christopher Bolan vom U.S. Army War College schreibt, dass sich die von der Rivalität zwischen Iran und Saudi-Arabien geprägte Golfregion in einem sicherheitspolitischen Dilemma befinde. Der Versuch der US-Regierung, das Problem durch eine verstärkte Abschreckung Irans zu lösen, werde bestenfalls einen flüchtigen Erfolg haben. "(...) even if they manage to restore deterrence, it will provide only a temporary respite to the primary source of instability in the Gulf: the security dilemma confronting Saudi Arabia and Iran. U.S. policymakers must address this more fundamental issue, lest the region arrive at a '1914 moment' and careen into war. (...) Both sides must ultimately aim to identify concrete steps that Iran, the Arab Gulf states, and outside actors can take to ease the fears and mistrust that fuel sectarian divisions, competition, and conflict."

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"The Intel Community Wants to ID People from Hundreds of Yards Away"

Jack Corrigan berichtet über Bemühungen der US-Geheimdienste, biometrische Überwachungssysteme in einer Weise zu kombinieren, die es erlauben würde, Individuen aus großer Entfernung zuverlässig zu identifizieren. "Facial recognition and other types of biometric tech have improved significantly in recent years, but even today’s most advanced systems become less reliable without a crystal clear view of their subject. Even when the person is standing nearby and looking directly into the camera, facial recognition tech can be prone to errors. But the intelligence community is trying to overcome those limitations in two ways: gathering more extensive training data and creating systems that lean on multiple types of data to identify people."

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"The Amazon Fires Reveal the Dysfunction of the Global Community"

Die bisherige internationale Reaktion auf die Waldbrände im Amazonasgebiet hat nach Ansicht von Franklin Foer bestätigt, in welch schlechtem Zustand sich die internationale Gemeinschaft heute befinde. Foer hält angesichts der globalen Bedeutung des Gebiets harte Sanktionen gegen die brasilianische Regierung für gerechtfertigt. "If a country obtains chemical or biological weapons, the rest of the world tends to react with fury — or at least it did in the not-so-distant past. Sanctions rained down on the proliferators, who were then ostracized from the global community. And in rare (sometimes disastrously misguided) cases, the world decided that the threat justified a military response. The destruction of the Amazon is arguably far more dangerous than the weapons of mass destruction that have triggered a robust response. (...) The situation isn’t without hope. The world can treat Bolsonaro with, at least, the urgency it has shown Venezuela’s dictator, Nicolás Maduro. To force him away from his policy of deforestation, and to prod him to intensely fight the fire, world leaders should threaten to cancel trade agreements and ban the import of timber and beef from companies that operate in the Amazon; they should sanction members of the Bolsonaro inner circle (who, in the grand tradition of the nation’s political history, seem to have achieved an expertise in money laundering); they should turn Bolsonaro and his sons, who serve as their father’s henchmen, into pariahs, forbidding their international travel."

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"Where’s the Coverage of Civilian Casualties in the War on ISIS?"

Neue Studien haben Alexa O'Brien zufolge erhebliche Lücken in der Berichterstattung über die zivilen Opfer des Anti-IS-Kriegs in Irak und Syrien aufgedeckt. "(...) reporting on civilian casualties was found to be either absent or nearly so during key periods of the conflict. For example, between October 2015 and March 2016, when some of the most intense fighting was happening in Iraq, the five major U.S. newspapers (the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, The New York Times and USA Today) published a total of just five articles on reported civilian harm from coalition airstrikes. 'Siloed' and largely 'self-directed' is how media professionals describe civilian-harm coverage at their own organizations. Split between the relevant foreign bureaus that covered Iraq and Syria, and the newsrooms back home that cover the U.S. military and defense issues, many of those interviewed said that individual bureau chiefs and newsroom editors often lack the bandwidth or authority to task other bureaus and newsrooms with the subject, leading to intermittent or fragmented reporting."

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"Deterrence Is Failing — Partly Because Iran Has No Idea What the US Really Wants"

Die Eskalation des Konflikts zwischen Iran und den USA ist nach Ansicht von Christopher J. Bolan vom Army War College in Pennsylvania darauf zurückzuführen, dass die US-Regierung Teheran über ihre Ziele und roten Linien im Unklaren gelassen habe. Die entstandene Ungewissheit habe auf beiden Seiten zu Fehleinschätzungen geführt. Um neue Klarheit zu schaffen, hält Bolan sowohl eine kalkulierte militärische Reaktion auf den Vorfall im Golf von Oman als auch neue positive Anreize für Teheran für unerlässlich. "An effective response is almost certain to include U.S. military strikes of one extent or another. The challenge for U.S. policymakers will be to design military strikes that are sufficiently strong to deter future Iranian attacks without provoking escalatory Iranian retaliation that spins out of control and triggers a broader regional war. Such a balancing act will require detailed intelligence, precise military planning, and sophisticated public and private diplomacy. (...) However, identifying small steps that could be taken by Iran that would be quickly rewarded with a comparably small 'reward' by the United States holds the potential to create positive momentum toward reduced tensions. If successful, a series of these small confidence-building steps could provide a sufficient foundation and incentives for both sides to return to the negotiating table and avoid a broader conflict that both sides say they want to avoid."

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"These Are the US Military Bases Most Threatened by Climate Change"

Das Pentagon muss sich Ben Watson zufolge Sorgen um zahlreiche Militärstützpunkte machen, die zunehmend von den Folgen des Klimawandels bedroht werden. "Each service evaluated its infrastructure’s vulnerability to increased flooding, drought, and wildfires; thawing permafrost; rising rivers and coasts; and other effects of climate change. The four services flagged a total of 46 bases as particularly threatened. (...) On Wednesday, the Government Accountability Office issued its own latest look at how military installations are preparing for the climate crisis. The report found that installations were moving too slowly, and that Pentagon higher-ups had not been issuing enough guidance."

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"US to Send 1,000 More Troops to Poland"

Die US-Regierung hat auf die Bitte Warschaus reagiert und will die Zahl der in Polen stationierten US-Soldaten um 1.000 auf 5.000 erhöhen. Dabei soll es sich allerdings nicht um Kampfeinheiten, sondern um rotierende logistische Einheiten handeln. "The U.S. defense official said the addition of the non-combat troops would not violate the 1997 Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and Russia, which prohibits the permanent basing of NATO troops in former Warsaw Pact countries."

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"North Korea’s Nuclear Bomb Is Much Bigger than Previously Thought!"

Eine erneute Analyse der Daten eines nordkoreanischen Atomtests von 2017 hat Patrick Tucker zufolge ergeben, dass die getestete Atombombe um zwei Drittel größer gewesen sei als zunächst angenommen. "Earlier data put the yield somewhere between 30 and 300 kilotons; the U.S. intelligence community said 140 kilotons. That was already the most powerful device tested by North Korea, topping a 2016 test by about an order of magnitude. But a new look at seismological data suggests that the blast was between 148 and 328 kilotons, and probably around 250 kilotons. (...) A 250-kiloton weapon would be about 16 times more powerful than the one that leveled Hiroshima. (...) The 2017 North Korean test produced an earthquake of 6.3 magnitude. But how you look at that data shapes the conclusion that you reach. The new research uses a statistical trick called a 'relative waveform equalization procedure,' essentially a bit of tuning, like removing static noise from an audio signal, to enable the researchers to better compute 'two very closely located explosions recorded at multiple stations,' according to the paper."

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"The Flash Point Between America and Iran Could Be Iraq’s Militias"

In Irak habe der gemeinsame Kampf gegen den IS in den vergangenen Jahren zu einer Art Allianz zwischen den US-Truppen und den von Iran unterstützten schiitischen Milizen geführt, schreibt Mike Giglio. Bei einer weiteren Verschärfung der Krise zwischen den USA und dem Iran könnten die Milizen den US-Truppen allerdings gefährlich werden. "The fact that U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria remain heavily engaged in the fight against ISIS underscores the risks of a U.S. strategy in the region that seeks to pivot to a new enemy, in Iran, even as the battle with the old one remains a work in progress. And as the past few days have shown, both the United States and Iran have levers with which they can escalate tensions."

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"Europe Should Do More for Regional Security — Starting with Libya"

Daniel DePetris meint, dass sich die transatlantische Debatte über die sicherheitspolitische Lastenteilung nicht auf die Höhe der Militärausgaben konzentrieren sollte. Für die USA sei die Frage wichtiger, mit welchem Aufwand die amerikanischen Verbündeten sich um ihre eigene regionale Sicherheit kümmern. Europa sollte seine Aufmerksamkeit demnach auf den Nahen Osten und aktuell besonders auf Libyen richten. "Libya’s political future is far more critical to Europe than the U.S. As such, it should be Europe — not America — which gets bogged down managing Libya’s conflict and eventual reconstruction. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe’s most influential politician, has spent the last year calling on her fellow Europeans to take more responsibility for its own affairs. (...) Europe should not be so weak that it must rely on U.S. taxpayers and servicemembers — now $22 trillion in debt and overextended after two consecutive decades of war — to ride to the rescue and bail out the continent whenever a national security challenge arises. If Europe — a populace, prosperous bloc of nations—can’t tend to the challenges in Libya — a small, poor, weak nation in its near abroad — exactly what can it contribute to America’s security?"

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"Did Russia Just Concede a Need to Regulate Military AI?"

Russland hat sich bisher entschieden gegen eine internationale Regulierung der Entwicklung von Waffensystemen mit künstlicher Intelligenz ausgesprochen. Jüngste Äußerungen des Sekretärs des Sicherheitsrats der Russischen Föderation, Nikolai Patruschew, deuten Samuel Bendett zufolge auf ein mögliches Umdenken Moskaus hin. "'We believe that it is necessary to activate the powers of the global community, chiefly at the UN venue, as quickly as possible to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework that would prevent the use of the specified [new] technologies for undermining national and international security,' Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said on Wednesday at an annual international-security conference in Moscow, according to state media. 'Modern technologies make it possible to create attack instruments with the use of artificial intelligence, genetics, and synthetic biological agents — they are often as deadly as weapons of mass destruction.' Such sentiment coming from the Russian military is rather surprising. Starting in 2017, Moscow’s position on LAWS has been fairly consistent: the country agrees with the international consensus that humans must maintain control of them, agrees to continue talking about regulating their use, but opposes international limits on their development."

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"The Inevitable Return of Muddling Along in North Korea"

Richard Fontaine vom Center for a New American Security erwartet, dass das Verhältnis der USA zu Nordkorea nach dem Scheitern des Gipfeltreffens in Hanoi schnell wieder in die gewohnten Bahnen zurückkehren wird. "We’ve been here before, more or less. In 2008, President George W. Bush overruled his more hard-line advisers to seek a deal with Pyongyang, removing North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. In return, North Korea was supposed to provide a faithful account of its nuclear program and destroy the cooling tower at its Yongbyon production facility. (...) No such luck. It turned out that Pyongyang’s account wasn’t faithful at all: It included only plutonium stores and left out enriched uranium. Although North Korea did destroy the cooling tower (and then sent the bill to Washington), within a year Yongbyon was back to reprocessing spent fuel. The North Korean nuclear arsenal didn’t shrink; it grew. Washington had no choice but to reduce the scope of its ambitions and return to managing the problem. Trump’s best option is to do the same."

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"ISIS Might Come Back. That’s Just One More Reason to Get Out of Syria"

Die drohende Rückkehr des "Islamischen Staates" ist nach Ansicht von Bonnie Kristian kein Grund, den beschlossenen Abzug der US-Truppen aus Syrien hinauszuzögern. "'If Sunni socio-economic, political, and sectarian grievances are not adequately addressed by the national and local governments of Iraq and Syria,' the [Pentagon inspector general Report] notes, 'it is very likely that ISIS will have the opportunity to set conditions for future resurgence and territorial control.' U.S. military intervention cannot address these grievances, and there is no sign whatsoever that either the Syrian or the Iraqi government will do so soon. This decision point at which we find ourselves with Syria is a chance to learn from recent history, to avoid making again the mistakes of Afghanistan and Iraq. And the crucial lesson here is that there will always be another enemy who will reemerge in six to 12 months absent U.S. military pressure, because we cannot force the regimes we assist to reform their politics or their armies. (...) There is no credible case that our 2,000 troops could accomplish anything more than they already have by staying. As this potential resurgence itself demonstrates, our military intervention is capable of mowing the grass but not digging out the roots. It is fundamentally mismatched to the task of political and social change needed to move ISIS and its like from suppressed or defeated to unthinkable. We cannot and will not transform Syria by war."

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"Cyber Deterrence Done Right: The Coordinated Actions Against Huawei"

Annie Fixler von der Foundation for Defense of Democracies hält die amerikanische Strategie bei der Verfolgung des chinesischen IT-Konzerns Huawei für wegweisend. Der US-Regierung sei es gelungen, "demokratische Verbündete" wie Kanada und Polen dazu zu bewegen, koordiniert gegen den "Cyber-Widersacher" vorzugehen. "(...) where previous investigations and lawsuits appeared to make no measurable impact on the company’s growth, the new coordinated campaign by U.S. allies and aggressive diplomatic outreach by Washington is beginning to take its toll. At Davos last month, Huawei Chairman Liang Hua admitted that the company may withdraw from countries where it does not feel welcome. (...) These coordinated efforts demonstrated that joint punitive actions can be more powerful than unilateral measures. When the United States and European Union banned equipment and software from Russia’s Kaspersky Lab within three days of each other, the company’s CEO lashed out in frustration. But to date, these have all been ad hoc initiatives. It is time for Washington to create a standing consortium of likeminded nations to identify companies and technology that pose risks to the integrity of critical infrastructure and communications systems and take joint action to excise them from allied systems."

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Innerstaatliche Konflikte

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