The National Interest02:10
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Foreign Affairs • Foreign Policy • International Relations

1. Gabbard Lawyers Up Against Hillary Clinton's Remarks02:10[−]

Chuck Ross

Politics, Americas

U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard greets supporters after filing her declaration of candidacy papers to appear on the 2020 New Hampshire primary election ballot at the State House in Concord, New Hampshire, U.S., November 5, 2019.

They're using the d-word: defamation.

Lawyers for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard are accusing Hillary Clinton of defamation over her remarks last month that the Hawaii Democrat is Russias preferred Democratic presidential candidate.

Gabbards attorneys are calling on Clinton to retract her statement publicly, including on Twitter, according to a letter released Monday by Gabbards campaign.

Your statement is defamatory, and we demand that you retract it immediately, Gabbards lawyers said in the letter, which was first reported by The Hill.

During a podcast interview in October, Clinton called Gabbard a favorite of the Russians.

And Im not making any predictions, but I think theyve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. Shes the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far, Clinton said.

Clinton was initially interpreted as saying that Russia was grooming Gabbard for a third-party run. Her spokesman, Nick Merrill, aided that interpretation in his reply to Gabbards response at the time.

Gabbard called Clinton the queen of warmongers.

Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a

Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019

Merrill responded to Gabbards remarks: If the nesting doll fits.

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2. Warren Attacks Bezos for Pushing Like-Minded Billionaires To Run For President02:07[−]

Mary Margaret Olohan

Politics, Americas

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks at a political rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S. November 7, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

'This is what happens when you threaten to root out the corruption that has taken our government hostage,' her campaign wrote.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warrens campaign attacked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Sunday for pushing former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg to run for president.

A Sunday campaign email from the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate highlights Bezoss support for Bloomberg. The former mayor, who is a billionaire, is reportedly pondering joining the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

Its no wonder billionaires like Jeff Bezos are making calls to urge like-minded billionaires to run for president themselves, the campaign email said. They want a friend in the Oval Office that will cater to their every need and they know Elizabeth wont be that person.

The email calls on supporters to donate to the Warren campaign, promising to root out corruption and reminding readers that the Warren campaign relies on grassroots supporters rather than wealthy donors.

This is what happens when you threaten to root out the corruption that has taken our government hostage, the email warned. The wealthy and well-connected will always have each others backs if it means having a Washington that caters to their every need.

A poll Morning Consult conducted and released Sunday found that Bloomberg would beat President Donald Trump in a hypothetical election matchup. The poll showed Bloomberg polling at 43% while Trump polled at 37%. Twenty-one percent of those polled are undecided or dont know who they would vote for.

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3. Nikki Haley: Tillerson and Kelly Undermined Trump02:04[−]

Chris White

Politics, Americas

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks to the media at the U.S. State Department after being fired by President Donald Trump in Washington, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

'It was their decisions, not the presidents, that were in the best interests of America, they said. The president didnt know what he was doing,' she wrote.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly often undermined President Donald Trump, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley reportedly noted in her upcoming book.

Tillerson once said that people would die if the president was left unchecked, Haley wrote in With All Due Respect, her book out Tuesday describing what life was like inside the Trump administration, The Washington Post reported Sunday. Both officials had an obligation to carry out Trumps policies, she added.

Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they werent being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country, the former South Carolina governor wrote, noting also that Kelly and Tillerson often couched their resistance in patriotic terms.

It was their decisions, not the presidents, that were in the best interests of America, they said. The president didnt know what he was doing, Haley wrote in the book, referring to how Trumps former top officials saw their responsibilities inside the White House.

Haley made similar remarks in an interview with WaPo.

I was so shocked I didnt say anything going home because I just couldnt get my arms around the fact that here you have two key people in an administration undermining the president, Haley told WaPo, referring to a moment when Kelly and Tillerson rejected her request to withhold funds from a U.N. agency that supports Palestinians.

Haley made waves earlier this weekend when she criticized efforts to oust the president for asking Ukraines president to investigate former Vice President Joe Bidens son. Impeachment is the death penalty for a public official, she said in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning.

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4. Bernie Unleashes Tirade Against 'Arrogance of Billionaires' in Democratic Primary02:01[−]

Chris White

Politics, Americas

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during a Climate Crisis Summit with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. November 9, 2019. REUTERS/Scott Morgan

He's not letting up.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is marking out a different position on billionaire Michael Bloombergs decision to jump in the White House race than that of Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez.

Youre not going to buy this election, the Vermont senator said Saturday during a climate summit in Des Moines, Iowa. Sanders, who is running for president as a Democrat, was referring to the former New York City mayors last-minute decision to join the contest.

That is the arrogance of billionaires, Sanders told ABC News Saturday. As I understand it, hes planning to skip the first four states. Were doing five events this weekend right here in Iowa, all over New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, California. But hes too important.

Bloomberg directed staffers to gather signatures in Alabama to qualify for the Democratic primary in the state, which had a Friday deadline for entrance into the race. He is expected to pose a substantial problem for former Vice President Joe Biden, a moderate candidate struggling to raise cash.

Bloomberg is one of two billionaires who are vying to beat President Donald Trump, himself a billionaire who won the 2016 presidential race in an improbably fashion. Hedge fund manager Tom Steyer is also angling to spend millions of dollars on a long-shot Democratic presidential campaign.

Sanders is using Bloombergs candidacy as a cudgel against what he sees is wealthy ownership of the party. You see, when youre worth $50 billion, I guess you dont have to have town meetings, you dont have to talk to ordinary people, he added during the ABC interview.

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5. China's Submarines Can Now Launch a Nuclear War Against America02:00[−]

Michael Peck


A missile test last November made the point quite clear.

Key Point: If China could boost the JL-3s range to 7,500 miles, like the Trident, then it could reach the entire United States from subs stationed in waters near the Chinese coast.

China has tested a new submarine-launched missile that can hit the United States.

The first flight test of the JL-3 missile was conducted last November from Bohai Bay in the Yellow Sea, according to the South China Morning Post, citing an unnamed source.

The new missile has a flight range of about 9,000 kilometers (5,600 miles), which is less than the 12,000-kilometer (7,500-mile) range of the American Trident II and Russian Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), the Post reported. This would give the JL-3, which can be armed with multiple warheads, a range of about 500 to 1,000 miles greater than its predecessor, the JL-2.

The distance between Shanghai and Honolulu is about 4,900 miles, which would put Hawaii within range of Chinese sub-launched missiles, and about 6,100 miles to San Francisco and 7,400 miles to Washington, D.C. However, unlike land-based ICBMs, Chinese subs can sail closer to the American mainland to put U.S. cities within range. Though definite information on Chinas missile submarine fleet is elusive, the Pentagon estimates that China now has four Jin-class subs with 12 JL-2 missiles apiece. These will be followed in the 2020s by the Type 096-class, which will be armed with the JL-3.

But China seems to be signaling that it doesnt want to embark on an arms race with America. The South China Morning Post, based in the Chinese special administrative region of Hong Kong, cited several Chinese experts who said the missiles were intended as a deterrent and bargaining chip in Chinas fraught relationship with the U.S.

Beijing will only develop a small number of SSBNs [ballistic missile submarines] and submarine-launched ballistic missiles because its main focus is to make sure the PLA has the most effective and powerful second-strike counter-attack capability in the event that the country is hit by nuclear weapons, one expert said.

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6. Nikki Haley: 'Hard to See Where Impeachment Would Qualify'01:57[−]

Shelby Talcott

Politics, Americas

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks at AIPAC in Washington, U.S., March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

She squared off against NBC's Savannah Guthrie.

  • Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley stood off in an interview with NBCs Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday morning.

  • Haley backed up President Donald Trump on the Ukraine phone call and supported the president again by saying he is mentally fit for office and has always been truthful with her.

  • Haleys first live interview comes on the same day her new book With All Due Respect is set to be released.

Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley backed up President Donald Trump on impeachment, his character and the Ukraine phone call during an interview with NBCs Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday morning.

Haley defended the presidents phone call with Ukraine, a move that has since sparked an impeachment inquiry, telling Guthrie that it is not an impeachable offense during Tuesdays show Today. She admitted that asking Ukraine to look into former Vice President Joe Biden was not good practice, but insisted that there were no demands and no indication that aid would be withheld if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky didnt listen to Trump.

I think its never a good practice for us to ask a foreign country to investigate an American, Haley said. Its just not a good practice. Having said that, theres no insistence on that call. There are no demands on that call. It is a conversation between two presidents thats casual in nature, and you know, its just hard to find anywhere that the president of Ukraine would have thought funds were being held and that he had to do this.

Haley also noted that impeachment is the most serious thing you can do to a president and suggested the people should decide on whether the offense was as bad as it is being made out to be. She added that the aid was given to Ukraine and the situation makes it hard to see where impeachment would qualify.

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7. Hickenlooper to Press: You Guys Should Be Protecting Me01:54[−]

Chris White

Politics, Americas

2020 Democratic U.S. presidential candidate former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper speaks during the Presidential Gun Sense Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Scott Morgan

He doesn't like what they said about his ethics.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is demanding journalists defend him from charges that he violated state ethics rules during a trip he made in 2018 to a secretive meeting political elites attended.

Colorados Independent Ethics Commission released a report on Nov. 7 on ethics complaints lodged against Hickenlooper that suggest the former governor improperly received air travel and limousine service during trips he made in 2018. The Colorado Democrat told reporters they should be defending him.

You guys should be protecting me on stuff like this. Whats the confusion? Hickenlooper rhetorically asked Next on 9NEWS Monday. I saved the state money. One of his trips was to Italy to attend a Bilderberg Meeting, a secretive annual meeting where political functionaries and elites congregate.

Frank McNulty, a Republican, is responsible for leveling the complaints.

McNultys complaint alleges Hickenlooper, who is running against Republican Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020, violated Colorados gift ban when he took the trips because he received air travel and chauffeured limo service during the trips.

Hickenlooper considered the Bilderberg trip to be a vacation and paid his own way, according to the ethics report. Hickenlooper has maintained his innocence, telling 9NEWS that hed be surprised if the ethics commission determined he acted unethically.

I have every confidence that we did everything, he said. We filled out every form, we did everything right, exactly the way we were told. Go read the laws. They are not exactly the clarity isnt excessive, but from what they told us, we think wed done everything right.

Still, the report examined other trips Hickenlooper made. He flew to Connecticut on a trip financed by MDC Holdings, a company owned by Hickenlooper donor Larry Mizel. Hickenlooper told investigators that the company refused his request to pay for the flight, the report claims.

The report also scrutinized a complaint that Hickenlooper officiated the wedding of SpaceX CEO Elon Musks brother in Texas.

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8. Another One? Former Massachusetts Governor Considers Stepping into 2020 Race01:50[−]

Mary Margaret Olohan

Politics, Americas

Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick stands to receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the 364th Commencement Exercises at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts May 28, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Will he be the one to beat Trump?

Ex-Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick told Democratic officials Monday that he is considering a presidential bid, according to three Democrats familiar with the situation.

Patrick, who served two terms as the governor of Massachusetts, told 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and other Democratic officials that he is thinking about entering the race at the last minute for the Democratic nomination, Democratic sources told the New York Times.

Democrats who have spoken with Patrick told the Times that Patrick believes the current Democratic candidates lack political momentum and that there may be a chance for someone to unify both moderate voters and liberal voters.

Patrick even called a meeting Sunday in Boston with his top advisers to discuss a potential 2020 presidential bid, two Democratic sources told the Times, and the ex-governor began reaching out to potential staffers Monday, telling them he is strongly considering running for president.

News of Patricks potential bid comes days after billionaire former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced he is also pondering a presidential bid.

These potential candidates come late in the race, reflecting Democratic uneasiness that the current Democratic presidential candidates can beat President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

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9. Hillary Clinton Under Enormous Pressure To Run For President...Again01:46[−]

Chuck Ross

Politics, Americas

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during funeral services for the late U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) at the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., October 25, 2019. Julio Cortez/Pool via REUTERS


Hillary Clinton refused to rule out a 2020 presidential run Monday, and said she is under enormous pressure to do so.

As I say, never, never, never say never, Clinton said in an interview with BBC Radio 5 when she was asked about a future presidential bid.

Clintons remarks will no doubt fuel speculation that the failed 2016 presidential candidate will jump into a crowded Democratic field in hopes of challenging President Donald Trump.

I will certainly tell you, Im under enormous pressure from many, many, many people to think about it, said the former secretary of state. But as of this moment, sitting here in this studio talking to you, that is absolutely not in my plans.

Clinton also said she thinks all the time about what could have been had she defeated Trump in 2016.

Clinton previously ruled out running again for president. She said March 4 that she was not running, but planned to help Democrats in other ways. But she has increased her media visibility in recent weeks, fueling speculation that she is considering entering the Democratic field. Bill Clinton said Oct. 31 that she may or may not run again.

Some presidential polls have suggested Clinton would be considered a top-tier contender if she does decide to run. A poll conducted in New Hampshire between Oct. 29 and Oct. 31 had Clinton at 18%, trailing only Joe Biden, who polled at 19%.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact

Image: Reuters.

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10. How Washington Can Save Nicaragua from the Threat of Tyranny01:41[−]

Ryan Berg

Security, Americas


If Washington seizes the opportunity to increase sanctions and offers clear and achievable conditions for their removal, then it could give the opposition a chance to defeat Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega at the ballot box.

Nicaraguas opposition movement is struggling under the duress of Daniel Ortegas ever-tightening grip. The dictator has succeeded in quelling the recent uprisings through intimidation and repression, leading to the deaths of over three hundred Nicaraguans and widespread human-rights abuses. U.S. policymakers have been slow and irresolute in their response. To restore democracy to the country through early elections, Washington will have to escalate the pressure campaign on Ortega and fine-tune its sanctions policy to achieve key electoral reforms.

Nicaraguas paramilitary groups roam the streets and the countryside, killing journalists and harassing peaceful protestors. Security forces have injured more than two thousand people and forced nearly one hundred thousand into exile in neighboring Costa Rica. Ortega has strangled the free press by preventing the import of newsprint, ransacking media offices, and shuttering one of the countrys main newspapersdespite the outlets close association with the Sandinista movement he leads. Meanwhile, Nicaragua has become a magnet for Central Americas most-wanted fugitives, with the government granting them citizenship and a handsome salary as paid advisors to Ortega.

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11. Trump's Impulsiveness Is Reshaping the Middle East (To Iran's Benefit)01:38[−]

Ofira Seliktar, Farhad Rezaei

Security, Middle East


Donald Trumps foreign policy decisions in the Middle East have resulted in a grave loss of trust in American leadership.

Shortly after arriving in Tehran in 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini announced that the new regime was destined to export its revolution to the region. At the time, Khomeinis declaration sounded like an empty boast. After all, how could a country devastated by a civil upheaval take on its two powerful neighbors, Iraq and Saudi Arabia? But the Supreme Leader and his successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, took an eschatological view of history, hoping that divine intervention would open a path. Divine providence, it seems, delivered in the form of the United States 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom, which was called a gift of God by Khameneian estimation that rings true, given Irans enmeshment in the fabric of Iraqi society and politics.

President Donald Trumps arrival in the White House caused apprehension in Tehran with his criticism of the nuclear deal with Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Washingtons plan to help Saudi Arabia provide a counterpoint to Iran, including talks about a Middle East NATO, added to the anxiety. When in May 2018 the United States pulled out of the JCPOA and imposed sanctions, the gloom in Tehran deepened. Despite public defiance and brave talk about the economy of resistancea reference to creating a self-sufficient economyAyatollah Khamenei and top commanders of the Revolutionary Guards were deeply concerned about the future.

Following a highly contentious debate on how to respond to the American challenge, an extreme hardline faction of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) won the argument. In April of this year, Khamenei fired Ali Jafarithe Guards veteran commander who counseled restraint against the United Statesand appointed Hossein Salami instead. Salami wasted little time in implementing a policy of if Iran cannot sell oil, no one else willa shorthand for striking oil exports in the Gulf. In doing so, Salami drew on the long-standing IRGCs Strategic Triangle Maritime, Irregular Warfare plan, which used the so-called Anti-Access, Anti-Denial (A2/AD) strategy to disrupt traffic in the Straits of Hormuz and beyond.

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12. China Concerns: Why the GOP Sees Beijing as Shifting from Friend to Foe01:32[−]

Joe Renouard

Security, Americas


For more than four decades, most Republicans were enthusiastic supporters of engagement with China. Now, they almost unanimously embrace the China threat narrative.

Ever since Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong rekindled the U.S.-China relationship in 1972, Republicans have generally perceived China policy as a balancing act between three key constituencies: the business community, the national security community, and the partys conservative wing. The GOPs vital center favored engagement with China in the 1970s as a means of countering Soviet power, and it was adamantly pro-commerce beginning in the 1980s.

There were always exceptions, of course. Congress often applied the brakes when the president sought closer China ties, and one could always find conservatives willing to stand up for Taiwan or Chinese Christians. Even many pro-business moderates remained wary of Beijing, especially during periods of bilateral crisis. Nevertheless, between the Reagan and Obama presidencies, most Republicans firmly backed the expansion of Sino-U.S. economic ties.

Not so today. In stark contrast to the Republican Partys erstwhile role as cheerleader for globalization, free trade, and Chinas integration into the world order, the GOP now carries the torch as Americas tough-on-China party. Todays Republicans almost unanimously combine concerns over national security, commerce, tech, intellectual property, and even human rights into a grand China threat narrative.

What happened? On the security front, a richer, more powerful China began to look like a more threatening China, especially after 2008. Defense hawks point to Beijings military buildup, its bold regional posture, its island-building campaign, and its pursuit of advanced technologies, all of which fuel the perception that China seeks to be the preeminent Pacific power. On the commercial front, foreign businesses facing technology-transfer requirements and market access restrictions are no longer so sanguine about the China market. Alongside long-standing American business concerns such as IP theft and currency manipulation, many now fear losing global market share to new Chinese ventures.

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13. Forget Glock: The Baker Rifle Is The Most Important Gun Of The Last 200 Years01:30[−]

Paul Huard


How riflemen became the future of warfare.

Key point: Long-distance killing revolutionized warfare.

On a freezing January day in 1809, rifleman Thomas Plunkett of the British 95th Rifles was flat on his back in the snow outside of the Spanish town of Cacabelos.

Some might say that was no place for an Irishman, but this was the waning days of the Battle of Cacabelos during the Peninsular Campaign of the Napoleonic Wars. Plunkett knew exactly what he was doing.

The French G?n?ral de Brigade Auguste-Marie-Fran?ois Colbert was doing his best to lead French cavalry in a rearguard attack that could place the British Army at his mercy.

Plunkett wanted Colbert dead and Colbert was more than 600 yards away.

While he lay on the ground, Plunkett inserted his foot into the sling of his Baker .705-caliber rifle to stabilize the weapon, tucked the butt of his rifle into his shoulder and took aim using only his skills and iron sights.

Plunkett squeezed the trigger, and a moment later the general fell dead. Then Plunkett took another shot that killed a second French officer who rode to Colberts aid.

It was a defining moment for the rifle. For nearly 200 years, soldiers in nearly every army of the Western world have carried some kind of rifle as their basic weapon.

The Baker rifle led the way. It wasnt the first rifled firearm placed in the hands of a foot soldier the Germans and the Americans during the 18th century had used rifles with lethal effectiveness.

But less-accurate and rapidly loaded smoothbore muskets had dominated European battlefields for two centuries beforehand. Now the British, masters of the First Industrial Revolution, had a weapon that could kill the enemy hundreds of yards away and be mass-produced.

The 19th century became the century of strategic warfare fought by riflemen who would adopt the tactics of fire and maneuver. When it came to this new field of battle, an ordinary foot soldier caught in the open wasnt just visible he was dead.

Shooting solid projectiles at humans out of metal tubes using gunpowder for a propellant is nothing new. The Chinese had cannons by the late 1200s, and the English deployed artillery in a primitive form in 1346 at the pivotal Battle of Cr?cy.

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14. Will Trump Prove to be His Own Worst Enemy During Impeachment?01:01[−]

Hunter DeRensis

Politics, Americas


Both Attorney General William Barr and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have refused to say publicly that there was nothing unethical about Trumps request to Zelensky to investigate the Biden family. But this is quite obviously not what the president wants to hear.

Ever since Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced in late September the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trumps communications with the Ukrainian government, impeachment has been a certainty. The Democrats hold a firm majority in the House, and when the official vote was taken, 232 members voted to continue the already-announced inquiry. It received no Republican support.

The real debate will be in the Republican-held Senate.

As the Democratic majority conducted its closed-door hearings, lawmakers have been formulating their arguments and crafting their narrative. As the House moves into public testimony, Republicans are already shifting their gaze to the Senate trial and how theyll respond to accusations against Trump. The preparation has already begun with the party providing the key points House Republicans must make going into the trial.

The following four points are contained in an official memorandum distributed to the sitting members of the House Intelligence Committee, the Oversight and Reform Committee, and the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Point 1: The July 25 call summarythe best evidence of the conversationshows no conditionality or evidence of pressure.

During the phone call, Trump told Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky I would like you to do us a favor, considering the foreign aid the U.S. provided Ukraine. That favor was related to investigating Ukrainian involvement in the U.S. intelligence communitys original accusations of Trump-Russian collusion. Later, Trump said it would be great if Zelensky could also investigate the business dealings of Hunter Biden, son of the former vice president.

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15. Hitler Built Over 20,000 of These Fighter Jets (They Dominated World War II)01:00[−]

Warfare History Network


This picture is a clue.

Key Point: By the end of the war, more than 20,000 FW-190s had been built for the Luftwaffe. At peak production, 22 FW-190s were being produced daily.

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16. Worst of the Worst: These 5 Guns Are Clearly the Worst Ever00:30[−]

Kyle Mizokami


And it's not even close.

Key Point: Not all guns are built the same or have anywhere near the same capabilities.

Handheld firearms have existed in one form or another since the 13th century. Despite their long history, there have been relatively few real, genuine clunkers in the world of handguns. The close engagement range of handgunstypically zero to twenty-five feetmeans that a handgun operator will often have little or no chance to clear a jammed weapon, and therefore complete, absolute, unqualified reliability is a must. Nevertheless, some handgun clunkers became famous, popular, or both.


The Nambu is one of the worst pistols ever designed. At first glance, Japans first semi-automatic pistol design resembles the iconic German Luger P-08though the comparison stops there. Designed by Kijiro Nambu at manufactured at Tokyos Koishikawa Arsenal, the Nambu was meant to provide Japans armed forces with an indigenously designed and produced handgun. Quality was generally good, but the design was horrendous. The double recoil springs and magazine spring made extracting the magazine extremely difficult. A weak striker spring gradually lost power, resulting in light primer strikes and misfires. The guns ergonomics were very poor and veered more towards traditional Japanese martial weapons than a comfortable, pointable, handgun. Although popular in the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy, only the latter officially adopted it, with Army officers often purchasing theirs out of pocket.

Beretta Model 1923:

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17. China Could Solve the South China Sea Challenge by Sinking U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers00:00[−]

Michael Peck


That was the implied threat: What the United States fears the most is taking casualties, said Lou. Well see how frightened America is.

Key Point: Sinking U.S. carriers would be an act of war. Not a warning shot across the bows. Not a spy plane downed for crossing into Chinese territory. Not an accidental collision between an American patrol plane and a Chinese fighter.

Admiral Lou Yuan is Chinas Curtis LeMay.

LeMay, the U.S. Air Force general who torched Japanese cities and later headed Strategic Air Command, was notorious for his bellicosity. In the 1950s and during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he tried to get the U.S. to launch a nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union: during the Vietnam War, he urged bombing North Vietnam back to the Stone Age.

Now comes Lou Yuan, deputy chief of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences and a prolifically hawkish military commentator who supports a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Last month, Yuan told an audience at a Chinese military-industrial conference that China could solve tensions over the South East China Sea by sinking two U.S. aircraft carriers.

This would kill 10,000 American sailors. What the United States fears the most is taking casualties, said Lou. Well see how frightened America is.

Lou has previously urged an invasion of Taiwan if the U.S. Navy uses the island, regarded by China as a renegade territory, as a naval base. If the US naval fleet dares to stop in Taiwan, it is time for the Peoples Liberation Army to deploy troops to promote national unity on the island, he said.

LeMay was no fan of Communism, but he would have understood Lous sentiment.

Unfortunately, neither man seemed to know the difference between aggressiveness and foolhardiness. LeMays first strike on the Soviet Union would have triggered World War III against a nuclear-armed superpower: even if the U.S. had managed to destroy most Soviet nuclear weapons, it would only have taken a few bombs landing New York or Los Angeles to kill millions, not to mention a Soviet Army that would have wreaked vengeance on Western Europe.

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18. A Rocket Exploded and Almost Sunk a U.S. Navy Aircraft CarrierTue, 12 Nov[−]

Sebastien Roblin


Fire is a Navy aircraft carrier's worst nightmare.

Key Point: Flying shrapnel shredded many of the first responders, while jet fuel seared the skin off others, leaving survivors with horrifying injuries.

Two deadly collisions involving U.S. Navy destroyers in June and August 2017 may have cost the lives of up to sixteen sailors, leading the Navy to declare a day-long operational pause to reflect upon its safety culture. That such similar accidents took place in such close proximity reflects stresses and failings common to the maritime fighting branch.

In the 1960s, the Navy also suffered a series of deadly accidents aboard its carriers. In their wake came major reforms addressing the inherent dangers of operating ships packed full of explosive munitions, fuel and jet planes. This three-part series will examine why each of the accidents occurred, how the crew responded and the lessons that were drawn from the tragedies.

(Throw Those) Bombs Away!

The USS Forrestal was the United States first supercarrier, and the largest ever built when it was commissioned in 1955. Capable of launching larger, more powerful F-4 Phantom fighters on its thousand-foot-long flight deck using steam catapults, the Forrestal was deployed to Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin in July 1967 to contribute its Carrier Air Wing 17 to the intense bombing campaign over Vietnam.

Just nine months earlier, the smaller USS Oriskany experienced a devastating fire that killed forty-four sailors and pilots, all caused by a mishandled flare which triggered rockets stored in an ammunition locker. Misfiring rockets would also prove the bane of the Forrestal, but faulty bombs were more deeply implicated in the tragedy.

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19. The Stuka Dive Bomber: Hitler's Ultimate Terror WeaponTue, 12 Nov[−]

Sebastien Roblin


Perhaps no weapon was as closely associated with the Nazi German in early in World War II as the Stuka dive bomber, infamous for howling, near-vertical dive attacks on warships, battlefield targets and defenseless civilian communities like merciless birds of prey.

Perhaps no weapon was as closely associated with the Nazi German in early in World War II as the Stuka dive bomber, infamous for howling, near-vertical dive attacks on warships, battlefield targets and defenseless civilian communities like merciless birds of prey.

However, the Stukas reputation did not survive the war it helped kick-off as it proved less and less survivable in the face of capable opposition.

The dive bomber was a solution to a timeless challenge in military aviation: how to ensure weapons dropped by fast-moving aircraft land anywhere near a point target like a warship, artillery battery or fortification. Precision was an especially big problem in an era where tactical aircraft could carry only light, unguided bombs.

In the early 1930s, German World War I ace and stuntmen Ernst Udet was impressed by American F11C Goshawk fighters he saw perform steep dive-bombing attacks. Upon joining the Nazi Party in 1933 he imported two Goshawks for test-flying and insisted the fledgling Luftwaffe develop a specialized dive bomberan aircraft that could withstand the strain of pulling out of steep dives without smashing into the ground or ripping its wings off.

Engineer Hermann Pohlmann of the Junkers company devised a two-seat monoplane with fixed landing gear covered by spiffy spats and distinctive inverted gull-wings that helped lift the fuselage high enough off the ground to accommodate its large propeller. In addition to two rifle-caliber machineguns in the wings, the radio operator had a rearward-facing gun to protect against enemy fighters.

Powered by a Jumo 211 engine, the Ju 87 beat out competing models in an aircraft design competition and saw initial combat-testing in the Spanish Civil War in 1938-1939. The Stuka was slow with a maximum speed of 200-240 miles per hour in level flight and had a short combat radius of only 245 miles. It typically carried a single 551-pound bomb under the fuselage (released by a crutch-like dispenser to avoid hitting the propeller) and four 110-pound bombs under the wings.

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20. The Russian Military Will Soon Assign Soldiers Based on Their "Genetic Passports"Tue, 12 Nov[−]

Michael Peck


Want to be a Russian paratrooper or tank commander? Then youd better hope you have the right genes.

Key Point: the Russian military will be using genetics to assess that most unpredictable of human qualities: how a person will react in combat.

Want to be a Russian paratrooper or tank commander? Then youd better hope you have the right genes.

The Russian military will be assigning soldiers based on their genetic passports.

The project is far-reaching, scientific, fundamental, Alexander Sergeyev, the chief of Russias Academy of Sciences, told Russian news agency TASS back in the summer (English translation here). Its essence is to find such genetic predispositions among military personnel, which will allow them to be properly oriented according to military specialties.

It is a question of understanding at the genetic level who is more prone to, for example, to service in the fleet, who may be more prepared to become a paratrooper or a tankman.

Advances in medical technology are making genetic testing a common medical procedure. It is used to detect genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, or the risk of developing certain diseases such as colorectal cancer. Pregnant women can also choose to be tested to determine whether their baby has genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin has embraced genetics with a passion. In March, the Kremlin issued a decree that called for implementation of genetic certification of the population, taking into account the legal framework for the protection of data on the personal human genome and the formation of the genetic profile of the population. Ostensibly this is to protect Russias population against chemical and biological attack, as well as safeguard Russias genetic patrimony from Western spies and saboteurs.

It has also spurred fears that Russia is edging towards a Nazi-style eugenics program in which certain groups, such as those Russians of Slavic ancestry, will be favored.

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21. Area 51 Is Where Stealth Was Born: Everything You Need to KnowTue, 12 Nov[−]

Sebastien Roblin


Way more than UFOs.

Key Point: A rich history many don't realize.

Area 51, the highly secretive U.S. Air Force test facility in the deserts of southern Nevada, is enjoying a resurgence of popular interest thanks to an internet memeas if being featured in X-File episodes, arcade shootem up games and films werent enough.

Despite the countless dubious conspiracy theories attributed to the site also known as Dreamland or Groom Lake, theres no doubt that for over six decades the base hosted all sorts of black project aircraft whose existence was not formally disclosed by the Pentagon.

Though the CIA only obliquely admitted to the sites existence in 2013, we actually know a fair bit about how Area 51 came to beand even how it first became a subject of juicy UFO stories.

A Private Testing Ground for Eisenhowers Top-Secret Spy Plane

In the early 1950s, the United States was super keen on monitoring the Soviet Unions rapidly developing nuclear ballistic missile program. As the first spy satellites remained a few years away from being launched, the only way to reliably spy on these sights was to fly above them and snap pictures with giant cameras. But by the early 1950s, the Soviet Unions new air defense system and high-flying jet interceptors made spy flights excessively risky.

To overcome these defenses, Lockheed engineer Kelly Johnson proposed a glide-liker spy plane that would simply fly too high to be intercepted at over 70,000 feet. This still involved illegally violating Soviet airspacebut as long as the spy planes couldnt be shot down, Moscow couldnt prove the spy flights were happening at all.

In November 1954, Eisenhower approved development of this U-2 spy plane in a program known as Project Aquatone to be operated by the CIA. While the plane would be built at Lockheeds famous Skunkworks facility, an aircraft designed for illegal spy overflights needed to be tested somewhere more discrete.

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22. Why China Loves Russia's Su-35 Fighter (And Might Buy Even More of Them)Tue, 12 Nov[−]

Michael Peck


But a larger question looms.

Key Point: When Will China go on its own when it comes to developing fighter aircraft?

For a nation that boasts of developing an advanced stealth fighter, it seems strange that China would need to buy warplanes from its former rival Russia.

Yet Moscow is offering to sell more Su-35 fighters to Beijing and Chinese media reports that Beijing may accept.

China has already bought 24 Su-35s an upgraded version of the Cold War Su-27 Flanker in a 2015 sale worth $2.5 billion, according to Russian news agency TASS. We are expecting a response from China on our offer to purchase modern weapons and military equipment manufactured in Russia, including additional batches of Su-35 fighter jets," Russias arms export agency told TASS back in the summer.

Two days later, a Chinese military television channel reported that China may buy more Su-35s to replace older aircraft. China has about 3,000 aircraft roughly the size of the U.S. Air Force including 1,700 fighters. But many are obsolete Cold War planes, including several hundred Chinese copies of Russias 1960s-era MiG-21. Thus even as China fields the fifth-generation J-20 stealth fighter ostensibly the counterpart of the American F-22 and F-35 the Peoples Liberation Army Air Force is saddled with the logistical challenges of maintaining a huge fleet of old planes.

Yet, Chinas state-controlled Global Times newspaper also cited a Chinese military expert who believes there are other reasons to buy the Su-35. Fu Qianshao told the Global Times that while China could indeed buy more Su-35s, they are not meant to replace older Chinese jets because the Russian aircraft is too expensive and China has too many old jets. The replacement will most likely be done by domestically made warplanes, he said.

Having already bought a batch of Su-35s previously, China does not need more to learn from it technically, Fu noted. But if China indeed buys more, it would make the Chinese Air Force's logistical support for the warplane fleet more efficient as there would be more spare parts and dedicated personnel, Fu said, noting that economic and political factors might also play a part in the potential deal due to China and Russia's close relations, and a Chinese purchase would help boost Russia's aviation industry.

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23. F-35s Belong in a Museum: Europe Has Some Wild 6th-Generation Fighter DreamsTue, 12 Nov[−]

Michael Peck


But will they ever leave the drawing board?

Key Question: Can Europe Even Afford It?

Ever since the guns fell silent in 1945, Europe has always been in third place in the global arms race.

Nations such as Britain, France and Sweden could devise weapons of clever and innovative design. But when it came to weapons technology, the innovation came from the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia, who were willing to spend vast amounts of treasure on military research and development.

But is a new generation of weapons coming that will put Europe on a par with America and Russia?

At the Paris Air Show back in the summer, a model of the Future Air Combat System drew crowds. A sixth-generation fighter of Franco-German-Spanish parentage (though of largely French descent), it might be Europes counterpart to whatever manned jetsor dronessucceed the U.S. fifth-generation U.S. F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters, or Russias Su-57.

FCAS is built around futuristic concepts: stealth configuration, long-range missiles andmost importantlymanned-unmanned teaming. Like a stealth queen, the fighter will be attended by a retinue of drones that will do much of the dirty work of fighting, scouting and taking the brunt of enemy fire. The United States is working on the same concept with its Loyal Wingman program and the XQ-58 drone, a mini-F-35 lookalike that will work with manned aircraft like a pack of hunting dogs and their master.

Not to be outdone by its Continental cousins from whom it is separating, Britain is developing its own sixth-generation fighter. The laser-armed Tempest is envisioned entering service around 2035.

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24. USS Utah: The Forgotten (Drone) Battleship Sunk at Pearl HarborTue, 12 Nov[−]

Robert Farley


Back in July, the United States almost went to war over the downing of a drone along the Iranian border. This is not, strangely enough, the first time that an attack against the United States began with violence against a drone.

Key Point: Utah was the oldest battleship to serve in World War II, but not the oldest to serve as a battleship, an honor which goes to USS Arkansas. Her presence at Pearl Harbor is often forgotten because she had ceased to serve as a battleship at the time of the attack. However, her contribution to the preparedness of the Pacific Fleet was every bit as important as that of the other battleships of the line, and her sacrifice should be noted.

Back in July, the United States almost went to war over the downing of a drone along the Iranian border. This is not, strangely enough, the first time that an attack against the United States began with violence against a drone. On December 7, 1941, one of the first attacks conducted by Japanese aircraft was launched against the former battleship USS Utah, a radio-controlled target ship. Today, USS Utah remains at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, a memorial to those lost in the surprise attack.


USS Utah (BB-31) was the sixth dreadnought battleship commissioned by the U.S. Navy. Like the preceding Delaware-class, Utah and her sister Florida carried ten 12 gun in five twin, center-line turrets. Displacing 23,000 tons, Utah could make 21 knots on steam turbines. She and her sister were the first U.S. battleships to use turbines, although some later ships would revert to reciprocating engines.

The commissioning of Utah gave the USN a squadron of four modern battleships, behind the British but competitive with the Germans. Michigan and South Carolina, the first U.S. dreadnoughts, were too slow to operate in the line of battle. The USN took pains to avoid the interoperability problems that plagued its British, German, and Japanese counterparts. Between 1910 and 1921, the battleships were all relatively heavily armed, armored, and consistent in speed. It was not difficult, therefore, for the fleet to operate as a unit. In contrast, the Royal Navy included battlecruiserswhich, while useful for many operations, could not operate safely in the battle line. Also, the dreadnoughts of the Royal Navy varied widely in speed; this could be a handicap in battle, as faster ships could get separated from slower. The Kaiserliche Marine and the Imperial Japanese Navy suffered from similar issues.

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25. This is How America's National Debt Could Grow by $7 TrillionTue, 12 Nov[−]

Rachel Greszler


Tacking as much as $6.7 trillion onto our national debt to cover broken pension promises would raise the average households debt burden by $52,000, to $230,000.

On Oct. 31, the national debt hit $23 trillion. Thats equivalent to a credit card bill of $178,000 for every household in America.

This marks an enormous increase. Even after adjusting for inflation, its a jump of $60,000 over just 10 years for the average household.

In other words, even after accounting for inflation, the U.S. added more debt per household over the past 10 years than it did over its first 200 years.

Low interest rates today make our debt seemingly manageable, but the higher Americas debt grows, the more likely it is that rates could suddenly spike, sending terrible shocks throughout the economy.

The demand for socialism is on the rise from young Americans today. But is socialism even morally sound? Find out more now >>

Now, an obscure pension fix could hasten such a shock by opening the door to massive pension bailouts that could push our $23 trillion debt closer to $30 trillion, or $230,000 per household.

Unbeknownst to most Americans, Congress is considering legislation to fix underfunded private union pension plans that have promised at least $638 billion more in pension benefits than theyve set aside to pay.

The fix that mismanaged pension plans have lobbied Congress for is to shift those broken promises onto taxpayers. Politicians who receive hefty donations from unions, along with some lawmakers who have lots of constituents that would benefit from a taxpayer bailout, are pushing for just thata massive bailout without reform.

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26. Glock's Insanely Powerful Pocket Cannon: Meet the Glock 30 .45 ACPTue, 12 Nov[−]

Kyle Mizokami


This is one really powerful gun--and very small.

Key Point: But is it too small? Too powerful?

Glocks most powerfuland compacthandgun is a mix of old and new technology. The Glock 30 subcompact handgun merges the .45 ACP round, a product of the Industrial Revolution, with modern handgun technology. The result is a highly concealable firearm that, once drawn, has few equals.

The .45 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) round was developed by prolific arms inventor John Moses Browning. The U.S. Armys experience with the .38 Long Colt round during the Philippine Insurrection left it wanting a more powerful round able to neutralize with fewer shots. Combat against Filipino insurgents, at times hand to hand, divided combatants into two categories: the quick and the dead. A single .38 Long Colt gunshot wound was often not enough to drop an insurgent before he landed a fatal chop with an edged weapon.

In response, John Browning developed the larger, heavier .45 ACP round. The .38 Long Colt round typically transferred 180 foot-pounds of energy on target. The .45 ACP round, on the other hand, easily transferred twice as much energy. Paired with the M1911 series semi-automatic pistol, also a Browning design, .45 ACP was the dominant handgun caliber of the U.S. military for more than sixty years.

The Glock handgun, designed by Austrian knifemaker Gaston Glock, was a revolutionary, striker-fired handgun that featured a combination of high-capacity magazines, reliability, and simplicity of design. Invented to fulfill an Austrian Army contract for a new service handgun, the original full size, 9-millimeter Glock 17 was a worldwide hit.

After the successful rollout of the Glock 17, the company gradually expanded its lineup into other calibers and handgun types, particularly compact and subcompacts. The ecosystem grew to include everything from long slide 9-millimeter pistols to subcompact 10-millimeter handguns. As a result, it was inevitable that Glock would eventually release a subcompact .45 ACP, the Glock 30.

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27. Concealed Carry Guns: The 5 Best (Glock and Sig Sauer Made the List)Tue, 12 Nov[−]

Gun News Daily


What would you need in a crisis? Here are some options.

Key Point: Here is what we think. Let the debate begin!

Concealed carry guns have been growing in popularity in the last few years, and more people now than ever before have their concealed carry licenses. That means that gunmakers are having to keep up with the demand and in the area of compact .9mm pistols.

Anytime there is such a large demand or surge in popularity, it usually also tends to lead to some really cool innovations. When talking about firearms, those innovations can come in the form of upgrades and size reduction to some of the classic full-size models you have come to love over time. If you are an avid gun enthusiast or just have a favorite make and model of pistol, you should have no problem finding a compact version that you enjoy just as much. Maybe even more.

If you still need a little help though, we have rounded up a few of our favorites for you to browse through to help you narrow down your choices.


The Walther PPQ M2 is a semi-automatic 9mm with a compact frame. It is almost the exact same build as the original PPQ, with the only real difference being that the PPQ M2 incorporates a thumb release push-button for the magazine release. It holds a total of 15 rounds of 9mm caliber Luger ammo.

This pistol is only slightly larger than a Glock 19 and has a total length of 12 inches. And weight is also a non-issue with the PPQ M2, weighing in at only 3.5 pounds.

There is a bit of heavy recoil that you can feel when firing this pistol. This is minimized to an extent thanks to its low bore-axis design, however. And because it has a low bore-axis, the grip handle is also a good deal shorter. This makes it an easy pistol to handle and conceal. In addition to this, it features an ergonomic design that just feels comfortable in your hands.

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28. The Glock 18 Is a 'Machine Pistol' The Fires 1,200 Rounds Per MinuteTue, 12 Nov[−]

Kyle Mizokami


No Glock like it. Period.

Key Point: This is not for sale.

In December 2003, soldiers of the U.S. Special Operations Command captured the Ace of Spades himself, Saddam Hussein. The former Iraqi president, on the run since the capture of Baghdad, had appeared in a deck of playing cards with the profiles of other fugitive war criminals and naturally was the top card. Hussein, bedraggled and bereft, was armed with one of the rarest of handguns: the Glock 18, the full auto Glock.

In February 1980 the Austrian Army issued a requirement for a new handgun. Gaston Glock, a knifemaker who made knives and bayonets for the army, decided to try his hand at the gun manufacturing business. After buying and trying many types of existing handguns, consulting with firearm specialists to see what they would like in a handgun, and a presumably a great deal of trial and error, Glocks first pistol, the Glock 17, won the army contract for twenty thousand pistols.

Glocks handgun design, an early adopter of the use of polymers to reduce weight, made the pistol relatively lightweight and easy to carry. The seventeen round detachable box magazine was much larger than most handguns of the time. Recoil from the nine millimeter ammunition was quite manageable. An emphasis on mechanical reliability made the Glock 17 an attractive choice for police and special operations units that used handguns as their duty pistol, especially in offensive roles.

In the mid-nineteen eighties Austrias counterrorism unit Einsatzkommando Cobra, part of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, approached Glock and asked if the company could create a full auto version of the Glock 17. The company was successful and named the gun Glock 18, due to its similarity to the original gun but obvious differences. Technically the Glock 18 is a machine pistol, or a pistol-sized weapon capable of fully automatic fire.

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29. Need a Gun to Defend Your Home? These 5 Are Among the Best You Can Get.Tue, 12 Nov[−]

Kyle Mizokami


Glock and Baretta both made the list. See what we came up with.

Key Point: There are many options but all comes down to your own personal preferences.

Home defense is probably the most stressful scenario a civilian gun owner could encounter. A crash or bump in the night, waking a homeowner up from an evening torpor or sound slumber, is a jarring proposition. Add to that a house or apartment full of family members for whom the homeowner is responsible, and things start moving very quickly. After calling the police, what weapon do you reach for to defend your family? Here are five options.

Beretta 1301 Shotgun

A semiautomatic shotgun from Italian gun manufacturer Beretta, the compact 1301 comes with an 18.5-inch barrel and a four-round magazine. The shotguns heft and weight, reminders of its raw power, are reassuring in stressful situations. The barrel length makes the shotgun easier to wield indoors without bumping into walls or getting caught in doorways. The semiautomatic loading system means that, after the first round, a second round is automatically loaded and ready to fire. Although shotgun shot is known to disperse with distance at close, indoor ranges, the dispersion pattern is negligible. Care should be taken firing indoors, however, as contrary to expectations shotgun shot is particularly good at penetrating drywall.

Glock 19

The Glock 19 handgun is slightly smaller than the original Glock 17, making it an excellent choice for home defense. The Glock 19 has a slightly shorter barrel than the -17, with a slightly smaller magazine capacity, but is less obtrusive and easier to conceal in a gun safe. As a handgun, the Glock is easier to maneuver through close indoor confines than a long gun. The recoil of a nine-millimeter pistol is very manageable and easier to keep the muzzle on target in stressful situations. A Glock 19 with a flashlight attachment and specialized self-defense rounds such as 147 grain Federal HST will quickly and reliably put down a threat.

Ruger GP100

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30. A Question for Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden or Any Democrat Running for President: What's Your Foreign Policy?Tue, 12 Nov[−]

Paul R. Pillar


We know the Dems positions on health care and taxes on the rich, but what about matters abroad?

The contest for the Democratic presidential nomination has had the unreal quality of not focusing on what the eventual winner will have the power to do, and will be most pressed to do, as president. Instead the campaign has been more of an abstract discussion of certain high-profile policy issuesabstract not in the sense that such policies lack material consequences or that the candidates (especially Elizabeth I have a plan for that Warren) lack specific proposals, but rather in the sense that they are not what presidents have the power to enact on their own.

The enormous attention to health care is probably the outstanding case in point. Of course, health care is an important national concern, but acts of Congress, not presidential fiats, will determine the shape of the health care system in the United States. Presidents can propose, but Congress disposes (and Warren and other candidates who currently are members of Congress can introduce bills on health care right now). Whatever any president proposes on this subject is likely to change significantly before Congress finishes disposing of it, even if the presidents party has majorities in both chambers. Warren as president would have more immediate (and beneficial) impact, with, for example, her stated intention to end the selling of ambassadorships and to take other steps, several of which do not require legislation, to restore the U.S. Foreign Service after the severe damage that Trump has inflicted on it. The other presidential candidates would make the campaign debate more useful by taking some of the enormous time spent on health care plans and speaking about what they would do to accomplish such restoration.

This is still a race for a party nomination, and it is well known how political battles at this stage typically focus narrowly on what are perceived to be the parochial concerns of the partys base and take on a different character in the general election. But positions taken now can impose constraints later on. Moreover, Democratic primary voters ought to be learning about what difference the various contenders would make in executing the powers of the presidency, not just in who has the most attractive ideas about policies that cannot be imposed by fiat.

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31. 'Whats Your Warrior?': The U.S. Army Makes Its Pitch To Recruit the BestTue, 12 Nov[−]

Kris Osborn


Do you have what it takes?

Maneuvering attack helicopters through mountains, firing lasers from ground vehicles, commanding autonomous robot sensors, waging cyber attacks and creating microscopic explosions splitting cells in a laboratory are all images designed to capture a growing realm of Army experiences depicted in the services massive new ad campaign called Whats Your Warrior?

Beginning with images of Apache helicopters weaving through rocky cliffs amid dust, wind and high-risk combat, the Army-colored greenish-yellow video animation balances a nuanced message, blending individual soldier specialties with platforms, networks and advanced weapons being used by teamed groups of soldiers.

The ads show snipers buried in tall grass battling high winds, paratroopers descending in groups through morphing yellowish-clouds and cyberwarriors typing feverishly while satellites, sensors and command and control technology simultaneously operate in tandem.

Seeking to appeal to a sense of identity, profession and purpose within the cyber-savy information-age informed Generation Z, the Armys new recruiting advertisements intend to take news steps beyond the famous Be All You Can Be ads by, among other things, expanding the definition of Warrior.

Networking weapons from space, guiding ground missile targeting from drones in the air, jamming enemy networks with EW, using AI to organize armored vehicle sensor data and pushing the frontiers of scientific discovery in laboratories are all skill sets now increasingly in demand by Army recruiters.

While the fundamentals of mechanized warfare, including the Armys Combined Arms Maneuver, are now needed as much or more than any time in modern history, the Army is, of course, expanding its mission scope to encompass space, cyber, EW and AI-driven weapons systems. Therefore, as the ad campaign reflects, the service needs more cybersecurity experts, scientists, researchers and innovators to join the ranks of Army professionals now exploring the boundaries of technical possibility in preparation for great power warfare.

Recognizing the fast-moving pace of technical change, and its impact upon modern warfare, Army professions and opportunities are now broader than they have ever been in history, Brig. Gen. Alex Fink, Chief of Army Enterprise Marketing, told Warrior in an interview.

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32. Sweden Almost Built Nuclear Submarines (They Would Have Been a Disaster)Tue, 12 Nov[−]

Robert Beckhusen

Security, Europe

Their original plans for a nuclear submarine would have been a danger not just to their enemies, but their crew.

Key Point: The Swedes' nuclear submarine, if built, would have radiated the entire area around it.

In terms of modern diesel-electric submarines, its hard to beat Sweden. In 2005, one of them the 200-foot-long HMS Gotland sneaked up and virtually destroyed the American Nimitz-class carrier USS Ronald Reagan in a simulated war game. That was due in part to the ultra-quiet Stirling engines that power the Gotland.

The Swedish navy, while small, has long reserved funds for submarines given its location and the likely direction of conflict.

There are many places along the Swedish coast for stealthy submarines to hide, and they would likely face Russian vessels the kind that may try to assist in a Russian attack on Sweden, remote as it seems. The Swedish boats unique Stirling engines, using Air-Independent Propulsion, gives Gotland and Sodermanland-class subs an advantage compared to most navies operating conventional diesel-engine submarines.

But Sweden at one point considered nuclear submarines. The idea never left the drawing board, but had it, the vessel would have been rather unsafe for the crew and possibly anyone else who happened to stray too close to the submarine when the reactor was active.

With design work beginning in 1957, the proposed nuclear submarine called the A-11A was also small even by the standards of most submarines at 159 feet long, and contained some interesting design features such as a large hull-mounted hydroplanes, according to a detailed summary by Fredrik Granholm and submarine historian and illustrator H. I. Sutton.

The A-11As initial design had six torpedo tubes in a rotating launcher firing two at a time like a double-barreled revolver which could not reload. That was a limitation, but the design saved on space since there was no torpedo room.

One of the most remarkable features was the nuclear reactor shielding, or rather an insufficient amount of it, according to Sutton. The sides of the reactor compartment were minimally protected meaning that the reactor could not safely be operated in port, Sutton wrote. Therefore a diesel generator would be used for maneuvering in port.

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33. A Jewish Tale of Terror: Surviving the KristallnachtTue, 12 Nov[−]

Wolf Gruner

History, Europe


When Nazi paramilitary troops broke the doors of their homes, it sounded as though a bomb had gone off; then the men cut into the featherbeds, hacked the furniture into pieces and smashed everything inside.

Every November, communities around the world hold remembrances on the anniversary of the Nazis brutal assault on the Jews during Kristallnacht.

Also known as the Night of Broken Glass, its one of the most closely scrutinized events in the history of Nazi Germany. Dozens of books have been published about the hours between Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, when Adolf Hitler and his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, decided to unleash violence against Jews across Germany and the annexed territory of Austria with the aim of driving them out of the Third Reich.

Most accounts tend to emphasize the attacks on synagogues and shops, along with the mass arrests of 30,000 men. A few note the destruction of Jewish schools and cemeteries.

Attacks on Jewish homes, however, are barely mentioned.

Its an aspect of the story that has rarely been researched and written about until now.

A Pattern Emerges in Survivor Accounts

In 2008, when I arrived at the University of Southern California from Germany, I had been researching Nazi persecution of the German Jews for 20 years. I had published more than six books on the topic and thought I knew just about everything there was to know about Kristallnacht.

The university happened to be the new home of the Shoah Foundation and its Visual History Archive, which today includes over 55,000 survivor testimonies. When I started to watch interviews with German-Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, I was surprised to hear many of them talk about the destruction of their homes during Kristallnacht.

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34. Israel's Military Is One of the Best on the Planet. America Needs to Keep It That Way.Tue, 12 Nov[−]

Bradley Bowman, Andrew Gabel

Security, Middle East


A large-scale U.S. pivot out of the Middle East would not be prudent, but Washington can and must find a way to address persistent threats there economically. Where it serves the interests of both countries, greater integration of U.S. and Israeli military doctrine and weapons development represents a great place to start.

The U.S. military is very busy these days. The Department of Defense wants to focus its finite resources on great power competition with China and Russia, but persistent threats from Iran and Islamist terrorists demand continued attention. How can the Pentagon address this dilemma? Strengthening Washingtons security partnership with Israel in areas of military doctrine and weapons development may provide part of the answer.

The 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) made an admirable effort to establish clear priorities. Long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia are the principal priorities for the Department, it concluded. Furthermore, the NDS stated unequivocally, Inter-state competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security. Yet, as much as some might like to focus exclusively on great power competition, the NDS itself also acknowledged persistent threats from Iran and terrorist organizations. In the Middle East, Iran is competing with its neighbors, asserting an arc of influence and instability while vying for regional hegemony, using state-sponsored terrorist activities, a growing network of proxies, and its missile program to achieve its objectives, the NDS assessed. Tehrans activities over the last few months underscore these concerns.

The NDS notes, threats to stability remain as terrorist groups with long reach continue to murder the innocent and threaten peace more broadly. Islamist terrorists are far from defeated. Without constant pressure, seemingly tactical terror threats can quickly become strategically devastating for the United States. Another 9/11-style terror attack emanating from the wider Middle Eastperhaps this time with a weapon of mass destructioncould kill tens of thousands of Americans and require the diversion of military resources needed for great power competition.

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35. Socialism Stinks: The Unfortunate Lessons of Venezuela's Central PlanningTue, 12 Nov[−]

James M. Roberts

Politics, South America

Socialism doesn't work.

Key Point: Government organization of the economy squandered Venezuela's wealth.

Friedrich Hayek famously observed that socialist central planning puts countries on the road to serfdom.

The latest dead end on that highway to hellalready littered with the human victims of past failed attempts in places like Cuba and the old Soviet Unionis in Caracas, Venezuela.

That is where, last weekend, President Nicol?s Maduro and the thousands of Cuban communists who actually run his government took the final step to squash the rights of individual Venezuelan citizens and impose an authoritarian dictatorship.

Hayek could have told us: It is the logical last act in the Venezuelan tragedy that began nearly 20 years ago with the election of Maduros mentor (and Fidel Castros prot?g?), Hugo Chavez.

As The Economist magazine reported earlier this year, the damage in Venezuela is extensive.

The economy has contracted dramaticallygross domestic product in 2017 will be nearly 25 percent smaller than when Chavez died in 2013. Hyperinflationand the complete economic collapse it signalsseems to be just around the corner.

Inflation is predicted to exceed 1,600 percent this year and the value of the countrys currencythe bolivarhas plummeted. As wags on Twitter have noted, it is now worth less than the virtual gold tokens in the World of Warcraft video game.

Which would be funny, were it not for the immense human suffering right now in Venezuela. People are losing weight because there is not enough to eat in this workers paradise.

There are shortages of everything, everywhere. Just like in the old Soviet Union, people line up at the first rumor that some basic itembread, rice, cooking oil, etc.might be available.

Food riots are frequent. Medicines are almost nonexistent. Hospitals do not even have running water. Many people are fleeingthousands of refugees are crossing the border daily into Colombia.

It wasnt supposed to end this way. The World Bank clucked approvingly in the early Chavez years, when his oil income redistribution schemes improved statistics for inequality.

Meanwhile, the Chavistas looted and destroyed the Venezuelan private sector, seizing and wiping out the efficient companies and farms that had been producing the basic goods people are now fighting over.

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36. How the Navy Used a Submarine Armed with Rocket Launchers To Terrorize JapanTue, 12 Nov[−]

Sebastien Roblin

History, Asia

By USN - Official U.S. Navy photo 19-N-83952 from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command, Public Domain,

Meet the famous USS Barb.

Key point: The submarine was innovative and used near the end of the war.

In the closing months of World War II, heavy losses and depleted fuel stocks kept many of Japans remaining combat aircraft grounded and warships in port, awaiting an anticipated amphibious invasion. Starting in July 1945, Allied battleships embarked on a series of naval bombardments of coastal cities in Japan in an effort to draw these forces out to battlewith little success. However, a week before the battleships began lobbing their massive shells, a legendary U.S. submarine toting a rocket launcher began its own campaign of coastal terror that foretold the future of naval warfareand also engaged in the only Allied ground-combat operation on Japanese home-island soil.

Submarines still made use of deck guns during World War II, most of them ranging between three and five inches in caliber. These were used to finish off unarmed merchant ships or sink smaller vessels that could evade torpedoesbut also were occasionally directed to bombard coastal targets, such as in early-war Japanese raids on the coasts of California and Australia. The problem was that a single gun was unlikely to inflict much damage in a short amount of time, and the submarines were highly vulnerable to air, sea and land attack as long as they remained surfaced.

In 1942, the German Kriegsmarine actually tested submarine rocket artillery that could be fired underwater, but gave up on the idea due to its impracticality. Rumors that Germany had modified their subs to launch V-2 ballistic missiles at the United States led to a vigorous and bloody submarine hunt in the closing weeks of World War II.

The U.S. Navy, meanwhile, considered a much cruder solution: taking one of the Mark 51 rocket launchers it used on some of its LSM landing ships and strapping it to the main deck of a submarine. The twelve spin-stabilized 127-millimeter rockets mounted on the launch rack could only be fired while surfaced, and had a maximum range of three miles. However, a full volley could be ripple fired in the space of five seconds. The fixed launcher was unable to traverse, so the entire submarine had to turn to adjust the aim laterally.

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37. Battlefields Around the World are Finding New Purpose as Parks and RefugesTue, 12 Nov[−]

Todd Lookingbill, Peter Smallwood

Politics, Americas


As time passes, places that once were sites of death and destruction can become peaceful natural refuges.

The horrors of war are all too familiar: lives lost, homes destroyed, entire communities forced to flee. Yet as time passes, places that once were sites of death and destruction can become peaceful natural refuges.

One of the deadliest battles fought on U.S. soil, for example, was the Battle of Gettysburg. Tens of thousands of men were killed or wounded in three days of fighting. Over 150 years later, millions of visitors have toured Gettysburg Battlefield.

Across the U.S., 25 national battlefield and military parks have been established to protect battlefield landscapes and memorialize the past. Increasingly, visitors to these sites are attracted as much by their natural beauty as their historical legacy.

Our new book, Collateral Values: The Natural Capital Created by Landscapes of War, describes the benefits to society when healthy natural habitats develop on former battlefields and other military landscapes, such as bases and security zones. Environmental scientist Gary Machlis coined the phrase collateral values a spin on the military expression collateral damage to describe the largely unintended and positive consequences of protecting these lands.

These benefits include opportunities for picnicking, hiking and bird watching. More importantly, former military lands can support wildlife conservation, reduce water and air pollution, enhance pollination of natural and agricultural areas and help regulate a warming climate.

From Battlefields to Parks

In addition to federally protected sites, hundreds of battlefields in the U.S. are preserved by states, local governments and nonprofits like the American Battlefield Trust. Collectively, these sites represent an important contribution to the nations public lands.

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38. Taiwan Wants American F-16V Fighters but Will Washington Sell Them?Tue, 12 Nov[−]

Sebastien Roblin

Security, Asia

Taipei is worried about China.

Key point: Washington wants to help Taiwan but is also wary of upsetting China too much.

A few months ago, the U.S. State Department announced it would approve a $2.2 billion arms deal with Taiwan including 108 Abrams main battle tanks and 250 Stinger man-portable surface-to-air missilesa deal which elicited new sanctions from Beijing on the companies involved.

But the announcement was more notable for what the approval didnt includea nearly done-deal for sixty-six F-16V jet fighters built fresh off the F-16 production line in Greenville, South Carolina.

This would have been the first sale of new Western combat jets to Taiwan since 1992a fact not unrelated to Beijings claims that sales of jet fighters to the renegade province constitute a redline.

This stance caused three prior U.S. presidents to shy away from additional jet sales, but from the beginning, the Trump administration has proven consistently willing to disregard Beijings sensitivities regarding Taiwan.

The absence of the F-16V deal from the July 8 approval was likely linked to U.S.-China negotiations to end a simmering trade war. Perhaps the Trump administration delayed or canceled the F-16V approval to avoid sabotaging the talks, or is withholding the jets as a possible bargaining chip to extract concessions from Beijing.

For now, the deals fate remains uncertain as Taipei and its allies in Congress lobby strongly for it to proceed.

Taiwans Precarious Status

Taiwans existence as de-facto independent polity is a sensitive issue in mainland China, as the island became a bastion of the Chinese Nationalists defeated by Maos Communists on the mainland in 1948. Since Taiwan democratized in the 1980s, regular skirmishes have given way to renewed diplomatic and economic ties with mainland China.

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39. Check Out This New Laser Cannon on a U.S. Navy DestroyerTue, 12 Nov[−]

David Axe


The U.S. Navy apparently has installed a new laser cannon on one of its destroyers. The installation could represent a big step forward for the U.S. fleet as it scrambles to deploy defenses against Chinese and Russian anti-ship missiles.

The U.S. Navy apparently has installed a new laser cannon on one of its destroyers. The installation could represent a big step forward for the U.S. fleet as it scrambles to deploy defenses against Chinese and Russian anti-ship missiles.

A source provided to Tyler Rogoway, editor of The War Zone, a photo of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Dewey at the naval base in San Diego. In the photo, Dewey appears to sport a new laser weapon on its forward deck.

The Navy is developing several directed-energy weapons for shipboard use. Its unclear exactly which laser the destroyer carries. Rogoway engaged in some educated guesswork. By our analysis, the most likely answer to what we are seeing on Dewey is the Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy system, which was set to be installed on a Navy destroyer by the end of this year.

ODIN is a lower power laser system that will be used to blind enemy electro-optical and infrared sensor systems by shining a modulated "dazzler" laser beam at them in a similar manner as to how directed infrared countermeasure systems work to defend aircraft from heat-seeking missiles. ODIN will be capable of countering ship and boat-based systems, those used by aircraft and drones, and even those used by anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles.

ODIN could complement the existing active and passive self-defense suites on the Navys major warships. Current defenses include SM-6, SM-3, SM-2, Evolved Sea Sparrow and Rolling Airframe Missile surface-to-air missiles, Phalanx radar-guided guns, Nulka decoys and the SLQ-32 and SLQ-59 radar-jammers.

Many of the passive defenses are designed to disrupt an anti-ship missiles radar guidance. But more and more Chinese and Russian missiles also feature infrared guidance against which the radar-countermeasures are useless.

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40. Should America Buy 2,000 Hypersonic Missiles Instead of Another Carrier?Tue, 12 Nov[−]

David Axe

Security, Americas

Which is a better use of taxpayer money?

Key point: If carriers are too expensive and vulnerable, perhaps a lot of long-range missiles would be more useful in a war.

The U.S. military should consider buying a huge arsenal of long-range, hypersonic missiles instead of trying to maintain a large fleet of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

Thats one idea that Mike Griffin, the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, proposed at a Washington, D.C. conference in September 2019.

Lets just propose a thought experiment, Griffin said, according to Defense News. Which do you think the Chinese leadership would fear more: 2,000 conventional strike missiles possessed by the United States and its allies in the western Pacific capable of ranging Chinese targets, or one new carrier? Because those two things cost about the same amount of money. Those are the kinds of questions we need to be asking ourselves.

The Chinese military is moving quickly to field hypersonic missiles, outpacing the Pentagons own efforts to deploy similar munitions.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy is struggling to pay for the ships it says it needs in order to grow from a front-line fleet of around 290 ships today to one with more than 350 ships, including at least 11 large aircraft carriers.

The Chinese Peoples Liberation Army on Oct. 1, 2019 revealed a new hypersonic missile that could pose a major threat to U.S. forces in the Pacific region.

The DF-17 hypersonic glide vehicle, or HGV, made its public debut as part of the PLAs sprawling, 15,000-person military parade in Beijing commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Peoples Republic of China.

While other countries also are working on hypersonic weapons -- meaning powered or gliding precision-guided munitions that can travel faster than five times the speed of sound -- the DF-17 apparently is the first or second hypersonic glide vehicle in the regular inventory of any military. Russia claimed it also would deploy an HGV in 2019.

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41. Meet the B-21: America's Futuristic Long-Range Stealth BomberTue, 12 Nov[−]

Kris Osborn

Security, Americas

An amazing machine.

Key point: America's new B-21 bomber will be very advanced and difficult to stop.

The Air Forces stealthy long-range bomber will have the endurance and next-generation stealth capability to elude the most advanced existing air defenses and attack anywhere in the world, if needed, senior service officials said.

When the Air Force revealed its first artist rendering of what its new Long Range Strike Bomber looks like, former Air Force Secretary Deborah James made reference to plans to engineer a bomber able elude detection from even the best, most cutting-edge enemy air defenses.

"Our 5th generation global precision attack platform will give our country a networked sensor shooter capability enabling us to hold targets at risk anywhere in the world in a way that our adversaries have never seen," James said when revealing the image last year.

However, while Air Force developers say the emerging B-21 will introduce new stealth technologies better suited to elude cutting-edge air defenses, Russian media reports have recently claimed that stealth technology is useless against their air defenses. Russian built S-300 and S-400 air defenses are believed to be among the best in the world; in addition, The National Interest has reported that Russia is now working on an S-500 system able to destroy even stealthy targets at distances up to 125 miles.

Nevertheless, James added that the new bomber will be able to play against the real threats.

Although official details about the B-21 are, quite naturally, not available - some observers have pointed out that the early graphic rendering of the plane does not show exhaust pipes at all; this could mean that the Air Force has found a new method or releasing fumes or reducing the heat signature of the new stealth plane.

The new bomber, called the B-21, was formally named the "Raider" through a formal naming competition involving members of the Air Force, their families and other participants.

The Air Force has awarded a production contract to Northrop Grumman to engineer its new bomber. The LRS-B will be a next-generation stealth aircraft designed to introduce new stealth technology and fly alongside - and ultimately replace - the services existing B-2 bomber.

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42. Busted: Iran's 'New' Saeqeh Fighter Is Really Just an Old American F-5Tue, 12 Nov[−]

Sebastien Roblin

Security, Middle East

By National Museum of the USAF -, Public Domain,


Key point: Iran keeps making "new" planes that are really just mock-ups or changed versions of outdated planes.

Tehran is keen to produce its own jet fightersbut designing and manufacturing advanced combat jets poses formidable technological challenges difficult for an isolated industrial base to resolve on its own. Nonetheless, the Iranian air force has prominently showcased its development of several domestic fighter jets since the turn of the century, most notably the HESA Saeqeh (Thunderbolt), which Iranian media have claimed to be superior to the F-18 Hornet.

But performance specifications and technical details for these aircraft have remained either vague or nonexistent. This may be less due to secrecy than because additional details would likely be unimpressive, because the Saeqeh is a reverse-engineered American F-5 Freedom Fighter with a new tail and upgraded avionics.

The F-5 Freedom Fighter traces it lineage to a 1950s-era Northrop project that yielded the two-seat T-38 Talon trainer still serving in the U.S. Air Force today. A single-seat variant, however, evolved into the F-5, a lightweight supersonic fighter for export to less wealthy military allies of the United States. Initially priced at just $756,000 per plane (around $6 million, adjusted for inflation), the elegant little fighter could carry more than six thousand pounds of bombs on five hardpoints, as well as two Sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missiles on the wingtips. The later F-5E Tiger II variant added radar, lengthened the fuselage to carry additional fuel, enlarged the stubby wings for improved maneuverability and upgraded the J85 turbojets, boosting maximum speed to Mach 1.6. Freedom Fighters went on to see extensive combat over the skies of Vietnam, Ethiopia, Iran, Kuwait and Yemenand are actively being used in ground-attack missions today by the air forces of Tunisia and Kenya.

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43. World History's Five Most Important TreatiesTue, 12 Nov[−]

Akhilesh Pillalamarri

Politics, Europe

A brief history.

Key Point: Centuries later, we still remember how these treaties redrew the world.

Wherever there are states, there are treaties. Since ancient times, treaties have been a crucial tool of statecraft and diplomacy. As treaties are agreements between various states, often concluded at the end of a conflict, they profoundly reshape boundaries, economies, alliances and international relations. Here are five of the most important treaties in history.

Treaty of Tordesillas (1494)

The Treaty of Tordesillas, between Portugal and Spain (technically its component Kingdom of Castile), was negotiated by the Papacy and divided newly discovered lands outside of Europe between the two countries along a line of longitude through what is now eastern Brazil.

As a result, Spanish exploration and colonization mostly focused on the Americas, leading to Spanish control over much of Central and South America; the still undiscovered Brazil fell to Portugal. Portugal was able to explore east, and under Vasco da Gama in 1498, it managed to establish that it was possible to sail from Europe to India.

Initially, the treaty was to Portugals advantage, as it grew rich off of the trade route between Europe and Asia. However, in the long run, Portugal was edged out of this trade by England and Holland. In terms of controlling land, it was much more difficult for tiny Portugal to seize and hold territory where organized states existed in Asia. Spain, on the other hand, acquired a huge and populous empire in Latin America, and later discovered enormous mineral wealth there.

Ultimately, of course, other powers chose to ignore the treaty, which excluded them, including England, the Netherlands and France.

The Peace of Westphalia (1648)

The Peace of Westphalia consisted of two related treaties, the Treaty of M?nster and the Treaty of Osnabr?ck, signed at the end of the Thirty Years War, which was generally between Catholic and Protestant states, although countries like France played both sides for cynical gain. Although the Peace of Westphalia only originally impacted Western and Central Europe, it eventually had global consequences.

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44. A North Korean Spy Mission Nearly Caused a War in 1996Tue, 12 Nov[−]

Sebastien Roblin

History, Asia

A close call.

Key point: Pyongyang had sent some special forces to spy on South Korea, but the mission went horribly wrong.

Since the end of World War II, the United States has routinely employed ships and aircraft on spying and observation missions of varying legalityand every now and again, something has gone wrong. A too-stealthy American submarine bumps into a Russian counterpart, a spy ship off Korea gets seized, a U-2 spy plane gets shot down, or a Navy P-3 collides with a Chinese fighter and is forced to land in Chinese territory. In the event the spies cant return to home base, theyve mostly surrendered to local troops and were eventually repatriated after interrogation and diplomatic wrangling.

In September 1996, it was the turn of a North Korean spy submarine to experience such a mishap. But due to the North Koreas fanatical military culture, what could have ended as a diplomatic embarrassment ended in a tragic bloodbath.

At 5 a.m. on September 14, 1996, a North Korean spy submarine commanded by Capt. Chong Yong-ku slipped out of its base in Toejo Dong. The thirty-four-meter-long Sang-O (Shark) normally had a crew of only fifteen. This time, however, it carried a special cargo, including a team of three special forces operatives from the elite Reconnaissance Bureau, accompanied by Col. Kim Dong-won, director of the units maritime intelligence department.

At the time, North Korea was in the midst of a devastating famine that would claim hundreds of thousands of lives. This only inspired Pyongyang to grow more paranoid that South Korea, with which it had never declared peace, would exploit its disastrous condition. Before departing, the crew of the submarine had sworn an oath not to return home without completing their mission: to spy on the South Korean military bases around the area of Gangneung, ninety miles south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two countries.

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45. How Did Nazi Germany Crush France During World War II So Easily?Tue, 12 Nov[−]

Daniel L. Davis

History, Europe

By Matthias Holl?nder - Own work, CC0,

Though Germany eventually lost World War II and France again ended up on the victorious side, the leadership traits demonstrated before and during the battle in 1940 are textbook examples of what makes for great leadershipand what kind of leadership leads to defeat.

Key point: Flexible leadership by the generals was a vital difference- a difference that Hitler would later squash during the war against the Soviets.

In May 1940, the German Wehrmacht launched a lightning attack into France and within weeks destroyed the combined French and British armies. The rapid defeat is typically ascribed to a combination of the French High Commands attempts to refight the methodical battle of World War I against Germanys adoption of new mobile, all-arms warfare. Those philosophical factors certainly played a major role in the outcome, but something much more elemental and human may have been the deciding factor: fearless, intelligent and sometimes ruthless leadership at the point of contact.

In light of the dramatic collapse of the French armed forces in 1940, it is hard to imagine that up until that point they had been recognizedincluding by the Germansas the military masters of Europe. France had emerged victorious over the Germans in the Great War, and imposed the Treaty of Versailles on Berlin, a punitive, humiliating armistice. In the first decade following the war, Germany had been limited to no more than one hundred thousand soldiers, no armored vehicles, and only one hundred search and rescue aircraft. France, on the other hand, rebuilt its armed forces following World War I, and in the early 1930s embarked on a major modernization drive, motorizing many of its infantry divisions and beginning to form armored units.

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46. What Would Happen If Russia and NATO Went to War?Tue, 12 Nov[−]

Kris Osborn

Security, Europe

No one would "win."

Key point: Moscow could not win, but if nuclear weapons were used everyone would lose.

How much of a threat do Russia's emerging 5th-generation stealth fighter, nuclear arsenal, high-tech air defenses, anti-satellite weapons, conventional army and submarines pose to NATO and the U.S.?

Current tensions between Russia and NATO are leading many to carefully assess this question and examine the current state of weaponry and technological sophistication of the Russian military -- with a mind to better understanding the extent of the kinds of threats they may pose.

Naturally, Russias military maneuvers and annexation of the Crimean peninsula have many Pentagon analysts likely wondering about and assessing the pace of Russia's current military modernization and the relative condition of the former Cold War military giants forces, platforms and weaponry.

Russia has clearly postured itself in response to NATO as though it can counter-balance or deter the alliance, however some examinations of Russias current military reveals questions about its current ability to pose a real challenge to NATO in a prolonged, all-out military engagement.

Nevertheless, Russia continues to make military advances and many Pentagon experts and analysts have expressed concern about NATO's force posture in Eastern Europe regarding whether it is significant enough to deter Russia from a possible invasion of Eastern Europe.

Also, Russias economic pressures have not slowed the countries commitment to rapid military modernization and the increase of defense budgets, despite the fact that the countrys military is a fraction of what it was during the height of the Cold War in the 1980s.

While the former Cold War giants territories and outer most borders are sizeably less than they were in the 1980s, Russias conventional land, air and sea forces are trying to expand quickly, transition into the higher-tech information age and steadily pursue next generation platforms.

Russias conventional and nuclear arsenal is a small piece of what it was during the Cold War, yet the country is pursuing a new class of air-independent submarines, a T-50 stealth fighter jet, next-generation missiles and high-tech gear for individual ground soldiers.

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47. City Planners Need To Design Transportation Based On Facts On The GroundTue, 12 Nov[−]

Randal O'Toole


Austin, Texas has a problem.

Austin city planners are writing a transportation plan based on the assumptions that, by 2039, the share of people who drive alone to work will drop from 75 percent to 50 percent while the share who take transit to work will increase from 3 to 16 percent. This is like planning for dinner by assuming that food will magically appear on the table the same way it does at Hogwarts.

Because of these assumptions, planners propose to reduce parking spaces and the number of lanes open to cars on major travel routes because they won't be needed anymore. Meanwhile, they want to spent billions expanding transit services to accommodate all of the new transit riders.

Yet the reality is that the share of people driving alone to work is growing while the share taking transit is shrinking. Since 2000, Austin has been one of the fastest-growing urban areas in America, experiencing an 85 percent growth in population. Yet actual transit ridership has fallen 22 percent, which means that per capita transit ridership has fallen by 58 percent.

To see whether Austin's assumptions are realistic, I compared commute data in the 2000 census with data from the Census Bureau's 2018 American Community Survey for 262 cities and 208 urban areas. During that time, the most any central city (as opposed to a suburb) has been to reduce the share of people driving alone to work is 12 percentage points, not the 25 presumed by Austin. The most any central city has been able to increase transit was less than 5 percentage points, not the 13 presumed by Austin.

City planners could estimate how people will actually travel and provide the infrastructure to allow them to do so as efficiently and safely as possible. Or they could do what Austin is doing, which is to imagine how they wish people would travel and provide the infrastructure that would be needed if that happens. This leads to a misallocation of taxes, increased congestion, and increased costs to travelers.

Austin is far from the only city engaged in fantasy transportation planning. In fact, it is likely that at least half the major cities in America are doing the same. For more information about Austin's plan and the census data for 262 cities and 208 urban areas, see my detailed analysis.

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48. Meet USS Halibat: The Navy Submarine That Launched An Intelligence Coup Against RussiaTue, 12 Nov[−]

Sebastien Roblin

Security, Asia

What could possibly go wrong?

Key point: Espionage sometimes requires risky maneuvers.

Since 2015, there have been reports of Russian submarines and spy ships trawling the waters near the ocean-spanning underwater fiber-optic cables vital to trans-oceanic Internet access. In fact, reported activity by spy ship Yartar off the U.S. nuclear-armed submarine base in Kings Bay, Georgia is likely in search of secret military cables used exclusively by the Pentagon.

The Russians might be interested in hacking into those cables because the U.S. Navy pulled off such an exploit forty-six years earlier using a specially-modified spy submarine, a nuclear-powered wiretap, and some helium-swilling aquanauts.

The Halibut, Missile-Sub Turned Spy Submarine

Commissioned in 1960, the USS Halibut was a one-of-a-kind nuclear-powered submarine designed to launch Regulus II nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The 5,000-ton submarine housed two 17.5-meter-long Regulus II missiles in a grotesquely bulged hangar on her foredeck. The missiles were launched while surfaced from a hydraulically extended ramp to strike targets up to 1,150 miles away.

However, by the time the Halibut entered service, the Navy had developed the Polaris, the U.S.s first Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile, which could be fired from underwater into space to strike target nearly 3,000 miles away. The obsolete Regulus II was canceled a year before the Halibut was commissioned in 1960, and the submarine spent four years lugging five older Regulus I missiles on deterrence patrols before these too were retired.

Still, the Navy saw useful potential in the Halibuts unconventional layout, and in 1968 she received a unique overhaul. The bulged missile hangar was converted into the Bat Cave (inspired by comic book characters lair) stuffed full of spy equipment, including a rare 60s-era 24bit UNIVAC computer, a retractable seafloor-scanning sonar, and a photo-developing lab. A well underneath the Bat Cave could deploy two 2-ton Fishremotely operated underwater spy vehicles. Halibuts lower hull had special thrustors and anchoring winches to maintain its position on the sea floor and later received four skids allowing it to safely land there.

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49. Revealed: The Secret To Buying Russia's Top Arms While Avoiding US SanctionsTue, 12 Nov[−]

Michael Peck

Security, Europe

Don't tell the Treasury Department.

Key point: It's all about the third party.

Russia may have found a neat trick to evade U.S. sanctions that bar countries from buying weapons from Russia.

Customers reselling Russian weapons to a third nation will simply not officially notify Russia about the sale.

The new decree relaxes export control rules that required secondary arms buyers to inform Russia in writing that it was the final buyer, according to the Moscow Times. These countries can now avoid direct contact with Russia by making the primary arms buyer responsible for informing Moscow that the secondary buyer vows not to resell the weapons.

In other words, Russian arms can be resold to a third party, with the reseller avoiding contact with Moscow and thus potentially being penalized by U.S. sanctions.

The change was sparked by the U.S. governments 2017 Countering Americas Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, according to Russian news publication Vedemosti. Among the laws provisions are bans on transactions with Russias defense or intelligence sectors. Foreign states express interest in buying Russian military products, but fearing to be subject to sanctions, refuse to purchase it, complained the Russian government decree authorizing the new arms transfer arrangements to bypass CAATSA.

And thats bad news for a sagging Russian economy. Export is the most important component of the revenues of the Russian defense complex, noted Vedemosti. Since 2013, annual arms sales amount to $15 billion to $16 billion.

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50. Heres Why Colleges are Being Forced to Close Their Doorsand What They Can Do to Stay OpenTue, 12 Nov[−]

Robert Massa

economy, Americas


College closures disrupt the academic lives of students, force faculty and staff to find work elsewhere and can hurt a local economy.

When Cincinnati Christian University became aware of its declining enrollment and dwindling tuition revenue in 2015, the university made a series of bold bets to stay afloat.

But the bold moves ended up being a series of strategic mistakes. The school started a football team, revised its mission and laid off faculty and staff to cut costs. It spent most of its $4 million endowment but was still $6 million in debt in 2018. This fall semester will be the schools last.

Cincinnati Christian College is one of a growing number of colleges and universities 21 private colleges since 2016 forced to close their doors for financial reasons. The trend has affected the public sector, too. At least 33 public colleges including community colleges have consolidated within their state systems or merged with other institutions since 2016.

And predictions of the future demise of other colleges abound. Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has said that half of all colleges and universities will close in the next decade. While that view may be overly pessimistic, one study found that about 800 of the approximately 2,300 four-year public and nonprofit private colleges in the nation exhibited characteristics that put them at financial risk: They had fewer than 1,000 students, had no online programs, imposed annual tuition increases of at least 8% and relied on tuition for 85 percent or more of their revenue. They also discounted their tuition by 35 percent or more.

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51. All U.S. Navy Submarines are Nuclear Powered (But That Could Change)Tue, 12 Nov[−]

Sebastien Roblin

Technology, Americas

Here come the subs.

Key point: AIP subs are affordable and, when piloted by a competent crew, can sink carriers.

Nuclear-powered submarines have traditionally held a decisive edge in endurance, stealth and speed over cheaper diesel submarines. However, new Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology has significantly narrowed the performance gap on a new generation of submarines that cost a fraction of the price of a nuclear-powered boat.

A conventional submarines diesel engine generates electricity which can be used to drive the propeller and power its systems. The problem is that such a combustion engine is inherently quite noisy and runs on aira commodity in limited supply on an underwater vehicle. Thus, diesel-powered submarines must surface frequently to recharge their batteries.

The first nuclear-powered submarines were brought into service in the 1950s. Nuclear reactors are quieter, dont consume air, and produce greater power output, allowing nuclear submarines to remain submerged for months instead of days while traveling at higher speeds under water.

These advantages led the U.S. Navy to phase out its diesel boats in favor of an all-nuclear powered submarine fleet. However, most other navies have retained at least some diesel submarines because of their much lower cost and complexity.

In the 1990s, submarines powered by Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology entered operational use. Though the concept dated back to the 19th century and had been tested in a few prototype vessels, it was left to Sweden to deploy the first operational AIP-powered submarine, the Gotland-class, which proved to be stealthy and relatively long enduring. The 60-meter long Gotlands are powered by a Stirling-cycle engine, a heat engine consuming a combination of liquid oxygen and diesel fuel.

Since then, AIP powered-submarines have proliferated across the world using three different types of engines, with nearly 60 operational today in fifteen countries. Around fifty more are on order or being constructed.

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52. Soft Robots of the Future May Depend on New Materials that Conduct Electricity, Sense Damage and Self-HealTue, 12 Nov[−]

Michael Ford

Security, Americas


Interactions between people and machines continue to increase.

Robots used to be restricted to heavy lifting or fine detail work in factories. Now Boston Dynamics nimble four-legged robot, Spot, is available for companies to lease to carry out various real-world jobs, a sign of just how common interactions between humans and machines have become in recent years.

And while Spot is versatile and robust, its what society thinks of as a traditional robot, a mix of metal and hard plastic. Many researchers are convinced that soft robots capable of safe physical interaction with people for example, providing in-home assistance by gripping and moving objects will join hard robots to populate the future.

Soft robotics and wearable computers, both technologies that are safe for human interaction, will demand new types of materials that are soft and stretchable and perform a wide variety of functions. My colleagues and I at the Soft Machines Lab at Carnegie Mellon University develop these multifunctional materials. Along with collaborators, weve recently developed one such material that uniquely combines the properties of metals, soft rubbers and shape memory materials.

These soft multifunctional materials, as we call them, conduct electricity, detect damage and heal themselves. They also can sense touch and change their shape and stiffness in response to electrical stimulation, like an artificial muscle. In many ways, its what the pioneering researchers Kaushik Bhattacharya and Richard James described: the material is the machine.

Making Materials Intelligent

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53. To Address Climate Change, Democrats Must Embrace The Future Of Energy PolicyTue, 12 Nov[−]

James Pethokoukis


Including nuclear energy.

Enter the Oval Office in December 1969 and you might notice hanging on the wall, just to the right of President Nixons Wilson desk the iconic Earthrise photo. It was taken from lunar orbit exactly a year earlier by Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders.

But that photo came down at some point in 1970, perhaps around the same time Nixon gave a speech ending NASAs privileged budgetary status and lowering Americas human spaceflight ambitions. As John Logsdon of The Planetary Society has written, Nixon apparently did not want to be reminded of what remarkable things human explorers could accomplish as he made the decisions that would keep humans in low Earth orbit for the next half-century.

In a lovely coincidence, 1970 may have also been the year that American started becoming less future-oriented. In my recent The Week column, I cite a recent study by Yale University economist Ray Fair that highlights a steady decline in US infrastructure spending as a percent of GDP beginning that year. This was also a period during which the federal government started running big budget deficits. Fair argues the two occurrences reflect a sustained change in national attitude: The overall results suggest that the United States became less future oriented beginning around 1970. This change has persisted.

The logic here: Fixing your roof while the sun is shining and curbing spending before the bill collector calls require some foresight and the ability to place the current you in the shoes of future you. And not only have those trends identified by Fair continued until today, the overall lack of future orientation seems to have worsened given the economic nostalgia infecting our politics.

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54. It Is About Time the Federal Communications Commission Fights Back Against ChinaTue, 12 Nov[−]

Shane Tews

Economics, Americas


Long overdue.

Key point: The whole U.S. government needs a better, coordinated response to China.

At the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) November 19 open meeting, a top agenda item will be ensuring that Universal Service Fund [USF] support is not used to purchase equipment or services from companies posing a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is highlighting the threat posed by the presence of Chinese telecommunications technology in American networks, an important consideration as US companies seek investment to build out next-generation 5G wireless networks.

American consumers pay USF fees on their telecom bills to support the build-out of information services around the United States. In administering the USF system, the FCC has a responsibility to ensure that national security isnt threatened by suspect equipment as part of efforts to increase access to communications services in remote areas.

The FCC is right to scrutinize low-cost Chinese network equipment that is subsidized by the Chinese government and developed using intellectual property of dubious origin. Congress is currently focused on national security concerns surrounding foreign mobile apps (e.g., TikTok) and internet platforms that sell US citizens data abroad. But the transfer of information and potential degradation of network operations that could occur if the US 5G network is built using suspect equipment is an issue that deserves congressional and executive branch attention.

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55. Australia Has A Capability Gap, And Space Capabilities Can Fix ItTue, 12 Nov[−]

Malcolm Davis


Australia needs a credible long-range strike capability.

ASPIs Catherine McGregor has highlighted the concerns of two former air force chiefs that theres an urgent capability gap in the Australian Defence Forces order of battlean absence of credible long-range strike capability for the air force and navy. Air Marshals Leo Davies and Geoff Brown told McGregor that Australia needs a long-range bomber (the only real option being the US B-21 Raider now under development) as well as long-range drones and land-based missiles.

If that suggestion is adopted by the government, it will make the strategic review thats just getting underway a very interesting exercise indeed. It probably wont produce a status quo document. The review, announced by Defence Minister Linda Reynolds at last months Sea Power 2019 conference, comes as Australia faces a deteriorating strategic outlook, dominated by concerns about a more assertive Chinese state and growing uncertainty over the longevity of US military commitments in our region.

The strategic review should examine how the ADF can double down on its strike capability, with an emphasis on range, payload and responsiveness. My colleague Marcus Hellyer has written an excellent series of articles analysing the constraints of the F-35 joint strike fighter. The F-35 is a cutting-edge aircraft, but its a tactical multi-role fighter that doesnt have the range or payload to operate far from Australias north and west coasts.

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56. Why Wealth Inequality Statistics Do Not Tell The Whole Story Of A Nation's EconomyTue, 12 Nov[−]

Ryan Bourne

Poltiics, Americas

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren should take notice.

Senator Bernie Sanders has called levels of U.S. wealth inequality outrageous, grotesque and immoral. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is pushing for a wealth tax to curb what she describes as runaway wealth concentration. Yet despite their rhetoric, its not clear, deep down, whether either really cares about wealth inequality per se or believes that reducing it should be an overriding public policy goal.

To see why, consider this. Every year, Credit Suisse calculates a wealth Gini coefficient for major countries, indicating their level of wealth inequality in a single number from 0 to 100. Higher numbers indicate higher inequality. In 2018, the U.S. really did have a comparatively high figure at 85, as Warren and Sanders lament. But how this number compares to other countries is instructive.

Many poorer economies, such as Ethiopia (61), Myanmar (58), and Pakistan (65), have lower wealth inequality than America. Meanwhile, a diverse range of countries have similarly high wealth inequality, including Russia (88) and Kazakhstan (95), through to Sweden (87) and Denmark (84). Unsurprisingly, neither Warren nor Sanders argue for the U.S. to adopt Ethiopia or Pakistans economic model in pursuit of more equality. But Bernie Sanders has said in the past that Denmark and Sweden are exemplars par excellence of his vision of democratic socialism, seemingly not caring that their wealth distributions are outrageous, grotesque, or immoral, according to his own self-defined standards.

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57. Plague Was around for Millennia Before Epidemics Took Hold And the Way People Lived Might Be What Protected ThemTue, 12 Nov[−]

Sonja Eliason, Bridget Alex

History, Americas


What happened to make plague able to cause devastating epidemics, as in this depiction from 1349?

One of civilizations most prolific killers shadowed humans for thousands of years without their knowledge.

The bacteria Yersinia pestis, which causes the plague, is thought to be responsible for up to 200 million deaths across human history more than twice the casualties of World War II.

The Y. pestis death toll comes from three widespread disease outbreaks, known as epidemics: the sixth century Justinianic Plague that ravaged the Eastern Roman Empire; the 14th century Black Death that killed somewhere between 40% and 60% of the European population; and the ongoing Third Pandemic, which began in China in the mid-19th century and currently afflicts thousands worldwide.

Scientists long assumed that the deadly disease began infecting humans just before the earliest epidemic, the Justinianic Plague.

But recent paleogenetics research reveals that plague has been with us for millennia longer: Ancient DNA (aDNA) from the bacteria was recovered from human skeletons as old as 4,900 years. This means people were contracting and dying from plague at least 3,000 years before theres any archaeological or historical evidence for an epidemic.

Why didnt these earlier infections lead to devastating outbreaks like the Black Death? It seems the answer is part biological genetic mutations to the bacteria itself and part cultural changes to human lifestyles that encouraged the spread of the disease.

New Proof of Ancient Plague

To identify cases of ancient plague, researchers extract aDNA from a skeletons dental pulp chamber and search for genetic code from Y. pestis bacteria. If fossil teeth contain Y. pestis DNA, its safe to assume that person died from plague.

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58. To Survive, American Submarines Must Get Deeper (Thanks to China)Tue, 12 Nov[−]

David Axe


The U.S. Navy is rethinking the way it deploys its submarines, all in order to help the powerful vessels avoid detection by increasingly sophisticated Chinese sensors.

The U.S. Navy is rethinking the way it deploys its submarines, all in order to help the powerful vessels avoid detection by increasingly sophisticated Chinese sensors.

Get deeper, is how Vice Adm. Chas Richard, commander of the 70-strong American submarine force, summarized his guidance. Richard spoke at a professional symposium in Virginia on Nov. 6, 2019. USNI News was the first to report Richards comments.

Richard and his staff reportedly are preparing a new strategy document, Vision 20XX, that will outline the submarine forces role in a future fight, according to USNI News reporter Megan Eckstein.

The rapid improvement of submarine-detecting sensors is driving Richards rethinking. Traditionally, navies rely on active and passive sonar aboard surface ships and submarines to detect enemy boats. The U.S. fleet for decades has designed its own subs to counter that manner of detection, shaping the vessels to reduce their sound signatures while also developing tactics for slipping between layers of warm and cold water to mask noise.

But Chinas new acoustic sensors on the Pacific Ocean seafloor, and space-based laser sensors that China also is deploying, complicate the U.S. fleets undersea operations. Thanks in part to new, more powerful computers that can process sensor data faster than ever before, there are more and more ways to hunt submarines.

Instead of standard sonar, sub-hunters could use lasers or even light from LEDs, carefully tuned to frequencies that carry best underwater, Bryan Clark, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, D.C., told Breaking Defense.

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59. Is Free Speech Being Crushed by the U.S.-China Confrontation?Tue, 12 Nov[−]

Charles K.S. Wu, Yao-Yuan Yeh, Fang-Yu Chen, Austin Wang

Security, Asia


We are beginning to see a worrying trend: citizens and even celebrities in the United States feel pressured to self-censor, comply with undemocratic ideas propagandized by a foreign authorization government.

Support for democracy and freedom of speech has been one of the core values in the United States for decades. Public figures, such as actors and athletes, have played an indispensable role in upholding these values by bringing public attention to issues of social injustice and spreading those values overseas in the form of soft power. As an example, Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter recently shared his own personal story of enduring authoritarian suppression of the Turkish people by its own government on Twitter.

Yet despite the fact that citizens often look up to public figures and celebrities as paragons championing the advancement of social justice domestically and internationally, we have recently witnessed a series of events in which celebrities engage in a different sort of behavior. These instances of self-censorship and denigrating pro-democratic values, when combined, could harm core democratic values that America cherishes.

The most prominent case that comes to mind is the recent incident surrounding LeBron James. Commenting on the recent tweet by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey in support of the democratic movement in Hong Kong, James mentioned that he thinks Morey was either misinformed or not really educated on the situation. There has been much discussion on why LeBrons off-handed comments were problematic, but the most critical issue here is that LeBron was trying to use his status as a basketball luminary to criticize and attempt to silence the freedom of speech of another individual. LeBrons actions here undermine our freedom of speech.

The tone and content of LeBrons comments though are peculiar, in that they were made nearly after the initial firestorm between the NBA and China has cooled off. In the interim, the NBA leadership has spoken in support of Moreys right to freedom of speech. The NBAs defiance in the face of Chinas demand for an apology ultimately forced Beijing to backtrack their demand, which is notable, given how the NBA must have known the possible costs of losing Chinese viewership due to a retaliatory broadcast ban. Moreover, punitive actions could have incurred disadvantages on the Chinese side in ongoing U.S.-Sino trade negotiations.

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60. America Wants To Innovate Its Way Out Of A War With Russia Or China (It May Not Work)Tue, 12 Nov[−]

Jules Hurst


Russia and China have their own plans.

Key point: American overextension, both domestically and abroad, has temporarily weakened the United States, and the third offset alone cannot mend it.

U.S. defense planners hope that the Pentagons Third Offset will deter nations like China and Russia from risking war with the United States by expanding our narrowing technological lead. Superficially, the United States pursuit of a decisive technological advantage sends a signal to the world: America will remain ready to deter aggression abroad, now and in the future. Unfortunately, the weakness of the U.S. fiscal situation, loss of national manufacturing capacity and vulnerable global supply chains make this advantage hard to achieve and difficult to maintain during a conflict. Even worse, China and Russia may see the United States pursuit of a decisive technological advantage and acquisition of smaller numbers of expensive weapon systems as evidence of U.S. willingness and ability to fight a short, clean warbut not a long one.

A Different Kind of War Than Desert Storm

Many defense professionals cite Desert Storm as an example of a victory won by technology, but technological superiority had less to do with victory than the weakness of the Iraqi military. When coalition forces crossed into Iraq in 1991, they invaded a country with a GDP of $50 billion (2016 dollars), an economy roughly the size of Montana. The Iraqi paper tiger fielded a poorly trained and unmotivated army, outclassed in every aspect by the U.S.-led coalition.

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