South China Sea a Contributing Factor in Demand for Patrol Aircraft

http://www.military-technologies.net/2017/11/18/maritime-patrol-aircraft-market-supply-demand-market-research-and-end-user-analysis-outlook/

Summary: The market for Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA), which are used in both ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) and ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) applications, are expected to grow at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 4.71% over the 2017-2021 period. A major driver for this market activity is the South China Sea dispute, where tensions have been on the rise over China’s artificial island building and militarization. As these tensions grow, they drive increased acquisition for advanced ISR assets like MPA.

Analysis: This trend is unsurprising, as the increased tensions and activity in the SCS naturally increases the need for ISR assets to gather constant Intel of any new developments that could further change the balance of power or cause an escalation in the situation. Additionally, most MPA assets are dual-role capable aircraft, armed with anti-submarine and/or anti-ship ordnance, or even conventional bombs (as strategic bombers have sometimes been pressed into this role). This allows the flexibility to gather Intel, but be able to easily switch to a war footing if the situation were to escalate into open conflict, making them equally attractive as assets no matter how the situation develops.

More Mass Grave Sites Found As Iraq Gains Territory Back

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/17/world/middleeast/iraq-isis-islamic-state-executions.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FIraq&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection

Iraqi officials declared Friday that they had taken the last Iraqi town held by the Islamic State, reducing the group’s self-declared caliphate to a tiny remnant on the Syrian side of the border. Officials are still trying to realize the scale of the group’s damages. So far, they had found over 70 mass grave sites. These numbers have overwhelmed the nation’s police and forensics resources as well as international partners as they search for tens of thousands of missing people. In September, the United Nations Security Council empowered a special adviser to help Iraq investigate potential war crimes, including mass killings by the Islamic State. The team will arrive in early 2018 but with the limited amount of resources it is unclear how many graves could be properly exhumed. It is also unclear how many suspects could face justice.

As Iraq slowly get their territory back, it is essential other countries and international organizations provide as much aid as possible, so other terrorist organizations don’t emerge. Since Iraq does not have an adequate amount of resources to conduct proper investigations or locate all the graves, they must receive help from multiple countries and organizations. This effects the United States, the United Nations and any other country or organization as they will be exhausting resources in Iraq for this purpose. Although it is good the Islamic State seems to be declining, this can take focus off other areas of the world that need attention.

 

-Sydney

Twenty-six young Nigerian migrant women laid to rest in Italy

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/17/europe/salerno-migrants-funeral/index.html

Disaster struck in the Mediterranean sea with 26 women and girls drowning because their rubber dinghy capsized. Also on board were 150 or more other people, with 100 people missing still from the incident that occurred on November 5th. These migrants were attempting to leave Nigeria in hope for a better future in Europe. The Italian government needs to step up its efforts to improve the flow of migrants into Italy. With hundreds of people missing still, the Italian government needs to create legislation that offers safe passage into the country so this doesn’t continue to happen. These people are trying to flee a country where terrorism is growing, if the Italian government is able to help free these people from terrors grip then they will take power away from actors like Boko Haram. An alternative to this can even be starting a coalition with neighboring states of Italy to help gather incoming refugees on these unsafe and overcrowded vessels and bringing them to safety.

-Curran

Worm Society

The author of the article argued how the future will likely require us to consume more insect protein instead from domesticated livestock like cows, pigs and chickens because there will be less land, water, and feed available. It is noted that while livestock are not worse than humans at destroying the atmosphere, they work alongside us at producing uncontrollable methane emissions. The author argues how the United States and Europe have classified insects as a taboo food sources unlike parts of the world like Asia, Latin America and Africa. If we could just normalize them as another source of protein through social bonding startups around party food like the mentioned Chirps Cricket Chips, then most forms of the alternative will likely be normalized quicker. The simple statement is made, ‘If you think something is gross, it may be hard to enjoy it’ even if some options are actually tasty. Facilitating the public and allies to broaden their mainstream tastes to insect related products would help make our economy and others more efficient to run and rebuild, and less influenced by climate related shocks being less dependent on field harvesting. Poquito Edgar’s Cantina at the Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field has been selling or chili lime salt toasted grasshoppers called Chapulines for $4 a box of 20. The owners said what people are looking for is something that doesn’t look like a bug. A bad thing for increased insect consumption but a good thing for human protein options in general are the substitute possibilities from the growing plant based fake meat sector like the Impossible Burger which is also made from former host animal cells. Lempert thinks millennials, with their forced sustainability concerns, will inevitably lead the change of feeding the planet responsibly. With climate change altering landscapes and trade, Military, governmental and institutional organizations will have an easier time securing stability between nations during climate change if we all adapt to becoming more open to the most accessible food sources available.

  • Daniel

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/eating-bugs-can-help-the-environment-so-how-do-we-get-past-the-ick-factor/2017/10/30/8a09572c-b9c3-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html?utm_term=.5750e25c960e

Mexico Going Green?

This weeks article detailed President Enrique Pena Nieto’s “door to the world” new environmentally friendly airport plan. The airport will be using state of the art  sustainability measures. However, the land that is surrounding the airport that was supposed to be made into a reservoir systems has been handed over to local authorities for further development. This plan completely negates the entire purpose of ‘going green’ to sustain water runoff if future development arises and ends up creating a bigger carbon footprint. It is further troubling when people realize that the land given to the surrounding communities is some 500 acres.This land is also deemed ‘high risk’ and is in need of a reservoir system, not a new soccer field or housing developments.  The government unsurprisingly has betrayed its citizens with the land transfer. Consequently, President Nieto’s new airport plan which he hopes will contribute to his legacy as President, has not presented detailed environmental plans on how the surrounding strip malls and hotels will also be environmentally friendly which has created much concern over the airports authenticity of ‘sustainability’. Even though handing over land to poor communities around the airport has pleased some it has not silenced many conservation activists who have staged protests for the government’s negligence towards the environment. The Trump administration has been admit in its belief that climate change doesn’t exist and thus will not intervene, which will perpetuate the ability of the Mexican government to go back on their sustainability promises.

-Ayel

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/18/world/americas/mexico-city-airport-enrique-pena-nieto.html

Trump’s CIA Escalate Tensions with Iran

https://www.salon.com/2017/11/18/how-trumps-cia-escalates-tensions-with-iran_partner/

The CIA appears to have collaborated with a think tank called the Foundation for Defense of Democracies to try to link Iran to al-Qaeda. It is believed that the move may be a part of the Trump administration’s new order for the CIA director to establish “a rationale for regime change” in Tehran. In the lead-up to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, linking Baghdad to al-Qaeda was the final step in allowing the US to proceed with the attack, which could imply Trump may be attempting to do the same with Iran. President Trump has made aggressive opposition to Iran a central focus of his foreign policy, and has surrounded himself with anti-Iran hawks in the White House. Moreover, he pledged to unilaterally “tear up” the nuclear deal agreed to by major world powers. Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. proxy in the Middle East, has in recent weeks escalated its campaign against Iran. The Saudi monarchy pressured Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign, and has been accused of holding him hostage. Overall, the recent moves by the CIA, coupled with statements from the White House supporting Saudi Arabia and other enemies of Iran, shadow that the US is aiming to find enough substance to invade Iran in a way that reflects the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

-Kelly

The Safest Place on Earth?

Sign at the front of Aokigahara Pathway

Japan is a travel haven for tourists for many reasons. Past the vibrant neon lights of Tokyo and the autumn colors of Kyoto, Japan stands as one of the safest countries on the planet, with low crime rates even in major urban centers. Influence of Yakuza (A type of organized crime specific to Japan) is down since the turn on the century and the country has been vigilant since the downfall of the Aum Supreme Truth cult during the 1990s. However, Japan also stands as a nation with one of the highest rates of suicide in the world. Pressure and societal expectation in school and work are largely considered major contributing factors. It has also led, in the last month, to a large string of killings in and around Tokyo where a man named Takahiro Shiraishi currently stands accused of luring 15-26 suicidal teens and young adults to their death. For more information on the details of the case read: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/11/16/national/social-issues/japan-struggles-social-media-suicide-zama-killings/#.Wg3vcEqnFPY

For Japan, a large suicide rate is a security concern for the nation. With an already declining birthrate and economic vulnerability since the crash of the bubble economy in the 1980s (leading to its ‘lost decade’ in the 1990s), Japan needs all the young people it can get. The current high suicide rate is due, in part, to a stigma against mental illness and prevention which has crippled Japan’s ability to stop the morbid trend and allows for opportunities like the case mentioned above. Japan needs a major overall in their dealings with mental health, both culturally and on and off-line. If the government and police departments continue to want to protect their internal security it is vital they reverse a trend that only seems to be growing in recent years.

-Ariadne

Iran’s Earthquake and its Power Struggle

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-quake/iran-factions-use-earthquake-relief-effort-to-pursue-power-struggle-idUSKBN1DG237

There was a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in Iran that killed around 530 people leaving thousands injured. Political infighting among Iran has shifted focus to the relief effort after the earthquake. The Iranian government stated that enough help was sent to the many individuals who were left homeless, but people that do not like Rouhani explain that they do not have enough shelter from the cold. Iran has thus far declined offers of foreign aid. Many say Rouhani’s response exemplifies the weakness and inefficiency of him and his administration. One survivor called out to Rouhani saying, “Don’t leave us alone. Don’t forget us.”

Many children have been sleeping outside for days and I think that Rouhani should allow for assistance because the Iranian people already stated that they need more shelter, blankets, and tents because what was handed out was not enough. Foreign assistance would also help in rebuilding thousands of the homes that were destroyed. Many houses in the poor Iranian villages are usually made of concrete blocks or mudbrick that collapse easily, leaving the poor with nowhere to go.

-Caroline

Trump Offers to Broker SCS Talks

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2017/11/00a0fad785f4-trump-offers-to-mediate-south-china-sea-disputes.html

Summary: On the Vietnam leg of his current diplomatic tour of the Asia-Pacific region, President Trump offered to mediate between nations with conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea, saying he is, “…a very good mediator and a very good arbitrator. If I could help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know…”

Analysis: The US could broker regional talks and mediation to try to diplomatically resolve the regional claims and issue of militarization.  Ideally they would serve to facilitate a binding multilateral agreement to resolve all territorial issues, though format could involve a series of talks to reach that point. This would offer a more substantial non-confrontational option than has been pursued in the past, and is least likely to alienate the US relationship with China. However, it may be difficult to get China to agree to such talks, as it seems to prefer to settle the issue through bilateral agreements and unilateral declarations. China has previously dismissed criticism of its SCS policy, and ignored the ruling of an international court. If talks are agreed to, they may have a better chance of working than international courts or unilateral declarations have been. Of course, there is the danger that a negotiated settlement containing compromises could potentially weaken the status of UNCLOS and existing bilateral agreements in the region.

The International Threat to Venezuela

https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/-Venezuela-Denounces-Illegal-Meeting-Convened-by-the-US-in-UN-20171113-0023.html

From the perspective of a large portion of the international community, Venezuela poses a significant threat to democracy to other nations. However, in regards to Venezuela’s national security, it would seem they are under attack. The United States recently called for an informal meeting of the UN Security Council to hold talks on the Venezuelan crisis. The meeting was held to discuss the role of the international community in seeking a solution to the political and humanitarian crisis in the region. While the United States and other UN nations believe it is doing the right thing, Venezuela has denounced this meeting as illegal and as an attack against their government. Venezuela is quickly running out of allies, and other than Russia and China it seems to have very little outright international support. Along with this meeting came the E.U. establishment of an arms embargo against Venezuela, which puts increased pressure on the administration which is struggling to keep itself together. If the international community continues to target Venezuela in such a way, it will eventually lose its ability to remain a sovereign nation.

Kelsey

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