Archive for April, 2015

Russia is accused of supplying weapons to Houthi rebels.

Over the last few weeks Russia has been sending planes to Yemen in order to evacuate its citizens that were unfortunate enough to be there. Yemeni foreign minister, however, stepped forward with accusing Russia of usinig those same planes to bring weapons to local rebels. Russian authorities, in turn, had called these accusations “absurd, irresponsible and provocative”. But then again, a year ago the claims that Russia has troops in Crimea were rebutted in a similar manner. Using those planes to bring the weapons is, once again, looks like something that has been going on in eastern Ukraine for quite a while now, namely- the humanitarian aid convoys, that are believed to be used to supply the rebels in that area as well.

Does Russia actually have an incentive tp supply Houthi rebels? Maybe, although the one I can think of is somewhat far-fetched. Russia might be simply backing whoever the adversary of Saudi Arabia is, since the tensions between Russia and Saudis were considerable, due to the continuing Russian support of Assad’s regime in Syria.- Dmytro

Explosion Highlight Security Component of Environmental Protections

A recent explosion at a Chinese chemical plant has reemphasized the security incentive perhaps helping to drive some of China’s recent shift towards environmental regulation. The plant in question produces paraxylene, a toxic chemical which has sparked protests from environmental activists in the past. The huge explosion – which could be felt up to 31 miles away – will undoubtedly stir up more harsh feeling among those Chinese citizens concerned with the continuing environmental degradation.

In order for America to protect vulnerable airstrips in the pacific, and the territorial integrity of the continental United States as well, diplomatic initiatives should emphasize not the humanitarian, or purely ecological motivations but the potentially destabilizing impacts that unchecked climate change could have on China’s domestic political landscape. Additionally, the United States should emphasize the impacts climate change will have on China’s security preparedness along its huge coastline. This may be a more effective avenue to drive effective action on the problem of climate change.



– Alex

Santos invites OC to join his coalition

The Citizens’ Option (OC) is a political party in Colombia with a shady past. The OC is the reincarnation of the National Integration Party (PIN) that has long been shunned from the political arena because of past involvements with paramilitaries. The PIN was involved in the 2006 parapolitical scandals that led to the arrest of 45 politicians. In 2013 PIN reformed into the OC to distance itself from its corrupt past and return to the playing field. The group once again has significant influence in Colombian politics. Current president Juan Santos has invited the group to join his National Unity coalition.



UK Defense Spending Cuts on the US

The recent announcement of UK defense spending cuts has deeply concerned US diplomats (especially former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton) about the security of US diplomacy and the relationship of the powerhouse of UK/USA. This is a direct example of the discussion we had in class on NATO and military/economic reliances of other countries. NATO’s expectation of 2% GDP expenditures on defense is ignored by a large array of countries, but for a country that has such a close coalition with the US, is an alarming announcement for our diplomacy and strategy.


South Korea, THAAD, and the AIIB.

Russia, China, and North Korea have denounced the installment of the missile defense system THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) in South Korea a “security threat” for the region. US officials’ defense is that the system is meant to counter the increasing threat of North Korean missile capabilities. Some South Korean analysts on the other hand believe that if China and Russia specifically see THAAD to be a threat, they must take action against North Korea’s missile programs. While THAAD cannot intercept Russia and China’s long-range intercontinental missiles, what has them worried is that THAAD would mean an increased US-influence in the Western Pacific. Currently, this leaves South Korea wedged between China’s economic incentive of joining the AIIB as a founding member or choosing to adopt THAAD. Choosing China would allow Chinese influence in East Asia to continue to grow, which is not in the US’s interest, however choosing THAAD would give the US the more prominent role, something that is not in Chinese or Russian interests. Ultimately, this boils down to a struggle for regional hegemony in East Asia and the security threat perceived by China and Russia as threats to their hegemony rather than a threat on their defensive capabilities.


F-16s made to be remote-controlled

Recently Boeing has converted the retired F-16s into remote-controlled drones. These drones can be used as unmanned targets and be used to “validate targets”. These F-16s will replace the Vietnam-era QF-4 target drone. The Air Force says that “the updated drones are better matches for modern threats”. These aircraft will also be used to test ground-based missile systems. These aircraft “represent a fourth-generation threat” which is good match for the aircraft currently being used by the Air Force. However, the Air Force has yet to confirm if it will be used in battle. It nice to see a major update like this especially since they were using Vietnam-era aircraft beforehand. Hopefully soon the Air Force ensure that it is being used to it’s fullest potential.–16-orig.cnn-boeing/video/playlists/most-popular-domestic/


Ebola Officially on its Way Out

According to date produced by the World Health Organization, in the past two weeks there have been no new cases of ebola infections with Liberia, one of the three core countries effected by the epidemic. According to CDC and WHO, detecting a resurgence of ebola in Liberia would requires a continued focus on response activities, including clinical diagnosis and testing of suspected or probable cases; virus surveillance at border crossings; community event-based surveillance; consistent testing of dead bodies for ebola; and health care worker surveillance. In addition, CDC and WHO are advocating for strengthening the national health system, including improving general disease surveillance and information systems, bolstering health care worker training and development, and expanding laboratory capacity.



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