Archive for March, 2016

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM – IT IS TIME TO TAKE OFF THE GLOVES AND FIGHT

March 31, 2016

Michael A. Walsh, an American author and media critic, born 1949, on March 28, 2016 commented on his PJ Media blog on the need to take the war on terrorism seriously. Excerpts below:

If you’ve had it with teddy bears and candles, and are culturally predisposed to agree with the late Air Force General Curtis LeMay when he said, “If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting,” read this:

Je suis fed up with the politically correct methods and means of counterterrorism pursued by America and its Western allies. There’s so much of that stupidity controlling what we do, with so many bad policies imposed by President Obama and others of his ilk, it’s no wonder the terrorists are winning.

Every time another mass murder occurs, the media’s coverage focuses on the memorials — piles of flowers, rows of candles and hand-drawn signs — and the calls for “unity” and pledges of resolve by national leaders. But all the memorials are totally meaningless. They are merely a stage for politicians to act on, professing emotion, proclaiming unity, and calling for everyone to just keep calm and carry on. Nothing else results from them.

President Obama began military action against ISIS in June 2014. Since then ISIS has grown despite the occasional killing of some ISIS leader accomplished by good intelligence work and a drone strike. Not only does ISIS control big chunks of Iraq and Syria, it now controls key portions of Libya as well. ISIS-trained terrorists — and those radicals who don’t bother to travel to ISIS-held lands for training — are a growing menace to us all.

Obama’s strategy and tactics were intended, as he said, to degrade and eventually destroy ISIS. They have failed. Obama [recently] said that defeating ISIS remained his number one priority. But, he added, there will be no change in strategy.

What is the root cause of this politically correct cowardice? For that’s what it is. You can call it what you’d like, but the fact is that our government — and those of our supposedly-strong allies in Europe — are too fearful of offending Muslims to do what is necessary…
We have been at war with terrorist networks for fifteen years without dealing decisively with them.

All our tools of war need to be employed against the terrorist networks and the nations that support them. That’s easy to say but hard to do. Allies can be helpful, but we can’t be restrained by their lack of courage and assent.

End the politically correct stupidity. Let’s get on with it.

Comment: For many years extreme leftists (mostly academics) have attacked General LeMay. In 2009 the other side of the story was told by Warren Kozak. He is the author of a LEMAY: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay (Regnery Publishing, Inc.; ISBN: 1596985690 354 pages).

After Pearl Harbor the American leadership asked the military to commit acts of hard retaliation against Japan. In 1945 then 38-year-old General Curtis LeMay ordered the deaths of more civilians than any other man in U.S. history.

He sent 346 huge B-29 bombers with napalm to attack the Japanese capital. Around 16 square miles of the capital city were burnt, two million people had no homes, and 100,000 Japanese were killed. In all LeMay ordered attacks on over 60 cities in Japan. Around 350, 000 people lost their lives. The media in the United States thought it was a great achievement.

When at peace a country can deliberate the balance between securty and civil liberties. A nation at war, as presently against ISIL must take firm military action. At the time of publication of the Le May book Regnery provided the following information:

General Curtis LeMay is [a most famous] general of the 20th century. Despite playing a major role in many important military events of the last century—from defeating Japan without a costly land invasion to being on the Joint Chiefs during the Cuban Missile Crisis—historians have been content to paint LeMay as a crude, trigger-happy, cigar-chomping general…

However, in LEMAY, Kozak reveals the [general] that only those close to him knew—a commander who was gruff yet compassionate, brilliant, and accomplished. In LEMAY, you’ll learn:

• How LeMay devised the plan to use incendiary bombs over Japan that killed hundreds of thousands but saved millions from an impending ground invasion

• How he turned the Strategic Air Command from a dismal failure into the deadliest fighting force in history

Giving an unprecedented glimpse into the might and mind of perhaps the most controversial general in our nation’s history, Kozak shows why today, more than ever, America needs another man like Curtis LeMay.

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THE BEGINNING CHINESE CRACKUP

March 30, 2016

China’s Future. By David Shambaugh. Polity; 195 pages; $19.95 and £14.99.

The Economist on March 26, 2016 published a review of a new book on the future of China.A year ago, the author David Shambaugh, an American political scientist,…[had] a provocative opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal: “The Coming Chinese Crackup”. In it he wrote that “the endgame of Chinese communist rule has now begun,” and forecast the regime’s “protracted, messy and violent” demise. Excerpts below:

His new book, “China’s Future”, elaborates this view. Mr Shambaugh has long argued that China is less powerful than many people think and that this makes its future “one of the key global uncertainties over the coming decades”. The concern is partly about an economy that is so central to the global one. But China’s trajectory also raises a bigger question: no country has yet been able to modernise its economy without becoming a democracy.

His bold conclusion is “no”. China today is more repressive than at any time since the early 1990s, says Mr Shambaugh, bringing the country close to falling apart. The political system is “badly broken” and the wealthy elite have lost confidence in it.

From the 1950s onwards China has been beset by political oscillations, with occasional periods of opening up followed by phases of tightened control. Mr Shambaugh also looks at the tensions between state and society in an authoritarian regime. He reminds readers that what made the mass pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989 so threatening to the Communist Party was that they had high-profile supporters within the elite, some of whom were making slighter, but potentially successful attempts to effect real political reform themselves.

Looking forward, the author declares that China now faces a choice: reform or die. Ultimately, he reckons, it will stick to its current course of “hard authoritarianism”, corroding the party’s ability to govern, constraining economic progress and stifling innovation

In the end, Mr Shambaugh cannot decide whether the coming crackup will be led by the party or the people. Early in the book he notes that the major determinant of China’s future lies with its leadership and their choices. The party, in other words, commands its own destiny. But he also lists a catalogue of credible threats from within society, including tensions over pensions, health care and the environment: “At some point, some—or several—of the elements…will ‘snap’,” he reckons. Hong Kong, Tibet and the far western province of Xinjiang are all tinderboxes, with the fuses already burning.

Comment: Mr. Shambaugh’s book is important. If the party attempts to stay in power and keeps the tyrannical system the party could face unrest and possibly revolution. Naturally a great problem is the fact that China is important to the global economy. The country is facing a downturn and it is possible that India could take over China’s role. Meanwhile the West must increase the pressure on China with a forward strategy for change. As the Chinese economy is weakening stronger support for democratization from outside is needed. It should be remembered that it was internal opposition and Western pressurefrom outside that caused the Soviet Union to collapse. Without a strong anticommunist policy led by the United States and Great Britain the Soviet empire could have survived.

HOOVER INSTITUTION’S APPROACH TO CHALLENGES TO THE UNITED STATES- VITAL FOR THE WEST

March 29, 2016

Hoover.org on March 26, 2016, reported that the Lawfare Podcast had featured Hoover’s strategic plan Pragmatic Engagement Amidst Global Uncertainty: Three Major Challenges, edited by Amy Zegart and Stephen D. Krasner (2015). Excerpts below:

The most fruitful path toward spreading democratization, so the plan, comes…from bolstering civil society to lay the foundations for internal democratic evolution and demonstrating the benefits of democracy by example…:

Quasi-governmental and non-governmental agencies such as the National Endowment for Democracy and the German party foundations are ideal instruments for supporting civil society organizations that may prove critical for democratic transitions at some future historical juncture. The world is not inexorably moving toward consolidated democracy, but American policy can help to put in place the pieces that make such transitions more likely and more successful when they occur…..

America’s finest foreign policy moments have involved the triumph of democracy over autocratic, repressive, and sometimes racist regimes. The defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in the Second World War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, were singular moments in world history.
“The present international environment offers no equivalent opportunities,” it is noted in the report.

The future of democracy, prosperity, and liberty, not just in America but throughout the world, will depend on how well the United States manages three long-term challenges to national security, it adds:

Two are large conventional countries with substantial resources, Russia and China, one declining and the other rising. The third challenge consists of “black swan” dangers such as nuclear, biological, or cyber-attacks that could kill thousands or even millions of people or could severely disrupt liberal society. These black swan dangers arise from states as well as non-state actors such as transnational terrorist groups.

The working group stresses three orienting principles in responding to these challenges:

• The first is that the United States should be unapologetic about its pursuit of our economic and security interests and more tempered in the pursuit of ideals. … The most important opportunities for America to shape the future derive from the success of the American model: democracy, accountability, economic openness, and an assimilationist culture based on shared liberal values. America’s ability to shape the future trajectory of world development and security will depend more on how well its domestic polity and economy function than on its ability to intervene in other countries.

• Second, the United States should leverage existing strengths by nurturing alliances and adapting institutions that have formed the cornerstone of the international order for seven decades. This includes standing by NATO against Russia, bolstering networks in the Asia Pacific, and modernizing governance structures such as the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations.

• Third, the United States must develop flexible unilateral capabilities that can be deployed against varied threats. This begins with establishing a strategic energy policy and drawing more attention to counter-messaging.

In the the report is pointed out:

After the defeat of fascism and communism, no globally legitimated set of norms has emerged to challenge the principles associated with a market economy (limited state power, protection of property rights, sanctity of contract, rule of law) and consolidated democracy (free and fair elections, freedom of religion, human rights, an independent civil society, a critical and autonomous media).

What is contested is the relative importance and especially the most effective way to promote the values that inform the American polity: democracy and human rights. America has always stood for universal freedoms, but we have pursued those freedoms abroad in different ways, to different degrees, in different times as the external environment demanded and internal capabilities allowed. Sometimes the United States has declared the importance of these values without assertively encouraging their adoption or imposing them elsewhere. Sometimes the United States has pursued an active Wilsonian policy designed to install, instill, and promote democracy and human rights in other countries. Wilsonianism worked in Germany and Japan after the Second World War.

“Instead of direct interventions, the United States can best improve the security capacity of weak states by fostering confederal and consociational structures,” the report adds. “These strategies require identifying, where possible, local actors who have their own interests in providing security,” the authors note, citing Plan Colombia as a case in point.

Greater engagement in the war of ideas should be a key component of a more effective strategy for containing the Russian threat in Europe, the authors suggest:

At the end of the Cold War, democrats thought that they had won this war of ideas. Liberal democracies, especially those in Europe, stopped engaging in efforts to advance liberal, democratic agendas. Budgets for academic exchanges were cut. Media outlets, such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the BBC, received far less. With a few exceptions, most US government and non-governmental organizations engaged in supporting civil society groups in the non-democratic parts of Europe also saw their budgets decline significantly in the last decade. Putin then made it even harder for them to operate inside Russia, by closing down USAID, banning some other American organizations from operating in Russia, and making criminal the receipt of foreign money by Russian NGOs. In parallel, the Russian state has devoted tremendous new resources to its own soft power projects both within Russia and abroad…..

In Russia, as in other closed-access polities around the world, there is not a set of policies that can put a country on a secure path toward consolidated democracy. Support for civil society groups, or even specific bureaus, can, however, help to create a network of organizations committed to greater openness that could be (although will not necessarily be) consequential at some point in the future. At the right historical moment, organizations that appeared to be on the margin, such as Helsinki Watch Groups in Europe, may be critical.

Comment: This valuable report is important as it centers on one traditionally anti-Western empire, Russia, and a rising economic empire, China, which is seeking hegemonic status. China is not a traditional anti-Western empire. For many decades during the twentieth century the United States and the Chinese government worked together to support free market reforms in China. This cooperation ended with the introduction of Communist tyranny in 1949. With rising democracy in mainland China there a new era of cooperation between the United States (and the rest of the West) could emerge. There is a third, a traditionally anti-Western empire, Iran (Persia) that constitutes a challenge to the West. It is important that the United States supports civil society groups not only in Russia and China but also in Iran (Persia). “Black swan” threats are a fourth very important challenge to the West in the twentyfirst century. Attacks that could cost from thousands to million victims are a dangerous threat to Western nations.

It is necessary for the West in the case of China to abandon the incorrect liberal idea that a commust regime can liberalize by itself. Only a forward strategy that is undermining the totalitarian regime can work. It can work against China and Iran (Persia).

OBAMA’S TRIP TO CUBA ENABLES COMMUNISTS

March 28, 2016

Washington Times on March 27, 2016 published a commentary by Robert Knight on on the leftist policies of Obama. Excerpts below:

Six years ago, comedienne Victoria Jackson made a funny but serious video playing the ukulele and singing in little girl voice, “There’s a Communist Living in the White House!”

In verse after verse, she recounts President Obama’s many radical roots and connections. Included are Mr. Obama’s mentoring as a teen by Communist Party writer Frank Marshall Davis, Mr. Obama’s political “coming out” at the Chicago home of Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, his attending for 20 years the church of “black liberation theology” pastor Jeremiah Wright and his appointing Communist Party “truther” Van Jones as White House “green jobs czar.”

That just scratches the surface. So, when I viewed the photo last week of Mr. Obama standing with Cuban communists in front of a huge, iconic image of Ernesto “Che” Guevara in Havana, I thought of Miss Jackson.

Perhaps it’s time for Miss Jackson to update the song, adding verses about Obamacare, our LGBT-enhanced military, the government takeover of student loans, massive spending, the rise of the Free Stuff Army, the authoritarian abuses of the IRS and EPA and other steps along Mr. Obama’s road to socialism.

For a time, Guevara ran the notorious La Cabana prison, executing hundreds of people the Castros found troublesome. One surviving inmate recalled early morning executions of many who died shouting “‘Long live Christ the King!’”

Later, Guevara presided over mass incarcerations.

“Herded into buses and trucks, the ‘unfit’ would be transported at gunpoint into concentration camps,” writer Llosa wrote. “. Some would never return; others would be raped, beaten, or mutilated.”

In 1961, after the Cuban Missile Crisis ended, a disappointed Guevara told a British communist daily: “If the rockets had remained, we would have used them all and directed them against the very heart of the United States, including New York.”

Besides his group shot in front of Che, there’s another enduring image of Mr. Obama’s visit to Cuba. There he is, doing “the wave” with Raul Castro at a baseball game between the Cuban national team and the Tampa Bay Rays (who won 4-1). The comradely scene unfolded the same day Islamist terrorists slaughtered dozens in Brussels, Belgium, including several Americans. Mr. Obama did devote 51 seconds of his 34-minute Havana remarks to the massacre.

Leaving Cuba, Mr. Obama went to Argentina, where in a Q&A with students, he made an astounding statement of moral equivalence.

“Often in the past there’s been a sharp division between left and right, between capitalist and communist or socialist. Oh, you know, you’re a capitalist Yankee dog, and oh, you know, you’re some crazy communist that’s going to take away everybody’s property. those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works.”

Robert Knight is a senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union.

Comment: Obama represents the dominant view among leftist observers that Communist societies will eventually liberalize. He believes that more free market influence on Cuba will turn the country into a liberal democracy in the long run. In reality Communist regimes can only be removed by pressure. Only after the Communist tyrants have been removed by popular will can a free society and nation develop. Obama should use his influence instead to support the Cuban dissidents.

IS IT A CIVILIZATIONAL JIHAD?

March 28, 2016

Washington Times on March 28, 2016 published an article by an editor of the newspaper, Monica Crowley, on civilizational jihad.Like every other civilized human being, she wrote, I was horrified by the Islamic State terror attacks that rocked Brussels this week, killing and wounding dozens of people. Excerpts below:

Terrorists do win. They are winning — because for all of the gnashing of teeth we get after each attack, the West does nothing meaningful to stop it. And by “stop it,” I don’t just mean acting militarily to halt violent jihad. I mean stopping every aspect of the civilizational jihad being waged against the West.

Really fighting this war means acknowledging some hard truths. Islam is no mere religion. It is an all-encompassing ideological system that dictates everything from law (Shariah) to personal relationships which also have religious elements. Conquest and subjugation of the infidel lands are integral to this totalitarian ideology, by the sword, if necessary.

It therefore requires that we fight this war the way we fought the Nazis in World War II and Soviet communists during the Cold War: comprehensively and strategically, with every available military, economic, ideological, diplomatic, cyber- and religious lever.

This latest act of violent jihad stems directly from another form of jihad, one that has been underway in Europe for decades but has ramped up dramatically over the past year.

Hijra is a core part of jihad going back to the Prophet Muhammad that involves Islamic conquest through migration. The objective is to overwhelm non-Muslim territories with Muslim populations until they achieve domination through sheer numbers. No weapons necessary — until they gain enough control.

For decades, the author Bat Ye’or has written extensively on Islam and dhimmitude (enslavement of the infidel by Muslim overlords who force them to “accept a condition of humiliation”). Her seminal work, “Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis,” described — in 1985 — the deliberate Islamization of the continent with the encouragement of European leaders who desired cheap labor.

Many Islamists were born and raised in Europe, and many others are coming in with the fresh wave of “refugees.” But they are all part of the relentless hijra, which began decades ago and about which Ms. Ye’or warned. They have long used the European Union’s open doors-open borders policy to reach the West for social welfare and the longer-term goal of spreading Islam.

The European Union is apparently intent on committing continental suicide — largely because of misguided World War II guilt concerning “displaced persons” and the old, familiar desire for cheap labor.

Despite the latest round of terror and the rising national security risks, the invasion — in Europe and here as well — continues unabated.

Europe is likely already at the point of no return. We have more time to prevent such a transformation here, but that time may be shorter than we think.

The most committed Islamists — the networks of which are in every corner of the globe — cannot be contained. The civilizational jihad is more diffuse and even tougher to turn back.

Unfortunately, we’re not the only ones seeing the weakness. The enemy sees it, too. So they continue their advance, knowing full well that the only power that can truly stop them — a united West led by a determined U.S. commander in chief — does not exist.

Comment: The term ‘civilizational jihad’ should not be regarded as a civilizational clash of Professor Samuel P. Huntington. He explained in The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order how civilizations had replaced nations an ideologies as the driving force in global politics. It should be noted that the West is involved in defending itself against three traditional anti-Western empires: China, Russia and Iran (Persia). This does not mean that there is a clash between Western civilization and the civilizations of Russia (the East Slavic) and China. In relation to the third challenge to the West Iran is allied with radical Islamism against for instance Israel as a part of the West. Radical Islamist terror involves mostly fighters from the Middle East and radical Muslim fighters from Europe although there are terrorists I northern Syria from over 100 countries of the world. Europe needs immigrants They should not all come from the Middle East, however. An immigration of suitably well educated people from other areas than North Africa and the Middle East should be welcome.

The great failure of the West is that it is not regarding radical Islamist terrorism as an enemy like Communism and Nazism. The war must be fought with a clear strategy of victory using not only military force. Like the Cold War this war has an important political-psychological dimension. At the same time the West must defend itself (with a real strategy) against the Chinese and Russian challenge.

NO STRATEGY FOR VICTORY – IS OBAMA THE NEW JIMMY CARTER?

March 27, 2016

Hoover Institution, Stanford University on March 24, 2016 published a new essay by Research Fellow Kori N Schake (A Winning Strategy: Combine Military Force With Good Governance).

In it Schake, who has been director for Defense Strategy and Requirements on the National Security Council, argues that the United States has been unable to translate frequent tactical successes into strategic victories. One reason is that there has been no clear political end strategy. Another is that there has been too much reliance on military means instead of an integrated mix of political, diplomatic, economic, intelligence, information and cultural elements. The West is telegraphing to allies and enemies an incapacity to act strategically.

Comment: Obama is only one of the many American Democrat presidents who had no plan for strategic victory. One of those was Jimmy Carter (1977 – 1981). During his watch Soviet-backed socialists took power in Nicaragua and Grenada. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Carter lifted bans on travels to Cuba and North Korea. He told the Americans to stop fearing Communism. A short time thereafter Cuba dispatched military forces to Ethiopia.

Carter was followed by Republican President Ronald Reagan. He had a strategy for victory and presented a direct moral challenge to the Soviet Union taking offensive both ideologically and geopolitically. President Reagan fought for a final outcome of the Cold War.

Obama has since 2008 followed in Jimmy Carters footsteps. There have been a few tactical successes during Obama’s presidency but there is no strategy for victory with a mix of various elements. The battle against radical Islamic terrorism is drawn out preventing the United States and the West to focus on the rise of Chinese power in the East and the new Cold War in Europe. Like Carter in the 1970s Obama has strengthened theocratic Iran so that it now can continue to destabilize the Middle East and be a growing threat to Israel.

UKRAINE APPROVES ‘SAVCHENKO-SENTSOV’ SANCTIONS LIST

March 26, 2016

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on March 25, 2016 reported that Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council has approved targeted sanctions against 54 individuals involved in the prosecutions of Ukrainian citizens Nadia Savchenko and Oleh Sentsov. Excerpts below:

The council posted a statement saying that the list includes “individuals responsible for abductions, illegal detentions, torture, the falsification of evidence, and the organization and pronouncement of legally void sentences.”

Savchenko, a military pilot, was sentenced on March 22 to 22 years in a Russian prison after being convicted of involvement in the deaths of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine in 2014. She denies the charges and says she was abducted in Ukraine and illegally brought to Russia.

Filmmaker Sentsov, a native of Crimea, was arrested in May 2014 on terrorism charges and later sentenced to 10 years in prison. He denies the charges and says they are retaliation for his vocal criticism of Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

Comment: These sanctions are welcome as illegal Russian activities continue against Ukraine. Further support of Ukraine is needed. The United States should as soon as possible deliver defensive weapons to improve Ukraine’s military strength.

ISIS AIMS TO ATTACK EUROPE WITH 400 FIGHTERS, OFFICIALS SAY

March 24, 2016

Fox News on March 23, 2016, published an AP report on the Islamic State group having trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in deadly waves of attacks. It includes deploying interlocking terror cells like the ones that struck Brussels and Paris with orders to choose the time, place and method for maximum carnage, officials have told The Associated Press. Excerpts below:

The network of agile and semiautonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe even as it loses ground in Syria and Iraq. The officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, described camps in Syria, Iraq and possibly the former Soviet bloc where attackers are trained to attack the West. Before being killed in a police raid, the ringleader of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks claimed he had entered Europe in a multinational group of 90 fighters, who scattered “more or less everywhere.”

Estimates range from 400 to 600 Islamic State fighters trained specifically for external attacks…Some 5,000 Europeans have gone to Syria.

In claiming responsibility, the Islamic State group described a “secret cell of soldiers” dispatched to Brussels… The shadowy cells were confirmed by Europol — the EU police agency which said in a late January report that intelligence officials believed the group had “developed an external action command trained for special forces-style attacks.”

French speakers with links to North Africa, France and Belgium appear to be leading the units and are responsible for developing attack strategies in Europe, said a European security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about briefing material. He is also familiar with interrogations of former fighters who have returned to Europe. Some were jailed after leaving IS while others were kicked out of the terror group. The fighters include Muslims and Muslim converts from all across Europe.

Fighters in the units are trained in battleground strategies, explosives, surveillance techniques and counter surveillance, the security official said.

Similar methods had been developed by al-Qaida but IS has taken it to a new level, he said. Another difference with these “external operation” units is that fighters are being trained to be their own operators — not necessarily to be beholden to specific orders from the IS stronghold in Raqqa, Syria, or elsewhere.

The question for many intelligence and security officials is now turning to just how many more fighters have been trained and are ready for more attacks.

A senior Iraqi intelligence official who was not authorized to speak publicly said people from the cell that carried out the Paris attacks are scattered across Germany, Britain, Italy, Denmark and Sweden. Recently, a new group crossed in from Turkey, the official said.

Comment: Both the United States and Europe seem not to accept that there is an ongoing war. In his book Terrorism – Var tids krigfoering (Terrorism – Warfare of Our Time, 1978) warned that political terrorism was not only the warfare of our time. It is with great certainty also the warfare of the future. If the democracies of the West are not prepared and manage to use their sword in a competent and resolute fashion only fear of an evil, swift death remains. Belgium has proven to be ill prepared to fight radical Islamic terrorism. Sweden with only around 10 million inhabitants is one of the countries harboring the highest number of terrorist trainees returning from the Middle East. There are no signs that Sweden is fully prepared for a terrorist attack.

THE RISE OF AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS

March 23, 2016

Fox News on March 21, 2016, reported on autonomous weapons that can potentially be programmed to select and engage targets on their own. Excerpts below:

Noted science fiction author Isaac Asimov famously penned the “Three Laws of Robotics,” which offered that “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders conflict with the First Law. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.”

Such rules, researchers agree, would be necessary for any “ethical robot,” but it would be up to its builder to ensure that those ethics were programmed into it.

“For the most part weapons like this don’t exist today,” Paul Scharre, senior fellow and director of the Ethical Autonomy Project at the Center for a New American Security, told FoxNews.com. “Most systems are still fire and forget and even the advanced systems are designed not to choose a target, but to correct to hit the target.”

Scharre, who presented a press note at the World Economic Forum, highlighted the fact that the laws of war do not inherently prohibit autonomous weapons…There are also technological concerns.

“Supposing that we are able to build ethical robots that follow rules of law, there is that argument that this could be a good thing,” Scharre told FoxNews.com. “Ethical machines wouldn’t commit atrocities, for example, but that could be outweighed by the concern that that we still can’t build any system that can’t be hacked.”

“We’re going to see more AI in remote systems including drones,” Michael Blades, senior industry analyst for aerospace and defense at Frost & Sullivan, told FoxNews.com. “The sensors include LIDAR, radar, video and even acoustic sensors and these are getting more advanced. It isn’t much different from what we are seeing in autonomous cars right now.”

“We’re in the early stages of an arms race, where countering efforts are now countered to ensure that remote vehicles can’t be taken over,” Blades told FoxNews.com. “Everything has encrypted data links, but the threat is still there…Hacking isn’t the only concern.

“The security on today’s remote systems is incredibly high, so it isn’t something just anyone can do,” Williams explained. “But there could be efforts to disrupt them, to jam the controls, jam the GPS or otherwise disrupt the control of an aircraft through other means.”

The first step towards truly autonomous weapons in actual use could be Israel Aerospace Industries’ Harop, a more advanced version of its Harpy system. It has been compared to a hawk in that it will circle an area and wait to strike its prey.

As a form of loitering munitions, it can be launched like a missile and flies towards a target, albeit with a human operator watching to determine whether it should strike. Its advantage is that it can loiter in the target area for up to six hours, waiting for the target to present itself. Whereas the Harpy was designed to primarily target anti-radar systems, the Harop can be used to strike at vehicles and other objects on the ground.

“This is a type of weapon that could choose its own targets by following a program,” Scharre told FoxNews.com.

At present the machine still isn’t the one taking the kill shot.

“On the one hand having the machine wait could allow for more targeted strikes to lessen collateral damage, so instead of using a Hellfire missile a smaller weapon could be used; one can wait around for the target to be out in the open,” added Blades. “And the kill shots still may not be given to a machine, at least not by anyone in the civilized world.

Comment: The banning of so called “killer robots” would weaken the security of the West and US national security. Autonomous weapons might in the future be necessary additions as a weapon for instance in the West’s war on international terrorism. A ban would be especially harmful to the United States as it is leading innovation in the AI field.

LOCKHEED DEVELOPS FIGHTER JET THAT WILL FLY SIX TIMES THE SPEED OF SOUND

March 20, 2016

Fox News on March 18, 2016 reported that Lockheed Martin says it’s developing a Mach 6 aircraft that would be faster than any other fighter jet. Excerpts below:

Called the Hypersonic Test Vehicle 3X, or HTV-3X, the new plane could reach speeds of more than six times the typical cruising speed of the Boeing 747-8, which has been chosen as the next presidential aircraft. It will also far outpace anything flown by America’s adversaries.

“We accomplished several breakthroughs on HTV-3X. And we’re now producing a controllable, low-drag, aerodynamic configuration capable of stable operation from take-off, to sub-sonic, trans-sonic, super-sonic, and hypersonic to Mach 6, ” Lockheed Martins CEO said in a statement.

“And most importantly, we’re proving a hypersonic aircraft can be produced at an affordable price. We estimate it will cost less than $1 billion dollars to develop, build, and fly a demonstrator aircraft the size of an F-22,” she added.

The HTV-3X would be three times faster than the F-22 Raptor fighter jets, flying at 4,600 miles per hour – meaning it could travel the distance of the Earth’s circumference in about five and half hours or the time it takes a 747 to travel from New York to Los Angeles.

At the same time, Lockheed’s legendary Skunk Works is working on other secret hypersonic aircraft including the Falcon HTV-2. The unmanned aircraft is launched on a rocket and could achieve Mach 20 speeds – that’s 13,000 miles per hour. At those speeds, it could leave New York City and arrive in Los Angeles in less than 12 minutes.

Developing a hypersonic aircraft would support the Department of Defense’s aim to achieve Conventional Prompt Global Strike – conducting airstrikes against any target, anywhere in the world within one hour.

Comment: This would mean that the United States could in the future deliver a nuclear strike anywhere in the world within an hour.