Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, during a video link with cosmonauts on the International Space Station (ISS). Photo: Getty Images.

Days before the publication of last week’s report into Russian activity in the UK, and the subsequent call from several UK parliamentarians for a swift response to the ‘Russian threat’, Russia tested a new anti-satellite weapon capability releasing a small projectile from its Kosmos-2543 sub-satellite.

Kosmos-2543, a small satellite contained inside a larger satellite, Kosmos-2542, and ‘birthed’ into orbit in late 2019, recently came under scrutiny in January 2020 when it was reportedly caught ‘buzzing’ US spy satellites in Low Earth Orbit.

By releasing a small projectile from the Kosmos-2543 sub-satellite, the US claims that Russia has launched a new projectile into orbit with relatively high speed – estimated at around 500 km per hour – leading to concerns about the potential of Russia to develop this technology as a weapon to target foreign satellites.…  Seguir leyendo »

By easing access to basic services, schools and farms, and allowing civilians to travel once again between villages and towns, the South Sudan peace deal signed in September 2018 was a much-needed boon for the country’s population, whose lives had been decimated by years of brutal fighting and a man-made humanitarian crisis that claimed up to 400,000 lives.

Almost two years down the line, South Sudan’s leaders have formed a unity government — with critical support from South Africa — and should be commended for achieving progress towards peace. But the new government, formed in February of this year, remains shaky.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Russian Air Force plane flying over Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha last year under the Treaty on Open Skies. Credit Chris Machian/Omaha World-Herald, via Associated Press

Arms control treaties can be a powerful national security tool. But too often arms control proponents — those who seek to control weapons by agreement — get confused: Is arms control a means to a national security end or the end itself?

President Trump has never been afraid to step back, evaluate what the United States and its allies gain from an agreement and how a potential adversary benefits from it, and decide what’s in the best interest of the security of the American people.

Mr. Trump, whose administration I served in, said on Thursday that the United States will initiate the process to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies.…  Seguir leyendo »

It came as close as possible to Canada’s Sandy Hook tragedy. On April 18, an unhinged man went on a 13-hour rampage in rural Nova Scotia and killed 22 people, including a veteran Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer. It was the worst mass killing in Canadian history and shocked an already traumatized nation dealing with the Covid-19 lockdown.

Last Friday, in response to the shooting, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in a sombre voice that has become habitual in his daily Covid-19 briefings, said: «Thirty years from now, an entire generation of Canadians will remember exactly where they were on Sunday, April 18, 2020.…  Seguir leyendo »

An image from the Russian Defense Ministry showing an intercontinental ballistic missile launch.Credit...Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, via Associated Press

Last week, President Vladimir Putin of Russia announced the deployment of the Avangard, among the first in a new class of missiles capable of reaching hypersonic velocity — something no missile can currently achieve, aside from an ICBM during re-entry.

Such weapons have long been an object of desire by Russian, Chinese and American military leaders, for obvious reasons: Launched from any of these countries, they could reach any other within minutes. No existing defenses, in the United States or elsewhere, can intercept a missile that can move so fast while maneuvering unpredictably.

Whether or not the Avangard can do what Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘He has fought hard to keep a French hold over the European commission’s internal market portfolio, which includes key defence investments.’ Emmanuel Macron reviews troops in Paris on Bastille day Photograph: Eliot Blondet/AFP/Getty Images

For three years now, the European Union, created to promote peace and understanding, has been undergoing a profound pivot to militarisation and hard power. Europeans are served up a relentless narrative about their continent’s duty to stand up to external challenges: Russian assertiveness, the US retreat from Nato and traditional Euro-Atlantic structures and China’s rise as a geopolitical force. But this narrative has served to legitimise a militarising agenda that, away from the spotlight, is being set and pushed by defence industry interests and their political cheerleaders.

Countries in Scandinavia and central and eastern Europe, including the Baltic states, Poland, Romania, Finland and Sweden, have all increased military expenditure as part of this creep towards arming and organising for potential use of lethal force.…  Seguir leyendo »

México no debería, bajo ninguna circunstancia, aceptar la presencia de tropas de Estados Unidos (o de cualquier otro país) en su territorio. Es una cuestión de principios, de soberanía y de historia.

Este tema surge tras el brutal asesinato de seis niños y tres mujeres mexicano-estadounidenses en Sonora, México, miembros de las familias LeBarón y Langford. Poco después, la familia le pidió al presidente de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, que designara a los narcotraficantes mexicanos como grupos terroristas y este, en una entrevista, dijo que lo haría. Las posibles consecuencias serían enormes; desde sanciones contra México, aranceles y certificaciones anuales hasta una mayor militarización de la frontera y más retrasos en la aprobación del nuevo tratado de libre comercio.…  Seguir leyendo »

I decided to visit Halle, Germany, shortly after moving to Berlin. I am one of a growing number of Jewish expats in Berlin, excited by the cultural outlets of the city, the cheaper rents and the diverse and open-minded Jewish life. Two weeks ago, an opportunity arose to visit a small, Russian-speaking Jewish community from the former USSR living in Halle to spend Yom Kippur with them. Our delegation was supposed to bring life and song to one of the most important days on the Jewish calendar.

We had just begun the Torah portion Wednesday when we heard the first explosion.…  Seguir leyendo »

Melania y Donald Trump posan con el bebé de dos meses de Jordan y Andre Anchondo, quienes fallecieron en el tiroteo de El Paso, y con otros familiares Anchondo.CreditCreditFotografía oficial de la Casa Blanca por Andrea Hanks

Una de las imágenes más emblemáticas del gobierno de Barack Obama fue una fotografía de la Casa Blanca en la que se ve al entonces presidente agachado para que un niño de 5 años pueda tocar su cabello.

Como reportó en ese momento Jackie Calmes en The New York Times, el niño —hijo de un empleado que dejaba su puesto en el Consejo de Seguridad Nacional— le había dicho tímidamente a Obama: “Quiero saber si mi cabello es como el tuyo”.

“¡Tócalo, amigo!”, le respondió el presidente.

Fue un momento representativo de todos los sueños vertiginosos sobre la raza, la modernidad y un futuro estadounidense brillante que catapultaron a un senador novato de nombre exótico al cargo de presidente.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un oficial de policía afuera del lugar donde un hombre abrió fuego y mató a más de veinte personas el 3 de agosto Credit John Locher/Associated Press

Están advertidos: esta columna no pretende ser reconfortante ni alentadora en estos momentos. No voy a expresar mi profundo luto por las vidas perdidas ni mencionar a los ángeles que llevamos dentro ni nuestra resiliencia como estadounidenses. Esta columna no va por ahí.

Porque tengo una advertencia que hacer y una realidad que contar, la cual es tan perturbadora como evidente.

Empecemos primero por las matanzas que han tendido lugar en días recientes.

El 28 de julio, un joven blanco de 19 años llamado Santino William Legan abrió fuego en el Festival del Ajo en Gilroy, California; mató a tres personas e hirió a otras trece antes de quitarse la vida.…  Seguir leyendo »

In January the Russian military rolled out a 9M729 land-based cruise missile and spelled out its specifications in an effort to refute the American claim that Russia had violated a key nuclear arms pact.CreditCreditPavel Golovkin/Associated Press

After more than 30 years, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (I.N.F.) Treaty ended last week, with an American withdrawal on Friday and a Russian withdrawal on Saturday. Although the United States abided by the terms of the treaty, Russia violated it by fielding more than 100 banned intermediate-range missiles, and China, which was never bound by it, fielded thousands. The United States has none.

To fix this gap, it is time for the Department of Defense to develop and field conventionally armed, ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles. The I.N.F. was a good treaty that reduced tensions and contributed to the peaceful end of the Cold War.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Vladimir Putin, center, watching the launch of Russia’s Avangard hypersonic missile system via a video link to the country’s National Defense Management Center, last year.CreditCreditMikhail Klimentyev\TASS, via Getty Images

Vladimir Putin’s Russia has openly embarked on an aggressive rearmament. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is dead (broken by Russia, then canceled by President Trump), the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is near death, and scarcely a month goes by without the Russian Ministry of Defense or President Putin himself boasting of a new game-changing miracle weapon — what Germans once called a wunderwaffe.

Well, do we have a new Cold War? Is there any similarity between Mr. Putin and the leaders of the Soviet Union?

In fact, there’s no similarity. The Soviet Union rarely bragged about its weapons, although it often paraded rockets past the Kremlin.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Greek mythology, Pandora had a box she had been warned to never open. With no understanding of the consequences, and despite the warning, she opened the box, irreversibly releasing the plagues that would affect all of humanity forever. The American threat to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, which prohibits possession of missiles capable of striking targets at ranges from about 300 to 3,400 miles, will have similar consequences for humanity if it is also executed in spite of warnings and without considering the consequences.

One particularly difficult aspect of this situation is that the Russians and the Americans each accuse the other of flouting the treaty’s purpose in Europe by planning for, or deploying, nuclear-capable weaponry that could have a dual use — defensive on its face but potentially offensive after quick modification.…  Seguir leyendo »

How Russia Undermined Over 30 Years of Nuclear Arms Control

Why did Russia argue that the United States should keep the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty intact and then recently declare its own suspension of the treaty? After all, it has deployed many of the very missiles banned by the treaty. Russia began the covert development of this class of missiles, probably in the mid-2000s, in a way designed to disguise its true nature. This decision has undermined over 30 years of good-faith nuclear arms control efforts and puts America, its allies and its partners at risk.

The I.N.F. Treaty, signed in 1987, prohibits the United States and Russia from possessing ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 kilometers to 5,500 kilometers (310 miles to 3,418 miles).…  Seguir leyendo »

The End of The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

The treaty is out of date and somewhat militarily pointless. Signed by the United States and USSR in 1987, it prevents its signatories and their successors (Russia, the United States, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan) from flight-testing, producing, or deploying ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles between the ranges of 500 and 5500 kilometers. Despite its name, the treaty applies to both nuclear and conventional systems.

It is pointless because there are no targets that require a ground-launched ballistic or cruise missile of that range. Although they may present more complications, including increased expense, air- and sea-launched missiles, allowed by the treaty, can do the job just fine.…  Seguir leyendo »

Donald Trump enalteció la promesa de ventas de armas al gobierno de Arabia Saudita durante una reunión con el príncipe heredero Mohamed bin Salmán, en marzo. Credit Evan Vucci/Associated Press

Hace unos días, el líder evangélico estadounidense Pat Robertson exhortó a Estados Unidos a no exaltarse tanto por la tortura y el asesinato de Jamal Khashoggi porque, dijo, no deberíamos arriesgar “100.000 millones de dólares en ventas de armas”. Me imagino que pretendía invocar un nuevo undécimo mandamiento que dice: “Por otra parte, justificarás cosas como matar y dar falso testimonio si quedan en riesgo los acuerdos de compraventa de armas”.

Bueno, no es noticia que la derecha religiosa se ha postrado a los pies de Donald Trump. No obstante, el intento de Trump de hacer de lado posibles represalias por los delitos sauditas con el argumento de que hay enormes recompensas económicas derivadas de seguir siendo amigos de los asesinos —así como la disposición de los aliados políticos del presidente para aceptar esta lógica— representa una nueva etapa en la degradación de Estados Unidos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, center, paying his respects on Monday in Toronto where two people were killed and at least 13 injured in a shooting last month.CreditNathan Denette/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press

Last summer I taught a course at the University of Toronto called “American Tragedy: Guns and Mass Shootings in U.S. History.” One memorable day, my 20 mostly Canadian students reflected on the frequency of mass shootings in America and how these calamities don’t receive much public interest unless the gunman claims several lives. One student remarked: “Reading about this stuff makes me so sad. It also makes me happy to live in Canada, where we don’t have to worry about this kind of thing.”

As an expatriate from California, I have felt this same sense of gratitude many times. Watching news reels and Twitter feeds about the next mass shooting back home, I would reflect that Toronto seemed immune to the kind of gun violence that I had witnessed and written about in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.…  Seguir leyendo »

El otro problema fronterizo

En un soleado patio de la prisión de esta pujante ciudad fronteriza, un preso de 23 años me explicó con calma cómo cada año traficaba cientos de armas desde Estados Unidos a México.

Me contó que nunca se molestó en pagarles a estadounidenses para que compraran las armas por él. Explicaba que, cuando quería adquirir armamento, iba a una de las muchas exposiciones de armas que cada fin de semana se celebran en Dallas y aprovechaba las dinámicas de esos eventos para comprar armas de fuego sin pasar por una verificación de antecedentes o tener que presentar algún documento de ciudadanía.…  Seguir leyendo »

Emma González durante su discurso en la Marcha por nuestras vidas en Washington, el 24 de marzo de 2018 Credit Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA, vía Shutterstock

Emma González, la chica de nombre flaubertiano y apellido latino, fue recientemente vinculada al comunismo justo por las mismas razones que en un país comunista la vincularían al capitalismo. Si lo sabrán quienes alguna vez se educaron en la uniformidad estética de las escuelas que todavía hoy incluyen en sus programas de estudios —aun cuando la historia haya sido lo suficientemente clara al respecto— asignaturas avasallantes como el marxismo leninismo inspirado en los viejos manuales soviéticos.

La líder de las crecientes protestas juveniles que exigen un mayor control sobre la venta de armas en Estados Unidos, luego del tiroteo de Parkland, subió al estrado en Washington D.…  Seguir leyendo »

The March for Our Lives, Washington, D.C., March 24, 2018

I. New York City

“She hid under her desk. She didn’t know what was going on,” Heidi said of her twelve-year-old daughter Melinda, who stood at the March for Our Lives in New York City with Deanna, her nine-year-old sister, holding a sign that read, Enough is enough. Her phone had been in her book bag, so for twenty minutes she couldn’t contact anyone. While they waited as the school was on lockdown, a pregnant teacher rubbed her belly. It turned out to be a false alarm, but Melinda and her classmates were shaken. “This has become such a common occurrence,” Heidi told us, looking at her daughters.…  Seguir leyendo »