Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 79

From the Turkish border to Paris to the ground in Syria and Iraq. It is still too early to understand the consequences of the Turkish missile intercepting a Russian Su-24 allegedly flying in Turkish skies. But you can follow live the BBC updates. And start imagining what could happen next.

In the two weeks after the Paris attacks, there have been some attempts to dig deeper into its consequences. Rosa Brooks writes that we should learn to accept some uncomfortable truths. Including the recognition that there is probably no chance to achieve complete security from attacks.

Barry Posen argues that defeating ISIS in Syria and Iraq is proving to be a very costly undertaking. And Western escalation might be actually what ISIS wants. Containment of the threat should be a more sustainable long term strategy.

Most analysts would agree, in any case, that better action against the ability of ISIS to extract resources would effectively weaken it. The Atlantic features an article on where ISIS money come from.

Finally, a bit off-topic. What is the role of scholarship in these hard times? Warontherocks contributes to the endless debate on the relationship between academia and defence decision-making.

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10th Pan-European Conference on International Relations

Some news about the next 10th Pan-European Conference on International Relations. The call for Panel, Roundtable and Paper Proposals is now open.

The Conference takes place in Izmir, Turkey, 7-10 September 2016, with the theme of “International Relations in World Society“.

The conference of the European International Studies Association (EISA) will be held by the Yaşar University.

Here you’ll find the details for submitting a proposal.  Here you’ll find the list of the 51 sections. Here the conference schedule. 

EISA is a new individual membership based association, serving the International Relations community in Europe and beyond. EISA has been created by the Standing Group on International Relations.

The closing date for paper, panel, and roundtable proposals is midnight (CET) on Friday 8 January 2016.

Also Venus in Arms will submit a proposal.


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Top5 by Venus in Arms – Week 73

First Democratic Party primary debate last night. How did candidates perform on foreign policy? Fred Kaplan argues that is was a clear win for Hillary Clinton.

Whoever becomes President, however, will face many challenges and several unsolved issues. Even in countries that have been traditionally stable. Turkey is one of these cases, as the dramatic bombing occurred a few days ago showed several cracks.

And American strategy, Adam Elkus argues on, is in a very bad state. Who killed it? In a CSI-like reconstruction, Elkus makes an accusation to the community of strategists: “the shocking plot twist in tonight’s episode of CSI: Pentagon is that we — the community of people that talk, debate, write about, and work in the making of strategy — were nonetheless accessories to the crime. How? We failed at the most critical task of all — understanding the nature of the problem and proposing solutions””. To keep in mind, for a blog/website on strategy.

We don’t know if academic research is faring much better. Jarrod Hayes discusses the state of the most ambitious objective of social sciences, prediction.

On a more practical note, but always looking at the future, future robots will be able to predict the moves of humans confronting them. This  breakthrough – somewhat disturbing for those passionate about Asimov’s I, Robot – is due to improvements in the “brain” (the algorithms of the software) of the machines.



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IPSA 2016 – Politics in a World of Inequality

These are dramatic days for Turkey. The country is shocked by terrorist attacks, mounting political violence, and censorship. The results of the coming elections as well as the development of the Syrian war will surely affect the Turkish political scenario. Looking ahead, trying to provide an optimist perspective on that complex situation, we are pleased to talk about the next IPSA World Congress, which will be held in Istanbul, July 23-28 2016.

This year the main theme is “Politics in a World of Inequality”. Here you’ll find more details on the Congress theme.

Here you’ll find the Program Sessions and here the Open Panels. 

Please note that the deadline to submit a closed panel and paper proposal for the World Congress 2016 has been extended. You have until October 14 to submit your closed panel or paper proposals. Here you’ll find all the info for submitting a paper or a panel proposal.

Also Venus in Arms has submitted an abstract on political institutions and regime stability in new democracies.

We hope to see you there in July in a more peaceful Turkish and regional scenario…

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 25

With strikes against the Islamic State largely brought by the air, the debate on air power and its tools warms up again. In recent years, nothing has been more controversial in several countries (from the US to Italy) than the F35/JSF program. This is an American Air Force General view of the plane’s almost “divine” capabilities.

This is while the White House is reckoning how air campaigns are far from being the perfect tools to face IS. In the National Interest, Paul Pillar explains how air strikes cannot address the multi-faceted nature of the Syrian conflict, and sometimes – by creating collateral damages – also result in         further resentment from the population.

Turkey has a big stake in the current conflict in Syria and Iraq as anyone. Still, as of today, is still perceived (at least by the Americans trying to use military bases in the country) as reluctant and ambiguous. Halil Karaveli argues that looking at domestic politics in Turkey, and their history of complex civil-military relations, can give a better grasp of such and attitude, as well as of potential scenarios ahead.

Done with stuff in the news, let’s focus on long term assessment of Obama’s Administration grand strategy. In the very longstanding tradition of “parallel lives”, The Amerian Interest features an article by Jakub Grygiel on how Roman Emperor Commodus’ attempts to stay away from external adventures (fighting against barbarians) to focus on domestic policy had tragic long term consequence for the Empire

An article on a meta-theme to conclude. The language of war, because of technological change, cultural and political transformation (and the inextricable links among these and other factors) is constantly mutating.  Sam Leith reflects on the changing lexicon and the media landscape  of war in this refreshing piece on the Financial Times.

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 22

This week out attention is still focused on the crises in Iraq and Syria.

The first suggestion is the detailed account provided by Air Force Times on the US air strikes in Syria. It was the first time the U.S. sent the F-22 Raptor into combat. Look also at Jane’s for the analysis of the ongoing military operation.

The crisis deeply involves several countries in the region. A relevant strategic actor is Turkey. Here the report on the clashes occurred at the Syria border. As stated in the article: “Turkey has begun to close some of its border crossings with Syria after about 130,000 Kurdish refugees entered the country over the weekend”.

In the meanwhile, two Chinese warships have docked at Iran’s principal naval port (Bandar Abbas) for the first time in history. According to The New York Times, the Iranian and Chinese Navies were scheduled to start joint exercises. The meeting was defined as a: “freindly visit”…

The situation in Libya is still dramatic unstable. Here you’ll find an interesting story on chemical weapons, international organizations and smuggling.

Finally, something completely different. Television and IR: Lost debuted 10 years ago (September 22, 2004). The (acclaimed and criticized) show, which represents a turning point for television series of our time, can be interpreted according to different paradigms of IR Theory (indeed Hume, Locke, Rousseau were among the main characters…). Venus in Arms is still thinking at a post on that…


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