Bolton Keeps Trying to Goad Iran Into War | Defense One

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The conventions of mainstream journalism make it difficult to challenge America’s self-conception as a peace-loving nation.

But the unlovely truth is this: Throughout its history, America has attacked countries that did not threaten it.

To carry out such wars, American leaders have contrived pretexts to justify American aggression. That’s what Donald Trump’s administration—and especially its national security adviser, John Bolton—is doing now with Iran.

Source: Bolton Keeps Trying to Goad Iran Into War – Defense One

How the Pentagon Nickel-and-Dimed Its Way Into Losing a Drone | Defense One

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Wednesday’s downing of a U.S. drone by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard exposes a weakness in U.S. operations.

The United States has some of the world’s most sophisticated drones for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. But they were designed for past wars, for use against insurgent forces such as ISIS or the Taliban that cannot track and destroy high-flying aircraft.

Iran and other potential adversaries, by contrast, have radar and missiles that can turn some of the U.S. military’s most important drones into expensive, conspicuous targets.

Source: How the Pentagon Nickel-and-Dimed Its Way Into Losing a Drone – Defense One

Trump’s White House Isn’t Ready for Impeachment | The Atlantic

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Anyone can tell from President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed that he’s furious with congressional Democrats for even contemplating impeachment.

But to get a better sense of what he’s telling friends, I went to one of his confidants and occasional golf partners: Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “Does Trump ever mention impeachment to you?” I asked, trailing the senator through the hallways of the Russell Senate Office Building. “Yeah! He’s really pissed,” Graham said.

Trump’s advisers believe that impeachment is inevitable: Though Speaker Nancy Pelosi has spent weeks rebuffing House Democrats who want to open proceedings, the party’s base will force her to eventually relent, they reckon.

Source: Trump’s White House Isn’t Ready for Impeachment – The Atlantic

Trump’s Reelection Hopes May Hinge on Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania | US News


As President Donald Trump formally embarks on his 2020 reelection campaign, his job security may rely on the wall.

It’s not the southern border wall Trump promised to build with Mexican money (and has failed, so far, to do). It’s the Democrats’ blue wall – or what they once thought of as their firewall against defeat, the post-industrial states of the Great Lakes region.

And the stunning, if narrow, wins Trump scored in 2016 against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan may not be one-time blips, experts say, as changing demographics and a determined GOP base put in play states that had once been reliable for Democrats.

Source: Trump’s Reelection Hopes May Hinge on Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania | The Civic Report | US News

Why aren’t oil markets reacting to the attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf?


Tensions are rising in the Persian Gulf, following a string of attacks on oil tankers over the last month. The United States just announced that it is sending 1,000 additional troops to the region to address threats to U.S. personnel and interests.

Nonetheless, oil markets seem unperturbed, reacting more to economic news than fears of disruption and shortage.

Source: Why aren’t oil markets reacting to the attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf?

The central role of free college and loan forgiveness in the Democratic primary


In a prior post, I argued that charter schooling had become the litmus test issue for Democrats on the K-12 side.

In higher education policy, that mantle is clearly held by college affordability and, specifically, free college and loan forgiveness policies.

These will be key topics of conversation from now through the Democratic convention.

Source: The central role of free college and loan forgiveness in the Democratic primary

Colombia’s Civil Conflict | Council on Foreign Relations

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Civil conflict in Colombia, one of the United States’ closest allies in Latin America, has left as many as 220,000 dead, 25,000 disappeared, and 5.7 million displaced over the last half century.

A peace process between the government and leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (known by its Spanish acronym, FARC), the country’s largest insurgent group, halted the violence in 2016.

The process faces many challenges, including widespread public concern that the peace deal offers too much leniency to perpetrators of violence. But the deal’s backers are hopeful that the early phases of demobilization, which are already underway, will lead to a sustainable peace.

Source: Colombia’s Civil Conflict | Council on Foreign Relations

Iran downs US military drone, increasing risk of war | Vox

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“Borders are our red lines. Any enemy that invades these borders will not return,” IRGC commander Hossein Salami said after the attack.

“We don’t have any intention to go [to] war with any country, but we are completely ready for war,” he continued, adding that the downing sent “a clear message” to America.

US officials tell a different story.

They say the military drone was flying in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial maritime passage for the global energy trade that’s aggressively patrolled by Iran, before the drone came crashing down.

“Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false,” Navy Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesperson for US Central Command, said in a Thursday morning statement. “This was an unprovoked attack on a US surveillance asset in international airspace.”

The downed surveillance drone was an RQ-4A Global Hawk, Urban added, an aircraft that costs roughly $130 million.

Source: Iran downs US military drone, increasing risk of war – Vox

What a High-Pressure College Entrance Exam Reveals About China


More than 10 million Chinese students took this year’s gaokao, five times the record-breaking 2.1 million students in the United States who took the SAT last year.

In China, the test falls on the same two days every year, June 7 and 8, which many regard as the most important time in a Chinese person’s life—“more important than your wedding day,” one parent told me. The single score from this test is the sole criteria for university admissions in China. A good score, many believe, leads to a good school, and with it the right networks, career opportunities and, of course, the right spouse.

“The higher your score, the more options you have,” Luo Xing’s mother told me matter-of-factly. But a bad test day is the start of a lifelong uphill battle.

The gaokao not only shapes the course of a student’s life; it can also serve as a litmus test of trends in Chinese society—of technology as a tool for social stability, of superficial versus structural reforms, and of an avowedly patriotic form of education.

Overall, reforming China’s college entrance exam is a microcosm of attempting institutional change in China. The reforms are difficult to realize when pitted against larger structural issues and vested interests—hardly a new challenge in the country.

Source: What a High-Pressure College Entrance Exam Reveals About China

Paris Air Show 2019 retrospective | Intelligent Aerospace

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While the Paris Air Show will go on until Sunday, the ink has dried on contracts and aviation experts and executives have largely returned to their respective countries and companies to drive innovation and forge alliances that will be on display next summer at the Farnborough International Airshow.

Manufacturers Boeing and Embraer had good news for the industry, as the pair of companies announced that they expected good growth in the next two decades. Boeing forecasts a 20-year market expectation at $8.7 trillion – up $600 billion from a year ago.

Source: Paris Air Show 2019 retrospective | Intelligent Aerospace