MH17 Attack: Looking for Clues In A Potential Pivotal Event
- More than half of the 298 people dead in the MH17 shot over Ukraine yesterday are Dutch nationals. So far Prime Minister Mark Rutte issued a very short statement while his Malaysian counterpart Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak called for an international investigation. Here’s a quick overview [in Dutch] of media coverage in the Netherlands.
- Daily Beast: the missile that likely shot down MH17.
- US Senator John McCain wants to “impose the most severe sanctions” on Russia.
- Will this tragedy sway European politicians into a tougher stance against Russia? And will it force China away from its de facto acceptance of Russian aggression in Ukraine? So far the Chinese foreign ministry has offered the usual bromides, but they have a rather amicable relationship with Malaysia and may find they can’t pretend to be neutral while satisfying everyone, or even anyone.
- Russia’s Pravda says that Canada is offering Ukraine 20 decommissioned F/A-18A/B fighters for refurbishment cost, along with support. Reports from Canada only mention CF-18s being sent to bolster NATO air patrols over the Baltic States, and Army units headed for Poland. Canada has a Ukrainian community that’s over 1 million strong, in a country of 30+ million – big enough that they could influence the next election. The Harper government has taken a front-rank role since the crisis there, but that has meant Russian retaliation. Just how far would Canada be willing to go?
- As expected the Israel Defense Forces started ground operations in Gaza yesterday to go after Hamas’ tunnel network. Prime Minister Netanyahu said today they may “significantly” widen the operation if necessary.
- Japan’s National Security Council approved the launch of a joint missile research project with the UK, that could help improve MBDA’s Meteor.
- Yet another Malaysian oil tanker was hijacked 2 days ago by pirates in the South China Sea. Leading anti-piracy operations in the region would be a big opportunity for China to do more there than push its neighbors around.
State of the Industry
- The Economist on weapon manufacturers:
“Companies that mostly make military products may find life is harder. The turn in the spending cycle may encourage them to dream that vast, money-spinning programmes like the F-35 will return, and the good times will roll again. But the evidence is that an often unreliable, inefficient and over-rewarded industry is at last being forced to change its ways to survive.”
From the Dept of Tinfoil Hat Obsolescence
- DARPA is working with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) to develop an implantable neural device that could help restore memory.
- Today’s video, hosted by the conservative Center for Security Policy, discusses how the mammoth planned initial public offering of ecommerce Chinese firm Alibaba has national security implications. This may first sound unexpected and a tad paranoid, but this is an interesting perspective that connects the dots of what the Chinese have said and done in past years: