Rapid Fire August 30, 2013: UK’s House of Commons Blocks Military Action Against Syria

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* British Prime Minister David Cameron came to the House of Commons armed with an intelligence dossier from the Joint Intelligence Committee, as well as a legal opinion from the Attorney General. He narrowly grounded his case for military action against Assad’s regime on the need to deter further use of chemical weapons. Despite the Prime Minister’s attempts to preempt concerns of post-Iraq war weariness or fear of unintended consequences, his government’s motion was defeated 285 to 272. * Some may think Cameron miscalculated by rushing a motion that he had not secured votes for, and is now weakened within his own coalition as well as relative to opposition from Labour. Others see in this vote the possible end of the “special relationship” between the UK and the US. All this may well be, but we’ll argue instead, at the risk of sounding naive, that yesterday’s debate is worth watching as a showcase of what functional representative democracy can look like, with a degree of civility, eloquence, wit, and substance, rarely seen elsewhere. See video below: * The White House has started briefing Congress on its Syrian policy, though it looks like the Administration will stop short of asking for […]

* British Prime Minister David Cameron came to the House of Commons armed with an intelligence dossier from the Joint Intelligence Committee, as well as a legal opinion from the Attorney General. He narrowly grounded his case for military action against Assad’s regime on the need to deter further use of chemical weapons. Despite the Prime Minister’s attempts to preempt concerns of post-Iraq war weariness or fear of unintended consequences, his government’s motion was defeated 285 to 272.

* Some may think Cameron miscalculated by rushing a motion that he had not secured votes for, and is now weakened within his own coalition as well as relative to opposition from Labour. Others see in this vote the possible end of the “special relationship” between the UK and the US. All this may well be, but we’ll argue instead, at the risk of sounding naive, that yesterday’s debate is worth watching as a showcase of what functional representative democracy can look like, with a degree of civility, eloquence, wit, and substance, rarely seen elsewhere. See video below:

* The White House has started briefing Congress on its Syrian policy, though it looks like the Administration will stop short of asking for authorization for strikes.

* With elections coming soon in Australia, here’s how Labor, the Coalition, and the Greens propose to approach defence issues. Labor, if they stay in power, plans to make some changes in naval basing.

* Boeing supplier Spirit Aerosystems announced further job losses at his Wichita, KS plant, without saying how many positions would be made redundant.

* Brett Lambert, just before retiring as US Defense Undersecretary for Industrial Policy, told Reuters that smaller subcontractors are starting to face a credit crunch. He expects a wave of consolidation once the US sorts out its defense budget outlook.

* DCNS, Thales and MBDA are getting a contract worth more than 1 billion euros from Saudi Arabia to modernize 4 Al Medinah frigates, as well as equip 2 oil tankers with short-range defense systems, according to Les Echos and La Tribune [both in French].

* India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing electromagnetic precision bombs that could disable electronics embedded in more and more weaponry.

* Russia intends to arm their next-gen bombers with hypersonic weapons, but like in the US this type of technology is still experimental.

* Russia will sell an undisclosed number of Mi-17 transport helicopters to Cameroon.

* Finmeccanica subsidiary Selex ES signed an agreement to jointly sell radar systems with Russia’s NIIDAR.

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