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The National Interest online seeks to provide a space for vigorous debate and exchange not only among Americans but between U.S. and overseas interlocutors. This is the new home for informed analysis and frank but reasoned exchanges on foreign policy and international affairs.
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20 апреля, 16:48

The 5 Best Shotguns and Semiautomatic Handguns on the Planet

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Kyle Mizokami Security, Everything you need to know  Manufactured by Benelli Armi SpA, a subsidiary of Beretta, the M2 Tactical is a somewhat larger semi-automatic shotgun than the 1301. The M2 has a 18.5 inch barrel but can accommodate five rounds in the internal magazine. The Benelli shotgun also features a pistol grip, and the manufacturer claims it features up to 48 percent less recoil than comparing shotguns. The shotgun is fitted with a variety of iron sights, including ghost ring and tritium sights, and the receiver is drilled and tapped for a MIL-STD1913 Picatinny rail, allowing the user to install specialized optics. Length of pull is an unusually long 14 3/8     inches to accommodate the user’s bulletproof vest. The U.S. Marine Corps uses a similar version, the M4, designated the M1014. (These two articles, republished jointly in this post, first appeared several months ago.) 5 Best Shotguns A shotgun is a firearm, typically a long arm that is fired from the shoulder, that instead of a single bullet fires a number of smaller pellets. Shotguns are chiefly sporting arms, useful for hunting birds or other small, fast-moving game, but also have military and civilian self-defense uses. The ability to project a devastating pattern of lead or steel shot to short ranges is also valuable in urban or jungle environments. This makes a properly fitted out shotgun an excellent weapon for home defense or close quarters combat. Winchester Model 1897 Read full article

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20 апреля, 16:47

Should We Worry about a North Korean Chernobyl?

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Oleg Shcheka Security, Asia A disaster could be brewing. Chronic power shortages are one of North Korea’s major vulnerabilities. The country is extremely reliant on hydropower stations which, according to North Korean official sources, provide 56 percent of the national power-generating capacity. Hydropower output depends on precipitation and drops drastically in dry years. Developing nuclear energy has long seemed an obvious option for North Korea to bolster its energy security. Already for many decades the DPRK has been making efforts to build an atomic power industry, although the lack of funding and Pyongyang’s severely restricted access to the international market of civilian nuclear technologies have seriously hampered the its progress in this area. Still, the DPRK continues to pursue nuclear-power generation. In particular, progress is being made on the 100 megawatt-thermal Experimental Light Water Reactor (ELWR) at the North’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, of which construction began in 2010. There might also be other, as yet undisclosed, nuclear facilities in development and under construction designed to combine civilian (power generation) and military (plutonium production) functions. This article originally appeared on 38 North. Until recently Pyongyang has not treated its civilian atomic sector as a top priority, with most of the resources going into military-related nuclear programs instead. This, however, may be changing, especially with the specter of an external trade and energy blockade looming ever larger after the adoption of increasingly harsher international sanctions measures in 2017, including severe limitations on the supply of oil and petroleum products to North Korea. In order to deal with potential oil shortages, Pyongyang may be banking on coal liquefaction. The technology of turning coal into hydrocarbon liquids is not particularly sophisticated, but requires large energy inputs, which might serve as another argument in favor of the speedy deployment of civilian nuclear energy. Read full article

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20 апреля, 14:56

This Gun Has Fought in Every American War for a Century

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Kyle Mizokami Security, Some history you may not know.  The 1911 is one of the most notorious handguns in history and easily the most famous in America, having seen action in every U.S. conflict since World War I. One of the most successful product designs ever, the 1911 has achieved something rare in the world of machines: immortality. Over a hundred years old, it remains largely unchanged. What Apple is to consumer electronics, John Browning was to late 19th and early 20th century firearms. The 1911 is his most famous design. The typical 1911 is 8.25 inches from tip to tail and weighs 2.49 pounds empty — about as much as a trade paperback book. The 1911 is made of steel, steel and more steel, and takes a magazine that holds seven bullets. The 1911 has seen service in World War I, Mexico, Haiti, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic (twice), Lebanon, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Iran, Grenada, Panama, the Gulf War, the Iraq War and Afghanistan. It has chased bad men from Pancho Villa to Osama Bin Laden. Recommended: The Fatal Flaw That Could Take Down an F-22 or F-35. Recommended: Smith & Wesson's .44 Magnum Revolver: Why You Should Fear the 'Dirty Harry' Gun Recommended: 5 Best Shotguns in the World (Winchester, Remington and Beretta Make the Cut) Minor adjustments have been added here and there, but the general appearance and function of the gun has largely been left unchanged. The 1911 is the personification — among weapons, anyway — of what architect Louis Sullivan termed “form follow[ing] function.” The 1911 was not designed to be beautiful; it was designed to be useful. Ergonomically everything is where it should be for maximum efficiency. Read full article

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20 апреля, 14:50

Forget China's Stealth Fighter: This Is the Plane America's Military Should Fear

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Sebastien Roblin Security, Not what you think.  Beijing is not interested in foreign wars at this time. However, it does seek to alter the military balance of power in the Pacific Ocean. Aircraft like the J-16D suggest the People’s Liberation Army is interested in developing specialized aircraft that will offer China a full spectrum of air-warfare capabilities—just like those of the U.S. military. The United States Navy’s EA-18G Growler electronic attack fighters are one of a small number of military aircraft types dedicated to the task of jamming—and potentially destroying—hostile radars that could guide deadly surface-to-air missiles against friendly aircraft. This mission is known as Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD). Basically, if a modern air force wants to attack an adversary with significant antiaircraft defenses, it needs an effective SEAD game to avoid insupportable losses. The Growler is derived from the F-18 Super Hornet fighter, and is faster, more maneuverable, and more heavily armed than preceding aerial jamming platforms based on transport and attack planes. This allows the Growlers to contribute additional firepower to strike missions, keep up with fighter planes they are escorting, and potentially approach a bit closer to hostile air defenses. China’s aviation engineers have never been too proud to copy a good idea from abroad, usually modified with “Chinese characteristics.” Perhaps it is not surprising that they appear to have devised a Growler of their own. Recommended: How Israel Takes U.S. Weapons and Makes Them Better. Recommended: North Korea’s Most Lethal Weapon Isn’t Nukes. Recommended: 5 Worst Guns Ever Made. Read full article

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20 апреля, 02:53

Macron's Visit Will Test the Franco-American Security Partnership

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Erik Brattberg, Philippe Le Corre Politics, Europe Of the leaders of the West’s great powers, only Macron seems to have cracked the code on captivating Trump. As President Donald Trump prepares to welcome his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, for the first ever state visit of his presidency, Paris and Washington are closer now than they have been since the early days of the Iraq War. However, with imminent decisions on several issues—ranging from Syria and the Iran nuclear deal to trade tariffs— on the horizon, the Macron-Trump “bromance” may not last much longer. Despite a shared love of pageantry and pomp, there is a real question if Macron will be able to leverage his personal chemistry with Trump and the close relationship between the two countries’ diplomatic corps and defense establishments to deliver tangible results for France and its partners in Europe. Of the leaders of the West’s great powers, only Macron seems to have cracked the code on captivating Trump. Macron’s enthusiastic persona and his image as a “winner”—having been elected with a 66 percent majority, followed by a landslide victory in parliamentary elections giving him full constitutional powers—has charmed and impressed Donald Trump. Furthermore, the recovering French economy and Macron’s domestic reform efforts have also not gone unnoticed in the White House. Trump and Macron also share many similar views when it comes to how to address economic challenges posed by the rise of China. Meanwhile, the European Union’s other major leader—Angela Merkel—has struggled to engage effectively with Trump. Merkel who enjoyed a very close relationship with Obama was viewed with suspicion by Trump from the beginning. Merkel’s difficulties with forming a coalition government has weakened her international standing. That, along with open disagreements with Trump over Germany’s defense spending and trade surplus, have caused the two leaders to go an unprecedented five months without talking to each other. Merkel is slated to arrive in Washington to meet Trump just a few days after Macron, only their meeting is expected to be more subdued. Read full article

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20 апреля, 02:52

North Korea Won't Sell Nuclear Material to Terrorists

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Matthew Reisener Security, Asia Despite being a legitimate issue of concern for the United States, the probability of North Korea selling nuclear materials to outside actors remains extremely low. In a recent interview with Jon Scott of Fox News, National Security Advisor John Bolton argued that the United States should take preventive military action against North Korea to eliminate its nuclear weapons program. While this viewpoint has generated many opposition pieces outlining the massive death toll that would result from such a conflict, one of Bolton’s arguments in favor of preventive war is particularly deserving of greater consideration. According to Bolton, “It’s not simply the threat of what North Korea would do with its own nuclear weapons. It’s the threat they would sell those weapons to others, to Iran, to Al Qaeda, to other would be nuclear powers. That is a real danger that I don’t think people have taken enough account of.” Bolton’s concern is not entirely unfounded. North Korea exports an estimated $100 million worth of arms annually, assisted Syria in the development of their fledgling nuclear program in the early 2000s, and it maintains relations with many nations that have traditionally been hostile towards the United States. Should North Korea sell nuclear weapons to actors with the intent and capability to use them, the resulting death toll may be high enough to justify the risks associated with preventive strikes. However, North Korea has little to gain and much to lose from the prospect of selling its nuclear materials, which, combined with the lack of probable buyers, makes it extremely unlikely that North Korea would consider dispersing nuclear materials to other states or non-state actors. Concerns over North Korea taking such an action serve as a poor justification for preventive military action designed to eliminate the North Korean nuclear program. Read full article

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20 апреля, 02:51

A Tariff-Free American Containment Strategy for China

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James Roberts Security, Asia To wage the hot peace of the twenty-first century against a newly expansionist Communist China, the United States must develop another tariff-free menu of options. The wise American policy architects of the Cold War who successfully walled-in the expansionist Communist Soviet Union behind its Iron Curtain didn’t need any tariffs in their tool kit. The only thing the USSR exported in any quantity was tyranny. Like their other products, it was an inferior good—dangerous and destabilizing. To maintain and promote a stable and prosperous postwar world, America contained and pushed back against Moscow by leading the West in building and maintaining a robust international institutional infrastructure for policy coordination and dispute resolution. To wage the hot peace of the twenty-first century against a newly expansionist Communist China, however, the United States must develop another tariff-free menu of options for an increasingly interconnected world that is extremely allergic to trade wars. The mid-twentieth century containment strategy should be the Trump administration’s model. Communism in practice has always failed. To stay in power amid the inevitable economic ruination it produces, the Soviet Union’s fascistic leaders grabbed land from neighboring territories and projected power at key geostrategic points around the globe. The goal was to ensure cheap imports of food and commodities from vanquished neighbors and to stoke Russian nationalism at home and fear among their foreign enemies. Chinese products are far superior to Soviet ones, but only because a generation of pragmatic leaders in Beijing were willing to honor the principles of Marxist-Leninism in the breach—averting their eyes from the animal spirits of the efficient private actors who drove the economy and tolerating enormous corruption to allow them to use state assets to turn a profit. Beijing has also had to prop up heavily indebted and inefficient—but job-creating—state-owned enterprises. The social costs of the Chinese regime’s hypocrisy are growing, as resentment of massive corruption and waste builds and undermines its legitimacy. Read full article

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20 апреля, 02:49

The 'Macron Miracle' Could Transform France Into a Global Powerhouse

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Celia Belin, Boris Toucas Security, Europe The challenge now is for France to build up credibility and gain a reputation of reliability, for startups often die from failing to transform an idea into a working business model. One month after his stunning victory, and three days before an unexpectedly large parliamentary win for his newly created party (La République en Marche), Emmanuel Macron, the youngest president of the French Fifth Republic, had every reason to be optimistic and enthusiastic. At the Viva Technology conference in Paris on June 15, 2017, he proclaimed the “beginning of a new momentum” in France: “I want France to be a startup nation, a nation that works with and for the startups, but also a nation that thinks and moves like a startup.” Although his enthusiasm could pass for naivety, the self-made political entrepreneur had himself achieved the improbable. An unknown technocrat only two years prior, Macron singlehandedly triumphed as France’s once fossilized political landscape collapsed. Macron’s promise of a new beginning also has extensive foreign-policy implications. Under the Macron presidency, France seeks to reinvent itself as a “startup power” that is agile, flexible, creative, and able to play great-power politics while leveraging multilateralism to advance both European and French interests. It hopes to take advantage of the acceleration of history instead of simply enduring it. The April 14 strikes on Syria in response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons, along with the United States and the UK, demonstrates France’s promptness to use force to uphold international norms. French decisiveness to reassert itself on the international stage should not come as a surprise, as the country’s transformation actually predates Macron—it has worked in the last decade to get rid of historical hindrances, old habits and moral rigidity. Read full article

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20 апреля, 02:46

Mussolini's World War 2 Tanks: Super Weapons or Super Duds?

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Warfare History Network History, Europe Or just OK?  Although it suffered, like all combatants, from the costly stalemate and horrendous casualties of trench warfare during World War I, Italy never used tanks during that conflict. The mountainous terrain that dominated the front along which Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire fought each other was unsuited for such vehicles, and none saw action during the war in the Italian theater. Nevertheless, the use of this military innovation on the Western Front did not go unnoticed by the Italian Army. From September 1916 through the end of the war, Major Alfredo Bennicelli, an Italian officer serving in France, kept his government informed of the use of tanks by the British and French, thus fueling an interest in the new weapon within the Italian General Staff. During the war, at Bennicelli’s urging, the Italians ordered a number of Schneider and Renault FT17 tanks from France in order to explore the possibility of forming their own armored force. The result was the country’s first experimental tank unit, the Reparto Speciale Dimarcia Carri d’Assalto, or Special Detachment of Assault Cars, created in the summer of 1918 from the 60 available French machines still operational. Soon afterward the Italians started manufacturing their own Renault FT17s, known as the Fiat 3000, under license. Recommended: How Israel Takes U.S. Weapons and Makes Them Better. Recommended: North Korea’s Most Lethal Weapon Isn’t Nukes. Recommended: 5 Worst Guns Ever Made. Read full article

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20 апреля, 02:43

The 6 Most Powerful Armies to Ever March on the Planet

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Zachary Keck, Akhilesh Pillalamarri History, A list like no other.  As a result, in a span of about three hundred years, Rome expanded from a regional Italian power to the master of the entire Mediterranean Sea and the lands surrounding it. The Roman Legions—divisions of the Roman Army which contained professional soldiers who served for 25 years—were well trained and well-armed with iron and were placed all over the empire in strategic locations, both holding the empire together and its enemies at bay. The Roman Army, despite some setbacks, really had no competitors of equal strength anywhere in its neighborhood. In an anarchical system like international relations, military power is the ultimate form of currency. A state may have all the culture, art, philosophy, and glitter and glory in the world, but it’s all for naught if the country doesn’t have a powerful military to defend itself. Mao Zedong put it bluntly when he stated: “power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Of all the types of military power, armies are arguably the most important for the simple fact that people live on land, and are likely to continue doing so in the future. As the famous political scientist John J. Mearsheimer has noted: “Armies, along with their supporting air and naval forces, are the paramount form of military power in the modern world.” Read full article

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20 апреля, 02:38

The 5 Best 9mm Caliber Handguns on the Planet

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Kyle Mizokami Security, North America The best of the best—in 9mm. The 9mm Luger, invented before the Great War, is one of the longest serving gun calibers in history. Introduced in 1901, it has served in virtually every conflict since then up until today. From World War I’s German army to the British army fighting ISIS in Syria, the Luger round has served militaries for over a century. Despite its age, the 9mm is more dangerous than ever before, due to innovations in ammunition lethality that squeeze greater performance out of the bullet. Adequately powerful and compact, the 9mm Luger round received newfound popularity in the 1980s when the so-called “Wonder Nine” pistols upended the dominance of revolvers and large caliber handguns on the U.S. market. It is the standard handgun caliber for NATO members, with many armies on their second or third generation 9mm pistol, and was recently re-adopted by the U.S. Army for its new issue M17 Modular Handgun System. The 9mm Luger round will be around for many more years. Here are five of the best guns the round is used in. Glock G19 The Glock 19 was one of the first Glock variants produced. Released in 1988, it was basically the same handgun albeit with a shorter barrel and grip. This reduced the magazine capacity from seventeen rounds to fifteen, but also produced a pistol that was easier to conceal. Today, it is generally acknowledged among handgun enthusiasts as the best Glock model for all-around use. The Glock 19 has been adopted by the U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Army Rangers and a modified version competed for the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System competition. Recommended: The Fatal Flaw That Could Take Down an F-22 or F-35. Recommended: Smith & Wesson's .44 Magnum Revolver: Why You Should Fear the 'Dirty Harry' Gun Read full article

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20 апреля, 02:35

America's F-35s, F-15s and F/A-18s Will Soon Have a New Bomb to Drop

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Dave Majumdar Security, North America Thanks to Raytheon.  Raytheon has completed developmental testing of the 250-pound GBU-53B Small Diameter Bomb II. The new glide bomb, which incorporates a tri-modal seeker, will now have to complete government “confidence testing” before it enters into its operational test phase before being fielded onboard the Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The weapon is crucial to enabling the F-35 to perform the close air support mission effectively. "We call SDB II a game changer because the weapon doesn't just hit GPS coordinates; it finds and engages targets," Mike Jarrett, Raytheon Air Warfare Systems vice president, said. "SDB II can eliminate a wider range of targets with fewer aircraft, reducing the pilot's time in harm's way." Indeed, in addition to the standard GPS/Inertial Navigation System (INS) guidance system, the SDB II incorporates a potent tri-modal seeker head. The three modes include millimeter wave radar to detect and track targets, imaging infrared for enhanced target discrimination and semi-active laser that enables the weapon to track an air or ground-based laser designator. Recommended: How Israel Takes U.S. Weapons and Makes Them Better. Recommended: North Korea’s Most Lethal Weapon Isn’t Nukes. Recommended: 5 Worst Guns Ever Made. “This powerful, integrated seeker seamlessly shares targeting information among all three modes, enabling the weapon to engage fixed or moving targets at any time of day and in all-weather conditions,” Raytheon brags on its website. “The SDB II bomb's tri-mode seeker can also peer through battlefield dust and debris, giving the warfighter a capability that's unaffected by conditions on the ground or in the air.” Read full article