Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… We present below some of the most interesting or relevant features for each section.
World (all matters related to war, international and national security) – An excellent article by Prof Anatol Lieven for BBC News on “How can the West solve its Ukraine problem?” addresses – at long last – most problems related to the Ukrainian crisis in a masterful, objective and constructive way, not shying away from the very difficult situation into which Ukraine now is. The fact it is published by BBC News is positive and might signal that we could enter a healthier period regarding the way the crisis in Ukraine is handled. In turn it might give more hope to see the crisis being progressively settled. And by crisis here, I do not mean the conflict in Eastern Ukraine but the overall dire situation into which Ukraine is, from a very fragile state indeed, to critical economic woes to the rise of ultra-nationalism, as we have documented in our series on Ukraine.
With much hope – rather than evidenced likelihood – this could also signal that the situation with Russia might progressively normalize. Yet, as many of the signals gathered this week are quite strongly focused on Russia, including because of the overnight attack that took place in Grozny and captured the attention of media and crowds, we may not fail to note that the majority of media articles are still very much inclined to spread the anti-Putin anti-Russia perspective. It would thus appear logical to assume that the new Cold War vision might continue for some time, the key question being for how long. In this framework, we should also wonder, besides the damages made to Ukraine over the last year, the depth of the damages made to the Russian (and BRICS) relationship. Indeed, we – in the West – may very well finally come back to more balanced perspectives and resulting foreign policy, while the resentment, disappointment and disillusion that may have been created in Russia may stop a return to a real warming of relations, besides, of course, cold Realpolitik calculations. The Russian decision to stop South-Stream might very well be a signal in this direction.
On a more methodological note, this edition showed an imbalance that was created in the crowd-sourcing process because of the Ferguson and New York events unfolding. Those led to a flurry of similar when not identical articles being crowd-selected – most of them being removed trough the editorial process as there is no point to keep identical signals. The quantity of those articles deserves, however, to be pointed out. As a result, the space that would usually have been available for other signals and other contributors was unavailable. Furthermore, the attention of contributors was also distracted. Does that mean that we should pay more attention to the riots in the U.S. in terms of national security and weak signal? Or does that mean that as the social network sphere is still much more populated by Americans than by other nationalities, we are seeing here a demonstration of the parochial interest of a crowd? Somehow sadly (if seen from the perspective of an enlightened world-aware crowd that is meant to be the ideal of democracies), we note exactly the same phenomenon as far as the war against the Islamic State is concerned: if American or British citizens are murdered then there is a flurry of attention both in media and in the crowd, but when death concerns citizens of Iraq, Syria, Libya for example, then the interest is much less pregnant.
Technology and armaments – Notably two articles to read together: Google new work on Artificial Intelligence (AI) brought to the analysis of “data science” and Stephen Hawking warning regarding AI.
Energy and environment security – We notably should point out a scientific article confirming the role of carbon emission in climate change, which should be added to the role of ozone. Rare enough to be noted, a warning regarding the potential ecosystemic impacts of deep-sea mining is delivered.
Science – The articles in the science section are quite overwhelmingly devoted to space, and NASA plans for Mars.
Ebola – Note the interesting new interactive way that is now also provided by the WHO to follow the outbreak. According to the WHO latest situation report, we now have “a total of 17145 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of EVD and 6070 deaths …reported up to the end of 23 November 2014.”
The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. It was started as an experiment with Paper.li as a way to collect ideas, notably through Twitter. Its success and its usefulness led to its continuation.
The information collected (crowdsourced) does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilizing problems and issues.
If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.
Featured image: “C-band Radar-dish Antenna”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons