Front Lines

Trump victory welcomed by Putin
Front Lines

Trump victory welcomed by Putin

Some North Atlantic Treaty Organization members are sweating and Vladimir Putin is wringing his hands after Donald Trump’s stunning upset in the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election. The first-time political candidate made no bones during the campaign about his dissatisfaction with U.S. security arrangements, demanding in April that its “freeloading” allies carry a greater share of the financial burden if the alliance is to continue. “The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defence and, if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves,” he said. “We have no choice.” He demanded that allies spend two per cent of GDP on their militaries, double Canada’s proportion. He called the NATO alliance “obsolete” and urged it to focus more on...
Learning from rats
Front Lines

Learning from rats

Defence scientists are analyzing proteins in rats in ongoing attempts to measure the effects of traumatic injury to the brain and ultimately come up with new and more effective treatments. Identifying and understanding blast-induced brain injury is a priority among scientists at Defence Research and Development Canada for obvious reasons– soldiers are exposed to explosions both on exercise and during operations. But the study has implications for everyone. Identifying and treating brain injury is a delicate and complex task. Specifically, defence researchers at a lab in Alberta’s Suffield Research Centre are looking at what’s known as primary blast-induced mild traumatic brain injury. “Primary blast consists of the pressure wave produced as the gases expand away from the detona...
A tale of two air strikes
Front Lines

A tale of two air strikes

The war in Syria and Iraq is nowhere close to over. While its seems clear that ISIS is losing its grip on territory and power as it loses strength, there is a second aspect to the war that is now gaining a bit more prominence. There are a great many reasons behind the rise of ISIS, including the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, but the most central and most recent reason is that civil war in Syria created the initial space for the group to grow and gain prominence. As Canada and its allies make progress in the battle to degrade and destroy ISIS, the civil war in Syria shows no signs of stopping. In fact, it’s getting uglier. Take, for example, two recent air strikes, which occurred as the latest in a long line of mysterious, “mistaken” attacks. On Sept. 17, a series of Americ...
Syria: if you’re not confused, you don’t know what’s going on
Front Lines

Syria: if you’re not confused, you don’t know what’s going on

In the past week things have taken a very odd turn in northern Syria. For one, Turkey invaded. And while the Turks claim their motive for invading was to push ISIS back from the border it shares with Syria, it now appears the real aim was to prevent Syrian Kurds from creating an unbroken stretch of Kurdish-controlled territory in northern Syria. The Turks have long said that a Kurdish state on its southern border would be a cause for war. So that’s what we have now. In the days after the invasion, it seemed the U.S. was backing Turkey in their effort to contain the Kurds. Vice-President Joe Biden made it very clear during a visit to Turkey that there would be “no [Kurdish] corridor,” he said. “Period. No separate entity on the border. A united Syria.” What has happened since...
America has a new strategy: scare everyone with wild weapons
Front Lines

America has a new strategy: scare everyone with wild weapons

It sounds more like science fiction than reality, but the United States is developing some truly amazing new weapons in an attempt to deter Russia and China from even thinking about going to war.  One of the most interesting is the railgun. It’s an electromagnetic projectile launcher that accelerates rounds to incredible velocities and distances using no explosives at all. Describing exactly how it works really doesn’t clarify very much, unless of course you are a defence scientist or something, but here goes: “a railgun uses a pair of parallel conductors, or rails, along which a sliding armature is accelerated by the electromagnetic effects of a current that flows down one rail, into the armature and then back along the other rail.” The upshot is that the railgun can send out a ro...
Quietly, a new war begins
Front Lines

Quietly, a new war begins

On Aug. 1, the United States opened up a new front in the war against ISIS when it began a bombing campaign in Libya. Now, this is far from the first time the United States has bombed Libya. Back in 2011, a large group of NATO allies, including Canada, conducted an extensive bombing campaign to help overthrow Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Since then, Libya has largely descended into chaos, with various factions controlling different parts of the country. Many critics have pointed out that the NATO bombing mission should have been followed up with another mission to help stabilize the country. Two factors have contributed to the recent return of the American military to Libya: one is the emergence of ISIS, but a very important second consideration is that there is now a United...
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