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Donald Trump on the proposed new branch of the US armed forces

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Donald Trump on the proposed new branch of the US armed forces

Nobody has ever accused President Trump of being eloquent. The way he’s handling the new “Space Force” concept is, well, very Trumpish.

His actual Tweet is something you can’t make up:

“Space Force all the way!”

Go team, go!

Pence unveils plan for Congress to create Space Force by 2020

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/09/pence-unveils-plan-for-congress-to-create-space-force-by-2020.htmlTrump first floated the Space Force idea as a part of his national security strategy March 13. On Thursday, he expressed his enthusiasm for the plan in a tweet shortly after Pence made the announcement, saying: “Space Force all the way!”

The president described in March how he had originally coined the term as a joke, while discussing U.S. government spending and private investment in space. Trump then directed the Pentagon in June to immediately begin the creation of the new branch.

Military

Entire F-35 fleet grounded until fuel tubes inspected

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Entire F-35 fleet grounded until fuel tubes inspected

Following a crash last month in South Carolina of a F-35 fighter jet, the United States military has grounded the entire fleet. The suspected problem, faulty fuel tubes, must be inspected before the fleet will be brought back into combat duty.

F-35 jets: US military grounds entire fleet

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45827795“If suspect fuel tubes are installed, the part will be removed and replaced. If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status.

“Inspections are expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours.”

The aircraft, which uses stealth technology to reduce its visibility to radar, comes in three variants.

Each F-35 costs around $100 million. Expect the military to move quickly as the aircraft is crucial in the air defense of the nation, giving us complete air superiority regardless of the threat.

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Russia to send advanced weapons to Syria to fight Israel

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Russia to send advanced weapons to Syria to fight Israel

After last week’s downing of a Russian Il-20 surveillance plane by Syrian air defense, Moscow has promised to send it’s advanced S-300 air defense system. The Russians blamed Israel for the downed aircraft.

Russia blames Israel for Syria shooting down its spy plane

https://noqreport.com/2018/09/18/russia-blames-israel-syria-shooting-spy-plane/This is troublesome for one reason and extremely concerning for another. It’s troublesome because it likely means Russia will want more direct involvement in Syria’s defense. When weapons it supplied are used to take down its own aircraft, the practical and predictable response is to either downgrade involvement or ramp it up. Russia will likely do the latter.

It’s extremely concerning because of the clear threat made to Israel. “Commensurate measures” can be read in many ways, but based on Russia’s recent history this incident will likely be used as a get-out-of-jail free card for them to use at the right moment against Israel. How that manifests remains to be seen.

While Russians are denying that the system is targeting any nation in particular, they know Israel is the only nation that regularly flies into Syria to attack weapons depots intended for use against the Jewish state.

Russia to send S-300 missile defence systems to Syria

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/russia-send-300-missile-defence-systems-syria-180924093518745.html“According to information of our military experts, the reason (behind the downing) were premeditated actions by Israeli pilots which certainly cannot but harm our relations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

However, the Kremlin said the installation of S-300 was aimed at increasing safety of Russian military and “not directed at any third country”.

My Take

Russia is playing with fire in more ways than one. The S-300 system is designed as a multi-stage air defense system capable of changing the game in the Middle East. Israel had demanded they not be installed in Syria after the initial agreement was made by Russia in 2013, but last week’s incident changed things.

What Russia cannot afford is further antagonizing the west. If the result of this leads to more attacks on Israel because they weren’t able to stop them in Syria, it is likely America will step in with countermeasures for Israel to use against the S-300. This will lead to escalations neither country wants.

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Russia blames Israel for Syria shooting down its spy plane

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Russia blames Israel for Syria shooting down its spy plane

A Russian Il-20 surveillance plane was shot down off the coast of Syria by anti-aircraft weapons that were attempting to target Israeli F-16s. Fifteen Russians were killed in the attack.

Russia is blaming Israel for it, claiming it was their attack near a Russian base that resulted in the downed aircraft.

Russia blames Israel after Syria kills 15 in Il-20 plane in air battle

https://www.businessinsider.com/russia-blames-israel-after-syria-killed-15-downing-an-il-20-in-air-battle-2018-9“The Israeli pilots used the Russian plane as cover and set it up to be targeted by the Syrian air-defense forces,” Russian media reported the Russian Defense Ministry as saying. “As a consequence, the Il-20, which has radar cross section much larger than the F-16, was shot down by an S-200 system missile.”

“As a result of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military, 15 Russian service personnel perished. This absolutely does not correspond to the spirit of Russian-Israeli partnership,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told Russian state media, Reuters noted.

“We reserve the right to take commensurate measures in response,” Konashenkov said.

My Take

This is troublesome for one reason and extremely concerning for another. It’s troublesome because it likely means Russia will want more direct involvement in Syria’s defense. When weapons it supplied are used to take down its own aircraft, the practical and predictable response is to either downgrade involvement or ramp it up. Russia will likely do the latter.

It’s extremely concerning because of the clear threat made to Israel. “Commensurate measures” can be read in many ways, but based on Russia’s recent history this incident will likely be used as a get-out-of-jail free card for them to use at the right moment against Israel. How that manifests remains to be seen.

Russia wants to establish a stronger relationship with Israel, but Trump’s presidency has made that less likely. Just as President Obama pushed Israel towards Russia, President Trump is pulling them back away. This makes for an extremely interesting situation, especially with the need for Israel to proactively defend itself from terrorism and military efforts against it.

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