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CHAMP is Coming, the US Missile that Kills Computers only

The United States has a new missile, CHAMP (Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project), that can destroy enemy computers and electronic control systems, without killing human beings. Turkey wants back "Ottoman Diplomacy"; China knows how to lose money for oil (Leggilo in italiano)

The missile that kills computers — The United States has successfully tested a missile that can permanently destroy enemy computers and electronic control systems—all without killing human beings—by overloading and melting their circuits with bursts of high-energy microwaves.

The new “non lethal” weapons system—called CHAMP, for “Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project”—can be employed in densely populated areas, targeting enemy air defenses, communications towers, telephone switching stations, automated factories and in general any control system based based on micro electronics.

The US Congress—which prefers its wars to be sterile and as far from the electorate a possible—is enthusiastic, but the Air Force instead appears to be cool to the technology largely because of, it appears, a classic bureaucratic mechanism: the office that deals with missiles seems not to get along that well with the part of the organization that instead handles electronic warfare…

The result is that, rather than being able to deploy a new and effective defense system that can destroy enemy military capacity without killing anyone, the US may eventually have a “cross-functional study” jointly prepared by the two offices in the hope that they can reach some kind of agreement later on.

 

Ottoman diplomacy—The news from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey is that management of the country’s foreign affairs will be returning to good old-fashioned “Ottoman diplomacy.” This expression means nothing to Westerners and probably very little for the majority of Turks.

The most noteworthy aspect of the diplomacy of the Turkish Sultans is that they themselves paid the expenses and salaries of the foreign diplomatic missions to Constantinople. The ambassadors and their staffs were considered “guests” in every sense, from the instant they entered the country till the moment of departure—something that tended to create conflicts of interest, as did a certain Ottoman indifference to the concept of “diplomatic immunity.” In different moments, the ambassadors of France, of Russia and of the Venetian Republic were all arrested and jailed over policy disagreements.

The Empire’s foreign relations were based on an automatic and complete assumption of Turkish superiority—to the point where the office that dealt with Western diplomats was formally known as the “Bureau of Barbarian Affairs.” The Ottomans did not form lasting alliances with foreign powers, at least not until the years of the final decline, when Turkey grew close to Germany: with very unfortunate results in not one but two World Wars—the “First” when it was still under the Sultans. However that may be, the extraordinary cynicism of Ottoman diplomacy served the Empire very well for five centuries.

 

The Chinese are (nobody’s) fools—As is widely-known, Venezuela is somewhat beyond the edge of bankruptcy, with very serious shortages of important consumer commodities like milk, toilet paper and silicon for breast augmentation implants.

China began lending the country vast sums of money in 2007, when Hugo Chávez was still running the place. Since then the total amount lent has gone beyond 45 billion dollars, of which 20 billion have not been repayed—and most likely will never be seen again.

Was that foolish? For a lousy 20 billion, China has gained a strong say on the destiny of the world’s single most important petroleum reserves—currently estimated to be something slightly below 300 billion barrels. The US, in order to keep a similar kind of influence over Iraq’s reserves, has so far spent something on the order of a trillion dollars, not to mention a total in human lives that is difficult to estimate.

 

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