Security

This week’s issue of The Economist has Taiwan on the cover and describes it as the “most dangerous place on Earth”. It is widely reported that a central purpose behind China’s military buildup and particularly the acquisition of naval and amphibious warfare capabilities is the country’s ambition to conquer its democratic neighbour. The implications thereof […]

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Britain’s Armageddon weapon are their four Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines: Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant, and Vengeance. Since decomissioning their aircraft-dropped bombs in 1998, the subs have been the only means of delivery for British nuclear weapons, with each possessing 16 ballistic missile tubes for Trident D5 missiles, each built to carry as many as 14 of […]

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The Biden administration has announced that most US forces will withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11th. What have we learned since 2001 and what have the consequences of the war been? Could Al Qaeda have been expelled or destroyed without the invasion? How will the US / NATO / Canadian intervention affect Afghanistan’s long-term future? […]

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But the Patten con [an evangelical congregation cultivated and exploited for self-enrichment of the preachers] wasn’t just any scam. It was the scam of all scams—the one that gets to the heart of why confidence games not only work but thrive the world over, no matter how many expert debunkers and vocal victims there may […]

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The confidence game starts with basic human psychology. From the artist’s perspective, it’s a question of identifying the victim (the put-up): who he is, what does he want, and how can I play on that desire to achieve what I want? It requires the creation of empathy and rapport (the play): an emotional foundation must […]

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In the 1950s, the linguist David Maurer began to delve more deeply into the world of confidence men than any had before him. He called them, simply, “aristocrats of crime.” Hard crime—outright theft or burglary, violence, threats—is not what the confidence artist is about. The confidence game—the con—is an exercise in soft skills. Trust, sympathy, […]

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Writing for Maclean’s, Scott Gilmore suggests that Canada should “ban the buying of made-in-Canada warships” because politicians have a bad record of fiddling with the process for their own purposes, and shipyards have a poor record of delivering. He presents it as a job protection scheme rather than national security, and a shockingly expensive one: […]

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“Statement by President George W. Bush on Insurrection at the Capital Laura and I are watching the scenes of mayhem unfolding in our Nation’s government in disbelief and dismay. It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight. This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic. I am appalled […]

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The International Spy Museum hosted a great discussion with former FBI special agent Ali Soufan, author of two books about Al Qaeda: It covers the post-2001 debate around torture for interrogation, questions of accountability in the use and disclosure of classified intelligence, and includes some interesting remarks about cooperation with international intelligence agencies, as well […]

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Although al-Qaeda was unvanquished it was also unable to repeat its startling triumph. America was sinking ever more deeply into unpromising, fantastically expensive wars in the Muslim world—following the script that had been written by bin Laden. Repeatedly, he had outlined his goal of drawing America into such conflicts with the goal of bleeding the […]

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