Former NATO Chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on the Threat of ISIS
The former Secretary General of NATO explains how the alliance approaches terrorist threats and how the future fight against the so-called Islamic State will look.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen was the 12th Secretary General of NATO from 2009 to 2014. He also served as Prime Minister of Denmark from 2001 to 2009. Upon the culmination of his NATO term, Rasmussen founded the organization Rasmussen Global to provide support on issues regarding security policy, transatlantic relations, the European Union, and Economic development.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen: When it comes to the terrorist threat first and foremost it is a national responsibility to take steps to prevent terrorist attacks against populations. However, within NATO we can strengthen the exchange of information and intelligence. One issue of particular importance right now is the threat stemming from what we call foreign fighters. National citizens who travel to Syria or Iraq and maybe join the so called Islamic State and then afterwards return to our countries and they constitute a continuous terrorist threat. And NATO member states have taken steps to reinforce measures against that threat.
First and foremost let me express that we are faced with a terrorist organization that has carried out horrific acts. It calls itself the Islamic State but it’s neither Islamic nor a state. It is a pure terrorist organization and I consider it an obligation for the whole of the international community to fight that terrible terrorist organization. As far as NATO is concerned there hasn’t been any request for a NATO involvement in the fight against the Islamic State but individual NATO member states have been asked to assist the Iraqi government and I appreciate very much that the United States has taken the lead of an international coalition to fight ISIL. I think determined military action is needed. I also have to say in full honesty that air operations alone won’t do the work. We will need ground troops.
The question is only which ground troops and I think countries in the region should engage in that respect. As far as NATO is concerned we have decided at the recent NATO summit that NATO stands ready to assist the Iraqi government in building a better defense capability if they so request. Until 2011 NATO had actually a training mission in Iraq and personally I think it would be a good idea to resume that training mission to increase the capability of the Iraqi security forces. But obviously the requirement would be an Iraqi request.
Directed/Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton
Anders Fogh Rasmussen served as Secretary General of NATO from 2009 to 2014. In this Big Think interview, Rasmussen explains how NATO evaluates terrorist threats and what the future fight against the so-called Islamic State will look like.
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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