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Demand for U.S. arms exports set to keep growing, official says

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International demand for U.S. weapons systems is expected to continue growing in coming years, a senior U.S. Air Force official said on Sunday, citing strong interest in unmanned systems, munitions and fighter jets.

“The appetite just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” U.S. Air Force Deputy Undersecretary Heidi Grant told Reuters in an interview on the eve of the Farnborough International Airshow.

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U.S. arms sales approved by the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency rose 36 percent to $46.6 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2015, and are likely to remain strong this year, Grant said.

Grant, the Air Force’s top international arms sales official, said she was working with many countries in eastern Europe and others that wanted to increase their defenses following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine, but faced tough budget constraints.

Pooling resources was one option being explored, she said, noting that many European countries already pooled and shared their transport assets in the European Air Transport Command.

Transport has been a big concern for European countries given delays in deliveries of the Airbus Group SE A400M military transport plane caused by a series of technical challenges on the multi-national development program.

France recently purchased four Lockheed Martin Corp C-130J transport planes to help bridge the gap, particularly given its military operations in Africa. Germany is also considering buying C-130J planes to cover additional needs that government sources say would not be addressed by the A400M.

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Grant said there were early discussions about the U.S. military joining the European transport pool to help Europe meet its transportation and logistics needs.

The U.S. Air Force was also exploring the possibility of adding some C-130J aircraft to the Strategic Airlift Capability, a consortium of 12 nations that operates three Boeing Co C-17 transport planes from Papa Air Base in Hungary, she said.

“We’re looking at all kind of different options,” Grant said. “We’re just looking for creative solutions to get at this gap in a resource-constrained environment.”

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No decisions had been made and there were still important questions to resolve, including who would bear the cost of expanding the current efforts, she said.

Grant said newly confirmed Air Force Chief of Staff David Goldfein had carried out 14 bilateral meetings with officials from other countries and six industry partners during his visit to the Royal International Air Tattoo, the world’s largest military air show, in England this past week.

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Goldfein’s top priority, she said, was to increase the ability of the U.S. military to cooperate and work together with allies and coalition partners, and he had talked with industry about how best to incentivize that kind of approach.

(Editing by Paul Simao)


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Donald Trumps needs a coronavirus scapegoat — and right now it’s China

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"If we are at war, who is the enemy?" asks Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor for The Washington Post in a smart piece that examines the question of who constitutes a target for a self-declared "wartime president."

While it is obvious that the enemy, in this case, is a tiny, sticky, invisible microbe that stubbornly gloms onto surfaces or leaps through the air to weaponize subway cars or shared gym equipment or a touch to the face.

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Trump says Putin to ‘probably ask’ for sanctions lifting

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President Donald Trump said Monday he expects his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to request the lifting of US sanctions during an upcoming phone call.

"Yeah, he'll probably ask for that," Trump told Fox News.

Trump did not say what his response would be, noting that he had put sanctions on Russia but adding: "They don't like that. Frankly we should be able to get along."

The two were due to talk "shortly," he said.

Last Thursday, Putin told G20 leaders during a conference call that he wanted a moratorium on sanctions as a "matter of life and death" during the global coronavirus outbreak.

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Arguing with the coronavirus deniers in your life can backfire — here’s how to make them see the light

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For those of us diligently practicing social distancing, it can be infuriatingly frustrating to encounter friends and loved ones who refuse to. There’s a strong temptation to lash out at them as selfish fools whose irresponsibility endangers us all. But doing so will backfire because, when people feel attacked, they get defensive and entrench in their position. Like it or not (not!), this is human nature.

Your civic duty, in addition to social distancing, is to talk to Covid-deniers in a way that has some chance of getting through to them. Here are some do’s and don’ts from the world of cross-partisan dialogue best practices that apply to the Covid-19 pandemic:

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