The first half of the 20th century saw war unlike any that had transpired before. Elements were the same: people still fought over ideas and land, and it was still infantry on foot and civilians that did most of the dying. But the weapons! Fantastical, horrific weapons, like the machine guns that turned trench warfare from protracted stalemate to meat grinder, and fighters and bombers that burned through the skies. Or the armored tanks, which lumbered into history in the Western Front and then defined history from 1939 to 1945, changing centuries of prior thinking on how best to seize victory. From the vantage point of the middle of the 20th century, the coming decades of war seemed almost certain to be a new bloody spectacle, powered by technological marvels.
ISIS is, by all appearances, fighting a losing war. The ultraviolent pseudo-state in Iraq and Syria stunned the world with a series of victories in 2014, but since then it's been rolled back by a coalition of forces from Kurdish fighters to American airstrikes to a regrouped Iraqi Security Forces, and is losing territory daily. Beset on all sides, the embattled extremists are turning to technology for salvation.
The L-15B prototype attack jet made its grand debut in a ceremony last week. Fanfare—including giant red banners and uniformed PLAAF officers—suggest the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and Hongdu Aviation Industry Group have high hopes for this multi-role light fighter.
China will be sending a multi-warship task force across the oceans for six months, setting a record for the longest Chinese naval deployment. While the PLAN has not engaged in combat for nearly 30 years since the 1988 South China Sea skirmishes with Vietnam, it has made it a priority to display its naval might and participate in exercises to build relationships with other navies. There's plenty of historical precedence for global voyages to peacefully display naval power, the most famous being Teddy Roosevelt's dispatch of the "Great White Fleet," a 16-battleship armada that made a global tour from 1907 to 1909.
So, the Pentagon used a massive bomb against caves in eastern Afghanistan that currently house ISIS fighters, and previously housed insurgents fighting against British rule in the 19th century and mujahadeen fighting against Soviet control in the 20th century. For centuries, the caves of Afghanistan have made it difficult for outsiders to control the country. But in the early 21st century, the United States considered developing a brand new weapon to nullify these ancient defenses. The “Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator” was an earthquake in a can, a nuclear bomb designed to seal the caves once and for all.