What We're Watching: American missile defense, Chilean impeachment scandal
The US ups its missile defense game. Israel has used for years a precise missile defense system — known as the Iron Dome — as a bulwark against short-range rocket attacks from terror groups. In recent weeks, the US has been using the same technology — jointly developed by Israeli and American defense contractors — in the US Pacific territory of Guam to test its own defense capabilities against Chinese weapons, according to the Wall Street Journal. This comes after Beijing, as part of a military drill, recently sent sophisticated hypersonic missiles into space that could reach Guam, about 1,800 miles from mainland China. The Pentagon is not messing around in anticipating potential threats from Beijing right now as bilateral tensions continue to rise. However, the DOD says this tech isn't a long-term fix because Iron Dome isn't meant to be used to thwart cruise missiles, which are capable of transporting a nuclear warhead long distances. Meanwhile, the US military has requested more than $200 million to develop a new missile defense system for Guam, but Congress has yet to deliver.
Chilean impeachment. Chile's outgoing President Sebastián Piñera was impeached on Tuesday by the lower house of parliament, with 78 out of 155 votes in favor, the minimum needed to approve the measure. The reason? He was one of 14 current world leaders named in the so-called Pandora Papers, which recently exposed global tax-dodging among the world's most powerful. According to the report, one of Piñera's sons used an offshore company to avoid paying taxes on the 2011 sale of a mining project co-owned by the family. What's more, the buyer demanded that the Chilean government — headed at the time by Piñera — not classify the area as a nature reserve in order to keep it open for mining. (The president, one of Chile's richest men, has denied any wrongdoing.) Piñera will likely survive impeachment because his allies have a majority in the Senate. Still, he'll leave office with a 79 percent disapproval rating, and the impeachment probe will probably hurt his center-right party ahead of presidential elections on November 21. Right now the frontrunner is far-right Pinochet enthusiast José Antonio Kast, widely expected to win the first round but then lose the runoff in December to far-left former student leader Gabriel Boric.