Links – November 30, 2015

Three long reads for background on Syria: Charles Lister on the Syrian opposition. ECFR on diplomacy. Jessica Stern on what ISIS wants now.

Claimed flight paths and such of the Russian plane the Turks shot down.

Iran honors its military who die in Syria. Not hiding it.

How Khamenei will prevent reform in Iran.

Vladimir Putin’s gift to Ali Khamenei. Top photo from here.

Which Putin will we see next? Rational, logical, emotional?

How the Kremlin turns extremist attacks to its own advantage

The Kremlin’s reactions to these events highlight a key difference between the Western and Russian understanding of the role of the state. While Western nations largely consider the state to be in the service of the citizens that have established and nurtured it, the Russian understanding is the opposite. In Russia, the people are to serve the state, which exists to prevent the blossoming of chaos.

Peter Thiel has an op-ed promoting nuclear power in the New York Times. Here’s what is wrong with that. Nuclear power just can’t get its act together. Serious financial problems for reactor manufacturers. Distrust between DOE and the states.  Those problems, and more, need to be solved before nuclear can play a role in limiting and decreasing carbon dioxide emissions. We need nuclear as a part of the solution to global warming. We will need participation from many parts of the public in solving these problems.

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