Links – August 6, 2016

Donald Trump news continues to take all the oxygen. But there’s other stuff included below the fold.

It’s the anniversary of dropping the first atom bomb used in war on Hiroshima, Japan.

Followup to last week’s collection on Trump and Russia. Another account of how Trump people changed the GOP platform on Ukraine has surfaced, and it appears that someone is lying.

The foreign policy community does not think well of Trump. Two more bipartisan letters saying he should not be president: fromĀ former cabinet officers, senior officials and career military officers and from a wider group, largely think-tankers and academics. I signed the second one.

Pretty good article on Carter Page, the advisor to Trump who seems to have the closest Russia connections. Media attention has largely focused on Paul Manafort and his connections to former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich. Not much in this article or anywhere else goes beyond what I collected a week and more ago. Would be nice if reporters actually, um, reported, rather than simply rearranging what is available in other news stories. And we need to keep insisting on Trump’s tax returns.

Can Trump be replaced as the Republican candidate for president? Spoiler: not really.


Derek Chollet, who was involved in US Syria policy, on the disarming of Syria’s chemical weapons. It has seemed to me from the beginning that this was a brilliant stroke of foreign policy. The people complaining about the “red line” want foreign policy in the image of a bar fight. That’s not how it’s done. Removing those weapons without having to use military force was a major triumph. As terrible as the war in Syria is now, it would be far worse if Assad still had stockpiles of chemical weapons. And I still suspect that there was some collaboration in the planning of Kerry’s comment and Lavrov’s response, but I guess we won’t know for twenty years or so, until all the papers are declassified.

There have recently been allegations that Assad held back some of his chemical agents. Knowledgeable analysts are not surprised at this. The OPCW is investigating. If the amounts were large, we would see Assad using them. He has used chlorine, which is necessary for water purification, but not the nerve agents that were the subject of the removal operations.

Long read: Understanding Iran’s Role in the Syrian Conflict. I haven’t read this yet.

Defeating ISIS through civil resistance. Some good ideas here.

A collection of articles on US nuclear weapons at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, including one of mine.

Market failure and nuclear power. Nuclear power plants that could operate for decades are being closed down – and will probably never be restarted – because the price of natural gas is low. The low-carbon-emission energy they provide is being replaced with carbon-dioxide-producing combustion. If we are serious about global warming, we need to do something about this. The article makes some suggestions. I don’t know why its headline has quote marks. It is a genuine market failure. Maybe in these days, we have to pretend that markets cannot fail.

As Greenland’s glaciers melt under global warming, waste from Camp Century, a US military base from 1959 to 1967, will be released. Most of that waste is diesel fuel and polychlorinated biphenyls. The estimated time until melting will reach the wastes is seventy-five years. I have seen sensationalized accounts that make it sound like the wastes are being released now. One more reason to keep those reactors going. (Top photo from here: Thermal coring drill rig at Camp Century)

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