Links – June 1, 2018

Kim Jong Un doesn’t want American businesspeople running all over his country. He wants sanctions lifted. It’s always a bad idea not to understand what your negotiating partner wants. This article is from a few days ago, but it’s a good summary of Japan’s and China’s concerns.

Background on Kim Yong Chol, who delivered a letter from Kim Jong Un to Donald Trump. Kim Yong Chol is at center in the photo.

To nobody’s surprise, it looks like North Korea pulled everything that might have any technical use out of the Punggye-ri test site before they sealed the entrances to the tunnels. Photos of the destruction. Before and after overhead imagesSiegfried Hecker thinks it is a positive move.

Comprehensive historical database of North Korea’s nuclear program from Hecker and his co-workers at CISAC. From that history, Hecker predicts it will take 15 years to denuclearize North Korea. The Institute for Science and International Security thinks it will take much less time, but they forego verification for the first 18 months. This is odd, because they are among the most vocal proponents of unlimited inspections in Iran.

Will toughness on Iran help Trump with North Korea? Here are three reasons to doubt it.

New book: The Future of Nuclear Power in China, by Mark Hibbs.

Long Read: We are going to need truth and reconciliation commissions, or something like them, after Trump. Here is one way that might be done.

 

Links – January 5, 2018

Happy New Year! Twenty years ago today, I came back to work after the holiday to find a faxed invitation that began my Estonian adventure. Top photo: The marker for the Sillamäe tailings pond cleanup, 2011.

Demonstrations continue in Iran. Donald Trump is determined to tweet about them. As usual, his tweets are not helpful but rather inciting. Here’s an article by two people on opposite sides with respect to the nuclear agreement. Here are some good suggestions from (gasp!) a Republican. How to ensure that Iran never starts reprocessing. Read More

Links – December 17, 2017

I don’t usually link to big news stories, thinking you’ve probably already seen them, but if you haven’t read this Washington Post story about Donald Trump’s feelings about Russian interference in the 2016 election, you are missing something. The article is framed around Trump’s unwillingness to accept the idea that his win might have had any other factors than his great charisma. I can see why the authors and editors might have done this to preserve some unity in a very complex story, but it is hard to believe that Trump’s ego is the only factor in play.

The secret history of the Russian consulate in San Francisco. Top photo of the roof of the consulate, with its multiple antennas. Read More

Links – December 11, 2017

How a war with North Korea might play out. The price of war with North Korea. Excellent long-read backgrounder from Jeffrey Lewis on the history and strategy of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program (photo from here). More background, and denial by US of facts on the ground. The reentry vehicle on the North Korean ICBM.

According to this, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that North Korea is ready to talk. That’s from Friday. I haven’t seen any followup.

Bad Idea: Resuming Nuclear Testing.

The looming end of the INF Treaty.

Eerik-Niiles Kross: Estonia’s James Bond.

Comparing China’s situation to the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe in 1991.

 

 

 

 

Links – August 21, 2017

Russian propaganda is an issue in the questions about the 2016 election. Sputnik News is an organ of the Russian government. If you’ve been thinking that it just provides another viewpoint, read this.

20 Questions That Should Be Answered by the Russia Investigations

Nice summary of what Trump’s threats against North Korea have done.

Backgrounder on Guam. Map of Guam at top from University of Texas Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection. Read More

Links – February 6, 2017

It’s hard to know how to deal with every day’s tsunami of Trump news. On the one hand, much of it affects US foreign relations and some the nuclear part of that. On the other, the administration lies and backtracks so much that it’s tempting to blow off much of it. The sheer volume of leaks, much of it on gossipy trivia, is tempting as a focus. The leaks themselves, as well as much of their content, indicate that White House operations are chaotic, and the bureaucracy is mostly resisting the crazier demands. Steve Bannon is much too influential, and President Trump isn’t reading what he signs.

There are hundreds of articles that I might link by the standards I’ve used in the past. But I don’t have that kind of time, and neither do you. It’s not a bad idea to check the New York Times or the Washington Post daily; both are doing a good job of covering the chaos. (Yes, I would complain about their campaign coverage too, but there are too many other things to do now.) I’ll try to present articles that help with thinking out how to deal with a presidency gone wrong, and foreign policy news that may be getting lost in the furor. Maybe some fun, too.  Read More

Links – January 31, 2017

Donald Trump’s government is taking up all the oxygen in the news. In a way, rightly so. But we have to keep ourselves sane and focus on the issues we can do something about. So I am continuing to look at the Russian connections. I’ll post when I have something ready. In the meanwhile, with an apology for too much Trump, here are some links.

One more fact: My yarn store had some more-or-less pink yarn that will go into some people’s pussyhats. It was all they had, and they said that the distributor didn’t know when they’d have more pink. Good job, ladies! 👍 Read More

Links – January 25, 2017

Donald Trump likes and dislikes nuclear weapons, according to what he has said, as slippery as anything else he says. Here are excerpts from testimony to Congress by his Secretaries of State and Defense on the subject. Their views are fairly conventional. We don’t know how much they will influence him.

Why Trump’s bluffing won’t be effective on nuclear weapons issues. What the Trump administration needs to do to get up to speed on those issues. Read More