The bottleneck in Rex Tillerson’s State Department. Tillerson is depending primarily on two aides who don’t have a lot of foreign policy experience, rather than the expertise in State’s various bureaus.
Watch what he does, not what he says: Trump’s words and budget for NATO.
Long read on phishing and faking emails. When emails are released, consider that some of them may be faked or modified.
What does Russia want? Basically, a sphere of control and for the West to come to its senses. Very much a case of two parties talking past each other.
The historic B-52 bomber no longer carries nuclear gravity bombs. Cruise missiles, yes. Photo from here. Read More
After the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, the directors of the nuclear weapons laboratories on both sides quickly got together to work on securing nuclear weapons and the materials they are made from. They were supported by their governments. NATO helped. The cooperation was a marvelous thing to see and to experience. I had a small part in dealing with leftover Soviet nuclear problems.
In 1998, I traveled to Estonia to help deal with a former Soviet uranium-processing plant. I’ve written up my experience. Siegfried Hecker, the director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and a primary mover in the lab-to-lab cooperation, has collected the experiences of many participants in a two-volume set, Doomed to Cooperate. He has also set up a website for more information, which is where my story appears.
Check it out. The top photos are mine, of one part of the site in 1998 and in 2011.
Cross-posted to Balloon Juice.
China’s trade with North Korea in overhead photos. Photo from here: 30 days of activity as of April 26. Read More
If Assad has been hiding chemical weapons, we need to know. By the chief inspector for the 2014 removal of chemical weapons from Syria. Unfortunately, Russia is protecting Assad and is unlikely to agree. And yes, it’s likely Assad has been hiding nerve agents. Photo from that link. What can forensics tell us about the attacks? Read More
Protests across Russia and Belarus over the weekend. The main target is corruption. Here’s a backgrounder about the situation in Belarus. Alexei Navalny, a leader of the opposition in Russia, sparked protests there with a video about Dmitry Medvedev’s corruption (English subtitles). Why the protests focused on Medvedev. They are a problem for Putin too. The discontent is likely to affect Russia’s next election. Photo: A demonstration in Belarus. Read More
Banning nuclear testing: lessons from the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site. This is a good short history of the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site. Top photo by me: Lake Balapan, excavated by a nuclear device. It is almost exactly the same size as Sedan Crater at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site, which was excavated similarly. Read More
Jeffrey Lewis thinks that North Korea is preparing for nuclear war. The most recent test looks more like practice for war than testing missiles. Lewis and his group at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute at Monterey have been watching North Korea carefully and analyzing its photos of missiles and what it claims is a nuclear weapon. (photo of the latest launches from that article) More, with helpful diagrams.
Quite an article on US cyber attacks on North Korean missile tests. A backgrounder on how David Sanger and Bill Broad got the story. Something like this is a lot of work. And dealing with it is even more work: Why the Trump administration isn’t ready. The difficult decisions and diplomacy ahead. Photo: CreditKorean Central News Agency, via Reuters Read More
Lessons from Reykjavik for Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Even though the meeting failed to produce agreement on a treaty, it was the basis for later progress.
The state of Trump’s State Department. Where is Rex Tillerson? Does Trump think he can “make deals” just by sitting down with foreign leaders?