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?
The Women’s Marches on January 21 were the largest protests ever in the United States. Photo of the march in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Apologies for not posting my own writing for so long. I am working on posts, but so much news is coming out that it is hard to keep track. Here’s what others have been writing. Oh, and a movie recommendation: go see “Hidden Figures.” It is extremely accurate about what women of color faced in science in the early 1960s, much of which all women faced. I experienced a number of the situations depicted. And the clothes and other props are very well done. Read More
This story goes back to 2007, when Israel bombed a nuclear reactor under construction in Syria. It’s a detailed account from Michael Hayden, who was director of the CIA at the time. The uncertainties and the complexity of the story are normal for international affairs, and thus the story is a good example of the kind of thing President Donald Trump will face. Short version: Syria builds a nuclear reactor to produce bomb material. Israel wants America to destroy it. America refuses, Israel bombs the site. The world learns it was a reactor. But the whole thing is worth reading. Photo: The reactor before it was bombed. Read More