Links – December 26, 2016

Why the State Department is worried about Donald Trump and his tweets.   Could Trump’s tweets spark a nuclear arms race? The President (or President-elect) of the United States can’t just say anything, it turns out.

Max Fisher quoted one of my tweets in his discussion of Trump’s nuclear tweet.

Jerusalem’s status is another situation where Trump’s real-estate negotiating techniques aren’t going to work.

Trump’s transition team has asked for the names of people working on climate change in the Department of Energy, women’s issues in the Department of State, and countering violent extremism in the Department of Homeland Security. So far those requests, looking very much like witch hunts, have been turned down. But once in office, Trump will have more leverage.  Read More

Links – December 22, 2016

Donald Trump tweeted today that the United States needs more nuclear weapons. So that has occupied a certain amount of mental space. I did a tweet stream. Here are the New York Times news and a Max Fisher explainer, NBC News, and Yahoo News. Particularly good from Jeffrey Lewis. We are in for uncertainty and instability if Trump continues his tweets.

Ronald Reagan’s first full briefing on nuclear war, declassified from 1982.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell tells climate researchers to fight disinformation. Scientists at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco demonstrate.

We wrote about this guy and his death ray a while back.

Good explainer about Vladimir Putin’s reunification of the Russian security services.

Russia is no longer in the top five defense spenders.

This week is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the official dissolution of the Soviet Union. A reporter who grew up during that time reminisces. Photo from here.

Communications with North Korea are a good thing.

 

Links – December 9, 2016

Donald Trump continues to insist that hacking before the election could not have been by Russia. Germany, with an election in the near future, is seeing a similar pattern of hacking. Republicans in Congress are asking for an investigation. Republicans!

This is a good explanation of what the problem may be with Mike Flynn, Trump’s designated National Security Advisor. But the National Security Advisor is supposed to help in distinguishing bad information from good. Read More

Links – November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro, who ruled through eleven American presidencies, is dead. The Miami Herald has the definitive (long) obituary. I think it’s a fair assessment; I recall Castro depicted in the United States as a freedom fighter against the landed overlords, and then his turn to Communism and the Soviet Union. As the obit says, we’ll never know if he was a communist all along. All that is vivid to me because my high school hosted a talk on Castro’s 1956 victory, one of my first understandings of international events.  Read More

Links – November 17, 2016

I’m posting more news and commentary about Donald Trump’s transition team and move toward the presidency. It appears that competence and even ideology have little to do with his choice of advisors; loyalty to him is all. But he has said that he likes to keep people guessing. He chortled in a tweet that only he knows who the “finalists” will be. Government as a game show.

Also some nuclear stuff. Read More

Links – November 2, 2016

Problems for the next president: North Korea. Assad’s phony farewell to chemical arms. Interview with Assad; hard to tell if he is self-deceived or trying to sell his line.

Attention Donald Trump: Strategic reasons for publicizing military offensives.

Estonia trains citizens for insurgency operations in case Russia decides to invade. The tactics recall those of the Forest Brothers who resisted both the Nazis and the Soviets. Photo from this article; I love seeing Estonia’s forests and countryside, hate seeing the idea of war there. Read More

Thucydides Roundtable, Book I: It Would Be A Great War

Mark Safranski is hosting a roundtable on Thucydides at Zenpundit. Here is my first contribution. Many others are showing up. 

My approach to Thucydides, or any other old book, is almost diametrically opposite to Tanner Greer’s. It is indeed fascinating to contemplate how people thought in another time, the differences from today’s thinking, to put oneself in the mind of another. I try to do all those things from time to time, but my emphasis is often different. Read More

Links – October 17, 2016

Pakistan and India are glaring and occasionally shooting at each other again. Since both have nuclear weapons and no warning time at all to decide what it is the other has in that missile, this is a particularly dangerous situation. Here’s a good idea: Russia and China, which have good relations with the two, should press for a peaceful accommodation and better ways for India and Pakistan to relate to each other. Vladimir Putin seems to want to be seen as a peacemaker. He’s blown that in Syria. India and Pakistan present a real opportunity. Read More

Links – October 14, 2016

This election campaign is utterly exhausting. It’s the drama that always accompanies a toxic personality. We try to keep Nuclear Diner relatively nonpolitical, but Donald Trump would do untold damage to the country – has done some damage already. Former ICBM launch officers say that Trump is not a person who can be trusted with the nuclear codes.

And here’s Michelle Obama’s response on how women should be treated. Short version: like respected people. But the video is very worth watching to see the emotion that many of us have been feeling. Read More