I’m quoted in articles in The Verge and the Daily Beast (also Bellingcat) on chemical weapons in Syria. Rachel Becker discusses the long-term effects of chemical weapons. Adam Rawnsley debunks Russian disinformation.
Three similar op-eds about the unified expulsions of Russian diplomats, from Kadri Liik, Shashank Joshi, and Mark Galeotti. Bottom line: In the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Vladimir Putin has supplied the last straw so that other world leaders will not tolerate his attempts at deniability, which are no longer plausible.
One of the reasons that this broad rebuke has a good chance to influence Russia is that Putin would like to rebrand Russia as a great power, but he’s having difficulty doing so. Read More
When thinking about John Bolton as National Security Advisor, we should keep in mind that there is no reason for war between the US and North Korea or Iran. Iran has adhered to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the other six signatories are satisfied with the situation. It is testing missiles and is engaged in the war in Syria, which are a concern but not subjects of the JCPOA. North Korea has the capability to build thermonuclear warheads and mount them on missiles, but the numbers are few, and its leaders seem willing to talk.
The cause for talk of war is President Donald Trump’s belligerence. Without that, there are ways forward that do not involve war. Unfortunately, John Bolton has never met a war he didn’t like. Read More
Russia cancels talks with US. This just after Vladimir Putin displays his, um, nukes. Twelve-year-old boys are in charge of at least three nations’ nuclear arsenals.
Reactions to Putin’s “state of the nation” speech. More about the weapons mentioned in that speech. Yet more from Jeffrey Lewis. I take Putin’s claims with a grain of salt. Russia has claimed weapons that never went into production. I suspect significant exaggeration in his claims of testing. But we have to keep open the possibility that the weapons are real, if not yet ready for use. Read More
U.S. tests nuclear power system to sustain astronauts on Mars. Top photo of the Kilopower system from this article.
Donald Trump has a pattern: take something that is working well – DACA, S-CHIP, JCPOA (the Iran nuclear agreement) – break it just a little, then “negotiate.”
So much of the current crisis atmosphere is due to his love of chaos and his mistaking a protection racket for negotiating.
He broke DACA and set up a six-month timetable for Congress to do something about it. The Republicans in Congress refused to reauthorize S-CHIP.
One of the concessions to the Republicans in Congress in the JCPOA was that the president would have to certify that Iran was in compliance every three months. Trump has used that to call into question the United States participation in the deal. Meanwhile, opponents of the deal are explicitly using Trump’s position as a protection racket to get the Europeans to take steps that would damage the deal. Read More
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
On Donald Trump and Russia: One of the better timelines I’ve seen derived from the Manafort/Gates indictments and the Papadopoulos plea. Profiles of people you will be hearing more about:
More than 90 American nuclear scientists say that we need to keep the Iran nuclear deal in place. An Iranian analyst says that Donald Trump requested a meeting with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations meeting in September, but Rouhani turned him down. This has not been confirmed, but it’s something to watch for. Update (11/1/17): Confirmed by the State Department. Regime change probably wouldn’t end Iran’s nuclear program. Read More
I know that some of this may be repetitious. but it has to be said again and again, because the opponents of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, Iran deal) continue to misrepresent it. About those “sunset clauses.” At least one opponent of the Iran deal has said he wants regime change. Read More
With President Donald Trump’s loud declaration of disdain for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal arrived at with Iran by six nations plus the European Union, the opponents of the deal are newly energized. They have resurrected all their old arguments, plus a few more.
Although the agreement severely limits the amounts of materials needed to make a bomb and places heavy inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the facilities that Iran used to taunt the international community with its nuclear know-how, the opponents of the deal insist that it will be no time at all before Iran surprises us with a bomb. They make this argument without bothering to specify how that might happen. Read More