This has additional salience now that we know that special counsel Robert Mueller is indeed investigating Donald Trump. If Trump fires Mueller (or orders his firing). Julia Ioffe summarizes what we know about Jeff Sessions’s meetings with Sergey Kislyak and what we don’t know.
Lots of news about Rex Tillerson’s visit to Asia. That’s partly because people are trying to understand what kind of Secretary of State he will be and partly because North Korea has been ramping up its missile tests and may have a nuclear weapon that will fit on some of those missiles. Read More
Trump’s close advisor, Stephen Bannon, is the former editor of the far-right website Breitbart. Here’s a guide to what he said at CPAC in that website’s jargon. Subcommunities on the internet develop their own languages.
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.
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.
The financial consequences of lifting sanctions on Iran are turning out to be less than Iran wanted. The problems lie in Iran’s corruption and broken banking system. If Iran can recognize its own problems, this will bring Iran more into compliance with world standards. This is what proponents of the nuclear deal meant when we said that the deal would help to bring Iran back to being a normal country. Nobody said it would happen quickly. Read More
Demonstrations have been taking place across Kazakhstan. The government has been becoming more repressive; President Nursultan Nazarbaev has been in office since before the Soviet Union collapsed. The society is closed enough that it’s hard to know exactly what is going on. From Eurasianet and RFE/RL. Photo from BBC, where there is more discussion. Read More
The genre “what President Obama should say in Hiroshima” grows every day. Each op-ed lists what the author believes is important about nuclear weapons. Their sameness is depressing. End nuclear weapons. A very good idea, but hard, perhaps impossible, to execute. Read More
My op-ed in Physics Today on the use of fear in discussions of nuclear terrorism. It appears that a number of other people are seeing that hyping the fear factor isn’t the best way to discuss these issues: Elisabeth Eaves in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Al Mauroni in War on the Rocks, and a group educating journalists on nuclear matters. Also some good sense on how to protect nuclear plants from terrorists. Photo from the Physics Today article. Read More
Russia’s economy depends on oil, and the oil price has plummeted over the past year. Then there are the sanctions that Europe and the United States have laid on Russia, and Russia’s countersanctions. Even the military is seeing cuts, although Vladimir Putin seems determined to forge ahead. Here are some graphs from the New York Times on the Russian economy. Sam Greene explains why those charts are not the last word. How Russians are coping. (Image from RTE News) Read More
Alexei Arbatov considers the possibilities of nuclear war between Russia and the United States. It sounds like Putin’s “strike first” comment made Arbatov wonder if Putin intended that for nuclear war. He decides not, but, I think, not entirely convincingly. This is one of the issues the United States and Russia need to talk about. Read More