Thinking out the North Korean standoff. From Robert Jervis and Mira Rapp-Hooper. A somewhat similar commentary from Jeffrey Lewis. South Korea’s recommendations for negotiations with North Korea. Bolton’s illegal war plan for North Korea. Verifying North Korea’s nuclear disarmament if we get that far.
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
How Trump has split with his administration on Russian meddling. And now he’s congratulated Vladimir Putin on his electoral “win,” against the advice of his national security staff. Apparently now he is planning to meet Putin, but it’s always hard to know for sure.
The secret Russian military labs that deal with nerve agents. I am seeing a number of contradictory articles with interviews of former Soviet scientists said to have worked on the Novichok agents. The articles contradict each other to some degree. I won’t post them until I can figure out more about which (if any) to believe. Frequently asked questions about the Salisbury poisoning. An article from an expert I feel is reliable.
Nice takedown of a fear-mongering New York Times article on hacking and the power grid. I think part of the reason for clickbait articles like that is that too many reporters turn off their brains when confronted with anything that looks like it might involve math.
Why not start the North Korean talks by dealing with nuclear safety? Jon Wolfsthal suggests that planning for negotiations develop some goals and expectations. This would be an obvious thing that did not need to be said in an alternate universe. The dirty secret of nuclear arms in Korea in the early 1960s. There were over half as many nuclear weapons in South Korea as the US has deployed overall today.
The Security and Exchange Commission has charged Elizabeth Holmes with massive fraud in Theranos Corporation. Here are her seven biggest lies.
It looks like Israel is trumpeting its 2007 bombing of a nuclear reactor site in Syria to encourage those who would like to believe that the many hardened sites in Iran and North Korea, locations unknown, could be as easily taken out. That’s not true, but look for this to be used as an example by people like John Bolton and Mark Dubowitz. Top photo is of the reactor building before the bombing and after the bombing and site clearing of the debris.
The October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. This week is the 15th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war. This NIE was part of its justification.
No, Scott Kelly’s year in space didn’t mutate his DNA. There is a lot of VERY bad reporting on this. Top photo from here – Mark Kelly on the left, and Scott on the right.
A good proposal for how Britain might respond to the Salisbury nerve agent attack. Another possibility: Take Putin to the International Criminal Court. Some basic information about nerve agents. Legal basis for options. Decoding the Prime Minister’s speech. Background on Sergei Skripal.
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
The indictment of 13 Russian citizens and three Russian organizations. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s statement about the indictment. Rosenstein’s letter appointing Robert Mueller Special Counsel.
The world after Trump: How the system can endure. We need to be thinking of how we will mend our institutions after the damage Trump and his people are doing. This is not all bad. Our systems are resilient, and there will be opportunities to improve on what we had before. The United States and Europe. Read More
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would like eventually to enrich uranium. They also want to buy nuclear reactors. How should the agreements around those reactors be structured?
How America Could Accidentally Push Russia into a Nuclear War. The Nuclear Posture Review gets Russia wrong.
The education of Kim Jong-Un. Long read on North Korea’s leader, with bonus on how to think about intelligence analysis.
Here’s what war with North Korea would look like. A full-blown war with North Korea wouldn’t be as bad as you think. It would be much, much worse. Long read.
Beautiful jellyfish and radiolarians. (Top graphic from here.)
Cool dinosaur and mammal tracks at NASA. Top photo from here.
The first thing Congress needs to do, when it can get away from the fever dreams of the worst of its members, is to reconstruct the process for passing a budget before the end of the fiscal year.
Americans Are Rising to This Historic Moment. I’m not as convinced as Eliot Cohen, but I think there are positive signs.
Is the Trump foreign policy great-power competition or America First? It depends on whom you ask.
Zeynep Tukfeci on the latest data privacy debacle. It’s not enough to ask individuals for their permission.
Leaks, feasts and sex parties: How ‘Fat Leonard’ infiltrated the Navy’s floating headquarters in Asia. There are simple ways to avoid this kind of corruption. We need to know why the Navy didn’t apply them.
Victor Cha: Giving North Korea a ‘bloody nose’ carries a huge risk to Americans. Cha was to be US ambassador to South Korea, but apparently the ideas expressed in this op-ed were felt to be disqualifying.
This is definitive, if you have friends who are still pushing the Sy Hersh narrative about nerve agents in Syria. It was the Syrian government who were responsible for the sarin attacks.
U.S. tests nuclear power system to sustain astronauts on Mars. Top photo of the Kilopower system from this article.