The bottleneck in Rex Tillerson’s State Department. Tillerson is depending primarily on two aides who don’t have a lot of foreign policy experience, rather than the expertise in State’s various bureaus.
One of Donald Trump’s few consistencies has been his admiration of Vladimir Putin and his unwillingness to criticize Russia. Many of his other actions, like his refusal to explicitly support NATO’s Article 5, seem to be consistent with a Kremlin line.
The big question is why. From the information publicly available, this theme seems to have surfaced around the time of his trip to Russia in 1987. That was an interesting time for Russia, too. Read More
Watch what he does, not what he says: Trump’s words and budget for NATO.
Long read on phishing and faking emails. When emails are released, consider that some of them may be faked or modified.
What does Russia want? Basically, a sphere of control and for the West to come to its senses. Very much a case of two parties talking past each other.
The historic B-52 bomber no longer carries nuclear gravity bombs. Cruise missiles, yes. Photo from here. Read More
Russia has been violating the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, but the United States won’t say exactly what the violation is. The INF Treaty prohibits intermediate-range missiles with nuclear warheads. Back in the 1980s, both the US and Russia had such missiles aimed at each other in Europe. The problem with missiles like this is that there is no warning time whatsoever, and thus a heavy motive to strike the other party first. James Action suggests a strategy for getting the treaty back on track. Top photo from here: Soviet inspectors and their American escorts standing among dismantled Pershing II missiles in Colorado as other missile components are destroyed nearby under the INF Treaty, January 1989. Read More
There is a lot going on in the world beyond the United States. The problems that Donald Trump is inflicting on the country are severe, but we need to continue to be aware of the rest of the world. Read More
President Donald Trump’s bluster at North Korea has died down, but it could start up again at any time. Since North Korea’s nuclear weapons, or the threat of them, figure in the situation, we now need the best estimates possible.
Although Albright’s estimates are only slightly higher than mine, there are other considerations that I took into account implicitly. This post makes those considerations explicit. Read More
The US isn’t hacking North Korea’s missile launches. Rocket science is hard.
Take a 3D tour of North Korea’s nuclear test tunnels. Top photo is a screen grab from the tour.
Twitter thread by Ilan Goldenberg on how things might have gotten messed up with the carrier group.
A couple of weeks ago, the United Nations sponsored a discussion of a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. It’s a discussion that has been brewing for some time. Read More
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
How would North Korea develop its nuclear arsenal? The fact that they continue nuclear testing suggests that they started from a relatively primitive design that they are trying to improve. Read More