India was denied membership in the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, but made it into a similar group on missile technology. Here’s one Indian reaction with suggestions that, if taken up, are likely to be counterproductive. Increasing plutonium production is hardly a sign of serious commitment to nonproliferation. Read More
So the UK has voted, about 52 to 48%, to leave the European Union. The markets and pound sank on the news but rebounded a bit. Quite a few people are being quoted as saying that they just voted for Leave to send a message that they were unhappy with the government but figured that Remain would win. Some number of would-have-been Remain voters also said that they thought Remain would win. It’s hard to know how many of each there are and whether they would have been enough to switch the result. The media may well be seeking out such people to quote. But they point up a lesson for November in the United States: don’t play with your vote. Seriously consider the alternatives. Read More
Vladimir Putin gave a long speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum last week. Here’s a summary (photo from here). Some of what he said sounded like he would like to be friendlier with Europe and the United States, but he has said that sort of thing before. One of the problems developing for Putin is that he has said so many things and contradicted them with his actions that it is hard for people to believe what he says. Full transcript of the speech.
Broadening the areas of interest today for weekend reading.
Why young Americans are giving up on capitalism. It’s important to think about the different worlds that constitute our pasts. The world that millennials have grown up in was shaped by Ronald Reagan and the conservatives who cut taxes and government. Good job, guys!
The interesting thing that happened when Kansas cut taxes and California hiked them. The opposite of what those conservatives predicted. Read More
A combination of low gas prices and non-rising energy usage are shutting down older power reactors in the United States. Replacing nuclear with natural gas raises greenhouse emissions. Commentary from Dan Yurman and Will Davis. Photo of Clinton Power Station, one of those to be closed, from here. Read More
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
Russia complains that the United States broke a promise not to expand NATO to the east, made when the reunification of Germany was negotiated in 1990. Recent scholarship agrees that the United States promised at that time not to expand NATO, although the promise was not formalized. (Shorter podcast version here.) Read More