Links – March 28, 2017

Protests across Russia and Belarus over the weekend. The main target is corruption. Here’s a backgrounder about the situation in Belarus.  Alexei Navalny, a leader of the opposition in Russia, sparked protests there with a video about Dmitry Medvedev’s corruption (English subtitles). Why the protests focused on Medvedev. They are a problem for Putin too. The discontent is likely to affect Russia’s next election. Photo: A demonstration in Belarus. Read More

Rex Tillerson Meets North Korea

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

Links – November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro, who ruled through eleven American presidencies, is dead. The Miami Herald has the definitive (long) obituary. I think it’s a fair assessment; I recall Castro depicted in the United States as a freedom fighter against the landed overlords, and then his turn to Communism and the Soviet Union. As the obit says, we’ll never know if he was a communist all along. All that is vivid to me because my high school hosted a talk on Castro’s 1956 victory, one of my first understandings of international events.  Read More

Links – September 13, 2016

Photo: February North Korean missile launch (BBC)

From April: South Korea considers its nuclear options. From last week: South Korea says it will flatten Pyongyang if North Korea moves toward using nukes. The point of threatening Pyongyang is to threaten Kim Jong Un directly. The downside is that it could motivate North Korea toward building a doomsday machine. The reality is that any war on the Korean Peninsula would be extremely damaging to both sides. Read More

Links – May 26, 2016

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