President Barack Obama’s statements and decisions around responses to Bashar al-Assad’s use of Sarin against Syrian opposition provide a test case for three issues: Intervening in conflicts that have only indirectly to do with US interests, assumptions about the use of force that have gendered aspects, and how a president communicates. If we are to end our forever wars and avoid stumbling into more, we need to understand these issues.
Al Jazeera’s timeline of the Korean Summit. Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in shaking hands across the border.
Trump needs to pare back his goals for his meeting with Kim Jong Un. Suspicious factory underscores challenge of verifying North Korea’s nuclear promises. Nothing that Trump has said indicates that he has any concept of verification. What to do if the talks with North Korea succeed: Develop a program like the Nunn-Lugar program for Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Since Siegfried Hecker was instrumental in the program with Russia, I’ve always thought that North Korea’s invitation to him to visit in 2004 was an attempt at building such a program. From 2017, on how to deter North Korea. Read More
I’m quoted in articles in
The Verge and the Daily Beast (also Bellingcat) on chemical weapons in Syria. Rachel Becker discusses the long-term effects of chemical weapons. Adam Rawnsley debunks Russian disinformation.
Factbox: Chemical weapons inspectors – how do they work? 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.
Long article on Ivan Ilyin, whom Putin likes to quote.
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.
Very cool schematic of the SCL Group, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica. An August 2016 article about SCL and CA. And an article from December 2015.
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.
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.
Heather Cox Richardson on creeping authoritarianism.
Five Questions the Nunes Memo Better Answer. What is at stake – the grand bargain with the intelligence community. And why aren’t we hearing more from the intelligence community?
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.
I drove up to Yellowstone last week and stayed at the Old Faithful Lodge. It was a great trip. Photo above.
Happy Independence Day!
Here’s an excellent essay from a historian I respect. It puts today’s troubles in a longer perspective of American history. Read More