An interview with Donald Tusk, the Polish president of the European Council. Quite a contrast to what is going on inside Poland right now. A real statesman at a difficult time for Europe. Photo: European Council President Donald Tusk (right) leaving the Elysee Palace following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande (left), Paris, November 23, 2015. Read More
Everything you need to know about gravitational waves. Supposedly a bit announcement coming on Thursday. Graphic from here: gravity waves from two black holes orbiting around each other. Read More
Today will probably be Implementation Day in the Iran nuclear agreement. Jim White has pulled the relevant sections from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Agreement. There will be many news stories. The short version is that Iran has, much more quickly than I expected, disassembled its easy pathways to a bomb and opened up for intensive IAEA inspections in return for lifting of a great many sanctions. This will depress the price of oil, as Iranian oil comes on the markets.
Update (10:30 am, MST): Iran has released 4 American prisoners, in exchange for the release of 7 Iranian prisoners in the US. Below the fold: Relevant documents and news reports on Implementation Day, which came in just under the wire, Vienna time.
Let’s resolve to stop assuming the worst of each other in 2016. Will McCants is talking about Muslims and others, but that’s a good admonition for all sorts of relationships.
Something that critics of the Iran nuclear agreement and this week’s report on Iran’s nuclear weapons work leave out is all the sources of intelligence beyond the IAEA. This week’s IAEA report agrees pretty closely with the 2007 US intelligence estimate. Here’s a good summary of takeaways. And, David Sanger, “fuel compression test”? Really? I always thought that referred to gasoline properties… Read More
A Turkish F-16 shot down a Russian SU-24 bomber. Rumors and videos are circulating. It’s not clear whether the pilots are alive or not. Vladimir Putin made a statement linking Turkey with ISIS and claiming a “stab in the back.” A number of videos circulating on social media are from earlier incidents. This story is developing. The New York Times and Washington Post are probably the most reliable sources for summaries for the next day or so. And no, World War III is not about to begin. Russia and Turkey have too many commercial interests in common. Putin’s statement does not mention military reprisals. Photo: CNN Read More
After the appalling attacks in Paris on Friday, we wish for recovery and healing.
Equally appalling are some of the responses, which I won’t quote here. The desire for more war, which is the generator of ISIS and other pathologies, seems insane to me. The image at top of the post is by Jean Jullien. Can we take its widespread adoption as an indication that most people want peace? Read More
This is the most complete account I have seen of the crash of the Russian charter jet in the Sinai. Updates are coming regularly. What is remarkable to me is that Russia is not providing a number of outrageous stories. The chief executive of Metrojet even says it couldn’t possibly have been anything his airline did wrong, just as Western executives often do. ISIS claimed responsibility, but the jet was higher than most ground-based weapons can reach. The animosity toward Russia, due to Russia’s intervention in Syria, is telling, though. Photo from Reuters video. Read More
Russia is moving troops and equipment into Syria, for what purpose nobody but the Russians know. And that probably includes the Syrians and Iranians, although they have been told some plans. Russia will act primarily in what it conceives to be its own interests, though.
What will Russia bomb? Vladimir Putin says that it will be ISIS, but it is more likely to be other regime opponents who are more immediately threatening. The United States has been aiding some of them. Read More