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
Banning nuclear testing: lessons from the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site. This is a good short history of the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site. Top photo by me: Lake Balapan, excavated by a nuclear device. It is almost exactly the same size as Sedan Crater at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site, which was excavated similarly. Read More
I’ve worked through the Steele dossier. Now I’ll look at the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA), “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions In Recent US Elections.” In the continuing and ever-changing story of the Donald Trump administration’s relations with Russia, I want to work through, carefully, what we know and don’t know. Far too much remains in the latter category to connect the dots.
The ICA covers similar territory to the Steele dossier. The question of Russian hacking of the election is of concern both to the funders of the Steele dossier and to American citizens generally. In addition, the Steele dossier was available to the authors of the ICA. Since the publication of the ICA, we have learned that the FBI wanted to pay Steele to continue his investigation for them. Read More
Lessons from Reykjavik for Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Even though the meeting failed to produce agreement on a treaty, it was the basis for later progress.
The state of Trump’s State Department. Where is Rex Tillerson? Does Trump think he can “make deals” just by sitting down with foreign leaders?
Trump’s close advisor, Stephen Bannon, is the former editor of the far-right website Breitbart. Here’s a guide to what he said at CPAC in that website’s jargon. Subcommunities on the internet develop their own languages.
In early January, BuzzFeed published a set of documents describing information acquired by a private intelligence firm. The dossier had been in the possession of the FBI and intelligence organizations since late summer and was the basis for several news stories and Congressional comment.
The information was on Russian connections with Donald Trump’s campaign. It consists of reports from various sources on conversations by campaign operatives and Russian officials. The sources are not identified, but some seem to be privy to conversations at high levels within the Russian government. Read More
The Trump circus in the White House continues. You have undoubtedly seen more than enough articles about Michael Flynn’s resignation as National Security Advisor because of his (not fully explained) telephone conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, or maybe it was because he lied to Vice President Michael Pence, or maybe it was because someone leaked about the whole mess to the media.
So I won’t link to much of that; in any case, I am working on posts relating to it and the question of just how connected the White House is to Russia. Flynn is the third to resign from Trump’s service for too much connection to Russia, along with Paul Manafort and Carter Page. You have probably seen news reports about calls for an independent investigative body to look at the whole mess. Read More
The Women’s Marches on January 21 were the largest protests ever in the United States. Photo of the march in Fairbanks, Alaska.
The Washington Post and the New York Times published stories last night with more information about Michael Flynn’s phonecalls to Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak. Not long ago, it appeared that those phonecalls might have been no problem.
The phonecalls came after President Obama expelled members of the Russian embassy to the United States in retaliation for Russian hacking of the US election. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made a statement indicating that there would be a reciprocal expulsion of Americans; this is standard diplomatic practice in such situations. But within a day, and after the phonecalls, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he would suspend that standard, not expelling any Americans. Read More
It’s hard to know how to deal with every day’s tsunami of Trump news. On the one hand, much of it affects US foreign relations and some the nuclear part of that. On the other, the administration lies and backtracks so much that it’s tempting to blow off much of it. The sheer volume of leaks, much of it on gossipy trivia, is tempting as a focus. The leaks themselves, as well as much of their content, indicate that White House operations are chaotic, and the bureaucracy is mostly resisting the crazier demands. Steve Bannon is much too influential, and President Trump isn’t reading what he signs.
There are hundreds of articles that I might link by the standards I’ve used in the past. But I don’t have that kind of time, and neither do you. It’s not a bad idea to check the New York Times or the Washington Post daily; both are doing a good job of covering the chaos. (Yes, I would complain about their campaign coverage too, but there are too many other things to do now.) I’ll try to present articles that help with thinking out how to deal with a presidency gone wrong, and foreign policy news that may be getting lost in the furor. Maybe some fun, too. Read More