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
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
Jeffrey Lewis thinks that North Korea is preparing for nuclear war. The most recent test looks more like practice for war than testing missiles. Lewis and his group at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute at Monterey have been watching North Korea carefully and analyzing its photos of missiles and what it claims is a nuclear weapon. (photo of the latest launches from that article) More, with helpful diagrams.
Quite an article on US cyber attacks on North Korean missile tests. A backgrounder on how David Sanger and Bill Broad got the story. Something like this is a lot of work. And dealing with it is even more work: Why the Trump administration isn’t ready. The difficult decisions and diplomacy ahead. Photo: CreditKorean Central News Agency, via Reuters Read More
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.
I am continuing to go light on the latest about Donald Trump’s relationship to Russia, in the service of finishing up a major post on the subject. In the meanwhile, here is a selection beyond the New York Times and Washington Post headlines.
As I’ve noted before, Donald Trump’s strategy seems to be to keep enough balls in the air that we can’t keep track of any of them. And other sources are now lobbing some balls into the mix. These links don’t include much about the Trump – intelligence community – Russia dustup now occurring. I’ll try to address that separately (or at least present what I consider the better links). Here’s an FAQ for now. Read More
Donald Trump continues as a one-man DDOS attack on coherent thought. He has been tweeting at an elevated rate the past few days. I am trying to tune most of that out, but it does slow down my productivity. Since the guy is going to be President of the United States, it’s hard to ignore him. David Brooks captures the problem.
Everyday authoritarianism is boring and tolerable. This post, from a scholar of comparative politics, is consistent with what I have been told by people who lived in the Soviet Union. It’s why we need to be extra vigilant about trends and actions by Donald Trump and his government. More from Daniel Nexon. Read More
This story goes back to 2007, when Israel bombed a nuclear reactor under construction in Syria. It’s a detailed account from Michael Hayden, who was director of the CIA at the time. The uncertainties and the complexity of the story are normal for international affairs, and thus the story is a good example of the kind of thing President Donald Trump will face. Short version: Syria builds a nuclear reactor to produce bomb material. Israel wants America to destroy it. America refuses, Israel bombs the site. The world learns it was a reactor. But the whole thing is worth reading. Photo: The reactor before it was bombed. Read More