Three similar op-eds about the unified expulsions of Russian diplomats, from Kadri Liik, Shashank Joshi, and Mark Galeotti. Bottom line: In the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Vladimir Putin has supplied the last straw so that other world leaders will not tolerate his attempts at deniability, which are no longer plausible.
Russia has been violating the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, but the United States won’t say exactly what the violation is. The INF Treaty prohibits intermediate-range missiles with nuclear warheads. Back in the 1980s, both the US and Russia had such missiles aimed at each other in Europe. The problem with missiles like this is that there is no warning time whatsoever, and thus a heavy motive to strike the other party first. James Action suggests a strategy for getting the treaty back on track. Top photo from here: Soviet inspectors and their American escorts standing among dismantled Pershing II missiles in Colorado as other missile components are destroyed nearby under the INF Treaty, January 1989. Read More
Benjamin Wittes: “But this election is a different kettle of fish, one that pits a normal candidate—that is, a woman with flaws, virtues and policy ideas—against a man who menaces American democracy.” This is the sense I’ve had every time someone wants to talk about policy in the election. I love a good policy discussion as much as anyone, but that’s not the point in this election. Read More
Pakistan and India are glaring and occasionally shooting at each other again. Since both have nuclear weapons and no warning time at all to decide what it is the other has in that missile, this is a particularly dangerous situation. Here’s a good idea: Russia and China, which have good relations with the two, should press for a peaceful accommodation and better ways for India and Pakistan to relate to each other. Vladimir Putin seems to want to be seen as a peacemaker. He’s blown that in Syria. India and Pakistan present a real opportunity. Read More