Links – January 17, 2017

Apologies for not posting my own writing for so long. I am working on posts, but so much news is coming out that it is hard to keep track. Here’s what others have been writing. Oh, and a movie recommendation: go see “Hidden Figures.” It is extremely accurate about what women of color faced in science in the early 1960s, much of which all women faced. I experienced a number of the situations depicted. And the clothes and other props are very well done.  Read More

Links – January 13, 2017

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

Links – January 2, 2017

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

Links – December 22, 2016

Donald Trump tweeted today that the United States needs more nuclear weapons. So that has occupied a certain amount of mental space. I did a tweet stream. Here are the New York Times news and a Max Fisher explainer, NBC News, and Yahoo News. Particularly good from Jeffrey Lewis. We are in for uncertainty and instability if Trump continues his tweets.

Ronald Reagan’s first full briefing on nuclear war, declassified from 1982.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell tells climate researchers to fight disinformation. Scientists at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco demonstrate.

We wrote about this guy and his death ray a while back.

Good explainer about Vladimir Putin’s reunification of the Russian security services.

Russia is no longer in the top five defense spenders.

This week is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the official dissolution of the Soviet Union. A reporter who grew up during that time reminisces. Photo from here.

Communications with North Korea are a good thing.

 

Foreign Relations As Bar Fight

The New York Times mongers some more war: Muted U.S. Response to China’s Seizure of Drone Worries Asian Allies.

It’s possible they don’t think that’s what they’re doing. Is it competition for clicks? Inability to get enough mental distance from the Washington “blob” that Obama has said he would like to change?

The assumptions behind the idea that a significant public response is necessary to real or imagined slight are the same as those behind bar fights. “You looking at me funny?” No slight can be allowed to pass without retribution. The veneer of a rationale is that a show of force is necessary to prevent future bad behavior. However, political science has shown again and again that states behave in their best interests, which usually have little to do with the behavior of others. Here’s one of many good articles on that subject. Read More

Slowing Down The Trump Carnage

Let’s look at the ways the worst intentions of Donald Trump and the Republican Party might be thwarted in the next four years. Not to lull ourselves into inaction, but to figure out where they can be stopped most easily and prioritize resistance. I’m not trying to minimize the dangers, just focusing elsewhere. Looking at these speedbumps can also encourage us to focus and move forward, as we recover from the shock of the election. This is only a selection of the difficulties to be faced in ripping up the domestic and foreign arrangements that have worked reasonably well over the last half-century or so. Read More

Links – December 12, 2016

Sorry to be depressing, but we need to be aware of how we can lose our democracy, given many of the things that Donald Trump and his administration-to-be have said and done. It’s not an overnight change, but one little thing after another. The best thing is to avoid getting into those little things. More from Masha Gessen, this time on similarities between how Trump is likely to govern and what we see in Vladimir Putin. Read More

Links – December 9, 2016

Donald Trump continues to insist that hacking before the election could not have been by Russia. Germany, with an election in the near future, is seeing a similar pattern of hacking. Republicans in Congress are asking for an investigation. Republicans!

This is a good explanation of what the problem may be with Mike Flynn, Trump’s designated National Security Advisor. But the National Security Advisor is supposed to help in distinguishing bad information from good. Read More