Responding to North Korea’s Fourth Nuclear Test

Tonight’s PBS Newshour covered North Korea’s fourth nuclear test that occurred earlier today. Wendy Sherman, former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs and advisor to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, called for further sanctions “to ensure that we not allow North Korea to blackmail the international community, but that we take resolute action to tell them, this is not acceptable.” The only problem with her call to action is that it is more of the same that has gotten us nowhere good over the last thirteen years. Continue reading

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Five Things America Needs to Learn

Harvard Prof. Stephen M. Walt has an excellent article in Foreign Policy that I highly recommend. Although its title is “The Top 5 Things the Next American President Needs to Know About Foreign Policy,” ordinary Americans need to learn these as well because, until enough of us do, the president will be unable to act on them out of fear of the political consequences. Key excerpts from Prof. Walt’s article appear directly under my signature line. Continue reading

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Turkey Shoots Down Russian Jet: Part 3

My last blog post recommended amending Article V of the NATO Charter so that only unprovoked attacks on one NATO nation would be considered an attack on them all. If it turns out that Turkey’s shooting down a Russian jet on November 24 was unwarranted, do we really want to start World War III should Russia shoot down a Turkish fighter in a future such encounter? Continue reading

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Turkey Shoots Down Russian Jet: Part 2

Yesterday’s post noted that none of the seven major news outlets I had looked at regarding Turkey’s shooting down a Russian fighter mentioned the nuclear dimension to the risk. Today’s New York Times and Wall Street Journal coverage bring the number to nine. They also provide some important details that help explain what happened. Continue reading

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Turkey Shoots Downs Russian Jet: What Happens Next?

Today’s news that Turkish fighters shot down a Russian jet near the Syrian border, is unlikely to lead to a nuclear crisis …  but there is a chance that it could. If Russia had shot down one of the Turkish planes – or were to do so in a future such encounter to prevent more of its pilots being killed – we would be bound by Article 5 of the NATO Treaty to treat it the same as an attack on one of our own aircraft. Yet the word nuclear appeared nowhere in any of the coverage I saw: Reuters, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Telegraph, and the Guardian, and Yahoo News. If we keep ignoring that risk, eventually one of these provocative incidents will blow up in our faces.  Continue reading

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Is the US Still Encouraging Islamic Militants to Attack Russia?

Back in the 1980s, the US armed and trained Islamic militants in their battle against the Soviets in Afghanistan, with President Reagan’s mistakenly seeing the mujahideen as “courageous Afghan freedom fighters,” instead of the violent, anti-Western extremists we now know them to be. I don’t know if our nation is still encouraging Islamic militants to attack Russia, but that certainly is the impression a Russian reader would get from a front page article in today’s New York Times that interviewed Chechens now fighting Russian separatists and “volunteers” in Ukraine (emphasis added): Continue reading

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Russia’s Alleged INF Violation

I’ve been looking for an objective and authoritative explanation of the US allegation that Russia is in violation of the INF (Intermediate Nuclear Forces) arms control treaty … and I just found it. My colleague, Dr. Pavel Podvig, has precisely that kind of analysis in his article in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Here are some key excerpts (emphasis added): Continue reading

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