Empowering the Moderates in Iran

Today’s New York Times had a long OpEd by David Brooks that argued it is naive to negotiate with Iran. Brooks warns that, “It could be that Iranian leaders are as apocalyptically motivated, paranoid and dogmatically anti-American as their pronouncements suggest they are.” At least in my reading, Brooks implies that “could” should be replaced by “is.”

There certainly are “apocalyptically motivated, paranoid and dogmatically anti-American” individuals within the Iranian power structure. But no nation is a monolith, and Iran is no exception. Continue reading

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Germany, France, and Most US Experts Against Arming Ukraine

With our nation edging closer to sending lethal aid to Ukraine, it would be well to consider why Angela Merkel, François Hollande, and two-thirds of the US experts surveyed by Foreign Affairs magazine think that’s a mistake. Continue reading

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Ambassador Matlock Sees the Nuclear Dimension to Ukraine

In a post earlier this month, I decried that the news coverage of the Ukrainian crisis was largely overlooking the nuclear dimension to the risk, and thereby increasing it. As I listened today to the Q&A following Ambassador Jack Matlock’s February 11 speech, I was pleased to see him repeatedly highlight that concern. I therefore began to transcribe the Q&A, and share what I’ve done thus far under my signature line. (Times refer to the video.) If anyone has the time to continue the process, please post it as a comment. Continue reading

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Reagan’s Ambassador to Moscow Says US Suffers from Autistic Foreign Policy

Three days ago, I posted excerpts I had found in news articles from an important but overlooked speech by Ambassador Jack Matlock. Today I found both a full transcript of his speech and its YouTube video. Matlock was our Ambassador to Moscow under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Continue reading

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A Tale of Two Insurgencies

What’s this? A comparison between Ronald Reagan and Vladimir Putin by a respected international expert on Harvard’s faculty! Prof. Stephen Walt does not say that the two men are moral equivalents or that Putin deserves our sympathy – in fact he says the opposite. But Walt does draw a surprising parallel between Reagan’s actions in Nicaragua in the 1980s and Putin’s in  Ukraine today. His paper in Foreign Policy is titled, “What Putin Learned From Reagan.” I encourage you to read the entire article, but I’ve excerpted some key passages below my signature line. Continue reading

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Reagan’s Ambassador to Moscow Speaks on Ukraine

Over the last year, this blog has presented significant evidence that the prevailing Western view of the Ukrainian crisis has major blind spots which are prolonging the human suffering in that nation, and which also increase the risk of a nuclear disaster. Ronald Reagan’s Ambassador to Moscow, Jack Matlock, has been a valuable resource in my efforts, so I was pleased to see an article in The Nation which reported on a major address he gave last Wednesday. Here are some key excerpts (emphasis added): Continue reading

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A Dangerous Trend Line

For a number of years I have advocated a risk framework for reducing the danger of a Russian-American crisis escalating out of control to nuclear threats. One tool in that approach is to highlight early steps in accident chains which could lead to catastrophe and, instead of ignoring them, to treat them as early warning signs needing remedial action. Doing that is one goal of this blog, but a recent Gallup poll shows how miserably I (and others) are succeeding. Gallup’s accompanying news release starts out: Continue reading

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