Tag Archives: critical thinking

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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Solving “a Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma”

Most people have heard Winston Churchill’s description of Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” I also suspect that most took it as I did: Who can figure out that crazy nation? So it was a real surprise … Continue reading

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Could the US Resolve the Ukrainian Crisis By Doing Less?

Back on February 8, 2014, twelve days before the Kiev massacre which led to President Yanukovych fleeing to Russia, Ronald Reagan’s Ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock wrote very presciently, “Ukraine’s most serious problems are internal, not external. They must be solved by Ukrainians, not by outsiders. … I believe it has been a very big strategic mistake – by Russia, by the EU and most of all by the U.S. – to convert Ukrainian political and economic reform into an East-West struggle.” A recent poll confirms Ambassador Matlock’s perspective. Continue reading

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How to Truly Celebrate Defeating Nazism

Yesterday, May 8, marked our 70th celebration of VE Day – Victory in Europe over Nazism – while today, May 9, is celebrated as Victory Day in Russia. The difference of one day is due to time in Moscow being eight hours later than in Washington, but the difference in perception goes much deeper. If more Americans tried to understand the Russian perspective, it would be an excellent first step toward “defusing the nuclear threat” (as this blog is called). It may be surprising, but out of such seemingly small disagreements, nuclear threats can grow. Read on to find out why. Continue reading

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Charlie Wilson’s War: An Attempt at Version 2.0

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article noting that former Senator Gordon Humphrey, who played a key role in arming the mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s, is now working on what can be described as an attempt at version 2.0 of Charlie Wilson’s War. Early on, the article gives the impression that was a great success, noting that, “The Soviet Union collapsed soon after.” Only much later (where far fewer people will see it) does it add, “outside experts often cite that covert action as a cautionary tale about the risks of intervention. In the chaos after the Soviet withdrawal, the Taliban rose and played host to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.” Continue reading

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Pentagon Wrongly Accuses Iran?

Today’s New York Times has an article which reinforces Iran’s image as a “rogue nation.” The article describes its seizure of a cargo ship, how “Iranian forces fired shots across the ship’s bow,” and ends with a former State Department official calling Iran’s actions “surprisingly incendiary.” However, KGS NightWatch, a highly respected private intelligence newsletter, has a very different take: Continue reading

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Saber Rattling Works, But Which Way?

We hear repeated assurances that appearing strong and belligerent will get our adversaries to back down and behave. A 1995 USSTRACOM report even argued that we should cultivate a national persona that is “irrational and vindictive” in order to induce fear in our opponents. But … Continue reading

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