Tag Archives: martin hellman

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 over the last thirteen years. Continue reading

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Five Things America Needs to Learn

Harvard Prof. Stephen Walt has an excellent article in Foreign Policy that I highly recommend you read in its entirety. 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. Here are Prof. Walt’s key points, excerpted from his article: 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, killing at least one of the pilots, 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 – 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. 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. 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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Columbia University Students Interview Me

Last summer three students from Columbia University interviewed me at my home on the Stanford campus as part of a project at Columbia’s K1 Center for Nuclear Studies. It just went live online and captures some of the key ideas that I’ve been trying to communicate in this blog. It runs a bit over 5 minutes, so they did a good job of editing it down. Continue reading

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Understanding the Ukrainian Crisis

Much has been said in our media about Putin’s propaganda war, and I agree that an information war is in progress over the Ukrainian crisis. But it is not one-sided. We, too, have blind spots, andwiththe following two misconceptions being the source of many of our errors: Continue reading

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Avoiding a Repeat of the 1962 Cuban Crisis

I highly recommend Prof. Rajan Menon’s article in The National Interest, Avoiding a New ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’ in Ukraine. I’ve attached a few key paragraphs below my signature line, and encourage you to read the full article. This fits well with the risk analysis approach I’ve been recommending for analyzing nuclear deterrence and reducing the danger that it might fail. Continue reading

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