Tag Archives: war and peace

The Turing Award, Nuclear Risk, and Recapturing True Love

It has just been announced at 10 AM this morning that my colleague Whitfield Diffie and I will be receiving this year’s ACM Turing Award and the $1,000,000 that comes with it – one reason it’s sometimes called “the Nobel Prize of computing.” But what does my former life in cybersecurity, which is the reason for the award, have to do with defusing the nuclear threat – the theme of this blog? And what does either of those have to do with recapturing true love – the last part of this post’s title? This and my next few blog posts will explain, so stay tuned. 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 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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Solving “a Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma”

UPDATE MAY 2017: FOR MORE, SURPRISING INFORMATION LIKE THIS, DOWNLOAD A FREE PDF OF MY NEW BOOK AND SEE THE SECTION ON RUSSIA. Most people have heard Winston Churchill’s description of Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside … 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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Putin and the Siege of Leningrad

Two days ago, I had a post in honor of VE/Victory Day that had a few quotes from a Russian language article by Russian President Vladimir Putin. I noted that I did not yet have a complete translation, but would post it when I did. Well, it’s now available online. Here are some key excerpts: 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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