Friday, August 15, 2014

Bits and Pieces - August 15, 2014

Who's in and who's out in the separatist organizations of eastern Ukraine.

Council of Europe conclusions on Ukraine.

Dumb idea of the week on how to deal with Russia. I love proposals in which "And then Russia would..." or "Russia would have to..." as if Russia had shown any inclination to do those things and not their opposite.

A proposal for containment (in the George Kennan meaning of the word) of the Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL). BTW, I am working through Kennan's Long Telegram with reference to today's Russia.

A former soldier in the Israeli Defense Force: "I know how to kill, but I know I want peace."

Tony Judt, Israel, and social democracy.

Polygraph tests are required for many jobs and government clearances. But there is no scientific basis for using them.

A woman who was convicted of conspiracy in relation to the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg spying case of the 1940s and 1950s wants her record cleared. She's 98 years old.

The Nirvana Fallacy. Just because you can think of an alternative course of action doesn't mean that it would work better than what was done. This article references Obama in particular, but it's useful to keep this in mind in any analysis of history.

This has been one of the craziest weeks I can think of in some time. Not at all clear it's going to get better any time soon.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Bits and Pieces - August 5, 2014

Silicon Howl. A remake of Allan Ginsberg's famous poem.

Hillary for liberals. I have serious reservations about Hillary Clinton for president, but I guess I'll vote for her if she's the Democratic nominee.

The spies next door, the story of the Glomar Explorer and its mission to raise a sunken Soviet submarine.

Watching the Eclipse: Ambassador Michael McFaul was there when the promise of democracy came to Russia—and when it began to fade. If you only read one article about Vladimir Putin, this should be it.

Is western media coverage of the Ukraine crisis anti-Russian? Excellent compendium of several views.

Overhead photos of five Russian military bases participating in exercises this week.

Ukraine's SBU security service has published "top secret", Stalin-era files that Russia does not want to release.

Trying to figure out exactly what Russian action the United States claims violates the INF Treaty. The State Department's report is fairly unspecific. I've argued that that nonspecificity could be an invitation for Russia to join a dialog that could lead to discussions of the situation in Ukraine.

A lineup of Russia's nationalist parties and their leaders.

The Soviet Union's war in Afghanistan, 1979-1989. This war contributed to Soviet citizens' disillusionment with their government and through that, to the breakup of the Soviet Union.