Summary: The news that "NATO invites Montenegro to join alliance, defying Russia" has sparked return (again) of stories that the US broke its deal with the Soviet Union to stay out of Eastern Europe. These accusations by Putin and other Russian leaders frame and poison relations with the West. Here are the facts. Putin's claims … Continue reading Did NATO betray Russia, breaking the deal to stay out of Eastern Europe?
Summary: To understand the dynamics and stakes of the Iran deal we should look at our past, rather than conservatives' confident warnings about the future. The peace we've enjoyed for decades results in part from 50+ years of arms control treaties -- all strenuously fought by the Right. We can learn much from their false … Continue reading For 50 years Republicans have fought against treaties that brought peace
Summary: Our past can help us to better understand our present. The ills of the present didn't just appear, and often can be seen more clearly in the past -- such as our penchant for believing fables. This post has it all: a great story about Robert Heinlein's astonishing prescience, the Evil Empire, demographic collapse, … Continue reading Did Robert Heinlein in 1961 predict the fall of the Soviet Union? Lessons learned from this.
Summary: Today we gain some insights about ourselves from Cold War uber-hawk Colin Grey. Nations have different strategic cultures, different styles of foreign policy. Like those of the US and Iran, global prosperity in the next decade might depend on how these two cultures interact. Here we look at internal factors driving US foreign policy. We can do better. Chapter 11 in … Continue reading Continuity and dysfunctionality in US foreign policy (lessons for our conflict with Iran)
Summary: Histories of the CIA document its poor performance as an intelligence agency (e.g., Tim Weiner's 2007 book Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA). While incompetence certainly plays a role in degrading its performance, obedience to its political superiors probably plays a far more informant role. Such as the relentless hyping of the … Continue reading How the Soviet Menace was over-hyped, and what we can learn from this