Security

Carrying around and being close to transmitting radios makes me nervous. They may be programmed to harm their owner from the outset, or reprogrammed by private hackers or government forces. They are the means through which ubiquitous surveillance is maintained, alongside agreements and clandestine action against fixed-line phone and internet providers. Perhaps the most important […]

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Still, at a fundamental level, it is important to recognize that the military commands controlling U.S. nuclear weapons have been asked to do the impossible. Peter Feaver has used the phrase, the “always/never dilemma” to describe the twin requirements placed on U.S. military commands. Political authorities have demanded, for the sake of deterrence, that the […]

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Parliament’s Special Committee on Electoral Reform is holding an online consultation about Canada’s electoral system. It covers issues including mandatory voting, voting machines, and possible changes to our electoral system. People can submit written evidence, ask to appear before the committee, or complete an online consultation. The online consultation closes October 7th. If you take […]

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Bruce Blair’s Strategic Command and Control: Redefining the Nuclear Threat (1985) effectively demolishes some of the core ideas in U.S. nuclear strategy. The book is largely focused on command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I) and emphasizes how, while the U.S. raced ahead with developing vast numbers of nuclear weapon systems, it does not have a […]

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Mutual deterrence dissolves when one or both sides can remove the opponent’s ability to inflict severe damage in retaliation. In a crisis the side believing that an unacceptably large part of its retaliatory capacity could be suddenly nullified by an opponents forces might be impelled to strike preemptively. The superior side also might be motivated […]

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The New York Times has published an exceptional long article by Scott Anderson about the history of the Middle East since 2003. It’s an ambitious text to have written, not a trivial task to read, and perhaps a suggestion that print journalism is enduring in its dedication to telling complicated stories, despite ongoing challenges to […]

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Finally, and very subjectively, there is an inauspicious storyline surrounding second-term secretaries of defense: none has ever finished his second term, each having been asked by the president to leave before his term was over. I believe that this is not coincidence; that there is something about this particular job that causes it to go […]

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But [Richard] Holbrooke was irrepressible and his proposal [to invite Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and the Baltic states to join NATO in 1996] moved forward. I went to President Clinton, explaining my concerns, and asking for a full meeting of the National Security Council to air my concerns and my arguments for a delay. […]

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During those tense days [of trying to stop North Korean reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel for weapons], an op-ed in the Washington Post caused considerable excitement. Brent Snowcroft, the former national security advisor, and his colleague Arnie Kanter (both long-time friends), wrote a column essentially stating that the United States would strike the Yongbyon reactor […]

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This principle of the interplay between conventional and nuclear forces is fundamental to deterrence in the nuclear era. The dangerous example today of the consequences of failure to maintain strong conventional forces is Russia. Given the decline in their conventional arms, the Russians are embarked on a major nuclear buildup and leaders have starkly stated […]

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