Jeffrey Lewis

Frequent Flyer Diplomacy and the Plane to Pyongyang

Secretary of State John Kerry needs to pay Kim Jong Un a visit. Because North Korea is muscling up and the Obama administration's "strategic patience" isn't working.

John Kerry is often accused of "frequent flyer" diplomacy. Now, every secretary of state has been accused of relying too much on travel except for, of course, those secretaries who have been criticized for traveling too little. They can't win either way. Taking criticism for travel schedules is as old as Dwight D. Eisenhower telling his secretary of state, John Foster Dulles: "Don't just do something, Foster; stand there." There is a reason that the State Department publishes a "Travels of the Secretary" volume and modern cabinet memoirs are little more than limp travelogues masquerading as policy tomes. (Oh, really, you got past page 33 of Clinton's Hard Choices? Liar.)

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They Shoot Satellites, Don't They?

China is developing sophisticated hit-to-kill missiles, which is exactly why we need to ban the most dangerous tests of this technology.

Look, I understand if you missed it, what with all the missiles flying around these days. But China conducted another missile defense test in late July. Even for a terse statement clocking in at a mere 64 words, the official announcement by the Chinese Ministry of Defense is marvelous for how little it says. Let me try to convince you that it is worth about 2,800 words of wonky exegesis. I promise, it's worth it.

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The Problem With Russia's Missiles

Why is the United States taking Moscow to task over noncompliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty?

The State Department's annual "Compliance Report" is about to drop. According to Michael Gordon at the New York Times, the State Department will accuse the Russians of cheating on the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Gordon even has the money sentence:

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The Sources of Putin's Conduct

The only way to contain Moscow is to understand that there’s still a Cold Warrior in the Kremlin.

On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. "To fall" is an interesting choice of words. Although small portions of the wall literally came down, what really happened was that the German Democratic Republic -- East Germany -- suddenly lost the will to police what was officially called the "Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart." (Remember that monstrous lie the next time RT calls the Ukrainian government a bunch of Nazis.) Mikhail Gorbachev's Soviet Union stood by, doing nothing, while its client state collapsed in all but name.

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The Untold Story of China's Forgotten Underground Nuclear Reactor

How social media and a little sleuthing turned up a Mao-era nuclear program.

Go to a conference about China's nuclear weapons and you will hear, over and over again, that China is not very transparent when it comes to its nuclear program. That's still true at a governmental level, but it is an increasingly outdated assessment of other aspects of Chinese society, especially in the age of social media. Western analysts have more access to information on these topics than they have ever had access to before, even if much of it is in Chinese. That has led to some startling discoveries.

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