The Failure of the Budapest Memorandum

Nuclear Device, courtesy of United States Action
Nuclear Device, courtesy of United States Action

If Ukraine had denied this diplomatic agreement, then Russia would have to face a Kiev government armed with nuclear devices. Thus, the situation in Crimea would require a more realpolitik view based on the strength of arms, both conventional and nuclear, rather than political good will enshrined in a treaty. As Pavlo Rizanenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, told USA Today, “We gave up nuclear weapons because of this agreement. Now there’s a strong sentiment in Ukraine that we made a big mistake.”
Walter Russell Mead of the American Interests wrote, “If Ukraine still had its nukes, it would probably still have Crimea. It gave up its nukes, got worthless paper guarantees, and also got an invasion from a more powerful and nuclear neighbour.”

The moral of the story is that tactical nuclear devices guarantee territorial sovereignty – a lesson the world, especially those threatened by conventional forces – such as Iran, would be wise to heed.

Zurcher, Anthony. “Ukraine’s Nuclear Regret?” BBC. March 20, 2014. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-26676051

United States Action. “Special Atomic Demolition Munitions (SADMs).” http://www.unitedstatesaction.com/suitcase-nuclear.htm

 

 

 

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Syria Loses Internet, Again

95% of Syria’s networks are down.

TIME

Multiple monitoring groups reported Thursday that Syria was cut off from the Internet, marking the second time in a month that the war-torn country has gone dark.

The Internet monitor Renesys said 95% of Syria’s networks went down beginning at 8:26 ET. Google also shows traffic from the country dropping around that time and picking up only around 3:30 p.m.

Internet blackouts occur with some frequency in Syria—the last reported instance was Feb. 20, according to Mashable—and have in the past coincided with Syrian military operations, though the government typically blames technical problems.

A Renesys researcher, Doug Madory, told Mashable that the link from Aleppo to Turkey was the only working connection, which “is consistent with outages over the past few months.”

[time-brightcove videoid=2781212391001]

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Gunmen Storm Luxury Hotel in Kabul

Good catch by the Afghan National Police (ANP).

TIME

Gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Kabul on Thursday in the most recent apparent attack on foreigners, but no one except the shooters were hurt, authorities said.

Three gunmen were killed and one was trapped at the Serena hotel in the capital, the Associated Press reports. The hotel regularly houses foreign delegations and is currently hosting United Nations staffers in the country to monitor upcoming elections, according to BBC.

In January, a bomb killed 21 people at a restaurant popular among foreigners, shattering a sense of relative security for foreigners in the Afghan capital. Earlier this month, a British-Swedish journalist was shot dead in broad daylight in Kabul.

[AP]

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Some hackers are bad. But a lot are good: Keren Elazari at TED2014

Rethinking cyber security in the modern age – courtesy of TED

TED Blog

Keren Elazari. Photo: James Duncan Davidson Keren Elazari. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

In 2010, the late security researcher — or as cybersecurity expert Keren Elazari would like you to call him, the late hacker — Barnaby Jack found a security flaw in two different models of automated teller machines (ATMs). Onstage at a tech security conference, he publicly demonstrated his ability to make these machines spit out paper money, Elazari says at TED2014. “Barnaby Jack could have easily turned to a career criminal,” she says, “but he chose to show the world his research instead. Sometimes you have to demo a threat to spark a solution.”

How we think about people like Jack is immensely complicated, Elazari says. Hackers scare us and fascinate us at once, and our reasons for these feelings are valid, she says, but we shouldn’t let fear get the best of us. “They scare us, but the choices they make have…

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Ukraine Says It Won’t Surrender in Crimea

“Crimea was, is and will be part of Ukraine.” – Ukrainian Parliament.

TIME

The Ukrainian Parliament said Thursday that it won’t give up on Crimea, even as its military acknowledged it’s preparing to pull out of the breakaway region and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty annexing the peninsula.

“Crimea was, is and will be part of Ukraine,” the parliament said in a statement, CNN reports. “The Ukrainian people will never, under no circumstances, stop fighting for the liberation of Crimea from the occupants, no matter how hard and long it is.”

Russian and pro-Russian forces took control of the peninsula in late February and have overwhelmed, mostly peacefully, Ukrainian forces in the region.

Ukraine’s naval commander, detained when armed men stormed the naval base in Sevastopol on Wednesday, was released during the night, according to a statement posted Thursday to the website of the presidency.

Acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov had set a 9 p.m. (3 p.m. EST) deadline on…

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Information Resistance: The annexation of Crimea in the historical context

Harsh truths cut both ways: “Therefore, the conflict in Crimea and its further escalation – is not just a conflict between two states. It exposed the vulnerability not only in Ukraine, but also of peace in the face of aggression and calls into question the nuclear agreements and the legitimacy of international organizations established to maintain and promote peace and security.”

Voices of Ukraine

Dmitry Tymchuk, Information Resistance

Information Resistance Information Resistance

Analysis by “Delta” section of the Information Resistance group
March 19, 2014
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine 

Events in Crimea, without exaggeration, are the events that resonate now and will have resonance in the world with large-scale effects. Without claiming to have a deep understanding of all of the events, I would like to draw attention to several historical trends we are now immediately facing.

1. There is a constant trend in history, which neither the international organizations nor the existing world order are able to resist – state borders are constantly changing. This process, caused by religious, cultural, ethnic, and political motives, bursts into the course of historical events and any attempts to preserve the integrity of the territories come to naught. It would seem that in recent historical terms, the world of the past received hope from the inviolability of…

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Wage a media-war in Russian!

“People in Russia will need to be informed. They need to be able to assess what is going on, they need to see that the thievery of Yanukovych and his gang is child’s play in comparison to what Putin and his gang is engaged in. They need to see that they will never have a normal life until they rid themselves of this criminal gang, that runs the country as its own fiefdom. The only way to achieve this is to engage in a full-scale media war.”

Euromaidan PR

1380293_518544324929902_507880401_n By Robert van Voren

Since the crisis in Ukraine took the shape of a fundamental conflict between a growing part of the Ukrainian people and a government of “crooks and swindlers” that, as it later turned out, managed to rob the nation of an approximate 70 billion euro, Russian friends have asked me with increasing urgency for independent media sources to help them follow the events. Initially, when it was not yet clear in what way the standoff would end and the atmosphere at Maidan was still quite joyful, the requests were mainly the result of curiosity, rather than a urgent need to know what was actually happening on the ground. Russian media downplayed the size of the demonstrations, referring to “several thousand” of them, while in fact some 800,000 demonstrators filled Independence Square and all the surrounding streets and alleys. It resulted in jokes in the social media, e.g…

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