What I’m Reading – January 8, 2017

  • Trump Finds That Attack-Dog Strategy Has Its Limits – The New York Times 010617
    Glenn Thrush: As a political underdog and now as president-elect, Donald J. Trump has employed the same brutal but effective go-to move when he’s tweeted or talked himself into an impasse: | Attack the attacker. | That aggressiveness served him well in the presidential campaign, and allowed him to muscle through scandals and self-inflicted management mistakes that would have scuttled a lesser politician. But Mr. Trump’s postelection effort to minimize intelligence assessments about Russia’s actions came to an abrupt end Friday after a detailed classified briefing from the nation’s top intelligence officials at Trump Tower and the release of an unclassified report concluding that the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, had a “clear preference” for Mr. Trump. | By the end of the day, it was clear that the strategy of intimidation and bluster that served Mr. Trump so well in the presidential campaign would not prove nearly as effective in Washington. Here was a reminder, should Mr. Trump heed it, that a president’s critics, especially the lords of Washington’s national security establishment, can’t always be cowed by a flash-grenade tweet or a withering quip about the possibility that a “400-lb. hacker” might have breached Democratic servers.
  • How Henry Kissinger Conspired Against a Sitting President – POLITICO Magazine
    Zach Dorfman: Watch out, Donald Trump: This could happen to you, too.
  • Bill Perry Is Terrified. Why Aren’t You? – POLITICO Magazine 010617
    John F. Harris and Bryan Bender : “Nuclear bombs are an area of expertise Perry had assumed would be largely obsolete by now, seven decades after Hiroshima, a quarter-century after the fall of the Soviet Union, and in the flickering light of his own life. Instead, nukes are suddenly—insanely, by Perry’s estimate—once again a contemporary nightmare, and an emphatically ascendant one. At the dawn of 2017, there is a Russian president making bellicose boasts about his modernized arsenal. There is an American president-elect who breezily free-associates on Twitter about starting a new nuclear arms race. Decades of cooperation between the two nations on arms control is nearly at a standstill. And, unlike the original Cold War, this time there is a world of busy fanatics excited by the prospect of a planet with more bombs—people who have already demonstrated the desire to slaughter many thousands of people in an instant, and are zealously pursuing ever more deadly means to do so. | And there’s one other difference from the Cold War: Americans no longer think about the threat every day. | Nuclear war isn’t the subtext of popular movies, or novels; disarmament has fallen far from the top of the policy priority list. The largest upcoming generation, the millennials, were raised in a time when the problem felt largely solved, and it’s easy for them to imagine it’s still quietly fading into history. The problem is, it’s no longer fading. “Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War,” Perry said in an interview in his Stanford office, “and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.”
  • Putin Ordered ‘Influence Campaign’ Aimed at U.S. Election, Report Says – The New York Times 010617
    Intelligence officials said President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia turned from seeking to “denigrate” Hillary Clinton to developing “a clear preference” for President-elect Donald J. Trump.
  • Declassified report says Putin ‘ordered’ effort to undermine faith in U.S. election and help Trump – The Washington Post
    U.S. intelligence agencies: Putin ordered intervention in presidential election A declassified report says that the Kremlin aspired to help elect Trump and discredit Clinton.
  • Putin’s Real Long Game – POLITICO Magazine 010117
    Molly K. McKew : The world order we know is already over, and Russia is moving fast to grab the advantage. Can Trump figure out the new war in time to win it?
  • So Far, Donald Trump Stands Alone When It Comes To Russia : NPR 010517
    According to Molly McKew — an expert on information warfare and a foreign-policy consultant who has advised the governments of Georgia and Moldova — the national-security community can’t quite figure out Trump’s unwavering devotion to the Russian line. But theories abound.
    “I think the discussion in the region and intelligence services that deal with Russia,” McKew said, “is that his behavior looks like someone who may be compromised or may be concerned about something and nobody knows what that is — if it’s financial ties or financial leverage, if it’s something more than that. I don’t know. I think there’s a lot of different things. I think there probably are long-term relationships with Russians and Russian oligarchs that we don’t understand, that we don’t see.”
  • Trump’s Twitter feed traumatizes Washington – POLITICO 010517
    Donald Trump’s unique, chaos theory of presidential communications is upending Washington, leaving lawmakers, government officials and lobbyists aghast that they are beholden to a single leader’s whims, not to mention the uncertainty about his true thoughts and intentions.
  • Former CIA head Woolsey quits Trump team as standoff intensifies over Russia.
    Former CIA director James Woolsey resigned from the Trump transition team Thursday, as the president-elect’s dismissive attitude towards the U.S.
  • [toread] U.S. intercepts capture senior Russian officials celebrating Trump win | Washington post January 6, 2017
    U.S. intercepts capture senior Russian officials celebrating Trump win
    Intelligence showed that Russians “felt pretty good” after the Nov. 8 vote, an official said.
  • Trump’s team tries to stifle rift on Russia – POLITICO
  • [toread] Anonymous “Officials” Say There’s Evidence Russia Gave Emails to WikiLeaks Through Third Party | Slate 010517
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