WORLD ROUNDUPSweden’s New Normal | Human Trafficking Cyberbullying | Is the U.S. Ready for the Next Nuclear Era?, and more

Published 28 September 2022

·· Russia’s Nuclear Threats Are All Putin Has Left
Russia faces existential danger—from its own president

·· Lessons from the Brink
We should not be complacent about nuclear war

·· Was NATO Expansion Worth the Risk?”
There Was No Western Master Plan: American policy was essentially opportunistic

·· Iran’s Ferocious Return to the Policies of the Revolution’s Early Days
Iran’s xenophobic policies and tone-deaf rhetoric are reminiscent of the Revolution’s early days

·· Is the United States Ready for the Next Nuclear Era?
Dealing simultaneously with two near-peer nuclear powers

·· British Police Fear Weapons from Ukraine War Could Reach the U.K. and Terrorists
Large amounts of weapons being tracked

·· Human Trafficking’s Newest Abuse: Forcing Victims Into Cyberscamming
A new occupation for trafficking victims: playing roles in financial scams

·· Two Bombings in One Night? That’s Normal Now in Sweden.
Sweden is facing not just a bombing problem. There are shootings, too.

Russia’s Nuclear Threats Are All Putin Has Left  (Tom Nichols, The Atlantic)
Although Putin may be willing to take greater risks as the military situation in Ukraine deteriorates, he likely knows now that the cumulative effect of his multiple blunders in Ukraine has been to jeopardize the stability of his regime and the Russian Federation itself. Russia is a pariah state; the entire nation and its leading figures, right down to Putin’s rumored girlfriend, are under sanctions. Young men, supposedly Russia’s great macho warriors, are jamming the roads to Finland and Georgia trying to flee the country. Putin’s own commanders are asking for permission to retreat, and even some of Putin’s most gleeful warmongers in the Russian media, including the ghoulish Margarita Simonyan, seem freaked out by the accelerating disasters that have changed Russia’s image from a major power to a cornered weakling in only seven months.
Nonetheless, I still believe that Russian use of a nuclear weapon is unlikely. This is only an informed guess, because my expertise on Russia does not extend to the interior of Putin’s skull. But Putin has almost certainly contemplated the high probability that using a nuclear weapon could bring about the end of his rule faster than any of the bungled decisions he’s already made. This is not because global nuclear war would break out—although any use of a nuclear weapon runs that risk—but because a nuclear attack on Ukraine could provoke a collapse of the Russian regime itself.

Lessons from the Brink  (Krzysztof Tyszka-Drozdowski, The Critic)
Those thirteen days in October 1962, during which the Cuban Missile Crisis played out and the world stood on the precipice of annihilation, contain a wealth of insights: how chaotically institutions can act; how irrationally individuals can respond; how events follow a logic that quickly becomes opaque, all whilst the risk of inadvertent escalation unexpectedly increases. President Kennedy estimated after the crisis that the chances of disaster were “between one out of three and even.”
Those October days have no analogy. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t draw lessons from them. As the situation in Ukraine unfolds, we can’t rule out that they may prove useful.

Was NATO Expansion Worth the Risk?  (Jonathan Sumption, The Spectator)
With access to previously classified files, M. E Sarotte analyses the West’s great gamble after the fall of the Berlin wall,

Iran’s Ferocious Return to the Policies of the Revolution’s Early Days  (Robin Wright, New Yorker)
The country’s new President, Ebrahim Raisi, is cracking down on women, arming Russia, and playing hardball with the U.S. on nuclear diplomacy.

Is the United States Ready for the Next Nuclear Era?  (Eric S. Edelman and Franklin C. Miller, The Bulwark)
Lessons from the Cold War can help the United States in nuclear competition with Russia and China.

British Police Fear Weapons from Ukraine War Could Reach the U.K. and Terrorists  (Lizzie Dearden, Independent)
British police are “working closely” to ensure that weapons from the Ukrainian war do not reach the UK and find their way into the hands of terrorists. Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Matt Twist said the conflict was one of several “international challenges” affecting security in the UK. Speaking at the International Security Expo in London on Tuesday, he added: “Whatever the outcome of this awful conflict, it is clear that over the medium term there will be huge amounts of weapons and ammunition in the region, which will take some time to stabilize and normalize when the phase of outright war ends. “We will work very closely across policing and with security partners, particularly the National Crime Agency to ensure that weapons from this or any other conflict zone do not find their way to the UK.” British counter-terror police are also leading investigations into alleged war crimes in Ukraine and taking testimonies from refugees fleeing to Britain. Mr Twist, who heads the “protect and prepare” strand of counter-terrorism policing, said officers were also monitoring other potential impacts from the Russian invasion, adding: “World events have an impact on the streets of London and elsewhere in the UK.

Human Trafficking’s Newest Abuse: Forcing Victims into Cyberscamming  (Cezary Podkul, with Cindy Liu, ProPublica)
Tens of thousands of people from across Asia have been coerced into defrauding people in America and around the world out of millions of dollars. Those who resist face beatings, food deprivation or worse.

Two Bombings in One Night? That’s Normal Now in Sweden.  (Paulina Neuding, Common Sense)
My country just voted in a right-wing government. The almost 500 bombings since 2018 may have something to do with it.