What if H.R. McMaster is right about North Korea? The national-security adviser is one of the biggest hawks in the Trump administration. CIA boss Mike Pompeo gives latest indication Trump may consider preemptive strike on North Korea. It’s time to bomb North Korea: Destroying Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal is still in America’s national interest. The US military is preparing for a possible war against North Korea — but there’s an active diplomacy campaign right now to ensure it doesn’t happen. The North Korea deal: Why diplomacy is still the best option. How the U.S. and North Korea could stumble into World War III.

Want to strike North Korea? It’s not going to go the way you think. Abraham M. Denmark on the myth of the limited strike on North Korea: Any U.S. attack would risk a war. Victor Cha: Giving North Korea a “bloody nose” carries a huge risk to Americans. Disagreement on North Korea policy derails White House choice for ambassador to South Korea. Don’t the South Koreans get a vote on war with the North? Why China won’t rescue North Korea: Oriana Skylar Mastro on what to expect if things fall apart. North Korea is not building nuclear weapons to destroy the US or unify Korea — the real reasons are much more surprising.

A new Korean war would kill more U.S. military personnel than you might think. Matthew Walther on Trump’s glib complacency about nuclear war — and ours. Nuclear war won’t hit suburbs, conservative magazine assures readers. How they learned to stop worrying and love the bomb (to spite the libs).

Hawaii’s missile false alarm spurs worries about US-North Korea war. Thread: “You need to know the story of KAL-007, a Korean airliner shot down in 1983, to understand why those 38 minutes in Hawaii put the whole world in danger”.

David S. Rubenstein (Washburn): Taking Care of the Rule of Law. From Research Matters, an interview with Rien Fertel, author of The One True Barbecue: Fire, Smoke, and the Pitmasters Who Cook the Whole Hog. “There are higher laws”: Katie McDonough goes inside the archives of an illegal abortion network. Vladimir Putin is not an all-powerful mastermind — Donald Trump is proof. In age of Trump, political reporters are in demand and under attack. Artificial intelligence may have cracked freaky 600-year-old Voynich manuscript. Sarah Miller on a new Google doc of media men. FEMA cutting off food and water aid to Puerto Rico. Amazon should not be in charge of solving our health-care crisis.

The real state of the union in 2018, explained: What Donald Trump won’t tell you. The state of the union is weird: The state of the economy is pretty good; the state of the polity is not. How American democracy survived President Trump’s first year: The state of the union is strong — we know because it stopped Trump’s most authoritarian moves. The psychology of how Trump divides and distracts us: Trump may have low approval ratings — but he still has power over hearts and minds. Who really writes Trump’s speeches? The White House won’t say.

From Lawfare, what’s going on with sanctions on Russia? There’s a second Trump-Russia dossier: Conservatives aren’t going to like this (and more). Release the Memo is a farce: House Republicans are now actively working to impede the Russian investigation. Now Paul Ryan is casually throwing around the word “cleanse”. Trump’s law enforcement purge is now Republican policy. As Trump’s exposure has grown, Republicans have carved out a berth of impunity around him large enough to steer him through the biggest scandal in American political history. Republicans have all but given up on opposing Trump.

Trump warned America about his abuse of power: As a candidate, he promised to erode the Justice Department’s independence and prosecute his political enemies — now he’s delivering. Trump keeps throwing tantrums when he remembers he isn’t a dictator. We are in the midst of a trickle-down constitutional crisis. Thread: “It may be time to start thinking about how we can effectively push back against authoritarianism once the last of the checks and balances have fallen”. Senate Dems plot moonshot attempts to save Robert Mueller from Trump. There’s no way Mueller will indict Trump: Those hoping the special counsel will prosecute the president are engaging in fantasy. Mueller won’t indict Trump — but here’s what he can do.

Intellectual integrity is rare among Republicans these days. The governing wing of the Republican party is nearing extinction. Here’s everything Republicans could be doing to stop Trump — except they’re not doing any of it, because they frickin’ love him. Thread: “One key lesson of 2017 was that everything liberals have said about right-wing hypocrisy was true — in fact understated”. Donald Trump’s presidency is the libertarian moment. Steve Benen on why the rehabilitation of George W. Bush is a mistake. David Frum is a political party of one: The famous Never Trump thinks conservatism is “obsolete”, but will Republicans listen to him?

The weak, effective authoritarian: Trump’s critics are dividing into two camps, but their respective arguments aren’t as mutually exclusive as they seem. Trump’s tweets have been a legal disaster for the Justice Department. Trump’s latest interview shows he’s not really the president: He’s holding the office but not doing the job. Is President Trump a stealth postmodernist or just a liar? “There’s never a bottom. Always some new sub basement of shamefulness beneath the previous sub basement”. John Stoehr on why the Democrats need to act like Republicans. Trump is winning: Trump is making us a little more like him, and politics a little more like the tribal clash he says it is.

Chris Ranalli (VU Amsterdam): The Wittgensteinian Theory of Deep Disagreement. Amazon is a company worth $678 billion whose CEO is the richest man in the history of the world; oddly, it is also the perpetrator of one of the biggest welfare scams America has ever seen. Sarah Jones on what Democrats can learn from Cecile Richards. Adrian Chen on the Google Arts and Culture app and the rise of the “coded gaze”. Sessions is unlikely to actually face an impeachment inquiry anytime soon, but he should be put on notice that one is coming if the balance of power in Washington shifts. Women outnumber men in Oxford’s newest class — it only took 1,000 years. Republicans and Democrats have never been more divided over Israel.

Republicans just voted to ask Trump to #ReleaseTheMemo — here’s what you need to know. House Republicans declare war on FBI, vote to spill its secrets and investigate it. Republican House “leaders” are complicit in obstruction. Republicans must pick a side in the Mueller investigation: The GOP claims to support the probe, even as the party undermines it at every turn. Questions that Mueller might ask Trump: The most consequential could involve the President’s understanding of the rule of law. Is Trump a greater threat than Nixon? Here’s the big danger ahead. David Leonhardt on an article of impeachment against Donald J. Trump. For impeachment referral, Mueller would need Rosenstein. Benjamin Wittes on big lies, law enforcement, and the defense of Rod Rosenstein. Martin London on how President Trump can be prosecuted as a criminal.

It’s now likely Mueller thinks Trump obstructed justice. Trump tried to fire Mueller — so what? 12 legal experts on what they think the special counsel will do next. Timothy L. O'Brien: “I’ve watched Trump testify under oath. It isn’t pretty”. Trump expects Justice Department to serve him, not justice. The Mueller confrontation that Republicans were trying to avoid has just arrived. GOPers dismissed bills to protect Mueller last year — they still face long odds. Greg Sargent on Trump and the great GOP abdication. Trump displays contempt for democratic norms — that is frightening enough in its own right; that the Republican Party appears determined to follow his lead portends disaster.

Tiffany Jones (Macquarie): Trump, Trans Students and Transnational Progress. Steve Wynn is a shining example of Republican hypocrisy: Unless Republicans give all his money back, their Harvey Weinstein outrage was — shock — all just an act (and more). Deep in Clinton country, voters stand by their candidate. From Mythos, Sophia Richards interviews Jia Tolentino. France rethinks honor for Charles Maurras, condemned as anti-Semite. Fitness tracking app Strava gives away location of secret US army bases. At Davos, Trump became a leader the global 1% can learn to love. Lessons from the election of 1968: Protests, populism, and progressivism all clashed in a battle royal — but what really drives election results?

Academe on the auction block: David V. Johnson on thinking at the behest of a new patron class. Charles Koch gave $50 million to higher ed in 2016 — what did he buy? Suspicious relationship between the Koch brothers and Utah university raises eyebrows. A foundation overseen by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch is making major investments in foreign policy programs at elite American universities. Koch-funded academics bring free-market ideology to the Trump administration. A conservative nonprofit that seeks to transform college campuses faces allegations of racial bias and illegal campaign activity. Koch institute to conservatives: Don’t be snowflakes.

Masahiro Morioka (Waseda): The Trolley Problem and the Dropping of Atomic Bombs. Matthew Bolton (Pace): The Spirit of Lysistrata: Gender, Collective Action and the Nuclear Weapons Ban. The nuclear threat can be contained by diplomacy: These issues are manageable if they are given the right degree of priority. For decades, leaders have used the nuclear threat to consolidate power at home — even when it is bad for national security. Mikhail Gorbachev: My plea to the presidents of Russia and the United States. Julie McDowall reviews Sleepwalking to Armageddon: The Threat of Nuclear Annihilation by Helen Caldicott.

Elisabeth Eaves and Julian Hayda on weighing 75 years of the nuclear age. The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize winner wants to ban nuclear weapons — here’s why the U.S. is opposed. An urgent warning about the monumental danger of nuclear weapons — even if Trump weren’t president: Fred Kaplan reviews The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner by Daniel Ellsberg (and more). Doomsday pattern: Elisa Gabbert on life in the pre-apocalypse. Want to increase your property values? Try a nuclear war. Matthew Bunn and Nickolas Roth on the effects of a single terrorist nuclear bomb. Millennials need new movies about nuclear war, a ninth-grader says.

From the National Interest, Tom Nichols on 5 ways nuclear armageddon was almost unleashed (or World War III) and on 5 ways a nuclear war could go down (and billions of people would die). What Donald Trump can learn from the two most dangerous weeks in history. These women are the last thing standing between you and nuclear war. How the CIA secretly recruits academics: In order to tempt nuclear scientists from countries such as Iran or North Korea to defect, US spy agencies routinely send agents to academic conferences — or even host their own fake ones. The CDC wants to prepare Americans for a nuclear strike.

“Don’t wait until the bombs are falling”: Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg encourages more like him. The Trump administration’s nuclear policy review loosens constraints on the use of nuclear weapons — we should all be worried. A new Trump administration plan makes nuclear war likelier. Garrett M. Graff on how U.S. nuclear weapons strategy only makes us more vulnerable to catastrophe. The people who would survive nuclear war: How an appendix to an obscure government report helped launch a blockbuster and push back the possibility of atomic war.

From the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Kennette Benedict on Doomsday Clockwork; and Lisbeth Gronlund and David Wright on how a nuclear attack order is carried out now and how to limit presidential authority to order the use of nuclear weapons. What even is the Doomsday Clock? It’s two minutes to midnight — what the hell does that even mean?