Russia

The Russian Bear, On the March

Featured image Russia is carrying out a cyber attack on Ukraine, and it is reported–rather casually, it seems to me–that Russia is likely to invade soon: U.S. intelligence officials have determined a Russian effort is underway to create a pretext for its troops to further invade Ukraine, and Moscow has already prepositioned operatives to conduct “a false-flag operation” in eastern Ukraine, according to the White House. *** “We are concerned that the »

Shocker: Biden’s “warnings” to Russia about Ukraine fail to move Putin

Featured image With something like 100,000 Russian troops lurking on the Russia-Ukraine border, Western intelligence officials are increasingly convinced that the Vladimir Putin wants to take control of a larger swath of Ukrainian territory, and the U.S. has warned our allies of a possible “incursion” (as the New York Times puts it). Russia wasn’t poised to invade Ukraine when Donald Trump was president because Trump projected strength. Joe Biden projects weakness and »

U.S. falters under Biden. China and Russia notice.

Featured image Since Joe Biden took office, it’s been one bad thing after another on the domestic front. A surge in coronavirus cases and deaths (even with the vaccine), a supply chain crisis, runaway inflation, rising violent crime, etc. There have also been a series of setbacks internationally, and these are directly attributable to Biden. The debacle in Afghanistan was the worst and most important one. It pretty much settled the question, »

How Biden abets Putin’s power play against Europe

Featured image With winter approaching, Europe is facing an energy crisis. To a significant degree, Vladimir Putin is orchestrating it. Josh Rogin observes that Putin has been refusing to respond swiftly to requests by Europeans for more gas. He is also probably behind the migrant crisis along the Belarus-Poland border. As a result of that crisis, as John noted yesterday, the Belarus president has threatened to close down a key gas pipeline »

Poland’s Border Crisis

Featured image In a crisis that is, in some ways, reminiscent of our own disaster at the southern border, Poland is facing what amounts to an invasion across its border with Belarus. The London Times reports: The EU has accused Belarus of acting like a “gangster” by luring migrants from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa and helping them to storm the border, which is the EU’s eastern edge, into Poland. The »

Tough on Russia? Not Joe Biden.

Featured image It’s common, and correct, for conservatives to call the non-stop attacks on Donald Trump for allegedly colluding with Russia a hoax. To me, though, it was worse — a double hoax. The first part of the hoax was the knowingly false allegation of collusion — the claim that, in exchange for Russian help in winning the election, Trump agreed, at a minimum, to eschew the tough-on-Russia policies required by American »

Are China and Russia unhappy to see the U.S. abandon the Afghans?

Featured image Almost every sentence of Joe Biden’s little talk about Afghanistan was dishonest, flawed, or both. Here’s one example. Biden said: Our true strategic competitors — China and Russia — would love nothing more than the United States to continue to funnel billions of dollars in resources and attention into stabilizing Afghanistan indefinitely. The U.S. was spending about $52 billion a year to support its military effort in Afghanistan and about »

And now, the Putin factor

Featured image Axios’s Jonathan Swan reports that Tucker Carlson was talking to U.S.-based Kremlin intermediaries about setting up an interview with Vladimir Putin shortly before Tucker accused the National Security Agency of monitoring his electronic communications for nefarious purposes — according to “sources familiar with the conversations.” Draw your own conclusions from this: The NSA’s public statement didn’t directly deny that any Carlson communications had been swept up by the agency. • »

Analyzing Dostoyevsky

Featured image Northwestern’s Gary Saul Morson takes a look at three new studies of Dostoyevsky in the July 1 New York Review of Books review “Dostoevsky and His Demons.” Subhead: “Three biographers take different approaches to the great writer’s life, which often resembled his most fantastic tales.” It’s an excellent review that takes a brief detour into Freudian analysis of Dostoyevsky. I found this funny: After Dostoevsky’s death, more legends accumulated. Best »

Washington Post confesses error on the Russia collusion story

Featured image It’s not an explicit confession of error, of course, but consider this line that appears well into a report about Joe Biden’s meeting with Vladimir Putin: “Putin’s high hopes for Trump delivered little for Moscow.” How can that be? The Post, the Democrats, and more than a few Never Trumpers told us that Trump colluded with Putin. Had that been true, Trump would have delivered for Moscow or else been »

Soft-on-Russia-Biden rejects State Department’s advice on sanctions

Featured image Secretary of State Antony Blinken is no one’s idea of a hardliner. For example, he’s leading the charge to appease Iran in the hope that, with the pot sweetened, the mullahs will permit the U.S. to reenter the nuclear deal. But Blinken is what passes for a hardliner in the feckless Biden administration. Reportedly, he strongly urged Joe Biden to sanction the company and the CEO behind the Nord Stream »

Those 16 sectors

Featured image Whatever President Biden had to say at his press conference after his meeting with Vladimir Putin in Geneva yesterday, it wasn’t worth the price. The price, that is, of giving Putin a stage on which to disparage the United States with a variety of left-wing talking points. Moreover, if Biden said to Putin what he said he said — the White House has posted the text of Biden’s comments here »

Biden yields to Putin on Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Featured image Axios reports that the Biden administration will waive sanctions on the corporate entity and CEO overseeing the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline into Germany. This means, in all likelihood, that the pipeline will become operational. That’s a huge win for Vladimir Putin. Why? For one thing, as Axios says, Russian gas currently has to pass through Ukraine on its way to Europe. Bypassing Ukraine with a direct pipeline »

The Giuliani corrections

Featured image I expressed my doubt about two of Rudy Giuliani’s statements to Tucker Carlson last week here. They discussed the search warrants executed at his home and office in connection with the investigation of an alleged Foreign Agents Registration Act violation. In that post I also took a cynical look at two New York Times stories on the case giving rise to the warrants. I don’t take anything either Giuliani or »

Sean McMeekin: The story behind “Stalin’s War”

Featured image Sean McMeekin is Francis Flournoy Professor of European History and Culture at Bard College and the author of Stalin’s War: A New History of World War II, officially published by Basic Books today. Professor McMeekin is one of the most prominent of the younger generation of historians of the Soviet Union. His first book — The Red Millionaire — is a personal favorite of mine. He graciously accepted my invitation »

Joe Biden is weak on Russia, Donald Trump was not

Featured image As I contended here, when it came to Russia, Donald Trump spoke softly but carried a stick. He didn’t attack Vladimir Putin personally, but he punished Russian misconduct to some extent and took meaningful measures to thwart Russian expansionism. So far, Joe Biden has adopted the opposite approach. He calls Putin “a killer,” but does not meaningfully punish Russia, even as it amasses large forces on the border of Ukraine. »

Putin tests Biden, as well he might

Featured image John wrote below about the heightened threat Russia is now posing to Ukraine. Taking an American-centric view of the matter, some news outlets characterize Russia’s move as “testing Biden.” Russia’s actions will test Biden. But it doesn’t follow that Vladimir Putin is taking these actions for that purpose. I think it’s true, however, that our adversaries are far more likely to take aggressive action against our allies when they sense »