Ukraine

A Nuanced View of the Russia-Ukraine War

Featured image For me, the war in Ukraine is simple: Ukraine didn’t invade Russia, Russia invaded Ukraine. So I am on the Ukrainians’ side. But at the same time, my perspective is nuanced. The nuance consists of wondering whether it really is in our interest to send tens of billions of dollars worth of war materiel to the Ukrainians. What interest, exactly, do we have in the conflict that makes such an »

The Inexorable Logic of Dictators

Featured image Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and its rapid stall out from effective Ukrainian resistance, there has been a lot of talk, backed up with appropriate quotes from Sun Tzu and other classic authors on strategy, that we need to contrive some kind of graceful “offramp” for Putin. This seems like unpromising advice. Time to recall once again the counsel of Churchill, made for a foolishly hopeful American »

Ukraine, the Russian Perspective

Featured image It is hard to think of a recent policy issue on which American public opinion has been so unified: just about everyone is pro-Ukraine, but hardly anyone wants American troops to fight on the ground. Despite this apparent consensus, various public figures, including Donald Trump, have been vilified as pro-Russia. It light of recent revelations about Russian atrocities, it is safe to assume that essentially no one–certainly no politician or »

Our Ukraine Dilemmas

Featured image A certain amount of caution is recommended about reporting and commenting on the Ukraine War, mostly because solid facts are hard to come by (the “fog of war” and all that), and judgment about what to do is in equally short supply, especially inside the head of our president. A few things appear certain. First, the Ukrainians have fought with great skill and effectiveness, and surprised the world with their »

Thanks for clearing that up

Featured image We’ve sought to follow a variety of “walkbacks” from President Biden’s logorrhea over the past week. Biden has a chronic case of the malady, but he aggravated it in Europe. That logorrhea — as in Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression,” it’s a frustrating mess. Speaking with the 82nd Airborne in Rzeszów, Poland, on March 25 — White House transcript here — Biden sought to excite them over the sights they would »

Biden’s Gaffes: A Postscript

Featured image As everyone knows, Joe Biden made at least three important blunders while he was in Europe, that had to be corrected by the White House. But yesterday, having returned to the U.S., Biden denied that any of his comments had been walked back: “What’s getting walked back? … None of the three occurred.” Biden’s assertion is implausible as to all three of his gaffes, but I want to focus on »

Got half a mind to ramble

Featured image President Biden’s public appearances in Europe this week have made for a dangerous spectacle of debility and senescence. It does not serve Biden’s interest to take notice. The media have therefore pitched in to airbrush the spectacle. That is the point Kyle Smith makes in the New York Post column “Media works overtime to clean up Joe Biden’s word salads.” In his Wall Street Journal Best of the Web column »

The Times Is Putin Us On

Featured image I wrote yesterday that the New York Times was planning on smearing conservatives as mouthpieces for Vladimir Putin. We know this because a Times reporter emailed Candace Owens and said she was working on such an article, the centerpiece of which was the claim that commentators like Candace are echoing Putin’s line that Ukraine is a corrupt country. Candace replied by pointing out that everything she knew about corruption in »

We’ve Always Been at War With Eastasia

Featured image For me, the Ukraine situation is pretty simple. Ukraine didn’t invade Russia, Russia invaded Ukraine. And Russia is our geopolitical rival/enemy, while Ukraine is not. So I am on Ukraine’s side and am happy to do what we can to help the Ukrainians, without committing acts of war against Russia. Like, say, shooting down their airplanes. So I am part of what seems to be an unusually broad consensus among »

The Lincolnian Zelensky?

Featured image Tucker Carlson has served a valuable service in giving voice to qualms that should ruffle the political consensus that has driven our support of Ukraine. He seeks to highlight uncomfortable facts that should belie the uniparty consensus, or at least make it more thoughtful. Last night he devoted his opening monologue — “Everybody is lying” (video) — to denouncing Ukraine President Zelensky as a tyrant. Tucker’s monologue was predicated on »

Trump on Ukraine, Oil Prices, China, and the Rest

Featured image Remember how everyone said Trump was Putin’s poodle, and an isolationist to boot? Worth taking in his interview this morning with Stuart Varney on Fox Business: So much for the “Trump as isolationist Russian stooge.” You get a good sense here why Putin didn’t invade Ukraine on Trump’s watch. »

The madness of Vlad the inhaler

Featured image Vladimir Putin is willing to destroy Ukraine to express his love of the Russian people. He spoke on Wednesday at a “Meeting on socioeconomic support for regions” via videoconference, on socioeconomic support for the constituent entities of the Russian Federation. He spoke for some 37 minutes and took up a variety of issues bearing on his war on Ukraine. At the moment video of the full speech with inadequate translation »

The Kamala korrections

Featured image Many noted Vice President Harris’s apparent confusion about the status of Ukraine as a member of NATO (or not) in her remarks at the DNC winter meeting last week. It may deserve a place in the work in progress that I call Veep Thoughts by Kamala Harris. I thought it was nothing more than the usual blather. The clip pic.twitter.com/mdXtedk6kA — Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) March 14, 2022 Politico’s Alex Thompson »

Z

Featured image Z was the 1969 political thriller that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Referring to the political assassination with which the film begins, “Z” stood for “he lives.” I hope that when the Russia’s war on Ukraine comes to an end, “Z” can stand for Zelenksy and his survival will be literal rather than metaphorical. Zelensky’s appearance before Congress yesterday prompts these obvious thoughts. • Ukraine is an »

Zelensky speaks…to Congress

Featured image Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will speak to Congress later this morning. The AP has just published Lisa Mascaro’s preview of Zelensky’s remarks in “Zelenskyy center stage: Facing Congress, pleading for help.” In “Zelensky speaks” on March 4 I observed (forgive me for quoting myself): “As the fate of Ukraine hangs in the balance Zelensky is the man of the hour. He harks back to the old-fashioned virtues. In the battle »

Is Russia’s Invasion Failing?

Featured image It is hard to know what information to trust about the situation in the Ukrainian war. A few days ago the Financial Times, which isn’t perfect (what media outlet is these days?) but fairly sober about its news reporting standards, ran a long story outlining what it saw as the significant failures of the Russian invasion: In the first phase of its offensive, the Kremlin’s military story is one of »

World War III?

Featured image Joe Biden made international news today when he definitively ruled out use of American forces in Ukraine on the ground that such action would bring about “World War III.” “The idea that we’re going to send in offensive equipment and have planes and tanks and trains going in with American pilots and American crews — just understand, don’t kid yourself, no matter what y’all say, that’s called World War III,” »