Putin’s Playmates Trump and Tucker Remind Trumpsters They’ve Been Trained to Love Putin
As I’ve been watching Putin expand his war in Ukraine, I’ve been thinking a lot about his timing. Why launch it now rather than two years ago, when Trump would have facilitated it, or another year from now, when Republicans are expected to control at least one house of Congress?
I suspect there are a lot of things that dictate the timing. Any invasion was going to come in winter. It’s easier for heavy tanks to move, but more importantly, winter temperatures make it easier to use gas prices to impose a cost on Europe.
I think it happened this year, under Biden’s first full winter rather than 2021 or even 2020 because, up until Biden’s inauguration, Putin’s investment in Trump might still have paid off by allowing Putin to achieve his objectives without launching a war. He almost did, in the insurrection, which was undoubtedly led by MAGAts but which included the participation of some key Russian projects (such as Patrick Byrne).
To be sure, there are European reasons, even beyond the gas squeeze. Boris Johnson is fighting to keep power. Angela Merkel’s retirement surely led Putin to hope that the EU would be left without a strong leader (or that he could more easily manipulate Emmanuel Macron, especially in an election year).
But I believe this invasion represents the culmination of a plan not just to reassert what he imagines is Russian greatness, but also to end US hegemony, which Putin has pursued for a decade.
Ukraine has been a part of that and starting in 2010, Paul Manafort was useful to giving his puppets the patina of legitimacy. After Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster, Ukraine was useful as a testing ground for various kinds of hybrid warfare, most spectacularly with the NotPetya attack in 2018.
Ukraine — the partnership of Konstantin Kilimnik and Oleg Deripaska, along with their leverage over Paul Manafort — was also whence Russian launched its 2016 attack (I need to find the reference, but they knew they could place Manafort as campaign manager before the end of 2015). As I have written (in a piece on my understanding of the role of using the Steele dossier as a vehicle for disinformation), Russia’s interference in 2016 is best understood as a win-win. If Hillary won, Roger Stone would have rolled out the same Stop the Steal plan that was used in 2020 back in 2016 to destabilize the US in 2017 rather than 2021, as happened.
Trump’s win was an unexpected bonus.
As part of the 2016 operation, Russia also did unprecedented damage to the NSA (through the Shadow Brokers operation) and the CIA (in the way that WikiLeaks rolled out the Vault 7 release).
The failure of Russia’s attempt to blame its 2016 interference on a false flag thwarted Russia’s best laid plans — which would have involved Kilimnik calling in the quid pro quo made with Manafort on August 2, 2016 and getting Trump to help carve up Ukraine in the same way Russia is currently doing with tanks.
Even still, the Russian investigation paid huge dividends and, given Putin’s long game, to date has surely been more than worth it. That’s because the FBI-led investigation into Trump’s cooperation with Russia, over time, came to train Republicans to trust Putin more than they trust Democrats.
Republicans genuinely believe, falsely, that the FBI deliberately attempted to take Trump out (entirely memory holing Jim Comey’s role in getting Trump elected, much less that the FBI Agents running informants on the Clinton Foundation during the election were explicitly anti-Hillary). The dossier disinformation project proved so wildly successful that most Republicans genuinely believe, falsely, that there wasn’t abundant proof of cooperation between Trump and Russia, including communications directly with the Kremlin during the election that Michael Cohen lied to hide. Republican members of Congress genuinely came to believe — because they had to! — that criticism of Trump’s refusal to spend the money in support of Ukraine they had appropriated was just another Democratic attack on Trump and not an attempt to save the integrity of American democracy. All this culminated in Stop the Steal 2.0, a literal attack on American democracy; Republican fealty to Trump forced them — more reluctantly at first and driven in large part by real terror — to defend an assault on Congress.
By February 13, 2021, the date the Senate voted to acquit Donald Trump of inciting an attack on Congress, Republicans had put loyalty to Donald Trump over defense of the country and the Capitol in which they worked.
Sure, Putin didn’t get Trump to carve up Ukraine as President. But he got so much more from Trump’s presidency.
Putin did get Trump to do real damage to NATO. He got Trump to largely abandon Syria. Trump made a humiliating deal with the Taliban that would result in the US withdrawing its military from Russia’s back door. After years of Russia having to work hard to highlight American hypocrisy on human rights, Trump did things like pardon war criminals, forever tainting America’s claim to be exceptional.
And through it all, Trump created his own authoritarian-supporting militias, heavily armed troops inspired by resentment who have the ability to make the United States ungovernable. Trumpist Republicans are making localized efforts to dismantle democracy. Trump’s Supreme Court nominees have abandoned legal precedent.
Which brings us to this moment.
I think Putin faced a moment of diminishing returns. Republicans are finally beginning to wake up from their Trump cult. If COVID subsides and the US economy takes off, Democrats might surprise at midterms. I wouldn’t be surprised, either, if Russia expected some details of what it has done over the last decade — involving Julian Assange, involving 2016 (with the prosecution of Vladislav Klyushin), possibly even involving Trump — to become public in the near future. And so Putin chose this moment to launch a war to try to solidify the efforts he has made over the last decade.
Thus far, however, things haven’t gone Putin’s way.
I believe that Putin thought he could demonstrate Five Eyes fragility by conducting war games off the Irish coast without inciting the nationalism of a bunch of Irish fisherman. I believe Putin expected the US and/or Europe would fail to fully incorporate Ukraine in its planning, thereby discrediting Volodymyr Zelenskyy. I believe that Putin expected he would be able to peel away France and Germany (after Olaf Scholz’s initial announcement that it is halting Nord Stream 2, there seems to be some hesitation). I believe Putin expected his false flags would work. I believe Putin believed he’d be able to blame someone else for this invasion. I agree with Dan Drezner, thus far Biden has done just about everything right.
I believe that Putin believed his invasion would split NATO, the EU, and the US. Thus far it has had the opposite effect.
Which brings us to the weird pivot that Trump and his top Fox associates: white nationalist Tucker Carlson, Chief of Staff Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham.
Yesterday, Trump hailed Putin’s actions as genius.
“I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine — Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful,” Trump told conservative podcaster Buck Sexton.
I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s strongest peace force… We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right,” Trump continued. “Here’s a guy who’s very savvy… I know him very well. Very, very well.”
Last night, Tucker did a chilling monologue, suggesting that Americans have been trained to hate Vladimir Putin.
Tucker suggested that Putin’s invasion is just a border dispute. He’s suggesting that Biden is doing this to pay off imagined debts to Ukrainian Oligarchs. Tucker laid out Putin’s plan for costs to impose on Americans, in terms of energy costs. Tucker included every single false claim about Ukraine that Russia has been planting since 2016. Every single one.
This is the monologue you’d expect of a man who believes there are two years of records showing Russian and Hungarian sources trying to set up one meeting between him and Putin.
To win this war, Putin needs to achieve both goals at once: splitting the US so that he can take Ukraine. One goal serves the other.
And in days ahead, Putin undoubtedly plans to take great risks to impose some costs on European and American voters. In gas prices, sure, but probably also with some ambitious cyberattacks and efforts to support another insurrection. Those costs, I imagine Putin plans, will lead American and European voters to lose patience with support for Ukraine, to forget that this is about the ability to enjoy real democracy.
But to get away with that, Putin has to ensure that it won’t backfire by overcoming the polarization he has invested great effort to encourage in the last five years.
Via whatever means last night, Putin’s two biggest assets in the US (speaking in terms of advantages, not recruited assets, but I don’t rule it out) went out and reminded Trump supporters that they’ve been trained to like Putin more than they like their own country.
Update: Philip Bump notes that Republicans like Putin more than Biden.
Its a gig sell, even for Fox e-News. The audience may go ice fishing or play with the grandchildren instead.
They may be under estimating how hard it will be to sell more anti-Bush and anti-Reagan pro Russian propaganda.
“We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”
— Eric Trump
“Ukraine pays Hunter Biden $100 million a year?”
And I guess Marty Byrde quietly launders every dollar of it.
Love the Ozark reference!
Hi John, long time no see!
Didn’t chuck schumer get a bunch of money from the evil Russians? Didn’t hunter biden get a diamond and money from the Russians? Hmmmmmm
[The game of trolling is like baseball: three strikes and you’re out. Hit the locker room permanently. /~Rayne]
You forgot your snark tags.
If it was snark.
I was trying very hard not to go there.
I’ve forgotten. Which state does Hunter Biden represent in Congress? And even more fun, which US Congressman paid off his house the week after returning from an invited trip to Russia?
I think even more than establishing a set of genuine beliefs, the GOP goal — which Putin supports but does not lead — has been about training their base to accept whatever they are told to accept.
The extent to which the press abets this has been horrible for decades. There are signs they are waking up, but it is going to be critical for them to recognize how much of Putin’s destabilization is using the same model as the GOP model, and in the case of people appearing on Fox, actually using the same actors.
People like Chuck Todd, most of the NY Times DC bureau, Politico, all depend on producing daily content provided to them by the GOP PR machine. To a large extent they can’t imagine functioning if they can’t switch on a dime to accepting “we have always been at war with Eurasia” is a good faith statement of solid belief, rather than a transactional statement for authoritarian purposes.
That’s the model. For some segments of the population it could work. Orwell knew the model was powerful.
But I think there so many alternatives for older Fox addicts, and so many real life issues for younger Fox addicts that it won’t work in the modern US.
To start with, the Ukrainians are the under dogs, and that has great appeal.
Its hard to switch from telling white MAGA enthusiasts who were taught to think of themselves as the underdogs to convert to rooting for a 21st century autocrat.
“rooting for a 21st century autocrat”
Like Trump? In Loonytown, just like the MAGAs themselves it is Putin-Trump who is both strong and oppressed while the Ukrainians and Biden and the Libs are simultaneously weak and the oppressors.
One myth, to unite them all.
I think the enormity of the contortion is the point, though, not the problem.
Getting evangelicals to rally around Trump because of Stormy Daniels is a good example — Trump refused to even pay lip service to the traditional evangelical model of admitting to sin as the foundation of Christianity. And that became a sign that Trump was even more valid as a role model of Christian leadership.
They accepted he had to deny sin because the power of secular (or more darkly, Jewish) media was so potently opposing him. This meant his denial was a sign of his ultimate righteousness. Biden’s obvious piety doesn’t count, conversely, because they accept that he must be weak in his faith to display it unlike Trump.
Russia sending tanks into a much smaller country will be sold as a sign that Rusia was truly victims of a larger conspiracy, because secure nations don’t need to do this.
This is not, as some people argue, a reason to let disinformation slide, or try to deal with it in a haphazard fact checking approach. It means that right wing and Russian disinformation have to be dealt with in a systematic way which ties specific lies into their greater methods and goals.
Gaslighting = whataboutery + a false equivalence + projection
But there’s gaslighting. And then there’s an acetylene blowtorch.
Invented in 1989 by Rush Limbaugh.
And perfected by Newt Gingrich in the Contract (on) America in 1994.
Two more reasons to answer the “why now?” question:
1) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is a dead PM walking. Between his flauting of COVID-19 restrictions, his failures to provide adequately for the NHS, his dysfunctional Downing Street administration, the mess that is Brexit** (from the issues in Ireland to the Chunnel traffic jams to . . .), and God knows what else, Johnson would have been gone months ago if there was any plausible Tory willing to step up and take the job from him.
2) German Changellor Olaf Schultz is new to office, heading up a three-party coalition of his own Social Democrats, the business-oriented Free Democrats, and the Greens. Thus, his cabinet also contains various newcomers, including brand new foreign minister Annalena Baerbock of the Greens. Schultz served as Finance minister in a coalition under Merkel and the more conservative Christian Democratic Union, but he’s new in the top job.
Think about it from Putin’s perspective: one major European power is imploding with its domestic politics while also consumed by renegotiating its relationship with the rest of Europe, and another major European power is transitioning from a CDU-led grand coaltion to an SPD-led coalition that includes the Greens for the first time. That’s a lot of energy being turned inward to domestic policies and squabbling, perhaps leaving little energy for the sustained effort it will take to oppose him. Just what anyone would want in their enemy’s capitals if they are contemplating a little military adventurism.
**For those more tin-foil oriented or those with a longer sober view of things, toss in a little friendly Russian help behind the scenes to push Brexit over the line and screw with UK politics, hoping to create the same kind of dysfunction in the UK that they did in the US.
The Murdoch empire seems solidly in Putin’s corner as well.
I don’t think the Murdochs answer to Putin, but they have a lot to do with the chaos around Johnson — if they wanted to crown a successor, they would.
And obviously Fox News has been working overtime in coordination with Russian goals. I think the motives aren’t clear, but it’s disappointing that the rest of the press treats this as a Tucker Carlson issue than a Murdoch one.
Peterr- I’ve long believed that there was Russian help of some sort to push Brexit over the line. Which category am I in? (referencing your final paragraph)
The latter. Right next to me.
In the liveblog of the Prime Minister’s Question Time, the Guardian noted how the Labour MPs pushed hard on Russian donations to the Tories, presumably in exchange for lax oversight of their money laundering and perhaps also to encourage Brexit. The list of donors, recipients, and donations is brutal and daunting for anyone trying to defend Boris Johnson and his party.
Peterr- thanks for that Guardian link. I’m off to read it blow by blow.
I am definitely in camp with you both. Russian oligarch money is propping up both the City and the London property market, for example, as well as the Tory party. No one who expects a hefty bonus wants to see that money more tightly regulated.
It’s one of many reasons the long-promised directory of beneficial ownership of real estate has – and will forever – be delayed. (A little regulation by the FCA notwithstanding, beneficial ownership remains hidden behind various legal dodges, mostly involving offshore (but de facto British-controlled) locations.) The odd London townhouse or penthouse on the Thames might be breathtaking, but they wouldn’t lie empty and be valued at 100 million pounds if they weren’t nodes for money laundering.
It’s also one reason the recent exposee about Credit Suisse, while newsworthy, is a little precious: the articles themselves admit that, despite its history of hiding corrupt funds behind bank and corporate secrecy laws, the Swiss place third behind the US and the UK.
Carole Cadwalladr and others have amply demonstrated that illegal Russian money was behind Brexit and is behind the Tory party.
So very glad to see you. And, your most illuminating reply, as usual.
I’ll come back later with more comments, once I get my thoughts together.
I realized I have nothing astute to add. Nonetheless:
I was fairly sure I knew what you meant by “the City”, but I wanted to make sure. Here’s a link for anyone else who wants to read about it.
~The City of London vies with New York City’s Downtown Manhattan as the financial capital of the world. Whilst New York is the most significant stock-trading centre, London’s foreign exchange market is the biggest in the world, by the amount traded.~ etc.
I almost added, in my first comment to Peterr, “There’s a lot of Russian money sloshing around London.”
Right after the Brexit vote, I spent some hours looking at the voting map. My recollection is that in the greater London area, votes were anti-Brexit. (If that is incorrect, please correct me.)
But I now realize, belatedly, that the map I was paying attention to is irrelevant to the question of Russian influence on Brexit.
One would of course need a totally different sort of map to display the connections between Russia-derived money and Brexit. A flow chart of how the money moved, not a geographical map.
Ah. Credit Suisse- a few days ago I read about the exposees, but missed the information that “the Swiss place third behind the US and the UK”. TY. Precious indeed.
Missing that the Swiss rank only third might be why the stories buried that statistic in the middle paragraphs of their exposees.
For more background on Russian money, Brexit, and the Tories, you might research work by Carole Cadwalladr and her colleagues at the Observer/Guardian over the last five years.
I read them at the time.
Martin Rowson on Russian donors to the Tory party, right on cue:
I can’t remember the details but I did read about the tennis matches and/with Russian money a good while back.
“The City is a form of outdoor relief for the aristocracy”.
Do remember that money laundering for corrupt elites from unstable countries has been mainstream business in London for a long time. “Lax oversight” would be SOP.
Though I can imagine Labour was really upset by Russian money working against Labour. Stupid pissants thinking they and Britain could safely benefit from the stolen wealth of foreign countries.
An opinion column by George Monbiot spells out more background on what I would call public corruption in the UK. Here, it’s what he calls “a strand of capitalism” – otherwise known as neoliberalism – that wants to decimate the economy in order to privatize assets on the cheap.
The approach is one Russian oligarchs would know well: it’s how many of them became oligarchs. But it’s a program that authoritarians from any country – with wads of cash at their disposal – would readily buy into, so to speak. Monbiot’s argument applies equally, for example, to the US.
This isn’t the first time the Greens have been in government in the Bundestag. The SPD and Greens governed together from 1998 to 2005.
…”transitioning …to an SPD coalition which includes the Green for the first time” (?)
The Greens under Joschka Fischer were junior partners to the Schröder SPD coalition 1998 -2005.
Remember Fischer’s “Meester Ruumsfelt, Vee are not conwinced” ? during the Bush/Cheney march to sceure Iraq’s WMD?
The Greens already have experience ruling and Annalen Baerbock is smart and tough.
My bad. Thanks to you and James for your correction.
My broader point, however, still stands. Simply negotiating the makeup of the government in this three party coalition took months, and included debates on which policy positions the government should take. Lots to sort out, both in terms of jobs and policies, and all that newness makes for (in Putin’s eyes) a good time to stir the pot.
Schultz was in favor of Nord Stream 2, while Baerbock and the Greens were opposed. Absent Putin’s advances in Ukraine, I don’t know what might have happened with the pipeline project, but it makes sense (from Putin’s POV) to exploit that kind of difference of opinion within the government. And perhaps he assumed that since Schultz is the chancellor, his pro-pipeline stance would necessarily carry the day.
It doesn’t take a tinfoil hat to recognize the Russian influence, both in social media and financing, on the disinformation that led to the adoption of Brexit. I certainly agree with your assessment of Putin’s assessment of current European politics. But I’m surprised no one else has pointed out that the name of the German chancellor is Olaf Scholz. Although they’re pronounced almost the same.
This is not my day for typing.
And two more:
1) If tRump™ had won he would’ve pulled us out of Nato.
2) The Covid pandemic appears to be winding down.
[Welcome back to emptywheel. REPEAT REQUEST: This may be your last approved comment if you do NOT figure out how to address your problematic “poor boomer memory” (sic) and stick with one username. This one is at least your sixth, including a snarky use one time of “G Todd (aka The Sock Puppet).” Helpful hint: save a plain text note on your desktop with your username for this site in it. /~Rayne]
A little off topic but, here’s a question that I would like to know the answer to: Has anyone at the Biden White House considered declassifying Trump’s Perfect Phone Call to Zelenskyy as more evidence establishing a pattern of illegal behavior, especially around election laws? Of course the pattern includes: paying off porn-stars, soliciting Russian help, giving election data to Russian agents, soliciting Ukrainian dirty tricks to get mud on Biden and so forth. The phone call is especially important because it shows Trump himself engaged in the wrongdoing (The jurors could be “ear-witnesses.”) and it would perfectly parallel the other Perfect Call to Raffensperger. I would think that might be useful to certain prosecutors in Georgia, for instance.
My hypothesis is that’s one of the things he took with him to Mar-a-Lago.
I also think that the investigation into Rudy may dictate keeping it sealed for a while.
I understand your Mar-a-Lago point, but I don’t understand the Rudy reference.
The known warrants on Rudy are about his Ukrainian influence peddling, which is what set the groundwork for that call. So depending on whether the scope of the investigation has changed it may include that call.
I see. Thanks.
“Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great.”
Aren’t these transcripts stored on secure white house servers? I’m remembering from the impeachment that someone moved the transcript to a more restricted server.
Is there really only a few hard copies Trump could take with him?
I’m not an IT professional, but my sense is that government security + IT considerations would dictate a secure backup (or three). If the file and its backup copies were all deleted, the system files would at a minimum show that they were deleted, as well as who did the deletion, when, and from what work station/location. High security = limited access and an electronic trail showing who did what within the system.
Or I could be an idiot.
SCIF-worthy items are indeed handled that way and their networks are also typically not external-facing either. That’s why Snowden needed jump drives.
Indeed. One must have permission to destroy TS/SCI documents, and there must be a trail. Otherwise said document is considered compromised and last owner is responsible, as in going to prison responsible.
Perhaps it already has and the transcript is part of the Archivist files whether in the J6SC hands or in the notorious 15 boxes. There is also the possibility that sources and methods are involved (but IMHO not likely). If the J6SC has it, they’ve been pretty good about keeping secrets so it may have to wait until the April and May public hearings.
OT, Ian Blackford was taking BoJo to task about Russian oligarch money sloshing through the UK, can a UWO investigation finally happen?
I want to see the transcript of Trump’s Helsinki meeting with Putin. Surely someone had a bug in the room? Estonia, if you’re listening….
Well, it might exist as a Russian document which may (or more likely not) be accurate. Remember, only Individual-1 was there on our side, IIRC his interpreter was excluded.
So putting on the tinfoil hat, I’m guessing that’s when Vlad laid out his ‘terms’ for a ‘deal’ that couldn’t be refused and the rest followed from there. If there is any documentation it would very likely be in the notorious 15 boxes since it’s political Fukushima material (plus, as noted before there is no independently objective source).
It would also mean to me that perhaps the opposition’s pounding on BoJo today in PMQs in part was to prod the UWO investigation as to how TrumpOrg paid cash for and funnels cash into the golf courses in Scotland. After Mazars’ letter and Putin’s plays it’s time to unravel that web.
Interesting article here: https://smallwarsjournal.com/index.php/jrnl/art/us-not-ready-peer-peer-fight-europe
Dunno. But, I have a marital relation – husband of a niece — who is a Marine Corps major and Osprey pilot, who said to me not too long ago “we are SO not ready.”
1. It’s doubtful a Marine Major Osprey pilot will have the full strategic picture even if he is in theater.
2. The Russians are not known for their exacting attention to detail or their maintenance practices which is why even though they usually have a lot of weapons it’s not as clear how well they will work. Their strategy is attrition through relentless application of force. This is even before accounting for the Putinesque commissars that are likely present even if the name is no longer used.
3. They also have to completely subdue the Ukrainians which is not a given either.
4. It has been above freezing for a week or so now during the day in Kiev, which means ‘General Mud’ will also obstruct the invasion.
5. We also do not know how much Covid has affected the Russian army, and Putin won’t tell us either. It has been rumored that the Russian death rates have been quite high.
Along those lines, as with other terrorists, a lot of Russian success depends on exploiting predictability in their enemy, from tendencies towards “politeness” to scheduled maneuvers [I recall here the Russians training the VC to shoot down our jets coming over the hill at X o’clock (IIRC, commenter mospeck relayed a similar tale from his service, besides I’ve heard it from the mouth of one who repaired the electronics of said jets)].
Things like Germany (so far) putting a hold on Nordstream2 swell my heart for UKR and democracy’s allies’ success this time around.
If we can be predictably stern with some curveballs thrown in — starve the appeasement he relies upon — there’s a real chance Putin will wither in isolation. The world’s been a bit lax with his excursions, treating them like antics (or maybe skating like it was thin ice until 45 was out of office).
Also, Putin is decompensating. While that can be (is) very dangerous it also presents great opportunity.
Putin thinks he _is_ Lakoff’s “father”, he’s not expecting to meet his daddy.
The question for me is how much stuff the PRC will give Putin to blunt the effects of sanctions. The banking ones will hurt, recall how the 2008 derivative meltdown crashed all credit and trashed the markets until Obama did his 700 M$ stimulus (which was too small according to Krugman). If that aid is substantial, this could drag on for a while, otherwise I think it will be brief.
Yep that and whatever offensive cyber dalliances might occur.
On the prospect of material aid (tho cyber could intersect here, too, depending on which and whose targeted infrastructures), we are once again left looking at our own shrunken manufacturing base and supply chain control issues: IMO they leave PRC more emboldened to dick wag. (Besides, Fox would help them help Putin should we try to counter, and PRC says fine, then, you can’t have all your crap at a customary price or in a reasonable timeframe. The hourly horror stories would surpass those wrought by mere inflation/backed-up containers. So I suppose it comes down, too, to how China’d prefer our midterms/fate of the nation to go for their big picture.*) A bit more self-sufficiency and diversity of dependencies would help re-balance the geopolitics. (Obviously, consumerism and designed-obsolescence electronics are not helping matters.) I wonder how much of that might have changed over the course of the pandemic.
*This has got me wondering how much more China would prioritize relations with the democratic factions within NATO and other Western allies (assuming a united front) over their big neighbor and our anti-democratic forces/oligarchs [insert photo crispy Bannon sauntering off yacht.. MoJo has a new piece up on Guo today, btw].
You’ve obviously put a good deal of thought and attention into the matter. I really appreciate all your points (most of which I agree with).
Thanks. What I didn’t put into my midnight musings was time or rest (and running on fumes atm, the intervening day gives no space either). The implicits and omissions will have to hang. But I was even thinking about US-China relations vis-a-vis things like Adam Silver’s NBA. and how certain aspects of American pop culture/brands are prized in China (we have some leverage/clout there, too), and US investor visas coveted by China’s more elite families.
” ‘General Mud’ will also obstruct the invasion.”
Thank god for (gulp) global warming !?!?!?
If skill in “peer to peer” combat is an issue for the US, it’s also an issue for any peers we might meet on the battlefield. There haven’t been any direct conflicts between major world powers since World War II, and technology and doctrine have changed a lot since then.
Pretty much all the global powers that have engaged in any sort of military operations in the past decades have done so against non-peer nations, with mixed results. Get-in-and-get-out missions are often successful. Attempts to hold territory long term against popular opposition, far less so. And that’s even true for cases (such as the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan) where the more brutal occupying tactics were “on the table”.
Any large-scale ground confrontation is going to to be heavily decided from the air, specifically air support and ground-strike capabilities. And a cyber-war is a distinct possibility (and to some extent may be being waged already; depending on what level of interference you think constitutes “warfare”).
One might consider the US fighting the Chinese in Korea as an exception, though China was arguably not a world power at the time. (Didn’t prevent them from inflicting heavy damage to the US’s northward advance, leading to the stalemate that continues to this day on the Korean Peninsula).
I think the brutality will be there for the declared enemies of Putin. That’s what the “de-nazify” comment was all about. As for the Korean War, the Chinese had several field armies chewed up by Eighth Army and FWIW it was the concern over the Warsaw Pact in Europe that convinced the UN to stop where they did (combined with several other commitments intended and otherwise). Notwithstanding the PLA’s performance in Vietnam in 1979 they are much improved in equipment and tactics.
The Soviet Union’s potential always reduced the scope of the objectives down from total victory since the WP forces might be hit as collateral damage and WWIII would be on. That’s why there were the various proxy wars during the Cold War period. It’s also why Haiphong harbor wasn’t mined until the Rolling Thunder operation, to avoid sinking Soviet ships.
OT – sorry, can’t help it.
Marcy, are you going to cover the Sinead Kavanagh-Leah McCort Irish Mothers’ MMA bout from Dublin Friday 2/25/2022? just asking.
First, thank you for this post! It is correct on every point! Confirmed many thoughts and answered many lingering questions I had been mulling over.
EW on Twtter rt-ing about Fox news:
“This deserves a great deal of pushback, not mockery. The opposite is the case: Trump’s victim complex DID train the GOP to embrace Putin. And Putin clearly relied on it in his plans.”
Thanks for pushing back on Fox.
Playing the victim and victim blaming or rather, gaslighting, are Russian propaganda techniques. Having Trump carry out the techniques to split the country has been sickening.
I hope we can change DT’s efforts.
[FYI – link edited to remove tracking. /~Rayne]
Thank you! I went back to clean the link up while I had plenty of time on the edit clock. Oddly, after my editing, it posted my comment a second time and the link was not displaying as having removed the tracking. Please delete the duplicate comment below! I tried but the delete function did not work evidently!
This is why people should not double post comments.
Fyi, recently on my first posting of a comment, I have been getting message that this is a double post. The first time it happened, I thought it was mistake and continued as normal and indeed, there was a double posting. Since then, I just quietly back out of the room and, magically, find that my comment has posted once without my ever having successfully posted it. So, there may be some issue with causing comments to double post inadvertently.
Fair point. I have seen that before…usually it says “you already posted that” or whatever, your first one really is there if you refresh the screen. More often the first is just in moderation for some reason, and one of us will free it up as soon as we see it. But we do not always go check before doing so. With people we know, we just summarily approve it.
I’ve been experiencing the opposite of that. Sometimes a comment will appear not to have posted, but if I check back 30 minutes later, there it is.
First, thank you for this post! It is correct on every point! Confirmed many thoughts and answered many lingering questions I had been mulling over.
EW on Twtter rt-ing about Fox news:
“This deserves a great deal of pushback, not mockery. The opposite is the case: Trump’s victim complex DID train the GOP to embrace Putin. And Putin clearly relied on it in his plans.”
Playing the victim and victim blaming or rather, gaslighting are Russian propaganda techniques. Having Trump carry out the techniques to split the country has been sickening.
I’m not going to go all the way down the odd new ‘left’ take on this in the vein of
Maté or Taibbi or god forbid Greenwald. Let me just suggest errors were made by the Democratic Parties Grand Global Strategic Thinkers after the USSR failed.
I don’t know what might have been but I do know what has happened is precisely this.
” If we are unlucky they will say, as Mr. Kennan predicts, that NATO expansion set up a situation in which NATO now has to either expand all the way to Russia’s border, triggering a new cold war, or stop expanding after these three new countries and create a new dividing line through Europe”
Yes, all water under the bridge. Hopefully there will be fewer mistakes now that haunt us in 2050.
Let me also interject that for 15 or so years I have noted an article at the top of the NY Times web page 3 times a week or so declaring Putin is the devil.
NATO is already at Russia’s border with the Baltic nations (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), so the claim that NATO is “triggering” Putin is BS. He’d already made it clear he’s an unreconstructed Soviet agent wanting to re-create Stalin’s USSR.
If Individual-1 wasn’t so weak and worthless (and still kissing Vlad’s arse) there would be no traction for adventures in the Ukraine nor DJT’s acquiescence to Russia’s Crimea annexation or actively trying to pull out of NATO (he admitted to including that in a second term). As Neville Chamberlain found out, appeasing wolves by feeding them territory never works.
I think this tweet did a nice job of reframing the NATO members’ borders with Russia which are so threatening to Putin.
Indeed, but as a strategic note the Black Seas fleet was for a long time based in Sevastopol (in the Crimea) but the Russians lease a base at Tarsus, Syria in the Mediterranean Sea area.
I’m sure that, in his mind, Putin already considered Belarus as part of Mother Russia, and that country has borders with Latvia and Lithuania. But even those don’t increase the NATO border by more than 200 miles.
I read that Finland is now making noises about joining NATO.
Sweden, too, I heard yesterday (while paired with Finland in the news, Sweden may be less noisy atm, or requiring more egregious acts as provocation to do so).
The Finns have had to fight Russia many times including the Winter Wars as quondam allies of Nazi Germany, although they declined German help as well as any coordination and Stalin attacked first. They see the writing on the wall since they were a Grand Duchy under the Czars. I think they will join NATO and Russia will see that as a threat to Murmansk and Archangel (and the Northern Fleet).
The Swedes may also come in but like the French they are proudly independent (and capable with no love for the Russians) but they too will join NATO if Putin remains in power, probably by the end of the year.
Interesting prediction about Sweden. We’ll see…
OT sort of… I’m sure that all of Finland was giddy with glee after beating the ROC in the Olympic hockey final.
The Finns are ready. I thoroughly enjoy monitoring their twitter feeds — I’ve unlocked my Twitter list: https://twitter.com/i/lists/1486344290083254281
I have to hand it to Vlad… he certainly has made NATO significant again… and damned fast, to boot.
I was just listening to David Muir on ABC… they had a live lead from Ukraine and you could hear explosions in the backing and sirens going off.
I can understand the desire to not get into a shooting war in Ukraine w/ Russia, and short of troops on the ground, the rest of the world better drop whatever sanctions they have planned like a ton of bricks on Vlad ASAP.
US troops aren’t going in until Ukraine invites them, but let’s remember that there are several NATO members in the area (i.e. Poland, Germany, Turkey) that might join in sooner.
What I am looking for as well is what the PRC does, and it seems to me that Biden is looking as well to see if the PRC or DPRK will read this as the USA being too busy in Ukraine to help South Korea or Taiwan.
FWIW, South Korea would probably kick the NKPA’s ass, they are bigger in size, motivated and have much to lose which means they’ll fight hard even before we join in.
Taiwan has some pretty good capability as well and Japan would help them if asked as well as us with even more capability. It remains a question to me to see if the PLAN can mount an amphib operation without losing most of their ships in the Taiwan Strait.
But Russia’s entire Arctic coastline is in proximity to Canada….
Yeah? How many troops do either Canada or Russia have along those coastlines? Russia’s got more people developing oil than military personnel along that coast.
The point is NATO has posed no threat to Russia though Putin clearly has posed and continues to pose a threat to NATO.
My comment was meant as snark…. :)
And yes, I agree with you; though in a post-global-warming world, the Arctic Ocean might become more important.
The Arctic already has…
Russia breathlessly announced back in 2021 that Russia’s continental shelf extended substantially further into the Arctic seabed than previously understood.
The Russians now claim that 70% of the Arctic seabed is Russian territory, right up to the borders of Canada and Greenland’s exclusive economic zones and has been busy militarizing the area… not unlike China in the South China Sea with the Spratlys…
RT had talk shows back in the 00s in which various Russian “experts” talked about how war was likely inevitable in the Arctic due to the energy resources there. Russian television (and this was the English version too!) has been talking about this openly well over a dozen years ago.
Is it my (very) poor eyesight, or does that map seem to include Turkey as part of Russia ?
Is the point of that highly simplified map to show every nation, or NATO’s borders on Russia? Come on.
Only the northeast corner of Turkey is shown on that map, and it is not shown to be part of Russia. The southernmost extension of Russia in that general area is bordered to the south by Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Putin isn’t looking for the second coming of Stalin’s USSR, he stated in his loooong presser/speech the other day that he ‘doesn’t believe in Communism’.
Putin wants to be the second coming of Peter the Great, Former Emperor of all the Russias.
From Wikipedia “Having won the Northern War, Russia became the strongest state in Europe and began to be called the Russian Empire. In October 1721, Peter I took the title of Peter the Great, father of the Fatherland and the Emperor of All Russia.”
Russia Uber Alles…
Putin Uber Russia!
I am actually not kidding about this. Unfortunately I have to spend far too frequent time with a Russian transplant. His family’s business in Russia qualifies as mini-oligarch worthy.
Though he and his family moved here 15 years ago, and have become citizens, they hold dual passports and still own their homes in Russia; Siberia actually.
He has a Putin cell phone case, and hanging behind his desk is a 9′ high tapestry of Peter the Great. He told me early on that Putin will be the next Peter the Great because Putin wants to bring Russia back to it’s Imperial greatness. You know, MRGA.
He needs to be asked if he’s ever thought that they might be getting Ivan the Terrible, instead. Or Tsar Nicolas.
Yes, that seems more in alignment with Putin agreeing to insert God in the Russian Constitution. It also would explain why Christian Nationalists find him appealing. I found the following excerpt interesting:
“Peter unintentionally caused ‘Ukrainization’ of the Russian Church, inviting Ukrainian and Belorussian clergy (mostly graduates of the Kiev-Mohyla Academy) from the buffer regions of the Empire into Russia. As a result of this, by the middle of the 18th century the majority of the Russian Orthodox Church was headed by people from Ukraine (Little Russia or Galicia). Between 1700 and 1762, out of the 127 hierarchs who headed cathedrals in Russia 70 were from Ukraine and only 47 from other regions of Russia.”
“Church reform of Peter the Great”
Much as this bit of history might discomfort Putin, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church predates the Moscow-centered Russian Orthodox Church by centuries.
The US embassy in Kyiv sent a pretty brutal tweet trolling that very fact.
The portrait of Peter l in that Wikipedia article, is the image in the tapestry I mentioned.
I think that the reported explosions in Kiev are bombs being set off in an attempt to get the Ukrainians to respond against the Russian military. This, I think, is the false flag premise Biden has been warning about.
The bomb alarms in Kiev have not gone off. They still have power. I think this is provocation by Russians inside Kiev.
MSNBC onsite reporter said that she has been told that Russia may have been targeting military bases and ministry of defense facilities on the outskirts of Kyiv, not anything in the city center where she is at.
The Spetsnaz will be out causing disruption (they’re the Russian special forces like our Green Berets and SEALs) so it’s still an act of war if/when they are caught. I’m sure none of this is a surprise to the Ukrainian general staff.
Martha Raddatz just posted on IG (@MarthaRaddatz)
“Three hours before the invasion began I got this sobering message here in Ukraine from a senior pentagon official “You are likely in the last few hours of peace on the European continent for a long time to come. Be careful”
Perhaps I was wrong. The bomb sirens have just started in Kyiv. Zellenskyy has ordered Marshal Law.
Lithuania is reported to have declared a state of emergency as well.
Latvia and Estonia will be right behind them. What is interesting about the Baltics is that the USA never recognized the Soviet Union’s annexation in 1939 as part of the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact. It is also the region where in 1989 the process of breaking up the USSR started so I would suspect Putin has ‘special’ plans for them.
Moldova has also shutoff their airspace, condemned Russia, and declared a state of emergency in effect.
I doubt he can get to Putin the Great but Vlad the Impaler seems within reach.
Won’t do any good but I sent an email to Fox News about their fawning for Putin. They just suck.
You’re better off canceling your cable subscription. You give ~$2 a month to Fox if you pay for cable.
Keep reminding people! That’s definitely fighting the good fight.
I love the photo at the top of this article, when you’re on the front page of the site…
It doesn’t show once you click on the article, but it’s there on the front page…
The body language says it all… a smiling Putin strutting to the microphone with his sulking guard dog trailing behind… geez, with his hands hanging down like that, Trump looks like Lurch from the old Adams Family…
It’s as good of an illustration of the two men’s relationship as that photo from 2018 taken in Paris, of Putin entering the room, back to the camera… Macron and Merkel glare at him while Trump grins like a happy schoolboy who’s eager to please the headmaster.
Talk about showing deference…
yes, exactly…the body language is the big tell…
Boy, is it ever…
Watching first the abject submissive groveling Republicans engage in before Trump (looking at you, J.D. Vance… Nancy Mace… Kevin McCarthy) and then in turn Trump do the same before Putin is enough to make ya hurl…
Not only the body language, it’s the smirk on Putin’s face as well.
And Putin knows it.
He OWNS Trump, and they both know it.
I too was struck by the cover photo.
It captures a classic meme. The confident, strutting alpha, and the beta hanger-on.
Trump’s posture says ‘I’m a loser’ and his expression looks like he just got a trip to the woodshed.
Small point: Maybe add “criticism of” before “Trump’s refusal to spend the money…”?
I don’t think you mean the refusal itself was an attempt to save the integrity of American democracy.
I think Putin is still using Trump, but out of office, his use is better in dividing the populace on the war. Trump gets to have it both ways (because fascism) and says he would have stopped Putin, all the while still facilitating him. Trump probably believes Putin will get him back in power, or maybe his kids. He really doesn’t understand how easily Putin will feed him to the wolves when he is done.
Even without Twitter, Trump has been able to take hold of the conversation again and help get the GOP to back Russia. If Trump can get back into office, this play would benefit Putin for decades.
Not to disagree with Marcy’s analysis but to extend it further back in time. By the mid 2000s, leaders of Movement Conservatism were already very Putin curious – especially the more his alliance with the Orthodox Church came to the fore. The election of that black boy as President tipped not only the leaders but a lot of the Movement troops to become huge Putin fanboys and girls. The drooling over the manly man photos of bare chested Putin became linked to their excited approval of his persecution of LGBTs and his defense of Christian (not Western) civilization. The ground was well and truly laid for Trump’s pathological desire to win Putin’s approval. And to be unconcerned (if not actually supportive) of Russian subversion from 2015 onwards.
“… the manly man photos of bare chested Putin …” Yes, it’s obvious he shaves his pectorals. Creepy!
I don’t know if Putin uses body-enhancing chemicals, but increased aggression and cognitive dysfunction may be an effect of long-term anabolic-androgenic steroid use. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4458166/
Your calling out of the bizarre reframing of Putin’s ethnic and social prejudices is spot on. But your use of “that black boy” sticks in my craw. The racist trope is disgusting. His name is Barack Obama, and he’s nobody’s “boy.”
I read that phrasing as intentional, meant to highlight the role of racism in the preferences of Movement Conservatism. If it were not that, I should think something more than a scolding would be in order. As it is, I find it an effective, shorthand way to express the role racism plays in the bankruptcy of conservative thinking, and especially the sea change for racists when a black man became president. They love Russia more than an America who treats black people with respect. Racism is an important factor in the willingness to support Putin.
cf. Aleksandr Dugin.
You got my intent. It was the least offensive way I could think of to express the vile, unceasing flow of uncut bigotry aimed at Barack, Michelle and their family.
The 2008 election broke the brains of a whole lot of our fellow citizens, who btw lapped up Trump’s fake birth certificate strip tease performance. They also echoed his howls for Obama’s college transcripts because it’s axiomatic the Kenyan muslim only got to Harvard as an affirmative action fraud.
Pre-2008 I think Movement Conservatism Inc. had already found in Putin a leader and program that had many elements they feared the US was jettisoning, thereby shifting the US away from the Christian-Founded Nation that is their birthright. And post-2008, for the mass base of Movement Conservatism, Putin and his Russia (and Orthodox Church) suddenly became an enticing alternative.
By 2016 the base wasn’t the least bit offended or worried when Trump openly courted Putin’s support and dumped on America’s longstanding allies. They were simply impervious to the warnings issued by Hillary’s campaign. And from there, the nightmare timeline documented by Marcy easily flowed.
I see all your points, and was hoping to see that was where you were going. It fits in with everything else you said. But maybe putting quotes around “that black boy” would be helpful in the future. Along those same lines, using the n-word as a quote of someone else used to be acceptable, but at this point, no use of that word is considered even conscionable, much less acceptable.
Probably the intellectual ringleader in the pro-Putin aspect of US conservatism is Pat Buchanan, who was beating that horse back when Romney was trying to scold Obama for being too soft on Russia, and the institutional GOP hummed along.
Yeah, I agree with that. I guess I’m seeing the career of Paul Manafort as the precipitating tie here, but then he’s been around forever.
That’s the first time I’ve seen that and I am flattened… I think this has to be a test of how far they can go and they’re going for everything. If they can get the Fox crowd in on Putin, rather than “liberals”, the US is toast…
Maybe, but if Russia goes full military and bodies start stacking up sometime soon – these Putin is great takes are going to look pretty dumb and I hope EVERYONE will be ready to put Tvcker and Trvmp in their smug, dumbass spots for these ridiculous comments!
The world is a lot more wired these days than it was even 10 years ago…
TikTok videos of Russian soldiers being carried off on stretchers after the latest ambush are going to be everywhere, instantly…
As will Russian atrocities committed for revenge…
Or young Russian conscripts deserting to the Ukrainians in hopes of having the chance for a better life with their fellow Slavs in a more open society.
Pompeo too, and he’s got delusions of being POTUS someday. This is a guy who graduated first in his class at West Point during the Cold War and even he’s gone to the dark side.
Both Pompeo and his wife aspire to be among the uber-wealthy. He’s as easily bought off as that couple in Maryland.
Let’s hope that it doesn’t come to a full Russian mobilization. That will indeed destabilize the world even further that it already is at this moment.
This, at Digby’s:
“I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat”
So much for the “better dead than Red” slogan from the Cold War era.
Complete 180. Or is it a 540? I’ve lost track…
It is truly dizzying.
Quad axels aren’t just for the Olympics, y’know.
Thank you Dr. Marcy. Excellent post. The Russian Connection continues.
Until 1867 Alaska was Russian territory. Perhaps Putin wants to take that back too expanding his empire.
In the “problem” column wrt our citizenry’s opinions:
The combined information operations (shorthanded as Fox/FB/IRA) also produce — in a broader range of Americans than status quo ante — empathy for separatists or at least familiarity with the notion (those tingling feelings of 1/6 or Cruz-revived proposals for TX secession), with sympathy that Putin is right in this way to rescue his allegiants from horrible horrible Ukraine.
Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick were grandstanding about Texas re-secession way before it even dawned on the Cuban-Canadian Carpetbagger.
Cuban-Canadian ^Cancun-Crawling^ Carpetbagger ^Copycat^ Cruz isn’t crackling so hot with his latest attempt at Trumpian nicknames, either (he tried one on Psaki today).
She liked it!
Yes! That’s what I mean: Cruz is a loser at being a loser.
ETA: and who doesn’t love Peppermint Patty besides some creepo looking to slander a woman by making her “not [the] hot [one]” (cf. HRC memes) _based on a cartoon character_. Those Texans GOPers are super fucked up and pervy with some of their recent lib-owning schemes.
Or do I have it wrong and it’s FL where they want to make everyone a mandated no-trans-allowed reporter inspecting children’s privates.
nope, tis Texas:
Putin impresses to such an extent that further increases in rating would need something like a discovery that G.W. Bush’s election and the 9-11 justified invasion of Iraq, with the consequence of ISIS and the flood of refugees triggering nationalist politics in Europe, were shaped by Putin.
These being emotional times I need to make clear that it is not a positive evaluation that I make. Rather that he appears yet a very dangerous human, capable of producing long-lasting and widespread misery.
JHC Henry Kissinger is on C-SPAN2 (BookTV) talking about artificial intelligence “and the way it is transforming society” (with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt).
ETA: IDK when this was taped but interviewer Judy Woodruff is raising the issue in the context of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine
— they just put the bug onscreen, 12/20/21
“It wasn’t me mum. Honest, it was the AI.”
The experts all point out that AI isn’t anywhere near good enough for most purposes. The human brain is very, very good. (Prime example: self-directing cars.)
Yeah (and this is to skua, too): if you think (we know) AI is dangerous in the likes of Musk’s hands, Kissinger says hold my
The discussion is referencing their article in the Atlantic around the same time. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/08/henry-kissinger-the-metamorphosis-ai/592771/
A person over at Daily Kos believes that Trump handed Ukraine to Putin by withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty. Trump withdrew the US 18 days after he lost the election. My understanding is that this treaty gave both Russia and US air rights over Ukraine.
As to why Putin may have delayed….well….we all know how Trump is very transactional. Perhaps Trump didn’t hear the right $$$ number from Putin.
I guess after he lost, this may have been a parting gift. Anyways, my guess is that this would seem to clear the skies of US fighters or planes so that Putin can have air superiority during combat.
It looks like Trump administration manufactured a reason to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, while Russia stayed.
Ironically, the reason Trump gave for withdrawal was Russia non-compliance.
Makes a lot of sense…
How in the world does the former Open Skies program have anything to do with anything? Russia is also no longer a member. We had good intel on what the Russians were doing and shared it With allies, NATO ,Ukraine. We knew what was up. Hard to see how Open Skies would have changed anything at all,
The satellites provide some intel coverage but the Open Skies provided more. As you say, though, we aren’t blind either.
Not just satellites, intercepts and human collection too. The US government and allies were all over what Russia was doing. Heck CNN and or NBC had journalists right in the m middle of a lot of it. I fail to see how Open Skies would have lent diddly squat to the effort.
video and photos: https://twitter.com/RALee85
I have to add a warning: I have not vetted this account beyond having vetted that several sources are legit news outlets/orgs
but am half asleep and can’t do a big-picture review.
update: I’ve seen enough, def. looks ok. also was recommended by a supporter of Ukraine and democracy
has reports collected/streaming in by the minute and they are terrible, so terrible.
It’s dubious at best… at least if you compare it the posts from the same profile over at Josh Marshal’s twitter feed—plenty of odd posts and retractions from that profile there (scroll down to see if the weird posts are still there from an hour or two ago):
we may have been looking at the same tweet, but i also just saw on a post from trusted so i concur. thanks.
link to paper and short bio here:
Foreign Policy Research Institute fwiw:
timbo (and all/general):
I shared that acct. for the limited purpose of photos/videos and my chief concern was that they were non-fakes/otherwise legit. He is (or was) grab-sampling from multiple areas, and had consolidated a lot.
Generally, retractions are a sign that someone cares about factual accuracy and while I don’t know that I saw the ones you did, timbo, I did see plenty of other folks making retractions on early events in the overnight/am US hours and well into today, frankly: look at the vacillating reports about who has control of the Hostomel Airport near Kyiv. This will happen with war, period, even moreseo with war-(disseminated)-via-twitter.
My take is that he’s a conservative (lato sensu) mil-focused guy within the range of normal American limits (cf. Never Trumpers, though I am not classing him there; I do suspect some of his beliefs may depart from those of many here, but not based on what he’s tweeting out). That is, he’s not a nutter or true propagandist and appears to be focused on collecting factual information. He Q/RTs some of the same natsec and other subject-matter experts as Marcy does generally, for example. Similarly, legit folks are interacting with his (re)tweets.
That said, if his feed’s not your potato …
Marcy retweeted tweets from these two twitter feeds, which might be good to follow:
Also, here’s Alexander VINDMAN:
Vindman’s twitter feed is actually a little reassuring. Nice pictures of 4 Russian tanks burning on the side of a road and a downed attack helicopter. He is saying that the Russian assault looks weaker than he expected. Take your small comforts where you can find them, I say.
Thanks for the link Harpie
Generally, the Russians won’t commit more frontline troops en mass until they’re sure that there aren’t unanticipated defensive weapons and tactics in their way…unless there’s some immediate advantage that’s worth the risk. A hint the weather may change for the worse and they’ll likely try to secure some sort of static forward positions with nearby reserves and tenable logistic lines. If they can secure military objects with minimal commitment of forces that’s the way they’ll do it.
11:52 PM · Feb 23, 2022
I have to wonder if, and at what point, all those well-heeled oligarchs will say enough to the disruption of their financial and trade dealings, and have a quiet backroom word with Vlad. Or a more permanent message to the back of the head.
Why do you think they’re separate from Putin? Why do you think they need more money than the billions they have when they can live offshore in yachts completely untouched by any inconvenient geopolitical disruption?
You may be right of course. But my understanding of that group is that they are inherently greedy and have screwed over their country numerous times to gather their riches and what they have is never enough. So having their dealings – financial, trade, or business – interrupted by sanctions generated by Putin’s invasion of a country likely of little interest to them – may be cause for oligarch-level ire. Your mileage may vary.
Because they do not want to tie themselves to only one horse at a time.
Well, good luck to them because tying off their yachts to other docks may hurt.
What horror. People are being mutilated. Children. Soldiers. Seniors. No safe harbor. Terror. All the wars of the world. All the academic pronouncements on relative strengths and likely outcomes and meditations on when will the markets come back. It isn’t a movie. It is all real human suffering. The world over. What is wrong with us? From Kiev to Chicago’s inner city murders every day. Everywhere. Murder, murder, murder, Flachete bomb in Gaza. Really , what is wrong with us?
You can begin to change things by acknowledging Ukraine’s autonomous, sovereign culture and democratic nation by calling the city Kyiv — that’s the Ukrainian name of the capital city.
Kiev is the Russian name.
I’ve heard it pronounced “Kee-vv” one syllable. Is that correct?
See YouTube video: https://youtu.be/cE1f6GUvG5Y
Explainer of the need to differentiate: https://youtu.be/n8kkbc2pK6M
Feel free to keep scrolling past :)
We are human, and humans are…just awful. Too many of us seem to feel victimized and feel used, abused and tossed aside. Someone offers solutions and simultaneously legitimize their suffering and victimhood, really listens to them down in the squalor…. a voice for the downtrodden, the broken, the hurt, the innocent…. nothing else matters to so many people, but to have their lives get the recognition, the acknowledgement of their true suffering at the hands of _______literally anything/anybody convenient________. Those who feel left behind, the ones who want to make america into a past america, they don’t care about any other’s suffering. They don’t flinch at every new shooting in the news, or blink at another preventable youth lgbtq+ suicide. They don’t pause at the thought of taking a child away from their mother and they don’t gasp at how the purposeful lack of documentation very likely will keep them from reuniting ever again. They don’t live for those moments or in them. When humanity has lost all it’s trappings of individuality and has its cloak of strength and resilience stolen from it, when innards are revealed and vulnerabilities are no longer hidden from view, then the most important thing any one of us can possibly do, beyond the mere words of embracing and of acceptance and of support….that’s a moment they can’t connect to. For all the pain, suffering, horror upon damn horror, some can’t get past their own victimhood. For those who manage to overlook atrocities and pain, they don’t seem to hesitate to inflict their own. From removing/deciding/erasing what or who is worthy of any number of human dignities, rights, and values, those who play victim are then justified to release the inner abuser.
We are not great, we are not morally good, we are not the idealized, glorified version of ourselves we want to see, or claim at least. At least not all of us.
Life could be pretty great for every citizen around the world, we could be content, comfortable, equal in ways we have never been. We could be healthier, educated, prosperous in ways beyond any monetary meaning.
Less famine, less water shortages, less contaminants, less/ no climate catastrophes, less fear and less hate. Less pain and suffering and while “less” seems like a copout, “less”is infinitely better than currently.
But when others are not hurting, not suffering or being violently reminded of their place in this life, it leaves those who seek a “justifiable” target to aim their dissatisfaction at, the scapegoat chosen for them by their savior, their visionary, it will not last. For those people, they can not let anyone deemed less than them continue without some sort of violent pushback, physical or otherwise.
What is wrong with us is that we haven’t all accepted the bigger picture of what humanity, what life really means. Those who use religion wield it as a moral weapon, armageddon threats and justified terrorism. War. I have seen polls in which the religious don’t believe any atheist or agnostic person could ever be a moral person without a almighty overlord.
I don’t think they are capable of seeing they way I see it as a nonbeliever….
They think I can’t be morally good since I lack a beleif in god
I think its more morally questionable that there needs be a threat(hell etc) in order to do the morally right thing, and it’s even more perplexing a bribe(heaven etc) is needed to really seal the deal for them.
This earth is too good for what humanity has done on it, to it, etc.
I feel like existing IS what’s wrong with us.
We will always have suffering, we will always ensure pain is inflicted somewhere, we will forever count the death tolls from school shootings, domestic abuse, the tragedies of those who toil and sweat and bleed to provide something of value to us in which we never give back in value. We will watch and we will feel our hearts sink and we will get angry amd we will never be able to take any of it head on, because we’d have to become something less than acceptable and ultimately no better than the abusers, murderers, manipulators, rapists, swindlers and the ilk.
I’m debating not hitting submit now, I get the feeling I shouldn’t post. But I think I may regret not doing so, as this has been building up in me without a release and without anyone within reach to overwhelm with my probably incoherent, (and likely just a word salad,) of nonsense. My apologies to those of you so much more aware of things, more intelligent and more eloquent, please feel free to scan past this. Stay healthy, thank you for all you do, all of you.
If it makes you feel better, you can find almost all of this sort of nonsense in non-human species too…
But with less Internet!
Everything Hannity said about Putin could have been said to an American audience about Adolf Hitler in 1939. I am not saying Putin is Hitler. But what idiotic “logic” about why he’s really not so bad.
“By February 13, 2021, the date the Senate voted to acquit Donald Trump of inciting an attack on Congress, Republicans had put loyalty to Donald Trump over defense of the country and the Capitol in which they worked.”
“Sure, Putin didn’t get Trump to carve up Ukraine as President. But he got so much more from Trump’s presidency.“
“Appeasements” have consequences, as do “war crimes.”
Putin’s criminal aggression scratches Trump’s back distracting American’s from the attempted usurpation of the vote, if we care at all.
Place a “bounty” on war criminal Putin’s head and a Russian will kill Putin.
Then arrest Trump, for treason..
Trump meddled as all good fascists do, Vlad…
Putin mentioned nukes…
Putin is an existential threat to Russia’s and humanity’s future.
Trump is a existential threat to 🇺🇸 ….
Now we understand the consequences of fraud, as in 1933, 1939; today.
Live’s and Democracy and are being shredded.
Sophia and Ferdinand cringe..
The French aided America 🇺🇸 in our Revolution against the English…
We defeated the Nazi’s and Japanese.
This is vile…
Only a fool, or a monster, wishes for a wider war and more pointless death.
“A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. …
“It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”
The real James Joyce, from The Dead, in The Dubliners, 1914
If you are going to misappropriate the great man’s name, the least you can do is learn how to write and to think critically. Death comes soon enough for us all.
That is highly inappropriate. Don’t do that. You have zero interest in the regulation of our commenters’ names.