These are supposed to be professional truck drivers who do this for a living

COVID-19 Pandemic

Doctors and charlatans

Something to snicker about:

Early Saturday morning, on the Facebook page Freedom Convoy USA 2022, the group announced that it didn’t have enough members in its convoy to warrant pressing on toward the nation’s capital.

“The launch in California had a good turn out of supporters, but only 5 trucks were with us on arrival in Vegas,” the group said in its social media post.

Last week, hundreds turned out for the convoy’s kickoff event in Adelanto, California, organized to emulate a convoy of truckers that were protesting against COVID-19 regulations in Canada last month. However, many of the people who came to the event were only spectators — and most of the truckers and vehicle drivers who started out with the convoy said that they were planning to drop out after they crossed into Arizona.

Other convoys across the U.S. have had similarly unsuccessful outcomes. Last week, a Scranton, Pennsylvania-led convoy barely scrounged up a half-dozen participants and got lost on its way to D.C. A co-organizer of that event eventually admitted to reporters that the demonstration had failed.

“You are not going to see a convoy,” that person said, adding that the turnout was “disappointing.”[2]

Just so we’re clear, that route from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Washington, D.C., is really tough navigation (figure 1).

Fig. 1. Screenshot of Google Maps route from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Washington, D.C., taken by author, February 28, 2022, fair use.

There are all of—damn, this must be tough—three, count ’em, three steps in the directions. And, oh yeah, these are supposed to be professional truck drivers who do this for a living. Oh yeah, and you’re telling me these assholes couldn’t make it from Barstow, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada? Getting to Barstow is, actually, by far, the hard part: Even from Los Angeles, you have to find your way to I-15. (It’s a little easier from Bakersfield: California State Route 58 takes you to a junction with I-15 just south of Barstow, and yes, I’ve done this a couple times. Of course, there is the matter of finding eastbound, not westbound, but eastbound 58. It’s all properly marked, but you do have to be able to read the signs, and to comprehend the difference between east and west.)

Sergio Olmos, “‘Don Quixote-like quest’: Ukraine attack and easing Covid mandates leave US trucker protest on the fringe,” Guardian, February 27, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/feb/27/america-peoples-convoy-trucker-protest

Chris Walker, “California ‘Freedom Convoy’ Cancels Trip to DC, Citing Low Participation,” Truthout, February 28, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/california-freedom-convoy-cancels-trip-to-d-c-citing-low-participation/


Ukraine

David Ignatius, “Surprising cracks, if small ones, appear in Kremlin support for Putin on Ukraine,” Washington Post, February 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/02/21/putin-ukraine-invasion-kremlin-support/

Dan Sabbagh and Rowena Mason, “UK says ‘serious doubts’ exist within Russian military about invading Ukraine,” Guardian, February 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/21/uk-says-serious-doubts-exist-within-russian-military-about-invading-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Yaroslav Trofimov, and Matthew Luxmoore, “Putin Orders Deployment of Troops to Breakaway Regions in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-alleges-ukrainian-incursion-kyiv-says-moscow-makes-up-fake-incidents-11645453512

Jon Allsop, “The weight of words in the Russia-Ukraine story,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 22, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_putin_recognition_ukraine.php

Philip Bump, “‘Genius,’ ‘Savvy’: Trump reacts to Putin’s moves on Ukraine exactly as you’d expect,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/22/trump-reacts-putins-invasion-ukraine-exactly-youd-expect/

Anthony Faiola, “The moment when Putin got real,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/02/22/putin-speech-analysis-ukraine-russia/

Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/

Frank Jordans, “Ukraine-Russia: Germany suspends Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline,” Associated Press, February 22, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-business-germany-europe-berlin-79e3dafb0d231f6a033613b7dab78cdf

Andrew Restuccia and Tarini Parti, “White House Calls Russian Moves an Invasion After Initially Refraining From Using Term,” Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-calls-russian-moves-an-invasion-after-initially-refraining-from-using-term-11645549648

Eli Stokols and Tracy Wilkinson, “Biden announces sanctions against Russia for invasion of Ukraine,” Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-02-22/biden-allies-taking-calibrated-approach-in-response-to-putin-as-russian-tanks-invade-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Russia Begins Military Operation in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-shifts-to-war-footing-tells-citizens-to-leave-russia-11645616181

Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu, “Top senator warns Putin cyberattacks could trigger bigger war,” Axios, February 23, 2022, https://www.axios.com/mark-warner-putin-cyber-attacks-ukraine-40c5e959-5093-4d79-bf24-8d4731edb293.html

Jon Allsop, “Propaganda, confusion, and an assault on press freedom as Russia attacks Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 24, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/propaganda-confusion-and-an-assault-on-press-freedom-as-russia-attacks-ukraine.php

Miriam Berger, “Putin says he will ‘denazify’ Ukraine. Here’s the history behind that claim,” Washington Post, February 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/24/putin-denazify-ukraine/

Julian Borger and Angelique Chrisafis, “Decision to invade Ukraine raises questions over Putin’s ‘sense of reality,’” Guardian, February 24, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/24/putin-russian-president-ukraine-invasion-mental-fitness

Shira Hanau, “Declaring war on Ukraine, Russia’s Putin cites goal of ‘denazification’ of country with Jewish president,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 24, 2022, https://www.jta.org/2022/02/24/global/declaring-war-on-ukraine-russias-putin-cites-goal-of-denazification-of-country-with-jewish-president

Chico Harlan and Taylor Telford, “Stocks claw back after Russia’s attack on Ukraine roils markets,” Washington Post, February 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/24/ukraine-europe-markets-russia/

Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s New Iron Curtain,” Puck News, February 24, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-new-iron-curtain/

Matthew Karnitschnig, “How Germany helped blaze Putin’s path into Ukraine,” Politico, February 24, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/how-germany-helped-blaze-vladimir-putin-path-into-ukraine/

Robert Mackey, “Russian TV Uses Tucker Carlson and Tulsi Gabbard to Sell Putin’s War,” Intercept, February 24, 2022, https://theintercept.com/2022/02/24/russian-tv-uses-tucker-carlson-tulsi-gabbard-sell-putins-war/

Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Landay, “Explainer: Why Russia and Ukraine are fighting for Chernobyl disaster site,” Reuters, February 24, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/why-russia-ukraine-are-fighting-chernobyl-disaster-site-2022-02-25/

Reuters, “Factbox: How Ukraine’s armed forces shape up against Russia’s,” February 24, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/how-ukraines-armed-forces-shape-up-against-russias-2022-02-01/

Reuters, “Oil soars past $105 as Russia’s attack on Ukraine rattles markets,” Al Jazeera, February 24, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/2/24/oil-soars-past-105-as-russias-attack-on-ukraine-rattles-markets

Adario Strange, “Kyiv or Kiev? How to pronounce the name of the capital city of Ukraine and why,” Quartz, February 24, 2022, https://qz.com/2133021/this-is-why-the-name-of-ukraines-capital-is-kyiv-not-kiev/

Robin Wright, “Putin’s Historic Miscalculation May Make Him a War Criminal,” New Yorker, February 24, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/putins-historic-miscalculation-may-make-him-a-war-criminal

Durrie Bouscaren, “‘It was like a nightmare’: Russians react to news of Putin bombing Ukraine,” World, February 25, 2022, https://theworld.org/stories/2022-02-25/it-was-nightmare-russians-react-news-putin-bombing-ukraine

Yuras Karmanau et al., “Ukraine’s capital under threat as Russia presses invasion,” Associated Press, February 25, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-volodymyr-zelenskyy-boris-johnson-business-08f569df695831ee467979527ea2e241

Farrah Tomazin, “Biden calls invasion ‘a dangerous moment for freedom around the world,’” Sydney Morning Herald, February 25, 2022, https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/biden-calls-invasion-a-dangerous-moment-for-freedom-around-the-world-20220225-p59zk0.html

Adam Gabbatt, “Tucker Carlson leads rightwing charge to blame everyone but Putin,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/feb/25/tucker-carlson-fox-news-russia-putin

Juliette Garside, “Swift action at last brings meaningful sanctions against Putin regime,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/27/swift-action-at-last-brings-meaningful-sanctions-against-putin-regime

Roman Goncharenko and Andreas Illmer, “Ukraine: What will the next days bring and what is Russia’s overall plan?” February 26, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/ukraine-what-will-the-next-days-bring-and-what-is-russias-overall-plan/a-60927957

Luke Harding, “How Ukrainian defiance has derailed Putin’s plans,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/26/how-ukrainian-defiance-has-derailed-putins-plans

Reuters, “Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now,” February 26, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-russia-what-you-need-know-right-now-2022-02-26/

Emily Schultheis, “Ukraine invasion: What to know as Russian forces target Kyiv,” Associated Press, February 26, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-conflict-updates-today-c489b6f56d84f9483802dc3f142cbc8e

Paritosh Bansal and Stephen Coates, “Russian central bank scrambles to contain fallout of sanctions,” Reuters, February 27, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/russian-central-bank-scrambles-contain-fallout-sanctions-2022-02-28/

Catherine Belton, Paritosh Bansal, and Megan Davies, “Analysis: SWIFT block deals crippling blow to Russia; leaves room to tighten,” Reuters, February 27, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/swift-block-deals-crippling-blow-russia-leaves-room-tighten-2022-02-27/

Anthony Faiola, “Putin’s invasion of Ukraine could be backfiring,” Washington Post, February 27, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/27/russia-invasion-backfiring-ukraine/

David Frum, “Can Putin Recover From This?” Atlantic, February 27, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/how-russian-sanctions-work/622940/

Yuras Karmanau, “Putin puts nuclear forces on high alert, escalating tensions,” Associated Press, February 27, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-business-europe-moscow-2e4e1cf784f22b6afbe5a2f936725550

Dasha Litvinova, “Russians hold anti-war rallies amid ominous threats by Putin,” Associated Press, February 27, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-europe-arrests-moscow-cf5dda5528937de907f8916820cfab75

Tom Nichols, “How Should the U.S. Respond to Putin’s Nuclear Provocation?” Atlantic, February 27, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/how-the-west-should-respond-to-putins-nuclear-provocation/622943/

Ann M. Simmons and Matthew Luxmoore, “Putin Finds Himself Isolated, Out of Touch as Invasion of Ukraine Sputters,” Not Housebroken, February 27, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/as-his-invasion-of-ukraine-sputters-putin-finds-himself-isolated-and-out-of-touch-11646000993

Liz Sly and Dan Lamothe, “The war in Ukraine isn’t working out the way Russia intended,” Washington Post, February 27, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/27/ukraine-russia-invasion-tactics/

Vladimir Sorokin, “Vladimir Putin sits atop a crumbling pyramid of power,” Guardian, February 27, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/27/vladimir-putin-russia-ukraine-power

Andrew Sparrow, “Russian oligarchs in UK face new laws tackling ‘dirty money,’” Guardian, February 27, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/feb/28/russian-oligarchs-in-uk-face-new-laws-tackling-dirty-money

Jon Ungoed-Thomas and Shanti Das, “Boris Johnson under pressure to widen sanctions on more oligarchs in London,” Guardian, February 27, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/27/boris-johnson-under-pressure-to-widen-sanctions-on-more-oligarchs-in-london

Associated Press, “Russia-Ukraine War: What to know as Ukraine resists advance,” February 28, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-war-what-to-know-1c7a5fc5e9cf84134592c855c363e791

Larisa Brown, “Ukraine resistance shatters Putin’s plan for victory in 48 hours,” Times, February 28, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk//article/ukraine-resistance-shatters-putins-plan-for-victory-in-48-hours-0flscp323

Martin Farrer, Andrew Roth, and Julian Borger, “Ukraine war: sanctions-hit Russian rouble crashes as Zelenskiy speaks of ‘crucial’ 24 hours,” Guardian, February 28, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/28/ukraine-war-sanctions-hit-russian-rouble-crashes-as-zelenskiy-speaks-of-crucial-24-hours

Julia Ioffe, “‘The Image of Putin Has Broken,’” Puck News, February 28, 2022, https://puck.news/the-image-of-putin-has-broken/

Roland Oliphant, “The Russians rolled into Kharkiv like victors, but it was another disaster for them,” Telegraph, February 28, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/02/27/dispatch-russians-rolled-kharkiv-like-victors-another-disaster/

Caitlin Ostroff, “Russia’s Ruble, Financial Markets Are Hammered by Sanctions,” Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russias-ruble-financial-markets-are-hammered-by-sanctions-11646038133

Reuters, “The events leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” February 28, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/events-leading-up-russias-invasion-ukraine-2022-02-28/


  1. [2]Chris Walker, “California ‘Freedom Convoy’ Cancels Trip to DC, Citing Low Participation,” Truthout, February 28, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/california-freedom-convoy-cancels-trip-to-d-c-citing-low-participation/

What to do about a nuclear-armed madman?

Ukraine

There is a new blog post entitled, “The madman in Moscow is merely an example.”

David Ignatius, “Surprising cracks, if small ones, appear in Kremlin support for Putin on Ukraine,” Washington Post, February 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/02/21/putin-ukraine-invasion-kremlin-support/

Dan Sabbagh and Rowena Mason, “UK says ‘serious doubts’ exist within Russian military about invading Ukraine,” Guardian, February 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/21/uk-says-serious-doubts-exist-within-russian-military-about-invading-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Yaroslav Trofimov, and Matthew Luxmoore, “Putin Orders Deployment of Troops to Breakaway Regions in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-alleges-ukrainian-incursion-kyiv-says-moscow-makes-up-fake-incidents-11645453512

Jon Allsop, “The weight of words in the Russia-Ukraine story,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 22, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_putin_recognition_ukraine.php

Philip Bump, “‘Genius,’ ‘Savvy’: Trump reacts to Putin’s moves on Ukraine exactly as you’d expect,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/22/trump-reacts-putins-invasion-ukraine-exactly-youd-expect/

Anthony Faiola, “The moment when Putin got real,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/02/22/putin-speech-analysis-ukraine-russia/

Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/

Frank Jordans, “Ukraine-Russia: Germany suspends Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline,” Associated Press, February 22, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-business-germany-europe-berlin-79e3dafb0d231f6a033613b7dab78cdf

Andrew Restuccia and Tarini Parti, “White House Calls Russian Moves an Invasion After Initially Refraining From Using Term,” Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-calls-russian-moves-an-invasion-after-initially-refraining-from-using-term-11645549648

Eli Stokols and Tracy Wilkinson, “Biden announces sanctions against Russia for invasion of Ukraine,” Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-02-22/biden-allies-taking-calibrated-approach-in-response-to-putin-as-russian-tanks-invade-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Russia Begins Military Operation in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-shifts-to-war-footing-tells-citizens-to-leave-russia-11645616181

Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu, “Top senator warns Putin cyberattacks could trigger bigger war,” Axios, February 23, 2022, https://www.axios.com/mark-warner-putin-cyber-attacks-ukraine-40c5e959-5093-4d79-bf24-8d4731edb293.html

Jon Allsop, “Propaganda, confusion, and an assault on press freedom as Russia attacks Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 24, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/propaganda-confusion-and-an-assault-on-press-freedom-as-russia-attacks-ukraine.php

Miriam Berger, “Putin says he will ‘denazify’ Ukraine. Here’s the history behind that claim,” Washington Post, February 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/24/putin-denazify-ukraine/

Julian Borger and Angelique Chrisafis, “Decision to invade Ukraine raises questions over Putin’s ‘sense of reality,’” Guardian, February 24, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/24/putin-russian-president-ukraine-invasion-mental-fitness

Shira Hanau, “Declaring war on Ukraine, Russia’s Putin cites goal of ‘denazification’ of country with Jewish president,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 24, 2022, https://www.jta.org/2022/02/24/global/declaring-war-on-ukraine-russias-putin-cites-goal-of-denazification-of-country-with-jewish-president

Chico Harlan and Taylor Telford, “Stocks claw back after Russia’s attack on Ukraine roils markets,” Washington Post, February 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/24/ukraine-europe-markets-russia/

Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s New Iron Curtain,” Puck News, February 24, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-new-iron-curtain/

Matthew Karnitschnig, “How Germany helped blaze Putin’s path into Ukraine,” Politico, February 24, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/how-germany-helped-blaze-vladimir-putin-path-into-ukraine/

Robert Mackey, “Russian TV Uses Tucker Carlson and Tulsi Gabbard to Sell Putin’s War,” Intercept, February 24, 2022, https://theintercept.com/2022/02/24/russian-tv-uses-tucker-carlson-tulsi-gabbard-sell-putins-war/

Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Landay, “Explainer: Why Russia and Ukraine are fighting for Chernobyl disaster site,” Reuters, February 24, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/why-russia-ukraine-are-fighting-chernobyl-disaster-site-2022-02-25/

Reuters, “Factbox: How Ukraine’s armed forces shape up against Russia’s,” February 24, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/how-ukraines-armed-forces-shape-up-against-russias-2022-02-01/

Reuters, “Oil soars past $105 as Russia’s attack on Ukraine rattles markets,” Al Jazeera, February 24, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/2/24/oil-soars-past-105-as-russias-attack-on-ukraine-rattles-markets

Adario Strange, “Kyiv or Kiev? How to pronounce the name of the capital city of Ukraine and why,” Quartz, February 24, 2022, https://qz.com/2133021/this-is-why-the-name-of-ukraines-capital-is-kyiv-not-kiev/

Robin Wright, “Putin’s Historic Miscalculation May Make Him a War Criminal,” New Yorker, February 24, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/putins-historic-miscalculation-may-make-him-a-war-criminal

Yuras Karmanau et al., “Ukraine’s capital under threat as Russia presses invasion,” Associated Press, February 25, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-volodymyr-zelenskyy-boris-johnson-business-08f569df695831ee467979527ea2e241

Farrah Tomazin, “Biden calls invasion ‘a dangerous moment for freedom around the world,’” Sydney Morning Herald, February 25, 2022, https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/biden-calls-invasion-a-dangerous-moment-for-freedom-around-the-world-20220225-p59zk0.html

Adam Gabbatt, “Tucker Carlson leads rightwing charge to blame everyone but Putin,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/feb/25/tucker-carlson-fox-news-russia-putin

Juliette Garside, “Swift action at last brings meaningful sanctions against Putin regime,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/27/swift-action-at-last-brings-meaningful-sanctions-against-putin-regime

Roman Goncharenko and Andreas Illmer, “Ukraine: What will the next days bring and what is Russia’s overall plan?” February 26, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/ukraine-what-will-the-next-days-bring-and-what-is-russias-overall-plan/a-60927957

Luke Harding, “How Ukrainian defiance has derailed Putin’s plans,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/26/how-ukrainian-defiance-has-derailed-putins-plans

Reuters, “Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now,” February 26, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-russia-what-you-need-know-right-now-2022-02-26/

Emily Schultheis, “Ukraine invasion: What to know as Russian forces target Kyiv,” Associated Press, February 26, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-conflict-updates-today-c489b6f56d84f9483802dc3f142cbc8e

Paritosh Bansal and Stephen Coates, “Russian central bank scrambles to contain fallout of sanctions,” Reuters, February 27, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/russian-central-bank-scrambles-contain-fallout-sanctions-2022-02-28/

Catherine Belton, Paritosh Bansal, and Megan Davies, “Analysis: SWIFT block deals crippling blow to Russia; leaves room to tighten,” Reuters, February 27, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/swift-block-deals-crippling-blow-russia-leaves-room-tighten-2022-02-27/

Anthony Faiola, “Putin’s invasion of Ukraine could be backfiring,” Washington Post, February 27, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/27/russia-invasion-backfiring-ukraine/

David Frum, “Can Putin Recover From This?” Atlantic, February 27, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/how-russian-sanctions-work/622940/

Yuras Karmanau, “Putin puts nuclear forces on high alert, escalating tensions,” Associated Press, February 27, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-business-europe-moscow-2e4e1cf784f22b6afbe5a2f936725550

Dasha Litvinova, “Russians hold anti-war rallies amid ominous threats by Putin,” Associated Press, February 27, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-europe-arrests-moscow-cf5dda5528937de907f8916820cfab75

Tom Nichols, “How Should the U.S. Respond to Putin’s Nuclear Provocation?” Atlantic, February 27, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/how-the-west-should-respond-to-putins-nuclear-provocation/622943/

Ann M. Simmons and Matthew Luxmoore, “Putin Finds Himself Isolated, Out of Touch as Invasion of Ukraine Sputters,” Not Housebroken, February 27, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/as-his-invasion-of-ukraine-sputters-putin-finds-himself-isolated-and-out-of-touch-11646000993

Liz Sly and Dan Lamothe, “The war in Ukraine isn’t working out the way Russia intended,” Washington Post, February 27, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/27/ukraine-russia-invasion-tactics/

Vladimir Sorokin, “Vladimir Putin sits atop a crumbling pyramid of power,” Guardian, February 27, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/27/vladimir-putin-russia-ukraine-power

Andrew Sparrow, “Russian oligarchs in UK face new laws tackling ‘dirty money,’” Guardian, February 27, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/feb/28/russian-oligarchs-in-uk-face-new-laws-tackling-dirty-money

Jon Ungoed-Thomas and Shanti Das, “Boris Johnson under pressure to widen sanctions on more oligarchs in London,” Guardian, February 27, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/27/boris-johnson-under-pressure-to-widen-sanctions-on-more-oligarchs-in-london

Associated Press, “Russia-Ukraine War: What to know as Ukraine resists advance,” February 28, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-war-what-to-know-1c7a5fc5e9cf84134592c855c363e791

Larisa Brown, “Ukraine resistance shatters Putin’s plan for victory in 48 hours,” Times, February 28, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk//article/ukraine-resistance-shatters-putins-plan-for-victory-in-48-hours-0flscp323

Martin Farrer, Andrew Roth, and Julian Borger, “Ukraine war: sanctions-hit Russian rouble crashes as Zelenskiy speaks of ‘crucial’ 24 hours,” Guardian, February 28, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/28/ukraine-war-sanctions-hit-russian-rouble-crashes-as-zelenskiy-speaks-of-crucial-24-hours

Caitlin Ostroff, “Russia’s Ruble, Financial Markets Are Hammered by Sanctions,” Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russias-ruble-financial-markets-are-hammered-by-sanctions-11646038133


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Peter Stone, “Giuliani’s legal problems deepen as ‘false electors’ scheme investigated,” Guardian, February 28, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/feb/28/rudy-giuliani-legal-problems-false-electors-scheme


Does Vladimir Putin putting his nuclear forces on high alert count as an oligarch squealing?

Ukraine

The headline, “Analysis: SWIFT block deals crippling blow to Russia; leaves room to tighten,” on the Reuters analysis of moves to block some Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) could be—we don’t actually know—horribly misleading: We don’t know which banks will be excluded and whether this amounts to anything meaningful depends heavily on that.[1] They’re trying to exclude energy payments, to let those through, you know, so Germany can still get Russian gas.[2] Similarly, it remains to be seen how seriously Britain will crack down on London’s collusion with Russian money laundering.[3]

Apparently somewhat more significantly, the U.S. and European Union have announced sanctions on the Russian central bank:[4]

Central-bank sanctions are a weapon so devastating, in fact, that the only question is whether they might do more damage than Western governments might wish. They could potentially bankrupt the entire Russian banking system and push the ruble into worthlessness.[5]

David Frum goes on to explain that this is about the liquidity needed to convert between the Russian Ruble and western currencies:

What does it mean that Russia “has” X or Y in foreign reserves? Where do these reserves exist? The dollars, euros, and pounds owned by the Russian central bank—Russia may own them, but Russia does not control them. Almost all those hundreds of billions of Russian-owned assets are controlled by foreign central banks. Russia’s reserves exist as notations in the records of central banks in the West, especially the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve. Most of Russia’s reserves are literally IOUs to the Russian central bank from Western governments.[6]

Which is fairly bluntly to say that the U.S. and European Union can freeze those assets. Frum paints a pretty dire picture for Russians generally and this, of course, would be why, as Frum wrote, “they might do more damage than Western governments might wish.” Indeed, “[t]he central-bank weapon is so strong that it might indeed provoke Putin into fiercer aggression as a desperate last gamble.”[7] I don’t know if the timing is right but this might explain why that fun-loving alpha male, Vladimir Putin, has put his nuclear forces on high alert:[8]

Speaking at a meeting with his top officials, [Vladimir] Putin asserted on Sunday that leading NATO powers had made “aggressive statements” along with the West imposing hard-hitting financial sanctions against Russia, including the president himself.[9]

It’s hard to escape that globalization, with so-called “free” trade, has otherwise made economic sanctions against Russia nearly impossible. It has been said that “the capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”[10] Putin might have been thinking that of the West.

Robert Thweatt refers to some Trumpists, like Tucker Carlson, who root for Europe’s alpha male[11] simply because he’s an alpha male:


When I was researching my dissertation,[12] I came across the field of political psychology. Their methodology, at least what I found at the time, was entirely quantitative but they described a personality trait called “right wing authoritarianism” (RWA). Because they’re quantitative, they had devised tests (“instruments”) for the trait and it correlates with a number of other conservative personality traits, like fear of uncertainty. That’s not, by any means, to say that all conservatives are right wing authoritarians, but rather that some are.

Right wing authoritarianism isn’t quite what it sounds like. People with this personality trait want to follow authoritarian leaders. The complement, a desire to exercise authoritarian power over others, was called at least at that time, social dominance orientation (SDO). I think they were moving away from the “disorder” label, in part, I perceived, to avoid the accusation of politicization, but we are clearly seeing right wing authoritarianism among those Trumpists who also admire Putin.

In my dissertation, I was attempting to avoid treating conservatism as a psychological condition. I wanted to deal with their arguments.[13] But with Putin, we now probe the limits of delusion and derangement. I can’t say where this guy is going to stop.

Anne Applebaum, “There Are No Chamberlains in This Story,” Atlantic, February 20, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/munich-security-conference-chamberlain/622872/

John Hudson and Missy Ryan, “U.S. claims Russia has list of Ukrainians ‘to be killed or sent to camps’ following a military occupation,” Washington Post, February 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/02/20/ukraine-russia-human-rights/

David Ignatius, “Surprising cracks, if small ones, appear in Kremlin support for Putin on Ukraine,” Washington Post, February 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/02/21/putin-ukraine-invasion-kremlin-support/

Dan Sabbagh and Rowena Mason, “UK says ‘serious doubts’ exist within Russian military about invading Ukraine,” Guardian, February 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/21/uk-says-serious-doubts-exist-within-russian-military-about-invading-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Yaroslav Trofimov, and Matthew Luxmoore, “Putin Orders Deployment of Troops to Breakaway Regions in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-alleges-ukrainian-incursion-kyiv-says-moscow-makes-up-fake-incidents-11645453512

Jon Allsop, “The weight of words in the Russia-Ukraine story,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 22, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_putin_recognition_ukraine.php

Philip Bump, “‘Genius,’ ‘Savvy’: Trump reacts to Putin’s moves on Ukraine exactly as you’d expect,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/22/trump-reacts-putins-invasion-ukraine-exactly-youd-expect/

Anthony Faiola, “The moment when Putin got real,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/02/22/putin-speech-analysis-ukraine-russia/

Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/

Frank Jordans, “Ukraine-Russia: Germany suspends Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline,” Associated Press, February 22, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-business-germany-europe-berlin-79e3dafb0d231f6a033613b7dab78cdf

Andrew Restuccia and Tarini Parti, “White House Calls Russian Moves an Invasion After Initially Refraining From Using Term,” Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-calls-russian-moves-an-invasion-after-initially-refraining-from-using-term-11645549648

Eli Stokols and Tracy Wilkinson, “Biden announces sanctions against Russia for invasion of Ukraine,” Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-02-22/biden-allies-taking-calibrated-approach-in-response-to-putin-as-russian-tanks-invade-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Russia Begins Military Operation in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-shifts-to-war-footing-tells-citizens-to-leave-russia-11645616181

Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu, “Top senator warns Putin cyberattacks could trigger bigger war,” Axios, February 23, 2022, https://www.axios.com/mark-warner-putin-cyber-attacks-ukraine-40c5e959-5093-4d79-bf24-8d4731edb293.html

Jon Allsop, “Propaganda, confusion, and an assault on press freedom as Russia attacks Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 24, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/propaganda-confusion-and-an-assault-on-press-freedom-as-russia-attacks-ukraine.php

Miriam Berger, “Putin says he will ‘denazify’ Ukraine. Here’s the history behind that claim,” Washington Post, February 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/24/putin-denazify-ukraine/

Julian Borger and Angelique Chrisafis, “Decision to invade Ukraine raises questions over Putin’s ‘sense of reality,’” Guardian, February 24, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/24/putin-russian-president-ukraine-invasion-mental-fitness

Shira Hanau, “Declaring war on Ukraine, Russia’s Putin cites goal of ‘denazification’ of country with Jewish president,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 24, 2022, https://www.jta.org/2022/02/24/global/declaring-war-on-ukraine-russias-putin-cites-goal-of-denazification-of-country-with-jewish-president

Chico Harlan and Taylor Telford, “Stocks claw back after Russia’s attack on Ukraine roils markets,” Washington Post, February 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/24/ukraine-europe-markets-russia/

Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s New Iron Curtain,” Puck News, February 24, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-new-iron-curtain/

Matthew Karnitschnig, “How Germany helped blaze Putin’s path into Ukraine,” Politico, February 24, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/how-germany-helped-blaze-vladimir-putin-path-into-ukraine/

Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Landay, “Explainer: Why Russia and Ukraine are fighting for Chernobyl disaster site,” Reuters, February 24, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/why-russia-ukraine-are-fighting-chernobyl-disaster-site-2022-02-25/

Reuters, “Factbox: How Ukraine’s armed forces shape up against Russia’s,” February 24, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/how-ukraines-armed-forces-shape-up-against-russias-2022-02-01/

Reuters, “Oil soars past $105 as Russia’s attack on Ukraine rattles markets,” Al Jazeera, February 24, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/2/24/oil-soars-past-105-as-russias-attack-on-ukraine-rattles-markets

Adario Strange, “Kyiv or Kiev? How to pronounce the name of the capital city of Ukraine and why,” Quartz, February 24, 2022, https://qz.com/2133021/this-is-why-the-name-of-ukraines-capital-is-kyiv-not-kiev/

Robin Wright, “Putin’s Historic Miscalculation May Make Him a War Criminal,” New Yorker, February 24, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/putins-historic-miscalculation-may-make-him-a-war-criminal

Yuras Karmanau et al., “Ukraine’s capital under threat as Russia presses invasion,” Associated Press, February 25, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-volodymyr-zelenskyy-boris-johnson-business-08f569df695831ee467979527ea2e241

Farrah Tomazin, “Biden calls invasion ‘a dangerous moment for freedom around the world,’” Sydney Morning Herald, February 25, 2022, https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/biden-calls-invasion-a-dangerous-moment-for-freedom-around-the-world-20220225-p59zk0.html

Adam Gabbatt, “Tucker Carlson leads rightwing charge to blame everyone but Putin,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/feb/25/tucker-carlson-fox-news-russia-putin

Juliette Garside, “Swift action at last brings meaningful sanctions against Putin regime,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/27/swift-action-at-last-brings-meaningful-sanctions-against-putin-regime

Roman Goncharenko and Andreas Illmer, “Ukraine: What will the next days bring and what is Russia’s overall plan?” February 26, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/ukraine-what-will-the-next-days-bring-and-what-is-russias-overall-plan/a-60927957

Luke Harding, “How Ukrainian defiance has derailed Putin’s plans,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/26/how-ukrainian-defiance-has-derailed-putins-plans

Reuters, “Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now,” February 26, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-russia-what-you-need-know-right-now-2022-02-26/

Emily Schultheis, “Ukraine invasion: What to know as Russian forces target Kyiv,” Associated Press, February 26, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-conflict-updates-today-c489b6f56d84f9483802dc3f142cbc8e

Catherine Belton, Paritosh Bansal, and Megan Davies, “Analysis: SWIFT block deals crippling blow to Russia; leaves room to tighten,” Reuters, February 27, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/swift-block-deals-crippling-blow-russia-leaves-room-tighten-2022-02-27/

David Frum, “Can Putin Recover From This?” Atlantic, February 27, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/how-russian-sanctions-work/622940/

Yuras Karmanau, “Putin puts nuclear forces on high alert, escalating tensions,” Associated Press, February 27, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-business-europe-moscow-2e4e1cf784f22b6afbe5a2f936725550

Jon Ungoed-Thomas and Shanti Das, “Boris Johnson under pressure to widen sanctions on more oligarchs in London,” Guardian, February 27, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/27/boris-johnson-under-pressure-to-widen-sanctions-on-more-oligarchs-in-london


COVID-19 Pandemic

Doctors and charlatans

Sergio Olmos, “‘Don Quixote-like quest’: Ukraine attack and easing Covid mandates leave US trucker protest on the fringe,” Guardian, February 27, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/feb/27/america-peoples-convoy-trucker-protest


  1. [1]Catherine Belton, Paritosh Bansal, and Megan Davies, “Analysis: SWIFT block deals crippling blow to Russia; leaves room to tighten,” Reuters, February 27, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/swift-block-deals-crippling-blow-russia-leaves-room-tighten-2022-02-27/; Juliette Garside, “Swift action at last brings meaningful sanctions against Putin regime,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/27/swift-action-at-last-brings-meaningful-sanctions-against-putin-regime
  2. [2]Juliette Garside, “Swift action at last brings meaningful sanctions against Putin regime,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/27/swift-action-at-last-brings-meaningful-sanctions-against-putin-regime
  3. [3]Jon Ungoed-Thomas and Shanti Das, “Boris Johnson under pressure to widen sanctions on more oligarchs in London,” Guardian, February 27, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/27/boris-johnson-under-pressure-to-widen-sanctions-on-more-oligarchs-in-london
  4. [4]David Frum, “Can Putin Recover From This?” Atlantic, February 27, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/how-russian-sanctions-work/622940/
  5. [5]David Frum, “Can Putin Recover From This?” Atlantic, February 27, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/how-russian-sanctions-work/622940/
  6. [6]David Frum, “Can Putin Recover From This?” Atlantic, February 27, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/how-russian-sanctions-work/622940/
  7. [7]David Frum, “Can Putin Recover From This?” Atlantic, February 27, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/how-russian-sanctions-work/622940/
  8. [8]Associated Press, “Putin puts Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces on alert,” Politico, February 27, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/02/27/russia-putin-nuclear-weaponry-00012108
  9. [9]Associated Press, “Putin puts Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces on alert,” Politico, February 27, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/02/27/russia-putin-nuclear-weaponry-00012108
  10. [10]Quote Investigator, “The Capitalists Will Sell Us the Rope with Which We Will Hang Them,” February 22, 2018, https://quoteinvestigator.com/2018/02/22/rope/
  11. [11]Adam Gabbatt, “Tucker Carlson leads rightwing charge to blame everyone but Putin,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/feb/25/tucker-carlson-fox-news-russia-putin
  12. [12]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  13. [13]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).

Looky, looky here at this shit show

Ukraine


I was suspicious that Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine might not be the cakewalk on Kyiv that so many seemed to expect because I felt the ratio of forces was wrong.[1] As I rapidly realized when I went to check on that theory, my understanding was oversimplistic,[2] but it seems—take this with a salt shaker full of salt—that things might not be going to plan for Putin.[3]

Be suspicious. Be very suspicious. If David Halberstam’s account of Vietnam War reporting[4] isn’t enough, then consider the Pentagon’s insistence up to near the end that the U.S. could win in Afghanistan.[5] It gets worse when reporters embed with troops, as in the Iraq War. An awful lot of hubris makes its way into war reporting. And, to be fair, Luke Harding is, himself, cautious:

It is too early to describe the Kremlin’s operation to seize and subjugate Ukraine as a failure. The war has only just started. [Vladimir] Putin may yet prevail. The Russian military enjoys overwhelming superiority over Ukraine’s armed forces. It has numerous combat aircraft, a vast navy and 150,000 deployed troops.

And yet by Saturday, it was clear Putin’s blitzkrieg operation to remove Ukraine’s pro-western government had run into unexpected difficulties. Evidently, there were logistical issues. Re-supplying troops in a vast enemy country was proving a challenge.[6]

Harding reports Ukrainian civilian accounts of Russian equipment running out of fuel, Russian soldiers who don’t know where they’re going or why, Ukrainian resistance that Russians had apparently not prepared for. Like he says, the operation might still succeed. And the Russians seem to have had more success in the south of Ukraine.[7] But very much for the moment, it looks like a first class shit show and if Putin means for the world to fear Russia, well, this is a fucking embarrassment, a failure of command and control, a failure of logistics, and a failure by sheer hubris.

And I’m sure a lot of folks are going to want to know how the fuck that happened.

Anne Applebaum, “There Are No Chamberlains in This Story,” Atlantic, February 20, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/munich-security-conference-chamberlain/622872/

John Hudson and Missy Ryan, “U.S. claims Russia has list of Ukrainians ‘to be killed or sent to camps’ following a military occupation,” Washington Post, February 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/02/20/ukraine-russia-human-rights/

David Ignatius, “Surprising cracks, if small ones, appear in Kremlin support for Putin on Ukraine,” Washington Post, February 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/02/21/putin-ukraine-invasion-kremlin-support/

Dan Sabbagh and Rowena Mason, “UK says ‘serious doubts’ exist within Russian military about invading Ukraine,” Guardian, February 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/21/uk-says-serious-doubts-exist-within-russian-military-about-invading-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Yaroslav Trofimov, and Matthew Luxmoore, “Putin Orders Deployment of Troops to Breakaway Regions in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-alleges-ukrainian-incursion-kyiv-says-moscow-makes-up-fake-incidents-11645453512

Jon Allsop, “The weight of words in the Russia-Ukraine story,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 22, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_putin_recognition_ukraine.php

Philip Bump, “‘Genius,’ ‘Savvy’: Trump reacts to Putin’s moves on Ukraine exactly as you’d expect,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/22/trump-reacts-putins-invasion-ukraine-exactly-youd-expect/

Anthony Faiola, “The moment when Putin got real,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/02/22/putin-speech-analysis-ukraine-russia/

Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/

Frank Jordans, “Ukraine-Russia: Germany suspends Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline,” Associated Press, February 22, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-business-germany-europe-berlin-79e3dafb0d231f6a033613b7dab78cdf

Andrew Restuccia and Tarini Parti, “White House Calls Russian Moves an Invasion After Initially Refraining From Using Term,” Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-calls-russian-moves-an-invasion-after-initially-refraining-from-using-term-11645549648

Eli Stokols and Tracy Wilkinson, “Biden announces sanctions against Russia for invasion of Ukraine,” Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-02-22/biden-allies-taking-calibrated-approach-in-response-to-putin-as-russian-tanks-invade-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Russia Begins Military Operation in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-shifts-to-war-footing-tells-citizens-to-leave-russia-11645616181

Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu, “Top senator warns Putin cyberattacks could trigger bigger war,” Axios, February 23, 2022, https://www.axios.com/mark-warner-putin-cyber-attacks-ukraine-40c5e959-5093-4d79-bf24-8d4731edb293.html

Jon Allsop, “Propaganda, confusion, and an assault on press freedom as Russia attacks Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 24, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/propaganda-confusion-and-an-assault-on-press-freedom-as-russia-attacks-ukraine.php

Miriam Berger, “Putin says he will ‘denazify’ Ukraine. Here’s the history behind that claim,” Washington Post, February 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/24/putin-denazify-ukraine/

Julian Borger and Angelique Chrisafis, “Decision to invade Ukraine raises questions over Putin’s ‘sense of reality,’” Guardian, February 24, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/24/putin-russian-president-ukraine-invasion-mental-fitness

Shira Hanau, “Declaring war on Ukraine, Russia’s Putin cites goal of ‘denazification’ of country with Jewish president,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 24, 2022, https://www.jta.org/2022/02/24/global/declaring-war-on-ukraine-russias-putin-cites-goal-of-denazification-of-country-with-jewish-president

Chico Harlan and Taylor Telford, “Stocks claw back after Russia’s attack on Ukraine roils markets,” Washington Post, February 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/24/ukraine-europe-markets-russia/

Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s New Iron Curtain,” Puck News, February 24, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-new-iron-curtain/

Matthew Karnitschnig, “How Germany helped blaze Putin’s path into Ukraine,” Politico, February 24, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/how-germany-helped-blaze-vladimir-putin-path-into-ukraine/

Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Landay, “Explainer: Why Russia and Ukraine are fighting for Chernobyl disaster site,” Reuters, February 24, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/why-russia-ukraine-are-fighting-chernobyl-disaster-site-2022-02-25/

Reuters, “Factbox: How Ukraine’s armed forces shape up against Russia’s,” February 24, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/how-ukraines-armed-forces-shape-up-against-russias-2022-02-01/

Reuters, “Oil soars past $105 as Russia’s attack on Ukraine rattles markets,” Al Jazeera, February 24, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/2/24/oil-soars-past-105-as-russias-attack-on-ukraine-rattles-markets

Adario Strange, “Kyiv or Kiev? How to pronounce the name of the capital city of Ukraine and why,” Quartz, February 24, 2022, https://qz.com/2133021/this-is-why-the-name-of-ukraines-capital-is-kyiv-not-kiev/

Robin Wright, “Putin’s Historic Miscalculation May Make Him a War Criminal,” New Yorker, February 24, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/putins-historic-miscalculation-may-make-him-a-war-criminal

Yuras Karmanau et al., “Ukraine’s capital under threat as Russia presses invasion,” Associated Press, February 25, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-volodymyr-zelenskyy-boris-johnson-business-08f569df695831ee467979527ea2e241

Farrah Tomazin, “Biden calls invasion ‘a dangerous moment for freedom around the world,’” Sydney Morning Herald, February 25, 2022, https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/biden-calls-invasion-a-dangerous-moment-for-freedom-around-the-world-20220225-p59zk0.html

Adam Gabbatt, “Tucker Carlson leads rightwing charge to blame everyone but Putin,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/feb/25/tucker-carlson-fox-news-russia-putin

Luke Harding, “How Ukrainian defiance has derailed Putin’s plans,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/26/how-ukrainian-defiance-has-derailed-putins-plans

Reuters, “Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now,” February 26, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-russia-what-you-need-know-right-now-2022-02-26/

Emily Schultheis, “Ukraine invasion: What to know as Russian forces target Kyiv,” Associated Press, February 26, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-conflict-updates-today-c489b6f56d84f9483802dc3f142cbc8e

  1. [1]David Benfell, “Vladimir Putin is a fool,” Not Housebroken, February 24, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/01/24/vladimir-putin-is-a-fool/
  2. [2]Paul K. Davis, “Aggregation, Disaggregation, and the 3:1 Rule in Ground Combat,” National Defense Research Institute, 1995, https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA302819.pdf
  3. [3]Luke Harding, “How Ukrainian defiance has derailed Putin’s plans,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/26/how-ukrainian-defiance-has-derailed-putins-plans
  4. [4]David Halberstam, The Powers That Be (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois, 2000).
  5. [5]Craig Whitlock, “At war with the truth,” Washington Post, December 9, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-confidential-documents/
  6. [6]Luke Harding, “How Ukrainian defiance has derailed Putin’s plans,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/26/how-ukrainian-defiance-has-derailed-putins-plans
  7. [7]Luke Harding, “How Ukrainian defiance has derailed Putin’s plans,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/26/how-ukrainian-defiance-has-derailed-putins-plans

Wake me when it’s over

Ukraine, Intractable polarization

I think at this point I’m mostly in “wake me when it’s over” mode on Ukraine. There is no argument I can offer that, even if heard, would change what happens on the ground at this point.

In truth, I’m watching the headlines, but really not trusting what I’m seeing on progress or lack thereof on progress of the invasion. Something to bear in mind is that Kyiv, the capital, is relatively and uncomfortably close to the border with Belarus (figure 1). If it falls, and this has yet to be seen, there is still a lot of the country left to conquer.

Fig. 1. Ukraine Map by EC-JRC (ECHO) – source, downloaded from Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0, Link

The story about Tucker Carlson and a few other Trumpists blaming anyone except Vladimir Putin for the Russian invasion of Ukraine[1] nearly coincides with a Twitter thread from George Monbiot,[2] which I reproduce below, who is talking about “tankies.”[3] Tankies see the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as the penultimate evil, the devil incarnate; in their binary view, this leads them to the inescapable conclusion that anyone who opposes these entities must therefore be deified or at least canonized as a saint. Any evidence or argument you might present in opposition is, for these people, “Western propaganda.”

I try not to engage with such assholes anymore; life is to short and arguing with them is futile. I am, in light of the invasion, aggressively blocking them. Here’s Monbiot:

For years I’ve been arguing with a faction within the “anti-imperialist” left, that is neither anti-imperialist nor distinguishable in its foreign policy positions from the far right. It is pro-Putin. It recycles Kremlin propaganda and whitewashes atrocities.
Thread/

I’ve been contesting its justifications of Vladimir Putin’s and Bashar al-Assad’s atrocities in Syria. Its attempts to justify Putin’s attacks on Ukraine are equally shameful.

In the approach to Putin’s invasion, this faction has blamed everyone but him. Its excuses for his imperialism happen to be identical to the Kremlin’s:
It’s all NATO’s fault
It’s about the Azov battalion
It’s about protecting Russians from Ukrainian aggression.

The people who have amplified these excuses are not, as they claim, anti-imperialists. They are rightly opposed to western imperialism, but will bend over backwards to accommodate Russian imperialism. Some are paid stooges. For others it’s “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.”

In Syria, echoing Russian propaganda, they have excused or denied some of the worst contemporary atrocities on Earth: Assad’s chemical weapons attacks, barrel bombing of civilians, mass imprisonment, torture and murder of those who resist.

Just as they characterised all Ukrainians who defied Russian imperialism as Nazis, they’ve characterised all Syrians who defy Assad as “head choppers”. They have sought to delegitimise all resistance to Putin and Assad.

In trying to counter this propaganda, I’ve found myself accused, bizarrely, of being a “warmonger”, an “imperialist” and a “US shill”. No, it’s about trying to apply consistent principles. About opposing the worse examples of inhumanity, regardless of the perpetrator.

(For the record, I was among the very few UK journalists to oppose the invasion of Afghanistan. I also set up the Arrest Blair campaign, to try to hold him to account for his criminal war in Iraq. Never mind, I must be a western shill and warmonger.)

Of course, I was not alone in calling out this appeasement. But we were few in number, while the pro-Putin faction has been noisy, highly visible and brimming with confidence and aggression. None of this has been any fun. But the propaganda had to be contested.

Now that Putin’s full-scale invasion has left them stranded, some of these people are mumbling “of course, we condemn all war.” But they haven’t and they don’t. For years they have carried water for Putin and other bloodthirsty tyrants, justifying their colonial aggressions.

True anti-imperialism is not about opposing only the west’s imperialism, essential as this is. It’s about opposing all imperialism, whether western, Russian, Chinese or other. It’s about opposing all aggressive wars, regardless of who’s waging them.

I’m sorry to bring all this up again. It’s uncomfortable, in fact frankly pretty horrible to engage with. But we do no one – except Putin and his acolytes – any favours by pretending it isn’t happening.[4]

Of course, the likes of Carlson are hardly arguing in the same manner as tankies. Trumpists are about toxic masculinity[5]—the bare-chested Putin riding a horse or the photoshopped image of Donald Trump’s face on Rambo’s body, for example—and assess Joe Biden as “weak;” hence a way to blame Biden.[6]

It is, of course, all so asinine as to merit sarcasm, for which I promptly got myself in trouble in my Twitter replies. I can hardly blame those who missed it as I have failed similarly myself. Sarcasm is unwise and even reckless on Twitter, where a 280-character limit on posts imposes an easily misunderstood brevity. But my always limited—I remember this being a problem even in junior high school—and steadily decreasing tolerance for inanity seemingly compels it.

Anne Applebaum, “There Are No Chamberlains in This Story,” Atlantic, February 20, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/munich-security-conference-chamberlain/622872/

John Hudson and Missy Ryan, “U.S. claims Russia has list of Ukrainians ‘to be killed or sent to camps’ following a military occupation,” Washington Post, February 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/02/20/ukraine-russia-human-rights/

David Ignatius, “Surprising cracks, if small ones, appear in Kremlin support for Putin on Ukraine,” Washington Post, February 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/02/21/putin-ukraine-invasion-kremlin-support/

Dan Sabbagh and Rowena Mason, “UK says ‘serious doubts’ exist within Russian military about invading Ukraine,” Guardian, February 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/21/uk-says-serious-doubts-exist-within-russian-military-about-invading-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Yaroslav Trofimov, and Matthew Luxmoore, “Putin Orders Deployment of Troops to Breakaway Regions in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-alleges-ukrainian-incursion-kyiv-says-moscow-makes-up-fake-incidents-11645453512

Jon Allsop, “The weight of words in the Russia-Ukraine story,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 22, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_putin_recognition_ukraine.php

Philip Bump, “‘Genius,’ ‘Savvy’: Trump reacts to Putin’s moves on Ukraine exactly as you’d expect,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/22/trump-reacts-putins-invasion-ukraine-exactly-youd-expect/

Anthony Faiola, “The moment when Putin got real,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/02/22/putin-speech-analysis-ukraine-russia/

Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/

Frank Jordans, “Ukraine-Russia: Germany suspends Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline,” Associated Press, February 22, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-business-germany-europe-berlin-79e3dafb0d231f6a033613b7dab78cdf

Andrew Restuccia and Tarini Parti, “White House Calls Russian Moves an Invasion After Initially Refraining From Using Term,” Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-calls-russian-moves-an-invasion-after-initially-refraining-from-using-term-11645549648

Eli Stokols and Tracy Wilkinson, “Biden announces sanctions against Russia for invasion of Ukraine,” Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-02-22/biden-allies-taking-calibrated-approach-in-response-to-putin-as-russian-tanks-invade-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Russia Begins Military Operation in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-shifts-to-war-footing-tells-citizens-to-leave-russia-11645616181

Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu, “Top senator warns Putin cyberattacks could trigger bigger war,” Axios, February 23, 2022, https://www.axios.com/mark-warner-putin-cyber-attacks-ukraine-40c5e959-5093-4d79-bf24-8d4731edb293.html

Jon Allsop, “Propaganda, confusion, and an assault on press freedom as Russia attacks Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 24, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/propaganda-confusion-and-an-assault-on-press-freedom-as-russia-attacks-ukraine.php

Miriam Berger, “Putin says he will ‘denazify’ Ukraine. Here’s the history behind that claim,” Washington Post, February 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/24/putin-denazify-ukraine/

Julian Borger and Angelique Chrisafis, “Decision to invade Ukraine raises questions over Putin’s ‘sense of reality,’” Guardian, February 24, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/24/putin-russian-president-ukraine-invasion-mental-fitness

Shira Hanau, “Declaring war on Ukraine, Russia’s Putin cites goal of ‘denazification’ of country with Jewish president,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 24, 2022, https://www.jta.org/2022/02/24/global/declaring-war-on-ukraine-russias-putin-cites-goal-of-denazification-of-country-with-jewish-president

Chico Harlan and Taylor Telford, “Stocks claw back after Russia’s attack on Ukraine roils markets,” Washington Post, February 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/24/ukraine-europe-markets-russia/

Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s New Iron Curtain,” Puck News, February 24, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-new-iron-curtain/

Matthew Karnitschnig, “How Germany helped blaze Putin’s path into Ukraine,” Politico, February 24, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/how-germany-helped-blaze-vladimir-putin-path-into-ukraine/

Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Landay, “Explainer: Why Russia and Ukraine are fighting for Chernobyl disaster site,” Reuters, February 24, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/why-russia-ukraine-are-fighting-chernobyl-disaster-site-2022-02-25/

Reuters, “Factbox: How Ukraine’s armed forces shape up against Russia’s,” February 24, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/how-ukraines-armed-forces-shape-up-against-russias-2022-02-01/

Reuters, “Oil soars past $105 as Russia’s attack on Ukraine rattles markets,” Al Jazeera, February 24, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/2/24/oil-soars-past-105-as-russias-attack-on-ukraine-rattles-markets

Adario Strange, “Kyiv or Kiev? How to pronounce the name of the capital city of Ukraine and why,” Quartz, February 24, 2022, https://qz.com/2133021/this-is-why-the-name-of-ukraines-capital-is-kyiv-not-kiev/

Robin Wright, “Putin’s Historic Miscalculation May Make Him a War Criminal,” New Yorker, February 24, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/putins-historic-miscalculation-may-make-him-a-war-criminal

Yuras Karmanau et al., “Ukraine’s capital under threat as Russia presses invasion,” Associated Press, February 25, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-volodymyr-zelenskyy-boris-johnson-business-08f569df695831ee467979527ea2e241

Farrah Tomazin, “Biden calls invasion ‘a dangerous moment for freedom around the world,’” Sydney Morning Herald, February 25, 2022, https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/biden-calls-invasion-a-dangerous-moment-for-freedom-around-the-world-20220225-p59zk0.html

Adam Gabbatt, “Tucker Carlson leads rightwing charge to blame everyone but Putin,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/feb/25/tucker-carlson-fox-news-russia-putin

Reuters, “Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now,” February 26, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-russia-what-you-need-know-right-now-2022-02-26/


Supreme Court

Much to my astonishment, Joe Biden is nominating a former public defender, Ketanji Brown Jackson, to the Supreme Court. “[H]er confirmation could be a jurisprudential break from a man [Biden] who repeatedly voted with law enforcement over individual rights.”[7] I thought sure this would go another way and I hope she will indeed be brilliant in her own way[8]—I very much fear she will need to be.

Irin Carmon, “The Other First: What it means to nominate a veteran public defender,” New York, February 25, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/02/ketanji-brown-jacksons-public-defender-experience.html


  1. [1]Adam Gabbatt, “Tucker Carlson leads rightwing charge to blame everyone but Putin,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/feb/25/tucker-carlson-fox-news-russia-putin
  2. [2]George Monbiot, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, February 26, 2022, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1497511988322258948.html
  3. [3]I am not quite so constrained in my definition as Noah Smith, in “Tankies!” Noahpinion, December 31, 2020, https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/tankies. Smith constrains his understanding to those who allegedly support Marxist-Leninism, but is sloppy in labeling the People’s Republic of China or Josef Stalin as “Marxist/Leninist” or “communist” when they can at best be regarded as authoritarian socialist or, today, state capitalist. The question of economic system is of extremely limited relevance today and will be for the foreseeable future. Most crucial in my understanding is a false dichotomy valorizing any opposition, regardless of merit, to the the United States or North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
  4. [4]George Monbiot, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, February 26, 2022, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1497511988322258948.html
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Hate, Pittsburgh Style,” Not Housebroken, February 26, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/04/06/hate-pittsburgh-style/
  6. [6]Adam Gabbatt, “Tucker Carlson leads rightwing charge to blame everyone but Putin,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/feb/25/tucker-carlson-fox-news-russia-putin
  7. [7]Irin Carmon, “The Other First: What it means to nominate a veteran public defender,” New York, February 25, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/02/ketanji-brown-jacksons-public-defender-experience.html
  8. [8]David Benfell, “Ilya Shapiro is wrong and yes, Joe Biden should nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court,” Not Housebroken, February 1, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/02/01/ilya-shapiro-is-wrong-and-yes-joe-biden-should-nominate-a-black-woman-to-the-supreme-court/

The one border I’d argue for

Intractable polarization

In writing my dissertation, I focused on U.S. domestic politics and seven tendencies of conservatism I had identified. I was resisting consideration of the wider world because I did not want to overgeneralize and I had a massive amount of material as it was—that dissertation came in at over 400 pages—over four times the expected length.[1]

So I’ve been slow to take on Trumpism as a wider phenomenon affecting for examples, eastern Europe, Turkey, Brazil, and the Philippines, as well. It’s a scholarly myopia that as a human scientist, I hope to avoid. I have failed here only in part because I simply don’t have the sense of those places that I have of the U.S. where, since moving to Pittsburgh, I have seen even that my California perspective was too limited.


Taking on the wider problem is problematic. I am stuck as an Uber driver, seemingly unable to escape, having failed to find gainful employment in now 21 years.[2] There is work I need to be doing, that is in fact essential to an understanding of the world we live in, and that I am prevented from doing.

In the meantime, y’all know I don’t like borders. I see them as depriving human beings on an arbitrarily “wrong” side of rights and privileges they would be entitled to on the “right” side, and for this, there can be no ethical justification whatsoever: Either humans are humans with human rights or they aren’t and they should universally be treated that way.[3] But I am tired of bullies and of being bullied. If there must be borders, it should be between, on one side, Trumpists and Trumpist-style authoritarians who insist on dehumanizing the “other,” and on the other, the rest of us. Because it is increasingly clear that while they may delight in their absolute disdain for us, we cannot live with them.


Ukraine


Since alleged Ukrainian “Nazis” are such a hot topic, right now, it might be worth remembering that Josef Stalin, Vladimir Putin’s hero, signed a peace treaty with Adolf Hitler, allowing the latter to blitzkrieg the rest of Europe, before attacking the Soviet Union.

During the Cold War, the term [“Nazi” or “Fascist”] came to apply to anyone in the West or those who opposed Russia, [Timothy Snyder, a professor of history at Yale University] said.[4]

Jon Allsop, “A week of whiplash and the need for cool heads over Russia and Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 18, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_ukraine_invasion_whiplash.php

Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s Quasi War Begins,” Puck News, February 18, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-quasi-war-begins/

Maegan Vazquez et al., “Biden says he’s now convinced Putin has decided to invade Ukraine, but leaves door open for diplomacy,” CNN, February 18, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/18/politics/joe-biden-russia-ukraine/index.html

Anne Applebaum, “There Are No Chamberlains in This Story,” Atlantic, February 20, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/munich-security-conference-chamberlain/622872/

John Hudson and Missy Ryan, “U.S. claims Russia has list of Ukrainians ‘to be killed or sent to camps’ following a military occupation,” Washington Post, February 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/02/20/ukraine-russia-human-rights/

David Ignatius, “Surprising cracks, if small ones, appear in Kremlin support for Putin on Ukraine,” Washington Post, February 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/02/21/putin-ukraine-invasion-kremlin-support/

Dan Sabbagh and Rowena Mason, “UK says ‘serious doubts’ exist within Russian military about invading Ukraine,” Guardian, February 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/21/uk-says-serious-doubts-exist-within-russian-military-about-invading-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Yaroslav Trofimov, and Matthew Luxmoore, “Putin Orders Deployment of Troops to Breakaway Regions in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-alleges-ukrainian-incursion-kyiv-says-moscow-makes-up-fake-incidents-11645453512

Jon Allsop, “The weight of words in the Russia-Ukraine story,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 22, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_putin_recognition_ukraine.php

Philip Bump, “‘Genius,’ ‘Savvy’: Trump reacts to Putin’s moves on Ukraine exactly as you’d expect,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/22/trump-reacts-putins-invasion-ukraine-exactly-youd-expect/

Anthony Faiola, “The moment when Putin got real,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/02/22/putin-speech-analysis-ukraine-russia/

Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/

Frank Jordans, “Ukraine-Russia: Germany suspends Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline,” Associated Press, February 22, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-business-germany-europe-berlin-79e3dafb0d231f6a033613b7dab78cdf

Andrew Restuccia and Tarini Parti, “White House Calls Russian Moves an Invasion After Initially Refraining From Using Term,” Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-calls-russian-moves-an-invasion-after-initially-refraining-from-using-term-11645549648

Eli Stokols and Tracy Wilkinson, “Biden announces sanctions against Russia for invasion of Ukraine,” Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-02-22/biden-allies-taking-calibrated-approach-in-response-to-putin-as-russian-tanks-invade-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Russia Begins Military Operation in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-shifts-to-war-footing-tells-citizens-to-leave-russia-11645616181

Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu, “Top senator warns Putin cyberattacks could trigger bigger war,” Axios, February 23, 2022, https://www.axios.com/mark-warner-putin-cyber-attacks-ukraine-40c5e959-5093-4d79-bf24-8d4731edb293.html

Jon Allsop, “Propaganda, confusion, and an assault on press freedom as Russia attacks Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 24, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/propaganda-confusion-and-an-assault-on-press-freedom-as-russia-attacks-ukraine.php

Miriam Berger, “Putin says he will ‘denazify’ Ukraine. Here’s the history behind that claim,” Washington Post, February 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/24/putin-denazify-ukraine/

Julian Borger and Angelique Chrisafis, “Decision to invade Ukraine raises questions over Putin’s ‘sense of reality,’” Guardian, February 24, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/24/putin-russian-president-ukraine-invasion-mental-fitness

Shira Hanau, “Declaring war on Ukraine, Russia’s Putin cites goal of ‘denazification’ of country with Jewish president,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 24, 2022, https://www.jta.org/2022/02/24/global/declaring-war-on-ukraine-russias-putin-cites-goal-of-denazification-of-country-with-jewish-president

Chico Harlan and Taylor Telford, “Stocks claw back after Russia’s attack on Ukraine roils markets,” Washington Post, February 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/24/ukraine-europe-markets-russia/

Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s New Iron Curtain,” Puck News, February 24, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-new-iron-curtain/

Matthew Karnitschnig, “How Germany helped blaze Putin’s path into Ukraine,” Politico, February 24, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/how-germany-helped-blaze-vladimir-putin-path-into-ukraine/

Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Landay, “Explainer: Why Russia and Ukraine are fighting for Chernobyl disaster site,” Reuters, February 24, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/why-russia-ukraine-are-fighting-chernobyl-disaster-site-2022-02-25/

Reuters, “Factbox: How Ukraine’s armed forces shape up against Russia’s,” February 24, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/how-ukraines-armed-forces-shape-up-against-russias-2022-02-01/

Reuters, “Oil soars past $105 as Russia’s attack on Ukraine rattles markets,” Al Jazeera, February 24, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/2/24/oil-soars-past-105-as-russias-attack-on-ukraine-rattles-markets

Adario Strange, “Kyiv or Kiev? How to pronounce the name of the capital city of Ukraine and why,” Quartz, February 24, 2022, https://qz.com/2133021/this-is-why-the-name-of-ukraines-capital-is-kyiv-not-kiev/

Robin Wright, “Putin’s Historic Miscalculation May Make Him a War Criminal,” New Yorker, February 24, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/putins-historic-miscalculation-may-make-him-a-war-criminal

Yuras Karmanau et al., “Ukraine’s capital under threat as Russia presses invasion,” Associated Press, February 25, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-volodymyr-zelenskyy-boris-johnson-business-08f569df695831ee467979527ea2e241

Farrah Tomazin, “Biden calls invasion ‘a dangerous moment for freedom around the world,’” Sydney Morning Herald, February 25, 2022, https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/biden-calls-invasion-a-dangerous-moment-for-freedom-around-the-world-20220225-p59zk0.html


Donald Trump

Finances

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

The case was always a high-wire act. Unlike the parallel civil case under investigation by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, which only needs to reach a threshold of “preponderance of the evidence” to find Trump liable for violating the law, the D.A.’s criminal case would have had to convince a jury “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Trump had criminal intent to defraud. Real-estate valuations of the kind that Trump was under investigation for manipulating are also often slippery, but Vance’s team had hoped to prove that Trump engaged in a decades-long pattern of criminal fraud. Dunne, in particular, spent years on the investigation, and, although he and Pomerantz apparently never thought the case would be easy, they both believed that it had merit.[5]

After campaigning on a promise to pursue Donald Trump, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was bored by the case his prosecutors were developing.[6] So they resigned.[7]

Corinne Ramey and Deanna Paul, “Two Prosecutors in New York Investigation of Donald Trump Resign,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/two-prosecutors-in-new-york-investigation-of-donald-trump-resign-11645650257

Jane Mayer, “Why Does New York’s Criminal Investigation of Donald Trump Appear All But Over?” New Yorker, February 24, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-does-new-yorks-criminal-investigation-of-donald-trump-appear-all-but-over


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  2. [2]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Things I shouldn’t have to say about borders,” Not Housebroken, December 26, 2018, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/12/26/things-i-shouldnt-have-to-say-about-borders/
  4. [4]Miriam Berger, “Putin says he will ‘denazify’ Ukraine. Here’s the history behind that claim,” Washington Post, February 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/24/putin-denazify-ukraine/
  5. [5]Jane Mayer, “Why Does New York’s Criminal Investigation of Donald Trump Appear All But Over?” New Yorker, February 24, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-does-new-yorks-criminal-investigation-of-donald-trump-appear-all-but-over
  6. [6]Jane Mayer, “Why Does New York’s Criminal Investigation of Donald Trump Appear All But Over?” New Yorker, February 24, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-does-new-yorks-criminal-investigation-of-donald-trump-appear-all-but-over
  7. [7]Jane Mayer, “Why Does New York’s Criminal Investigation of Donald Trump Appear All But Over?” New Yorker, February 24, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-does-new-yorks-criminal-investigation-of-donald-trump-appear-all-but-over; Corinne Ramey and Deanna Paul, “Two Prosecutors in New York Investigation of Donald Trump Resign,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/two-prosecutors-in-new-york-investigation-of-donald-trump-resign-11645650257

Russia invades Ukraine and the world is outraged, I tell you, outraged!

Right-wing dictatorship

There is, some seem to suggest, only one right answer and that answer is always the Trumpist answer. Which is not the answer they’re getting from courts,[1] which may well mean a new state constitutional amendment in Pennsylvania.[2]

Alexa Corse, “Pennsylvania, North Carolina Redistricting Court Decisions Don’t Provide Major Partisan Wins,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pennsylvania-north-carolina-redistricting-court-decisions-dont-provide-major-partisan-wins-11645653629

Jonathan Lai, “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has picked a new congressional map,” Philadelphia Inquirer, February 23, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-redistricting-new-congressional-map-supreme-court-20220223.html

Marc Levy, Mark Scolforo, and Lauren Rude, “Pennsylvania high court picks new map of US House districts; lawmakers react,” YourErie.com, February 23, 2022, https://www.yourerie.com/news/local-news/your-local-election-hq/pennsylvania-high-court-picks-new-map-of-us-house-districts/


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

It turns out that like Rudy Giuliani,[3] Ivanka Trump is in talks with the January 6 committee investigating the coup attempt. My fear with Giuliani, that he may be using negotiations as a stalling tactic, is explicit with Ivanka Trump.[4]

Annie Karni and Luke Broadwater, “Ivanka Trump in Talks With Jan. 6 Panel About Being Interviewed,” New York Times, February 23, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/23/us/politics/ivanka-trump-jan-6-committee.html

Hugo Lowell, “Rudy Giuliani poised to cooperate with January 6 committee,” Guardian, February 23, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/feb/22/giuliani-cooperate-january-6-committee


Ukraine

It is an error to confuse coincidence with intention and Anthony Zenkus ought to know better:


But I do wonder if the Russian invasion of Ukraine is Vladimir Putin’s unintended gift to the Democrats.

The war arrived at 4 a.m. local time, just as the rumors said it would. It started with air strikes—in Kyiv, in Kharkiv, Mariupol, Ivano-Frankivsk—and then there were the amphibious landings in Odessa and Belarusian tanks coming over the border in the north. Just as explosions began to echo around Ukraine, Vladimir Putin addressed his nation, as well as the one he was attacking, something that he and his minions had promised for months that they had no intention of doing. This would be a “special military operation” Putin said, to “de-Nazify and demilitarize Ukraine.” His troops would rid it of the “junta” that had seized power and was committing “genocide” against the innocents. The perpetrators, he promised, would be tried and brought to justice.[5]

Putin claims he is pursuing a ‘denazification’ of Ukraine,[6] which, with reported widespread attacks, appears to mean he intends to replace the Ukrainian government.[7] In turn, the Ukrainian president, a Jew, compares Putin to Adolf Hitler.[8]

Julia Ioffe accepts the World War II references in one way: She understands Putin to be seeking to reestablish the world of the Cold War that followed World War II, one divided between Soviet and U.S. spheres of influence, where the antagonists, terrified of fighting each other—the “MAD” doctrine of mutually assured destruction—interminably fought out their differences in the developing world, with one proxy war after another.[9]

Maybe a lot of people don’t actually remember the original Cold War, which featured “duck and cover” drills for schoolchildren, preparing them for a nuclear attack. Maybe they don’t remember the decades-long threat of nuclear war. Maybe they don’t remember when “Ruskies” were demonized as “Commies.” I’m having an awfully hard time understanding why anyone not seriously deranged would seek to reestablish this order.

In this, at least as Ioffe understands him, Putin seeks to reify his own perception of that bipolar world: He already understands the world in those terms, now he wants to make his understanding real, as he reclaims Ukraine. And he claims that the U.S., through its alleged Ukrainian proxy government, seeks nothing less than the destruction of the Soviet Union Russia.[10] On Twitter, Ioffe had asked, probably rhetorically, if Putin really believed this[11] and I replied,


I was thinking of Putin’s background in the Soviet intelligence service, the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (KGB). We should expect of such services that even when they are wrong, that they attempt to be objective, that they at least attempt to be truthful. But as Justin Sherin, posing as Richard Nixon, had tweeted all too recently,


Whatever we may think of Putin’s supposed canniness, he now shows no sign of an attempt at objectivity or truthfulness.

Finally, after explaining how modern and advanced his nuclear arsenal was, he turned to the camera and added another threat. “And now a few important—very important—words for those who might be tempted to intervene in current events,” he said ominously. “Whosoever tries to get in our way, or to threaten our country, our people, must know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will bring about such consequences that you have never experienced before. We are ready for any developments. All decisions necessary for this have been made.” He paused and snarled, “I hope I will have been heard.”

It was hard not to hear him: the president of Russia seemed to be threatening the U.S. and its allies with nuclear retaliation if they tried to get in his way in Ukraine. It was certainly one way of achieving his dream of a new Cold War—by provoking a nuclear stand-off in the 21st century.[14]

I am reminded of those on the U.S. side in the original Cold War who advocated a preemptive strike, not because they had any assurance whatsoever that humanity would survive a nuclear war, but that they merely hoped enough on the U.S. side would survive to preserve what so many call a capitalist democracy[15]—these, arguably, were the original neoconservatives—but is really a constitutional oligarchy.[16]

Now it is Putin threatening nuclear war to impose his derangement. But still it comes back to the Nazis, as Ioffe writes,

[S]ince those flags changed [replacing the Soviet flag with those of fifteen former Soviet republics], Putin has been trying to renegotiate the terms of surrender, raging against this national humiliation just as another strongman, nearly a century earlier, raged against the humiliation of Versailles.[17]

So far, the only discernible impactful response from the rest of the world was a sell-off in financial markets that didn’t last long[18] while oil prices skyrocketed.[19] (No, I will not be impressed by sanctions,[20] at least until I see some oligarchs squeal.) It indeed may not be appeasement,[21] but for now, at least, it might as well be.

Anthony Faiola, “How joining NATO and the E.U. became Ukraine’s unattainable dream,” Washington Post, February 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/02/17/ukraine-nato-eu-european-union-membership/

Reuters, “Ukraine says Russian-backed artillery strike hits kindergarten, no injuries,” February 17, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-says-russian-backed-artillery-strike-hits-kindergarten-no-injuries-2022-02-17/

Ann M. Simmons, Yaroslav Trofimov, and William Mauldin, “Russia Accuses Ukrainian Military of ‘Crimes’ in Report to U.N.,” Wall Street Journal, February 17, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-pro-russia-separatists-trade-allegations-of-cease-fire-violations-11645091832

Jon Allsop, “A week of whiplash and the need for cool heads over Russia and Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 18, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_ukraine_invasion_whiplash.php

Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s Quasi War Begins,” Puck News, February 18, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-quasi-war-begins/

Maegan Vazquez et al., “Biden says he’s now convinced Putin has decided to invade Ukraine, but leaves door open for diplomacy,” CNN, February 18, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/18/politics/joe-biden-russia-ukraine/index.html

Anne Applebaum, “There Are No Chamberlains in This Story,” Atlantic, February 20, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/munich-security-conference-chamberlain/622872/

John Hudson and Missy Ryan, “U.S. claims Russia has list of Ukrainians ‘to be killed or sent to camps’ following a military occupation,” Washington Post, February 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/02/20/ukraine-russia-human-rights/

David Ignatius, “Surprising cracks, if small ones, appear in Kremlin support for Putin on Ukraine,” Washington Post, February 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/02/21/putin-ukraine-invasion-kremlin-support/

Dan Sabbagh and Rowena Mason, “UK says ‘serious doubts’ exist within Russian military about invading Ukraine,” Guardian, February 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/21/uk-says-serious-doubts-exist-within-russian-military-about-invading-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Yaroslav Trofimov, and Matthew Luxmoore, “Putin Orders Deployment of Troops to Breakaway Regions in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-alleges-ukrainian-incursion-kyiv-says-moscow-makes-up-fake-incidents-11645453512

Jon Allsop, “The weight of words in the Russia-Ukraine story,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 22, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_putin_recognition_ukraine.php

Philip Bump, “‘Genius,’ ‘Savvy’: Trump reacts to Putin’s moves on Ukraine exactly as you’d expect,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/22/trump-reacts-putins-invasion-ukraine-exactly-youd-expect/

Anthony Faiola, “The moment when Putin got real,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/02/22/putin-speech-analysis-ukraine-russia/

Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/

Frank Jordans, “Ukraine-Russia: Germany suspends Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline,” Associated Press, February 22, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-business-germany-europe-berlin-79e3dafb0d231f6a033613b7dab78cdf

Andrew Restuccia and Tarini Parti, “White House Calls Russian Moves an Invasion After Initially Refraining From Using Term,” Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-calls-russian-moves-an-invasion-after-initially-refraining-from-using-term-11645549648

Eli Stokols and Tracy Wilkinson, “Biden announces sanctions against Russia for invasion of Ukraine,” Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-02-22/biden-allies-taking-calibrated-approach-in-response-to-putin-as-russian-tanks-invade-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Russia Begins Military Operation in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-shifts-to-war-footing-tells-citizens-to-leave-russia-11645616181

Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu, “Top senator warns Putin cyberattacks could trigger bigger war,” Axios, February 23, 2022, https://www.axios.com/mark-warner-putin-cyber-attacks-ukraine-40c5e959-5093-4d79-bf24-8d4731edb293.html

Jon Allsop, “Propaganda, confusion, and an assault on press freedom as Russia attacks Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 24, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/propaganda-confusion-and-an-assault-on-press-freedom-as-russia-attacks-ukraine.php

Shira Hanau, “Declaring war on Ukraine, Russia’s Putin cites goal of ‘denazification’ of country with Jewish president,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 24, 2022, https://www.jta.org/2022/02/24/global/declaring-war-on-ukraine-russias-putin-cites-goal-of-denazification-of-country-with-jewish-president

Chico Harlan and Taylor Telford, “Dow falls into correction as Russian attack on Ukraine roils world markets,” Washington Post, February 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/24/ukraine-europe-markets-russia/

Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s New Iron Curtain,” Puck News, February 24, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-new-iron-curtain/

Reuters, “Factbox: How Ukraine’s armed forces shape up against Russia’s,” February 24, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/how-ukraines-armed-forces-shape-up-against-russias-2022-02-01/

Reuters, “Oil soars past $105 as Russia’s attack on Ukraine rattles markets,” Al Jazeera, February 24, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/2/24/oil-soars-past-105-as-russias-attack-on-ukraine-rattles-markets

Farrah Tomazin, “Biden calls invasion ‘a dangerous moment for freedom around the world,’” Sydney Morning Herald, February 25, 2022, https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/biden-calls-invasion-a-dangerous-moment-for-freedom-around-the-world-20220225-p59zk0.html


  1. [1]Alexa Corse, “Pennsylvania, North Carolina Redistricting Court Decisions Don’t Provide Major Partisan Wins,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pennsylvania-north-carolina-redistricting-court-decisions-dont-provide-major-partisan-wins-11645653629; Jonathan Lai, “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has picked a new congressional map,” Philadelphia Inquirer, February 23, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-redistricting-new-congressional-map-supreme-court-20220223.html; Marc Levy, Mark Scolforo, and Lauren Rude, “Pennsylvania high court picks new map of US House districts; lawmakers react,” YourErie.com, February 23, 2022, https://www.yourerie.com/news/local-news/your-local-election-hq/pennsylvania-high-court-picks-new-map-of-us-house-districts/
  2. [2]Marc Levy, Mark Scolforo, and Lauren Rude, “Pennsylvania high court picks new map of US House districts; lawmakers react,” YourErie.com, February 23, 2022, https://www.yourerie.com/news/local-news/your-local-election-hq/pennsylvania-high-court-picks-new-map-of-us-house-districts/
  3. [3]Hugo Lowell, “Rudy Giuliani poised to cooperate with January 6 committee,” Guardian, February 23, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/feb/22/giuliani-cooperate-january-6-committee
  4. [4]Annie Karni and Luke Broadwater, “Ivanka Trump in Talks With Jan. 6 Panel About Being Interviewed,” New York Times, February 23, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/23/us/politics/ivanka-trump-jan-6-committee.html
  5. [5]Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s New Iron Curtain,” Puck News, February 24, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-new-iron-curtain/
  6. [6]Shira Hanau, “Declaring war on Ukraine, Russia’s Putin cites goal of ‘denazification’ of country with Jewish president,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 24, 2022, https://www.jta.org/2022/02/24/global/declaring-war-on-ukraine-russias-putin-cites-goal-of-denazification-of-country-with-jewish-president
  7. [7]Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s New Iron Curtain,” Puck News, February 24, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-new-iron-curtain/; Ann M. Simmons, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Russia Begins Military Operation in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-shifts-to-war-footing-tells-citizens-to-leave-russia-11645616181; Farrah Tomazin, “Biden calls invasion ‘a dangerous moment for freedom around the world,’” Sydney Morning Herald, February 25, 2022, https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/biden-calls-invasion-a-dangerous-moment-for-freedom-around-the-world-20220225-p59zk0.html
  8. [8]Shira Hanau, “Declaring war on Ukraine, Russia’s Putin cites goal of ‘denazification’ of country with Jewish president,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 24, 2022, https://www.jta.org/2022/02/24/global/declaring-war-on-ukraine-russias-putin-cites-goal-of-denazification-of-country-with-jewish-president
  9. [9]Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s New Iron Curtain,” Puck News, February 24, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-new-iron-curtain/
  10. [10]Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s New Iron Curtain,” Puck News, February 24, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-new-iron-curtain/
  11. [11]Julia Ioffe, “Does he really believe this?” Twitter, February 24, 2022, https://twitter.com/juliaioffe/status/1496904839246319616
  12. [12]David Benfell, “He says this of a nuclear-armed country that has repeatedly repelled invasions throughout its history. . . .” Twitter, February 24, 2022, https://twitter.com/n4rky/status/1496918257856622595
  13. [13]Richard Nixon [Justin Sherin], Twitter, February 22, 2022, https://twitter.com/dick_nixon/status/1495931903219834880
  14. [14]Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s New Iron Curtain,” Puck News, February 24, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-new-iron-curtain/
  15. [15]George H. Nash, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945, 30th anniversary ed. (Wilmington, DE: Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2006).
  16. [16]David Benfell, “A constitutional oligarchy: Deconstructing Federalist No. 10,” Not Housebroken, July 3, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/22/a-constitutional-oligarchy-deconstructing-federalist-no-10/
  17. [17]Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s New Iron Curtain,” Puck News, February 24, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-new-iron-curtain/
  18. [18]Chico Harlan and Taylor Telford, “Dow falls into correction as Russian attack on Ukraine roils world markets,” Washington Post, February 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/24/ukraine-europe-markets-russia/
  19. [19]Reuters, “Oil soars past $105 as Russia’s attack on Ukraine rattles markets,” Al Jazeera, February 24, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/2/24/oil-soars-past-105-as-russias-attack-on-ukraine-rattles-markets
  20. [20]David Benfell, “Poor Ukraine, so far from God and so close to Russia,” Not Housebroken, January 1, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/01/01/poor-ukraine-so-far-from-god-and-so-close-to-russia/
  21. [21]Anne Applebaum, “There Are No Chamberlains in This Story,” Atlantic, February 20, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/munich-security-conference-chamberlain/622872/

How Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine becomes World War III

Gratuitous guns


Fig. 1. Gratuitous gun on display adjacent to Arsenal Middle School, Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photograph by author, February 23, 2022.

One of my objections to Pittsburgh is the ludicrous number of guns on display, ostensibly to honor veterans, though there are many dignified memorials to be found without guns and, surely, there’s something awfully fucking weird about honoring veterans with the instruments of their death. I found another gun today. It’s next to Arsenal Middle School in Lawrenceville; at least this one is pointed away from the school.

There’s one more gun I know of that I haven’t gotten a picture of, so haven’t recorded. It’s in North Park, which these days, I don’t go through often.


Ukraine

I’ve been somewhat mystified by repeated claims that Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine could lead to World War III.[1] After all, he already occupies Crimea and a piece of eastern Ukraine and this has not expanded into World War III.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner’s answer is cyberattacks. His thinking is that unleashing numerous bots on Ukraine’s systems could spiral out of control into North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries. Putin might also cyberattack the NATO countries directly in retaliation for sanctions.[2]

Another possibility, which I think Julia Ioffe may have been alluding to,[3] is that a firefight too close to the wrong boundaries—Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania are all NATO members bordering Ukraine—might spill over those boundaries generating a defensive reaction from that country’s military. Of these, Poland seems the likeliest possibility; it also borders Russia ally Belarus and has, of NATO countries, what appears to be the longest border with Ukraine. These countries all seem a long ways away from Russia’s announced military operation.[4]

Russia has already launched cyberattacks on Ukraine[5] and explosions and missile strikes have been reported outside separatist-controlled areas.[6]

Anne Applebaum, “There Are No Chamberlains in This Story,” Atlantic, February 20, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/munich-security-conference-chamberlain/622872/

John Hudson and Missy Ryan, “U.S. claims Russia has list of Ukrainians ‘to be killed or sent to camps’ following a military occupation,” Washington Post, February 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/02/20/ukraine-russia-human-rights/

David Ignatius, “Surprising cracks, if small ones, appear in Kremlin support for Putin on Ukraine,” Washington Post, February 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/02/21/putin-ukraine-invasion-kremlin-support/

Dan Sabbagh and Rowena Mason, “UK says ‘serious doubts’ exist within Russian military about invading Ukraine,” Guardian, February 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/21/uk-says-serious-doubts-exist-within-russian-military-about-invading-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Yaroslav Trofimov, and Matthew Luxmoore, “Putin Orders Deployment of Troops to Breakaway Regions in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-alleges-ukrainian-incursion-kyiv-says-moscow-makes-up-fake-incidents-11645453512

Jon Allsop, “The weight of words in the Russia-Ukraine story,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 22, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_putin_recognition_ukraine.php

Philip Bump, “‘Genius,’ ‘Savvy’: Trump reacts to Putin’s moves on Ukraine exactly as you’d expect,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/22/trump-reacts-putins-invasion-ukraine-exactly-youd-expect/

Anthony Faiola, “The moment when Putin got real,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/02/22/putin-speech-analysis-ukraine-russia/

Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/

Frank Jordans, “Ukraine-Russia: Germany suspends Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline,” Associated Press, February 22, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-business-germany-europe-berlin-79e3dafb0d231f6a033613b7dab78cdf

Andrew Restuccia and Tarini Parti, “White House Calls Russian Moves an Invasion After Initially Refraining From Using Term,” Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-calls-russian-moves-an-invasion-after-initially-refraining-from-using-term-11645549648

Eli Stokols and Tracy Wilkinson, “Biden announces sanctions against Russia for invasion of Ukraine,” Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-02-22/biden-allies-taking-calibrated-approach-in-response-to-putin-as-russian-tanks-invade-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Russia Begins Military Operation in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-shifts-to-war-footing-tells-citizens-to-leave-russia-11645616181

Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu, “Top senator warns Putin cyberattacks could trigger bigger war,” Axios, February 23, 2022, https://www.axios.com/mark-warner-putin-cyber-attacks-ukraine-40c5e959-5093-4d79-bf24-8d4731edb293.html


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

It’s worth remembering that Donald Trump has abandoned Rudy Giuliani, who is less able to help Trump now that he has lost his law license in the state of New York and the District of Columbia (along with potential income streams from those jurisdictions) and faces severe financial and legal problems. The January 6 committee has had him over a barrel for a while.[7] What’s remarkable, and what I’m reading between the lines in the Guardian article, is the degree of resistance Giuliani continues to show even as that resistance apparently begins to crumble.[8]

My hunch—it’s only a hunch—is that Giuliani is merely stalling for time, gambling first, that with some artful stalling, the committee will be unable to pursue a prosecution before the November elections;[9] second, that the Republicans will win control of the House of Representatives in those elections; and third, that the committee will be promptly disbanded. The third of these is nearly certain from the second, the second is conventional wisdom, and the first would, perhaps more artfully, be like the case of Steve Bannon,[10] which is something I haven’t seen anything on recently.

Am I excessively pessimistic? Remember that it’s the Democrats who are running this committee and if there is a more worthless lot of politicians in the history of the U.S., I might never have heard of it. That said, there is a slender ray of hope in that that while Trump demands absolute fealty, it is one way, and he is disloyal to his subjects, even when that disloyalty could well burn him. One of those subjects might get mad enough to do something.

Hugo Lowell, “Rudy Giuliani poised to cooperate with January 6 committee,” Guardian, February 23, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/feb/22/giuliani-cooperate-january-6-committee

Finances

Two prosecutors, who led the Manhattan investigation into Donald Trump’s finances, have resigned. This investigation, a criminal investigation, parallels[11] a separate civil investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James.[12]

Corinne Ramey and Deanna Paul, “Two Prosecutors in New York Investigation of Donald Trump Resign,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/two-prosecutors-in-new-york-investigation-of-donald-trump-resign-11645650257


Right-wing dictatorship

Jonathan Lai, “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has picked a new congressional map,” Philadelphia Inquirer, February 23, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-redistricting-new-congressional-map-supreme-court-20220223.html

Marc Levy, Mark Scolforo, and Lauren Rude, “Pennsylvania high court picks new map of US House districts; lawmakers react,” YourErie.com, February 23, 2022, https://www.yourerie.com/news/local-news/your-local-election-hq/pennsylvania-high-court-picks-new-map-of-us-house-districts/


  1. [1]Jake Epstein and John Haltiwanger, “Ukraine’s president warns a Russian invasion would spark a ‘fully-fledged’ European war,” Business Insider, February 1, 2022, https://www.businessinsider.com/ukraine-president-warns-russia-invasion-could-spark-european-war-2022-2; Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/
  2. [2]Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu, “Top senator warns Putin cyberattacks could trigger bigger war,” Axios, February 23, 2022, https://www.axios.com/mark-warner-putin-cyber-attacks-ukraine-40c5e959-5093-4d79-bf24-8d4731edb293.html
  3. [3]Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/
  4. [4]Ann M. Simmons, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Russia Begins Military Operation in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-shifts-to-war-footing-tells-citizens-to-leave-russia-11645616181
  5. [5]Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu, “Top senator warns Putin cyberattacks could trigger bigger war,” Axios, February 23, 2022, https://www.axios.com/mark-warner-putin-cyber-attacks-ukraine-40c5e959-5093-4d79-bf24-8d4731edb293.html
  6. [6]Ann M. Simmons, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Russia Begins Military Operation in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-shifts-to-war-footing-tells-citizens-to-leave-russia-11645616181
  7. [7]Jaclyn Diaz, “An Appeals Court Has Suspended Rudy Giuliani’s Ability To Practice Law In D.C.,” National Public Radio, July 8, 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/07/08/1014047881/an-appeals-court-has-suspended-rudy-giulianis-ability-to-practice-law-in-d-c; Erica Orden, Veronica Stracqualursi, and Katelyn Polantz, “Rudy Giuliani suspended from practicing law in New York state,” CNN, June 24, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/24/politics/rudy-giuliani-suspended-law/index.html; Peter Stone, “Rudy Giuliani Is (Probably) Screwed,” New York, October 1, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/10/rudy-giuliani-is-probably-screwed.html
  8. [8]Hugo Lowell, “Rudy Giuliani poised to cooperate with January 6 committee,” Guardian, February 23, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/feb/22/giuliani-cooperate-january-6-committee
  9. [9]Daniel Strauss, “It’s Officially Time to Start Worrying About the January 6 Committee,” New Republic, December 9, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/164672/january-6-committee-meadows-pence
  10. [10]Kyle Cheney et al., “Steve Bannon indicted for defying Jan. 6 committee investigation,” Politico, November 12, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/11/12/steve-bannon-indicted-for-defying-jan-6-committee-investigation-521177; Matt Ford, “The Dark Side of Steve Bannon’s Contempt Case,” New Republic, November 17, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/164444/steve-bannon-contempt-january-6; Hugo Lowell, “Rudy Giuliani poised to cooperate with January 6 committee,” Guardian, February 23, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/feb/22/giuliani-cooperate-january-6-committee
  11. [11]Corinne Ramey and Deanna Paul, “Two Prosecutors in New York Investigation of Donald Trump Resign,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/two-prosecutors-in-new-york-investigation-of-donald-trump-resign-11645650257
  12. [12]Corinne Ramey, “New York Attorney General Says Evidence Suggests Trump, Company Falsely Valued Assets,” Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-attorney-general-evidence-suggests-trump-and-company-falsely-valued-assets-11642573790; Tierney Sneed and Kara Scannell, “Trump and his children may be deposed by New York attorney general, judge rules,” CNN, February 17, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/17/politics/trump-subpoena-james-new-york-lawsuit/index.html; Heather Vogell, “New Legal Filing Reveals Startling Details of Possible Fraud by Trump Organization,” ProPublica, January 21, 2022, https://www.propublica.org/article/new-legal-filing-reveals-startling-details-of-possible-fraud-by-trump-organization

Russian dissent?

Ukraine

Justin Sherin, posing as Richard Nixon, tweets of Vladimir Putin’s speech:


Julia Ioffe writes,

Perhaps even more terrifying was the speech [Vladimir] Putin gave before he officially acknowledged the [Donetsk and Luhansk] republics’ independence. In a primetime address to the Russian nation, Putin said, without any hedging, that Ukraine is not a real country but rather a fictitious entity created by Vladimir Lenin, which received its independence from the Soviet Union for no good reason, and which amounted to a lopping off of a key, historically significant part of Russia. And though Putin claimed that this was “wholly and completely proven by archival documents,” it was mostly lies. It was also jarring to hear Putin say this all out loud, despite the fact that he has expressed variations of this sentiment in various forms over the years. It belied the idea that Putin’s beef was with NATO and showed, once again, that the issue was the terms of the U.S.S.R.’s surrender in 1991, which he has long been determined to renegotiate—or change by force.[2]

We are given to understand that Putin’s grasp on power in Russia is absolute, that he has crushed his opposition.[3] But, if we trust British intelligence, it appears some in the Russian military and intelligence services have doubts about any invasion of Ukraine,[4] and then there is another piece to what Sherin, posing as Nixon, tweeted:


One issue is the prospect of military success:

Any invasion of Ukraine would be fraught with risk, in what would be the largest war in Europe since the second world war. It would pit 150,000 Russian troops, plus another 30,000 separatists, against a regular Ukrainian army of 145,000 plus tens of thousands of paramilitaries, many of whom have military experience.[6]

That’s a roughly even match on strength of forces. I was dimly recalling that attacking forces should enjoy a three to one ratio in troop strength. That’s oversimplistic[7] but I’m suspicious that a Russian invasion of Ukraine might not be the march on Kyiv that so many seem to expect.

There may indeed be doubts about Putin’s strategy. David Ignatius’ account of the “televised command performance of Putin’s security council in the ornate Kremlin chamber” includes that:

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia’s demands for security guarantees were “not an ultimatum,” and he seemed ready to meet Thursday with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken for more talks. Lavrov also conceded NATO’s unity, advising Putin that at this past weekend’s Munich Security Conference, “every Western representative declared their absolute commitment to a unified approach,” which “confirmed that we need to negotiate with Washington.” . . .

But the big surprise came when Putin quizzed Sergei Naryshkin, head of the SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service. Naryshkin advised that threatening to recognize Donetsk and Luhansk would be useful leverage for implementing the 2015 Minsk agreements to settle the conflict in the eastern region. Russia has claimed to support Minsk, but Monday’s recognition of the two breakaway enclaves as independent will probably derail any chance for the agreement. In response to Naryshkin’s answers, Putin got antsy.

What followed was a rare Kremlin moment of quasi-dissent. “Speak clearly, do you support recognition?” demanded Putin. “I will,” answered his spy chief. “You will, or you do?” demanded Putin. When Naryshkin waffled and said he would support “bringing them into Russia,” Putin shot back, “That’s not what we are discussing. Do you support recognizing independence?” To which the vexed spymaster answered, “yes.”[8]

Ignatius describes other ministers’ responses as being dutifully on script.[9] Even here, one might harbor room for doubt: If you, a very powerful man, whom I have every reason to fear, indeed for my life, are plainly expecting me to assent to your previously chosen course of action on international television, how confident can you or that international audience really be that such assent is genuine? Jon Allsop notes that this performance may not have been so spontaneous:[10]

“This is happening spontaneously because I wanted to hear your opinions without any preliminary preparation,” [Vladimir] Putin said, as the officials got up, one by one, to agree with him. The meeting was broadcast on state TV and was ostensibly live, though if that was the case, the defense minister might want to check his watch since it appeared to be five hours behind the time.[11]

I would not expect such performances to be anything more than performances. I do not expect honest answers in such a setting. I expect compliance. But the script is unknown to us: Was that “rare Kremlin moment of quasi-dissent”[12] merely a bit of drama for whatever persuasive effect it might offer? We don’t know, its mere existence tantalizes, but that discrepancy on the defense minister’s watch[13] suggests it may well have been. Allsop again:

It appeared to have been choreographed and scripted, with officials parroting the same apocalyptic and fantastical talking points that have blanketed state media recently to justify recognizing the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, two eastern Ukrainian provinces claimed by Russia-backed separatists. (The separatists already control around a third of the territory in the two provinces, all of it abutting Russia.) As The Guardian’s Shaun Walker and others noted, some of the officials seemed visibly to squirm as they made their support for recognition a matter of very public record, not least Putin’s spy chief, who wore a “genuinely flustered expression” as Putin admonished him to speak more clearly, then shut down his support for a full annexation of Donetsk and Luhansk; others suggested, though, that this, too, may have been staged, to show Putin in the act of rejecting a possible option (for now).[14]

Ioffe on this:

In the security council meeting, Putin called up Russia’s highest ranking officials one by one, and one by one each took the microphone and obediently supported Putin’s decision, trying to outdo each other in their fervor. Whether they privately disagreed or were in sincere agreement with Putin, it didn’t really matter: they knew that to keep their jobs, their money, and their freedom, they had to bow and scrape and agree.[15]

Still, if you grasp something too firmly, it may crumble. I am wondering if that may apply as well to the power that Putin has grasped. And if that is indeed the case, while Russian diplomatic, military, and intelligence service doubts[16] may fail to impede an invasion of Ukraine,[17] this could backfire rather spectacularly on Putin.

When there is no one to tell Putin that a war with Ukraine would be a disaster, when he can afford not to care what anyone at home thinks, this is what we get: a furious and clearly deranged old man, threatening to drag us all into World War III.[18]

I can’t quite imagine that Putin’s monolith is Russia’s reality. If a Ukraine invasion sours, something else may happen. Ioffe here remembers Czar Nicholas II:

Nicholas II joined World War I and ended up losing the war, his kingdom, and his life. And yet, compared to the nearly 50 million Soviet citizens who would follow him to a violent death in the decades after he abdicated the throne, Nicholas got off easy. Doubtless, he could not have imagined that when facing his Bolshevik executioners in a Siberian basement.[19]

Those of us who do not know—that’s just about everybody—might do best to sit back, shut the fuck up, and pay some fucking attention. Because all this might, only might, go in an entirely unexpected direction. As Ioffe notes, “Wars have a way of getting out of hand, of getting swept up in their own momentum and sparking unpredictable chains of events.” For now, however, Ioffe points out that Putin has untied Volodymyr Zelensky’s hands in relinquishing breakaway regions which the Minsk Accords required Ukraine to reintegrate—a “poison pill.”[20] Zelensky can be aggrieved even as Putin has solved one of this problems. The bad news, however, is

At an evening press conference at the Kremlin today, Putin confirmed that he recognized the LPR [Luhansk People’s Republic] and DPR [Donetsk People’s Republic] as falling within “the borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions when they were still part of Ukraine.” That means Putin believes that two-thirds of Donetsk and Luhansk—including the city of Mariupol, a strategic port city on the Sea of Azov—should also belong to the separatists. Does that mean that he will send Russian troops further into these provinces—and into sovereign Ukrainian territory? If he does, that would be an undeniable war, not just an escalation.[21]

Whatever it is, and Ioffe too[22] contemplates the possibility of a wider war,[23] it has begun.

Anne Applebaum, “There Are No Chamberlains in This Story,” Atlantic, February 20, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/munich-security-conference-chamberlain/622872/

John Hudson and Missy Ryan, “U.S. claims Russia has list of Ukrainians ‘to be killed or sent to camps’ following a military occupation,” Washington Post, February 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/02/20/ukraine-russia-human-rights/

David Ignatius, “Surprising cracks, if small ones, appear in Kremlin support for Putin on Ukraine,” Washington Post, February 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/02/21/putin-ukraine-invasion-kremlin-support/

Dan Sabbagh and Rowena Mason, “UK says ‘serious doubts’ exist within Russian military about invading Ukraine,” Guardian, February 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/21/uk-says-serious-doubts-exist-within-russian-military-about-invading-ukraine

Ann M. Simmons, Yaroslav Trofimov, and Matthew Luxmoore, “Putin Orders Deployment of Troops to Breakaway Regions in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-alleges-ukrainian-incursion-kyiv-says-moscow-makes-up-fake-incidents-11645453512

Jon Allsop, “The weight of words in the Russia-Ukraine story,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 22, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_putin_recognition_ukraine.php

Philip Bump, “‘Genius,’ ‘Savvy’: Trump reacts to Putin’s moves on Ukraine exactly as you’d expect,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/22/trump-reacts-putins-invasion-ukraine-exactly-youd-expect/

Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/

Frank Jordans, “Ukraine-Russia: Germany suspends Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline,” Associated Press, February 22, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-business-germany-europe-berlin-79e3dafb0d231f6a033613b7dab78cdf

Andrew Restuccia and Tarini Parti, “White House Calls Russian Moves an Invasion After Initially Refraining From Using Term,” Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-calls-russian-moves-an-invasion-after-initially-refraining-from-using-term-11645549648

Eli Stokols and Tracy Wilkinson, “Biden announces sanctions against Russia for invasion of Ukraine,” Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-02-22/biden-allies-taking-calibrated-approach-in-response-to-putin-as-russian-tanks-invade-ukraine


COVID-19 Pandemic

Doctors and charlatans

Melody Schreiber, “Why Is This Group of Doctors So Intent on Unmasking Kids?” New Republic, February 22, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/165413/mask-mandates-kids-back-to-normal


  1. [1]Richard Nixon [Justin Sherin], Twitter, February 22, 2022, https://twitter.com/dick_nixon/status/1495931903219834880
  2. [2]Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/
  3. [3]Fiona Hill, “Putin Has the U.S. Right Where He Wants It,” New York Times, January 24, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/24/opinion/russia-ukraine-putin-biden.html; Eugene Rumer and Andrew S. Weiss, “Ukraine: Putin’s Unfinished Business,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, November 12, 2021, https://carnegieendowment.org/2021/11/12/ukraine-putin-s-unfinished-business-pub-85771
  4. [4]Dan Sabbagh and Rowena Mason, “UK says ‘serious doubts’ exist within Russian military about invading Ukraine,” Guardian, February 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/21/uk-says-serious-doubts-exist-within-russian-military-about-invading-ukraine
  5. [5]Richard Nixon [Justin Sherin], Twitter, February 22, 2022, https://twitter.com/dick_nixon/status/1495932858497748992
  6. [6]David Ignatius, “Surprising cracks, if small ones, appear in Kremlin support for Putin on Ukraine,” Washington Post, February 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/02/21/putin-ukraine-invasion-kremlin-support/; Dan Sabbagh and Rowena Mason, “UK says ‘serious doubts’ exist within Russian military about invading Ukraine,” Guardian, February 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/21/uk-says-serious-doubts-exist-within-russian-military-about-invading-ukraine
  7. [7]Paul K. Davis, “Aggregation, Disaggregation, and the 3:1 Rule in Ground Combat,” National Defense Research Institute, 1995, https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA302819.pdf
  8. [8]David Ignatius, “Surprising cracks, if small ones, appear in Kremlin support for Putin on Ukraine,” Washington Post, February 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/02/21/putin-ukraine-invasion-kremlin-support/
  9. [9]David Ignatius, “Surprising cracks, if small ones, appear in Kremlin support for Putin on Ukraine,” Washington Post, February 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/02/21/putin-ukraine-invasion-kremlin-support/
  10. [10]Jon Allsop, “The weight of words in the Russia-Ukraine story,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 22, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_putin_recognition_ukraine.php
  11. [11]Jon Allsop, “The weight of words in the Russia-Ukraine story,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 22, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_putin_recognition_ukraine.php
  12. [12]David Ignatius, “Surprising cracks, if small ones, appear in Kremlin support for Putin on Ukraine,” Washington Post, February 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/02/21/putin-ukraine-invasion-kremlin-support/
  13. [13]Jon Allsop, “The weight of words in the Russia-Ukraine story,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 22, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_putin_recognition_ukraine.php
  14. [14]Jon Allsop, “The weight of words in the Russia-Ukraine story,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 22, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/russia_putin_recognition_ukraine.php
  15. [15]Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/
  16. [16]David Ignatius, “Surprising cracks, if small ones, appear in Kremlin support for Putin on Ukraine,” Washington Post, February 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/02/21/putin-ukraine-invasion-kremlin-support/; Dan Sabbagh and Rowena Mason, “UK says ‘serious doubts’ exist within Russian military about invading Ukraine,” Guardian, February 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/21/uk-says-serious-doubts-exist-within-russian-military-about-invading-ukraine
  17. [17]Dan Sabbagh and Rowena Mason, “UK says ‘serious doubts’ exist within Russian military about invading Ukraine,” Guardian, February 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/21/uk-says-serious-doubts-exist-within-russian-military-about-invading-ukraine
  18. [18]Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/
  19. [19]Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/
  20. [20]Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/
  21. [21]Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/
  22. [22]Julia Ioffe, “Will Putin Get His World War III?” Puck News, February 22, 2022, https://puck.news/will-putin-get-his-world-war-iii/
  23. [23]Jake Epstein and John Haltiwanger, “Ukraine’s president warns a Russian invasion would spark a ‘fully-fledged’ European war,” Business Insider, February 1, 2022, https://www.businessinsider.com/ukraine-president-warns-russia-invasion-could-spark-european-war-2022-2

It isn’t an invasion, yet

Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Jennifer Rubin, “Trump’s legal problems are about to get a whole lot worse,” Washington Post, February 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/02/21/trump-civil-lawsuit-january-6-insurrection/


Ukraine

Justin Sherin, as Richard Nixon, tweets of Vladimir Putin’s speech:


Anne Applebaum, “There Are No Chamberlains in This Story,” Atlantic, February 20, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/munich-security-conference-chamberlain/622872/

John Hudson and Missy Ryan, “U.S. claims Russia has list of Ukrainians ‘to be killed or sent to camps’ following a military occupation,” Washington Post, February 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/02/20/ukraine-russia-human-rights/

Ann M. Simmons, Yaroslav Trofimov, and Matthew Luxmoore, “Putin Orders Deployment of Troops to Breakaway Regions in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-alleges-ukrainian-incursion-kyiv-says-moscow-makes-up-fake-incidents-11645453512


  1. [1]Richard Nixon [Justin Sherin], “The content was canny enough. He wrote it himself. . . ,” Twitter, February 22, 2022, https://twitter.com/dick_nixon/status/1495931903219834880