Russia is setting up a pretext for a wider war

Ukraine


Benjamin Young’s analysis suggests that Vladmir Putin has a maximalist vision of Russia pretty much as including all Russians everywhere. Ukraine may be integral in Putin’s vision, but there’s nothing here that suggests any limits to his ambition.[1] Then there’s this:

Maj. Gen. [Igor] Konashenkov [a Russian military spokesperson] said Russia attacked Ukrainian military airfields in Starokostyantyniv and Vinnytsia and that Russia had destroyed nearly all of Ukraine’s military aircraft.

He claimed that Ukrainian jet fighters have flown to Romania and other neighboring countries during the conflict, an action which he said “can be regarded as the involvement of these states in armed conflict.”[2]

Romania is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.[3] Igor Konashenkov’s claim, certainly in combination with Putin’s characterization of sanctions against Russia as “akin to an act of war,”[4] lays rhetorical groundwork for a wider war, explicitly with NATO, more generally with anyone who participates in those sanctions.


The only hope would be in removing Putin from power. And this is, I am to understand, no hope at all.[5]

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, “Demand for VPNs in Russia, Ukraine leaps as internet control tightens,” February 28, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/demand-vpns-russia-ukraine-leaps-internet-control-tightens-2022-02-28/

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/

Roane Carey, “Don’t Be a Tankie: How the Left Should Respond to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine,” Intecept, March 1, 2022, https://theintercept.com/2022/03/01/ukraine-russia-leftists-tankie/

Richard Fontaine, “The Long Weekend That Changed History,” Atlantic, March 1, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2022/03/russia-invasion-ukraine-week-decade/622957/

Camille Gijs, “US sees ‘no indication’ to back Ukrainian claim Belarus has joined Russia’s invasion,” Politico, March 1, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/belarus-russia-war-ukraine/

Quinn Glabicki, “The Russian invasion of Ukraine ignites anger, distress among Pittsburghers from warring nations,” Public Source, March 1, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/pittsburgh-reaction-ukraine-russia-invasion-war-putin/

Yuras Karmanau et al., “Russia pummels Ukraine’s No. 2 city and convoy nears Kyiv,” Associated Press, March 1, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-united-nations-general-assembly-kyiv-business-europe-abc3e297725e57e6052529d844b5ee2f

Iuliia Mendel, “Love, war and two cats — What fleeing Kyiv looked like for us,” Washington Post, March 1, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/interactive/2022/ukraine-russia-war-what-like-leave-kyiv/

Adam Taylor, “War in Ukraine enters a new phase, even more unpredictable and dangerous than the last,” Washington Post, March 1, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/03/01/ukraine-putin-nuclear-sanctions/

Nataliya Vasilyeva, Robert Mendick, and Mason Boycott-Owen, “Russian troops in disarray and ‘crying’ in combat, radio messages reveal,” Telegraph, March 1, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/01/russian-troops-disarray-crying-combat-radio-messages-reveal/

Robin Wright, “What Does Putin’s Nuclear Sabre Rattling Mean?” New Yorker, March 1, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/what-does-putins-nuclear-sabre-rattling-mean

Christine Emba, “The war in Ukraine doesn’t need your ‘likes,’” Washington Post, March 2, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/03/02/ukraine-russia-social-media-unseemly-war-fandom/

Alexander Graef, “Four ways the Russia-Ukraine war could end – from palace coup to Pyrrhic victory,” Telegraph, March 2, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/02/four-ways-russia-ukraine-war-could-end-palace-coup-pyrrhic/

Luke Harding, Jon Henley, and Martin Farrer, “Russia aims to erase Ukraine, says Zelenskiy, as bombardment intensifies,” Guardian, March 2, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/02/ukraine-cities-bombardment-russia-attack-kyiv-kharkiv-russian-war-invasion

Jim Sleeper, “Too much reality: Putin’s Ukraine invasion summons Europe’s dark past,” Tikkun, March 2, 2022, https://www.tikkun.org/too-much-reality-putins-ukraine-invasion-summons-europes-dark-past/

Con Coughlin, “The oligarchs are turning on Russia’s new tsar,” Telegraph, March 3, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/03/03/oligarchs-turning-russias-new-tsar/

James Crisp, “Russian convoy’s advance on Kyiv deflated by flat tyres and Ukrainian mud,” Telegraph, March 3, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/03/russian-convoys-advance-kyiv-hampered-cheap-tyres-ukrainian/

Julia Ioffe, “Europe’s 9/11,” Puck News, March 3, 2022, https://puck.news/europes-9-11/

Dave Lawler, “Russia agreed to open “humanitarian corridors” for fleeing civilians: Ukraine official,” Axios, March 3, 2022, https://www.axios.com/russia-ukraine-peace-talks-belarus-938faa52-5f99-41a3-aae1-1dcd42c9583c.html

Roland Oliphant, Gordon Rayner, and Lucy Fisher, “Vladimir Putin set to ‘cut Ukraine in two’ as key city of Kherson falls to Russians,” Telegraph, March 3, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/02/vladimir-putin-set-cut-ukraine-two-key-city-kherson-falls-russians/

Pjotr Sauer, “‘My future is taken away from me’: Russians flee to escape consequences of Moscow’s war,” Guardian, March 3, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/03/people-leaving-russia-ukraine-war

Michael Schwirtz and Richard Pérez-Peña, “Kremlin Vows Victory in Ukraine as Refugees Swell to One Million,” New York Times, March 3, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/03/world/europe/russia-ukraine-invasion-kremlin.html

David L. Stern, “Russia claims control of vital port city in Ukraine, as convoy outside Kyiv remains stalled,” Washington Post, March 3, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/02/ukraine-battlefield-military-offensive-kherson/

Jim Heintz, Yuras Karmanau, and Mstyslav Chernov, “Fire out at key Ukraine nuclear plant, no radiation released,” Associated Press, March 4, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-volodymyr-zelenskyy-joe-biden-kyiv-business-33b6c1709dee937750f95c6786832840

Eric Levitz, “Putin’s War Looks Increasingly Insane,” New York, March 4, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/03/putins-war-looks-increasingly-insane.html

Simon Lewis and Sabine Siebold, “NATO rejects Ukraine no-fly zone, says ‘not part of this’ war,” Reuters, March 4, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/nato-meets-ukraine-calls-no-fly-zone-hinder-russia-2022-03-04/

Reuters, “Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now,” March 4, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-russia-what-you-need-know-right-now-2022-03-03/

Mark Galeotti, “How does Putin extract himself from this nightmare of his own making?” Times, March 5, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-does-putin-extract-himself-from-this-nightmare-of-his-own-making-v2ktvw08g

Toby Helm et al., “Defiant Putin warns the west: your sanctions are akin to an act of war,” Guardian, March 5, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/05/defiant-putin-warns-the-west-your-sanctions-are-akin-to-an-act-of-war

Dan Lamothe, Alex Horton, and Karoun Demirjian, “Ukraine’s military adapts tactics after enduring Russia’s initial invasion,” Washington Post, March 5, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/03/05/ukraine-military-strategy/

Tess McClure et al., “Mariupol to evacuate citizens after Russia declares temporary ceasefire,” Guardian, March 5, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/05/zelenskiy-lashes-out-at-nato-over-no-fly-zone-as-russian-attacks-intensify

Yaroslav Trofimov, “Ukraine, Russia Agreement on Evacuating Mariupol Civilians Collapses,” Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-and-russia-agree-to-open-corridors-for-civilians-to-evacuate-mariupol-11646470358

Kalyeena Makortoff, “Mastercard and Visa block in Russia does not stop domestic purchases,” Guardian, March 6, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/mar/06/russians-visa-mastercard-ban-domestic-purchases-mir

Justin McCurry, Samantha Lock, and Luke Harding, “Russia targeting cities as strength of Ukraine’s resistance ‘continues to surprise’, UK says,” Guardian, March 6, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/06/biden-and-zelenskiy-discuss-more-aid-for-ukraine-as-russian-attacks-intensify

Catherine Philp, Caroline Wheeler, and Matthew Campbell, “Merciless Vladimir Putin shells Ukrainian evacuees,” Times, March 6, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/merciless-vladimir-putin-shells-ukrainian-evacuees-s98r0j50x

Yaroslav Trofimov, “Russian Artillery Kills Ukrainian Civilians Fleeing Kyiv Suburb,” Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-artillery-kills-ukrainian-civilians-fleeing-kyiv-suburb-11646575238

Yaroslav Trofimov and Alan Cullison, “Ukraine Faces Fresh Wave of Attacks Focused on Population Centers,” Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-resumes-evacuation-attempts-as-russia-presses-offensive-11646564330

Benjamin R. Young, “Putin Has a Grimly Absolute Vision of the ‘Russian World,’” Foreign Policy, March 6, 2022, https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/03/06/russia-putin-civilization/

Jesus Jiménez, “What Is NATO and Which Countries Are Members?” New York Times, March 7, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/article/what-is-nato.html

Jordan Michael Smith, “Would Putin Really Go Nuclear? Well …,” New Republic, March 7, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/165634/putin-nuclear-weapons-ukraine-us-response


COVID-19 Pandemic

Doctors and charlatans

Jon LaPook’s story, offering hope that COVID-19 is following the path of the common cold, which itself may well have started off as a much more dangerous disease, is much too cheerful[6] against the Department of Health and Human Services’ ending of data collection from hospitals.[7] LaPook’s reporting[8] is rather a puff piece for the agency, whose own data collection efforts rely on politically motivated sources,[9] and I will never again be able to trust that these agencies will speak according to the science rather than according to what politicians want to hear.[10]

If there is one thing I can be grateful for, it is that I am not immunocompromised, indeed, if anything, the opposite. For the immunocompromised are being thrown under the bus in a rush for ‘normal.’[11]

Jon LaPook, “America’s virus trackers show cautious optimism over state of coronavirus pandemic,” CBS News, March 6, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-19-pandemic-status-60-minutes-2022-03-06/


  1. [1]Benjamin R. Young, “Putin Has a Grimly Absolute Vision of the ‘Russian World,’” Foreign Policy, March 6, 2022, https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/03/06/russia-putin-civilization/
  2. [2]Yaroslav Trofimov and Alan Cullison, “Ukraine Faces Fresh Wave of Attacks Focused on Population Centers,” Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-resumes-evacuation-attempts-as-russia-presses-offensive-11646564330
  3. [3]Jesus Jiménez, “What Is NATO and Which Countries Are Members?” New York Times, March 7, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/article/what-is-nato.html
  4. [4]Vladimir Putin, quoted in Toby Helm et al., “Defiant Putin warns the west: your sanctions are akin to an act of war,” Guardian, March 5, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/05/defiant-putin-warns-the-west-your-sanctions-are-akin-to-an-act-of-war
  5. [5]Mark Galeotti, “How does Putin extract himself from this nightmare of his own making?” Times, March 5, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-does-putin-extract-himself-from-this-nightmare-of-his-own-making-v2ktvw08g; Julia Ioffe, “Europe’s 9/11,” Puck News, March 3, 2022, https://puck.news/europes-9-11/
  6. [6]Jon LaPook, “America’s virus trackers show cautious optimism over state of coronavirus pandemic,” CBS News, March 6, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-19-pandemic-status-60-minutes-2022-03-06/
  7. [7]Andre Damon, “End of COVID-19 hospital death reporting is ‘incomprehensible,’ says US health official,” World Socialist Web Site, February 3, 2022, https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/02/03/deat-f03.html
  8. [8]Jon LaPook, “America’s virus trackers show cautious optimism over state of coronavirus pandemic,” CBS News, March 6, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-19-pandemic-status-60-minutes-2022-03-06/
  9. [9]Andre Damon, “End of COVID-19 hospital death reporting is ‘incomprehensible,’ says US health official,” World Socialist Web Site, February 3, 2022, https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/02/03/deat-f03.html
  10. [10]David Benfell, “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Doctors need to act like doctors,” Not Housebroken, February 6, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/12/30/centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention-doctors-need-to-act-like-doctors/
  11. [11]Ed Yong, “The Millions of People Stuck in Pandemic Limbo,” Atlantic, February 16, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2022/02/covid-pandemic-immunocompromised-risk-vaccines/622094/

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