Does Vladimir Putin really believe the nonsense he has peddled? Pray that he does not.

Donald Trump

Finances

Sonia Moghe and Kara Scannell, “Judge holds former President Trump in civil contempt for failing to comply with document subpoenas from New York attorney general,” CNN, April 25, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/25/politics/trump-contempt-hearing/index.html


Fossil fuels

Northeast

This, written in 2004, remains a question today:

Although hydrogen is the most plentiful element in the universe, isolating it so that it can be used as a fuel source requires a lot of energy, which has to be generated somehow. What’s more, much of the hydrogen fuel currently available is made from coal and other fossil fuels. As a result, critics question whether hydrogen fuel is as good for the environment as boosters claim.[1]

Remember Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hydrogen-powered Hummer?[2] Remember, for that matter, the Toyota Mirai?[3] Some folks are still at it, and the idea is to extract hydrogen from (fracked, I assume) Western Pennsylvania natural gas[4] in a process which also emits that great greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, so the idea is to sequester that carbon dioxide underneath western Pennsylvanian property.[5]

Anya Litvak, “Pa. landowners have dealt with coal, oil and gas rights. Now, there are pore rights,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 25, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/business/powersource/2022/04/25/pennsylvania-hydrogen-carbon-sequestration-storage-hub-title-search-pores-energy-production-landowners-landmen/stories/202204250014


Twitter

Elon Musk will indeed buy Twitter, taking it private.[6] I’ll be watching, but this seems hyperbolic to me:

“He’s more powerful than countries now,” said Ross Gerber, a Tesla investor close to [Elon] Musk who said he had bought Twitter shares last week in hopes the deal went through. “He has the most important technology asset in America … probably one of the most strategic military assets in the world … and now he has one of the most important communications tools in the world.”[7]

Douglas MacMillan et al., “Elon Musk acquires Twitter for roughly $44 billion,” Washington Post, April 25, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/04/25/twitter-elon-musk-deal/


Ukraine

The question that is now before us is, if you think you are already at war with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,[8] and you are warning of World War III,[9] how long before you start acting accordingly?

“Everyone is reciting incantations that in no case can we allow World War III,” [Sergeĭ Lavrov] said in a Russian television interview.

Lavrov said he would not want to see risks of a nuclear confrontation “artificially inflated now, when the risks are rather significant.”

“The danger is serious,” he said. “It is real. It should not be underestimated.”[10]

Such talk is variously dismissed as ‘bravado’ or as a concession of weakness or defeat.[11]

Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said he too regarded Russia’s scaremongering as a sign of weakness.

Russia has lost its “last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine,” he wrote on Twitter after Mr [Sergeĭ] Lavrov’s interview, adding: “This only means Moscow senses defeat.”[12]

But we must not forget that the Kremlin has repeatedly said it views its invasion of Ukraine as responding to an existential threat.[13] If the Kremlin indeed feels it has nothing to lose, then it might well act accordingly.

So now the question really is, do the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin really believe the nonsense that they have peddled? Or is this really just imperial ambition? Or are the two somehow confounded, as Russian empire seen as existentially essential to Russia’s survival? So far as I know, no one knows the answer to these questions.

Shayan Sardarizadeh and Leo Sands, “Ukraine war: Dramatic images appear to show sinking Russian warship Moskva,” British Broadcasting Corporation, April 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61141118

Jeanne Whalen, “Russian Orthodox leader backs war in Ukraine, divides faith,” Washington Post, April 18, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/04/18/russian-orthodox-church-ukraine-war/

Jonah Goldberg, “Ukraine, Russia and the moral clarity of ‘good guys’ vs. ‘bad guys’,” Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-04-19/column-ukraine-russia-good-guys-bad-guys

Lorenzo Tondo, Luke Harding, and Isobel Koshiw, “Russia takes Donbas town but Ukrainian frontline ‘still holding,’” Guardian, April 19, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/19/ukraine-war-battle-for-donbas-has-begun-russia-launches-offensive

Bloomberg, “Kremlin Insiders Alarmed Over Growing Toll of Putin’s War in Ukraine,” April 20, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-20/putin-s-war-in-ukraine-has-russian-elites-fearing-global-isolation

Bloomberg, “Russia Test-Fires Nuclear-Capable ICBM in Warning to U.S. Allies,” April 20, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-20/russia-stages-test-of-nuclear-missile-in-warning-to-u-s-allies

David E. Sanger, “Russia’s Missile Test Fuels U.S. Fears of an Isolated Putin,” New York Times, April 20, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/20/us/politics/russia-putin-missile-test.html

Julia Ioffe, “Mothers for Putin,” Puck News, April 21, 2022, https://puck.news/mothers-for-putin/

Nataliya Vasilyeva, “Russia seeks to capture all of southern Ukraine in major expansion of war goals,” Telegraph, April 22, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/04/22/russia-seeks-capture-southern-ukraine-drastic-expansion-war/

Reuters, “India wants to be friends with West but needs Russian help to defend borders, finance minister tells Bloomberg,” April 23, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/india/india-wants-be-friends-with-west-needs-russian-help-defend-borders-says-finmin-2022-04-23/

Liz Sly, “The Belarusian railway workers who helped thwart Russia’s attack on Kyiv,” Washington Post, April 23, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/04/23/ukraine-belarus-railway-saboteurs-russia/

Chiara Giordano, “Russia effectively at war with Nato, Lavrov says as he calls western weapons ‘legitimate targets,’” Independent, April 25, 2022, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-weapons-ukraine-war-nato-b2065422.html

Roland Oliphant, “World War Three now a ‘real’ danger, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warns,” Telegraph, April 25, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/04/25/real-danger-third-world-war-mysterious-attacks-russia-says-sergei/


  1. [1]Miguel Bustillo, “Gov. Pulls Hydrogen SUV Out of Thin Air,” Los Angeles Times, October 23, 2004, https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2004-oct-23-me-hummer23-story.html
  2. [2]Miguel Bustillo, “Gov. Pulls Hydrogen SUV Out of Thin Air,” Los Angeles Times, October 23, 2004, https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2004-oct-23-me-hummer23-story.html; Motor Trend, “Arnold Schwarzenegger and GM’s Hydrogen Hummer,” November 29, 2004, https://www.motortrend.com/news/news041129-hummer/
  3. [3]Toyota, “Mirai,” 2022, https://www.toyota.com/mirai/
  4. [4]Anya Litvak, “Alliance wants to make Western Pa. a hub for hydrogen production and carbon storage,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 3, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/business/powersource/2022/02/03/Western-Pennsylvania-international-industrial-power-energy-alliance-hydrogen-carbon-storage-hub-IN-2-Market/stories/202202030120
  5. [5]Anya Litvak, “Pa. landowners have dealt with coal, oil and gas rights. Now, there are pore rights,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 25, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/business/powersource/2022/04/25/pennsylvania-hydrogen-carbon-sequestration-storage-hub-title-search-pores-energy-production-landowners-landmen/stories/202204250014
  6. [6]Douglas MacMillan et al., “Elon Musk acquires Twitter for roughly $44 billion,” Washington Post, April 25, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/04/25/twitter-elon-musk-deal/
  7. [7]Douglas MacMillan et al., “Elon Musk acquires Twitter for roughly $44 billion,” Washington Post, April 25, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/04/25/twitter-elon-musk-deal/
  8. [8]CTV, “Top Russian diplomat warns Ukraine against provoking world war,” April 26, 2022, https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/top-russian-diplomat-warns-ukraine-against-provoking-world-war-1.5876149; Chiara Giordano, “Russia effectively at war with Nato, Lavrov says as he calls western weapons ‘legitimate targets,’” Independent, April 25, 2022, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-weapons-ukraine-war-nato-b2065422.html
  9. [9]CTV, “Top Russian diplomat warns Ukraine against provoking world war,” April 26, 2022, https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/top-russian-diplomat-warns-ukraine-against-provoking-world-war-1.5876149; Roland Oliphant, “World War Three now a ‘real’ danger, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warns,” Telegraph, April 25, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/04/25/real-danger-third-world-war-mysterious-attacks-russia-says-sergei/
  10. [10]CTV, “Top Russian diplomat warns Ukraine against provoking world war,” April 26, 2022, https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/top-russian-diplomat-warns-ukraine-against-provoking-world-war-1.5876149
  11. [11]Chiara Giordano, “Russia effectively at war with Nato, Lavrov says as he calls western weapons ‘legitimate targets,’” Independent, April 25, 2022, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-weapons-ukraine-war-nato-b2065422.html
  12. [12]Chiara Giordano, “Russia effectively at war with Nato, Lavrov says as he calls western weapons ‘legitimate targets,’” Independent, April 25, 2022, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-weapons-ukraine-war-nato-b2065422.html
  13. [13]David Benfell, “Where does Vladimir Putin stop?” Not Housebroken, April 22, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/04/where-does-vladimir-putin-stop/

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