Get Ukraine More Drones
Plus, is Jared Polis the Gaymer Democrats need?
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New from me: Get Ukraine More Drones.
Earlier this month, a Pentagon official said on background that Ukraine was “terrific” with drones, and they needed more of them, rather than fixed-wing aircraft.
That’s where the mid-sized drones can make a huge difference. The microdrones and big boys are great, and we should be giving Ukraine as many as they want, but both the huge wingspans of major drones and the limited flight times of microdrones impose a lot of mission constraints.
The United States and our allies have a bunch of mid-size drones, like the RQ-7 Shadow. It can fly nearly 80 miles from its home base, recognize targets from over 2 miles away, and fly for nine hours. With armaments and other sensors, that flight time diminishes, but it can fly for as much as seven hours with an effective load and if there are forward bases to take control of it, then its effective range from takeoff increases dramatically.
Why is Tucker Carlson siding with Putin? Is he just trolling Biden, or is it more ideological? Plus, it’s hard to have a democracy when you can’t agree on basic facts. David Corn joins Charlie Sykes on today’s podcast.
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TIM MILLER: Jared Polis: The Gaymer Democrats Need?
On the surface, Jared Polis and I have kind of a lot in common. While I was not, in any sense of the term, a child prodigy, we both are white political nerds from Colorado who came out of the closet in our twenties, and are now living the double-dad life. We are both very much of the South Park generation and carry the associated libertarian streak of our Casa Bonita-loving brethren.
Despite this, as Polis’s career blossomed back in my home state, I never really felt any sort of special connection to him. From a distance he gave off the vibe of a cookie-cutter Colorado Democrat, in the mold of Michael Bennet or Mark Udall. Outside of his status as the only openly gay male governor in U.S. history, Polis’s career didn’t seem to merit much more examination than that of Tony Evers or Ned Lamont or (for the old school heads) Roy Romer.
But then last November, while spending too much time on Twitter, I realized that I had been missing something about Polis. A video of a press conference flashed across my screen, during which the governor was vigorously pushing back on the media horde peppering him with questions about his decision to not reinstate the statewide mask mandate. He ended the mask mandate in May 2021, and refused to bring it back as the Delta wave crested and then receded and as the Omicron wave approached. During the Q&A, Polis repeatedly pointed out that for vaccinated and boosted individuals COVID is little risk; that double-vaxed Coloradans’ patience for mandatory mask-wearing was “wearing thin”; and that in neighboring New Mexico, where a mask mandate had been in place, the level of COVID spread and the hospitalization rate were virtually identical with the levels in Colorado.
STEPHEN PETER ROSEN: If Putin Were to Use Nuclear Weapons, What Would Follow?
So far, President Biden has chosen to proceed calmly. On March 11, he warned that “Russia would pay a severe price” if chemical weapons were used in Ukraine but remained silent about nuclear weapons (although senior administration spokesmen acknowledged that possible Russian nuclear use was being closely watched). Any military preparations, if there are any, were not announced. The strategy was to ignore the nuclear threat as if it had not been made. This may have been the wisest course, but it may have had the effect of further convincing Putin that he has to do something that cannot be ignored. This week, Biden intensified his rhetoric, saying that Putin’s “back is against the wall” and that Russian propaganda about Ukraine supposedly having biological and chemical weapons is “a clear sign he is considering using both of those.” He reiterated the unspecific threat of “severe consequences.”
Earlier this month I wrote in The Bulwark that as the war goes worse for Putin his incentives for using nuclear weapons go up. Well, the war is going worse for him. If Putin were to use chemical weapons, he would test NATO resolve. NATO may be able to deter Russian nuclear weapons use by mounting a fierce and violent response to Russian chemical weapons use. It should prepare to do so.
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