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Among the self-appointed responsible Republicans, the story of Trump’s attempted election theft goes something like this:
The former president had a few CRAZY people around him providing bad advice. Rudy and Lin Wood and Sidney “Release the Kraken” Powell and their ilk were egging on a strategy that was never going to work and that nobody was actually on board with.
Meanwhile, the rest of the players were maybe not profiles in courage, but they were trying to do the right thing. Just, you know, behind the scenes. Some were encouraging Trump to be more presidential—to finally do that growing into the office they had promised he would do four years ago now that he had lost. Others knew it was all a farce but were just “humoring” the president for a little bit. What could be the harm? After all, it was, they assured each other, the last thing they would ever have to do for Donald J. Trump.
Never forget: Chip Roy is a cowardly goldfish.
ERIC EDELMAN and FRANKLIN C. MILLER: The Lessons of Ukraine for Taiwan—and the U.S.
There are many lessons for Americans to draw from all this. And there are lessons, too, for Xi Jinping and his colleagues among China’s top leadership. For starters, the United States does not have a formal treaty commitment to Taiwan’s defense, à la NATO’s famous Article 5. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this presents the Biden administration, as well as other Republican and Democratic leaders who profess to care about security in Northeast Asia, with a clear choice: If the United States is prepared to see Taiwan conquered by the People’s Liberation Army, the United States should retain its current policy. If, however, we are not prepared to see a thriving, prosperous democratic society swallowed up by a brutal autocratic regime led by messianic zealot, there are a series of steps the United States must take—and soon.
There’s a secret cabal that’s trying to control us — they’re lying to you, and they’re communists. Sound familiar? No, it’s not QAnon. It’s the John Birch Society. Our culture wars aren’t new — they just get recycled. Robert Tracinski joins Charlie Sykes on this weekend’s podcast.
Noah Smith joins to consider whether inflation is really as bad as it looks and whether we can ever have a sensible immigration policy in our divided country.
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Did you miss TNB?
There is, in fact, absolutely nothing in the interview on YouTube to suggest that the attack was staged. Yes, Vyshemirskaya (who had lived in the village of Makiyivka on the territory of the “Donetsk Republic” until she married a man from Mariupol in 2020) did claim that her story had been misrepresented by the press. But the only significant discrepancy she identified was that both Ukrainian government officials and most of the media reported the attack as an airstrike, while Vyshemirskaya claimed that “no one” had heard an airplane overhead before the building was hit and that afterward, when the women had gone down to the basement for shelter, hospital staffers told them it was not an aerial strike. But, first of all, the alternative—rocket shelling—does not seem much better, unless the implication is that the rocket came from the Ukrainian side. And second, as the Washington Post reports, both eyewitness accounts and video from Associated Press journalists strongly suggest an airstrike, as does the physical evidence of “a crater outside the hospital that went at least two stories deep.” This does not mean that Vyshemirskaya is lying: a thorough analysis by the Latvia-based Russian- and English-language website Meduza quotes military experts who say it is entirely possible not to hear the sound of an airplane before a bombing, since that sound may only be audible seconds before the blast.
ALAN CROSS: Bloody Borders or a Bloody Cross?
In a 1993 essay in Foreign Affairs, Harvard professor Samuel Huntington famously declared that we were entering into a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West and that Islam had “bloody borders” as it set out on ideological wars of conquest and expansion. Huntington focused on Islam, but we should more deeply consider what it is that causes conflict, war, and “bloody borders” anywhere they arise, including among nations that claim affinity with Christianity or any other philosophy or ideology.
Huntington died in 2008 before Putin’s political merger with the Russian Orthodox Church was widely seen as a driving spiritual factor in his ambition to restore the Russian Empire to its former glory. Yet there are similarities. The Islamic states Huntington worried about saw themselves as pious believers arrayed against a decadent, infidel West.
And that thumbnail summary applies just as well to Putin and the Russian Orthodox view: They, too, see themselves as engaged in a civilizational clash between support of traditional faith and values against a decadent West facing cultural collapse. By the by, this is not far from how some American evangelicals also see themselves, which is why some on the American right also found themselves in the uncomfortable position of being pro-, or at least anti-anti-, Putin.
Happy Friday! If you’re observing the Easter holiday, I hope it is meaningful for you. I am lucky to have my family in town, so we have a full house!
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