Plus: Zelensky's angry and urgent plea
Listening to your Tuesday interview with Kim Wehle, I was shocked to hear her say that she had to teach basic critical thinking skills to third-year law students. I taught college-level philosophy for over 30 years, and saw a steady decline of such skills in my students. The Trump phenomenon has demonstrated to us that critical thinking skills in the general population are also not so well developed. But the fact that students can somehow reach their final year of law school and still be innocent of how to collect facts, appraise evidence, and engage in fundamental critical thinking skills absolutely stuns and frightens me.
I have to admit I'm almost speechless at people who are fine with the idea that we should risk a shooting war with Russia by instituting a no fly zone. Should we continue supplying weapons and humanitarian aid? Of course. Fighter planes for Ukrainian pilots? Yes. But am I willing to risk a nuclear exchange and possibly a full nuclear war with Russia that could result in millions of American deaths along with decimated cities? No, I am not. These things can escalate very quickly; and we need to be very careful here. The people calling for a no fly zone and NATO boots on the ground have to be aware what the butcher's bill will be if Putin lets the nukes fly. And this is a very real possibility.
The photo of the St. Petersburg protestors reminded me of my visit there in March 2020...right before everything shut down due to Covid. I asked my host, a 60+ year old citizen of Russia, about whether he felt that he could share his feelings about the government of Russia. Of course, my question was alluding to the shadow of the previous USSR regime, and he took the question very much in stride and expressed "As long as Putin and his "friends" are making money...we can say whatever we want". So...he and his fellow countrymen know that Putin is making money illegally, but if it means a bit more freedom for the citizens...it's a deal they can handle.
Obviously that equation has changed and I've been unable to get in touch with him to understand how he and his friends are assessing the current situation. Given their pragmatism before...I'm sure that they understand exactly what's going on with this invasion. St. Petersburg was much more modern and European than what I was expecting. It's of no surprise that they are protesting the Ukraine invasion.
That Times photo of the murdered girls crumpled on the pavement did it for me. NATO you have my permission to begin war. Anything less is an abdication of our humanity. I'm prepared to take the consequences
With regard to the video of the Russian POW that has gone viral--- this may be a violation of Article 13 of the Geneva convention. POWs are not to be used for propaganda purposes. Especially in the pursuit of raising the profile of and empowering Twitter accounts.
"Exit take: Putin’s crackdown smells like… weakness"... or any other Sunday in Russia.
[Sarcasm alert] "Russia officially blocked Facebook and restricted Twitter. That’s a bad sign for global democracy." Ironic seeing how bad Facebook and Twitter are bad for democracy elsewhere. [End sarcasm alert]
“Putin and The Nuclear Endgame”, written by Stephen Peter Rosen, is perhaps the most timely, sobering, and significant article published by the Bulwark to date. This is not intended to diminish any other articles published by the Bulwark, which is excellent. But Mr. Rosen’s article is extraordinary because, well, we live in interesting times.
I'm not sure why Zelensky prioritizes a no-fly zone since (a) the Russian air force has not been particularly effective to date, and (b) NATO jets presumably would not provide aggressive air support for Ukrainian ground troops, but could potentially get into a shooting war with Russia, with dangerously unpredictable results. They might even be a hazard to Ukrainian aircraft, or deny air space to Ukraine altogether - in which case the latter would still be prey to indiscriminate Russian shelling.
Perhaps it's just more Zelensky PR, at which he has obviously been a one man armored division. But it would surely be in his interest to have the greater freedom of action that donated jets would provide.
As for the Putin Lobby here and abroad, they'll be back. Because, as David French observed in his latest piece, there will always be Putins. https://frenchpress.thedispatch.com/p/on-the-enduring-power-of-malevolent?r=3xp1p&s=r&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email
When Mother Pence sent Mike out to castigate those naughty Putin rooters (read apologists), she neglected to remind her dear bible toting hubby that he, along with just about every outspoken spineless member of the GOP caucus were guilty of that very same sin. Yep, from Moscow Mitch on down, cabinet members to lowly Rep's, even presidential aides. By golly, Trump had them all nodding their lying heads, or running for the elevators, when reporters approached, when it came to questions about that "great leader Putin'" Why Pompus Pompeo practically wets himself when he talks about him, and he's a West Point alum. They must be so proud, his fellow U.S Army veterans.
re: the Russian POW, it is really hard to separate out propaganda from truth. (Not that propaganda can't be true, to add another frustrating layer.) for me that video falls under the "If it looks too good to be true then it probably isn't"
Following BBC, I did see these encouraging stories, (Sorry no links) The US is working out a deal with Poland where they get US made Jets and they send their soviet era planes to Ukraine. Of course for this to work Western Ukraine needs to be made safe. to give a base for these planes to fly out of. The other thing was about Ukraine's strategic plans basically were 2 pronged one defend the major cities and 2 harass the Russians out in the country., most specifically avoid the tanks and go after soft targets like big slow burnable truck tankers full of fuel. As I remember the point made was a tank out of fuel was no longer a tank but a road block.
If ya'll must run ads on the pods, do what you have to do, but is there any chance we might be spared them on the private feeds?
RE: Universal Soldier's plea for humanity.
If that guy's a well-rehearsed psy-ops plant, he deserves a special Oscar for this performance.
I was disappointed in your and Tim's cynical take (during Friday podcast) on Republicans using the war to bludgeon Biden if "Russia wins". First, Russia will never win. I'm sure you watched that incredibly inspiring speech/interview with the captured Russian soldier that you posted. He understands it as well as you should. This conflict will never be over until Ukraine is restored as an independent nation. Any Republicans declaring Russian victory will merely prove themselves to be traitorous, pro-Putin trash.
Also, if the unthinkable happens and Zelensky is killed, it would not spell the end of Ukraine any more than Lincoln's assassination spelled the end of the United States. It would inarguably be a dark day for the world, but liberal democracies are built on laws - not men. Ukraine will live on.
And lastly, I feel like this is a case where a significant number of Republicans are actually operating in good faith. Biden has a blank check to do whatever is necessary sanctions-wise to secure a victory here. Whatever happens in the midterms, this seems like a good opportunity to build a coalition of serious adults that could later be leveraged to fend off the Trump clowns and the childish shenanigans that they have planned for the next term.