30 thoughts on “News/Politics 3-5-22

  1. Never trust Putin.

    “Ukraine: Russia Breaks Civilian Evacuation ‘Humanitarian’ Cease-Fire, Advances Towards Kyiv

    Kyiv: “Russian artillery and multiple launch rocket systems were pounding residential buildings and infrastructure.””


    “As Russian invasion of Ukraine enters the tenth day, Moscow has intensified its military offensive and broken a temporary cease-fire put in place to evacuate civilians in two strategic cities, the media reports say.

    “[A] ceasefire was declared to evacuate civilians from Mariupol and Volnovakha at the request of the Ukrainian side and solely for humanitarian purposes,” Russian state news agency TASS reported Saturday morning. That cease-fire has now been broken just hours after the Russian announcement, trapping thousands of residents in the encircled cities.

    The Russian campaign in the south, focused on the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha, is aimed at cutting Ukraine off from the sea. According to news reports on Saturday, Russian ground forces were also moving in to take the strategic port city of Odessa.

    The Associated Press reported the collapse of the cease-fire:

    What looked like a breakthrough cease-fire to evacuate residents from two cities in Ukraine quickly fell apart Saturday as Ukrainian officials said continued shelling had halted the work to remove civilians hours after Russia announced the deal.

    The Russian defense ministry earlier said it had agreed on evacuation routes with Ukrainian forces for Mariupol, a strategic port in the southeast, and the eastern city of Volnovakha. The vaguely worded statement did not make clear how long the routes would remain open.

    “The Russian side is not holding to the cease-fire and has continued firing on Mariupol itself and on its surrounding area,” said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office. “Talks with the Russian Federation are ongoing regarding setting up a cease-fire and ensuring a safe humanitarian corridor.”

    Russian Advance into Kyiv
    Meanwhile, the Russian forces are advancing towards Kyiv in a pincer movement, approaching the Ukrainian capital from the north west and east directions.

    The Ukrainian defenders appear to have stalled the advancing Russian troops in the north west. The Russian column from the east, on the other hands, is “advancing rapidly on the capital,” the BBC reported Saturday.”


  2. These are everywhere around here.

    They all point to the price per gallon. 🙂

    Joe built that!



  3. The problem is they’re teaching activism, not journalism.

    This isn’t just one school of journalism, this is across the board at them all. And it shows.

    “I Signed Up to Study Journalism. What They Taught Me Was Activism”


    “Even by the hyper-progressive standards of the Canadian education sector, Ryerson University in Toronto has distinguished itself as being unusually energetic in its social justice messaging. Last spring, Indigenous activists destroyed the statue of the university’s namesake, Egerton Ryerson, on the basis that he helped design Canada’s system of residential schools. By way of response, the school’s president could not even bring himself to criticize the vandals, but rather expressed his relief that none of them were injured during the course of their crime. He also pledged that “the statue will not be restored or replaced,” and asserted that these events only showcased the importance of the work being conducted by a task force looking into the renaming of the university. To no one’s surprise, that task force not only concluded that Ryerson should be renamed, but also that the school should make amends for its previous association with the Ryerson name, as well as implement the usual litany of new Indigenous- and black-themed consciousness-raising courses and programs. (While no new name has yet been chosen for the school, numerous Ryerson scholars now have taken to referring to their school as “X University.”)”

    “As I learned, the Ryerson School of Journalism (RSJ), from which I graduated last year (and which is now grouped under Ryerson’s “Creative School”), was ahead of the rest of the university when it came to social-justice puritanism. Back in early 2020, my affiliation with school publications came under attack after I wrote a column for a third-party outlet arguing for the disbanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion offices at Canadian universities. I was then banned from writing for the Eyeopener, one of Ryerson’s student newspapers, on the basis that my Christian viewpoint on LGBT issues would make “members of our community, especially queer, trans and non-binary folks … no longer feel safe.”

    Then things got even stranger, as Jen Gerson of the Line reported a year later:

    As campus dramas tend to do, this whole episode escalated to satiric proportions. Bradley’s continued presence at the [journalism] school appears to have opened a Pandora’s box of longstanding campus grievances that found their way into an open letter reportedly signed by 150-plus students. It alleged that Ryerson [staff] had created a hostile environment, particularly for racialized and LGBTQ students. The main piece of evidence cited for this claim was that the school hired Toronto Star public editor Kathy English, a white woman, to teach a course on equity and ethics. English’s sins: [She’d] “influenced” [black activist] Desmond Cole to leave the [Star], and was accused of inviting [conservative politician] Maxime Bernier to an “all white” editorial-board meeting. She also “challenged” students’ experiences, and made them feel as if their positions were “unjustified.” This prompted the resignations of Janice Neil and Lisa Taylor, the school’s chair and associate chair, whom we are quite sure were not getting paid enough to deal with any of this.
    I’d anticipated none of this cancel-culture melodrama five years ago, when I first learned I’d been accepted into RSJ. I remember the moment exactly: 9:40am on Friday, January 20th, 2017, in Room 317 of Cardinal Carter Catholic High School. I was in my politics class, checking email on my cell phone shortly before the class bell rang. The news filled me with pride: At the time, at least, RSJ was considered Canada’s top journalism school. And I anticipated that my years there would be filled with rigorous training in the tradecraft of objective reporting. What I received instead consisted in large part of social-justice programming. This came as a surprise to me. In 2022, the co-option of Canadian legacy media outlets by progressive activists is widely known. But back in early 2017, the phenomenon was less obvious.

    My orientation session took place seven months later, on August 29th. A few minutes after the appointed start time, a journalism professor walked to the front of the room, formally welcomed the journalism class of 2021 to Ryerson University, and then launched into a mocking rant about then-US president Donald Trump. As a conservative-minded person, I supported some of Trump’s policies. But the fact that I disagreed with this professor wasn’t what struck me. Rather, it was the fact that our inaugural lecture on the practice of journalism consisted of a one-sided political harangue.

    This sort of spectacle was to become a recurring phenomenon. During one Critical Issues in Journalism class in second year, for instance, the professor delivered a free-form monologue about how newsrooms were too white, too male, and too “cis” (i.e., non-trans). Once she’d finished lecturing us about diversity, a fellow conservative student asked if the need for diversity extended to viewpoint diversity. Needless to say, the answer was no.

    In an Editing Essentials class in fourth year, right after the 2020 US presidential election, my professor expressed disgust that Trump received more votes in 2020 than in 2016, despite “the lying, the homophobia, the racism, the sexism.” She told us that white people in her age range needed to do better. My professors could make comments like this without worrying about anyone calling them out, because they know few students would dare. A 2020 study conducted by Heterodox Academy indicated that 62 percent of sampled university students believed that the political climate on campus prevents students from saying what they believe—up from 55 percent in 2019. The surveyed students were American, and I’m betting that the corresponding number for Canadian undergraduates would be even higher.

    And future students will have it even worse. In March 2021, shortly before I graduated, RSJ announced an action plan to “put equity, inclusion and support for students at the heart of what we do and how we communicate with one another.” The five measures that RSJ committed to were:

    “Supporting the establishment of a permanent student equity task force … to address critical equity concerns inside and outside the classroom.”

    “Re-examining and re-designing our curriculum to incorporate critical content that draws from experiences of historically marginalized communities, including but not limited to Queer, Indigenous and Black communities, as well as faith communities who may be historically marginalized.”

    “Hiring at least two faculty members who reflect the RSJ’s changing student demographics and offer a diversity of experiences and perspectives on journalism and its practice.”

    “Providing journalism-focused equity training to faculty, staff and instructors.”

    “Offering more frequently existing RSJ courses that take critical approaches to these issues—Reporting on Race, Reporting on Indigenous Issues, Reporting on Religion and Queer Media.”

    A university publication reported that Kamal Al-Solaylee, the journalism professor who’d been appointed as transformation lead, would be focused on the manner by which “journalism schools in 2021 need to be redefined, especially in a time of social unrest for BIPOC communities.” This included (in Al-Solaylee’s words) studying how RSJ had become “an incubator for a lot of the things that are wrong in the industry.” Most unsettlingly, the Ryersonian reported, Al-Solaylee said “the administration needs to focus on conversations that are being had between faculty and students. Journalism schools need to do a better job of making sure students are understanding the way free speech is not applied equally … and the ways in which some students’ words are seen as acceptable while others are not, based on their race or sexual orientation.”

    It sounded a lot like a euphemistic way of indicating that RSJ students would soon have their speech monitored more closely for evidence of wrongthink. And I met with members of the school administration to voice my concerns, especially in regard to the way these steps were being sold as a necessary means to ensure the school was a “safe space.” During this meeting, I mentioned the research contained in the well-known 2018 book The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. None of the administrators had read it, and one made it clear to me that he would never do so.

    RSJ isn’t alone. The Carleton School of Journalism (CSJ) in Ottawa, which also has enjoyed a prestigious reputation, adopted its own similar action plan in 2020. Responding to a lengthy “Call to Action” that threw all sorts of race-based accusations at the school, administrators thanked these student accusers (“for speaking out to us about this, loudly and clearly”) and essentially fell to their knees in a posture of atonement:

    Carleton University’s journalism program is the oldest in the country. As such we have a responsibility to acknowledge the role we have played in the perpetuation of systemic racism in the education of young journalists. Equally important, we have a responsibility to be clear about the actions we are undertaking as we try to address the very real concerns about the lack of diversity and inclusion in our program. We have not done enough to ensure that our racialized students feel welcome and heard in our classrooms. Nor have we done enough to ensure that all of you acquire the capabilities you need to report on the full diversity of communities and individuals who make up Canadian society and the world.”


    See the problem? Keep reading….


  4. Transgrifter. 😲

    That’s a new one.

    Remember, no judging…. 🙂


    He’s muh expert….

    Said the idiot media….



  5. Oh so it’s

    “Take heart, he’ll be broke soon, you’ll just have to find a way to stay alive another 2 weeks.”

    Is it?

    That’s little consolation to the Ukrainian people.

    As I said, the time for action that would have stopped this before it started has passed, the Biden admin missed badly.


  6. Biden has put us in a corner with his policies.

    The Ukrainian people will suffer Putin’s wrath for these miscalculations. That’s the worst part.

    Elections have consequences.


  7. And yes to this as well.


  8. Nice to see some like Musk come around to reality.

    For your reading displeasure DJ, as Biden dithers…..

    He’s about to do the same kind of stupid policies all over again with Iran, where he’s letting Russia dictate the terms of his new Iran deal. This is why he won’t be too harsh with the Russians, because he needs them to pass this monstrosity, where once again, he capitulates to the worst regimes on Earth.



    “Melanie Phillips draws attention to the Twitter thread by Gabriel Noronha, a former State Department Iran official. His Twitter account is here. I am taking the liberty of simply copying the Twitter thread Phillips quotes for your information. In the thread Noronha refers to Reuters’ reporting on Iran. I think he must be referring to this story and others compiled there.

    Phillips calls her Substack post “Perfidy in Vienna?” If true, she writes in her conclusion, it represents “an act of supreme treachery…” Although it harks back to the strategery of President Obama, with the Russian twist this seems to me to represent the madness of Slow Joe. We shall see.”

    “1. My former career @StateDept, NSC, and EU colleagues are so concerned with the concessions being made by @RobMalley in Vienna that they’ve allowed me to publish some details of the coming deal in the hopes that Congress will act to stop the capitulation.

    2. “What’s happening in Vienna is a total disaster” one warned. The entire negotiations have been filtered and “essentially run” by Russian diplomat Mikhail Ulyanov. The concessions and other misguided policies have led three members of the U.S. negotiating team to leave.

    3. This is a long and technical thread, but here’s what you should know: the deal being negotiated in Vienna is dangerous to our national security, it is illegal, it is illegitimate, and it in no way serves U.S. interests in either the short or long term.

    4. Here’s why: Led by Rob Malley, the U.S. has promised to lift sanctions on some of the regime’s worst terrorists and torturers, leading officials in the regime’s WMD infrastructure, and is currently trying to lift sanctions on the IRGC itself. Let’s dive in.

    5. First, Biden’s team is preparing to rescind the Supreme Leaders’ Office Executive Order (E.O. 13876) as soon as this coming Monday, and lift sanctions on nearly every one of the 112 people/entities sanctioned under it, even if they’re sanctioned under other legal authorities.

    6. We sanctioned some of the worst people you can possibly imagine under this authority, like Mohsen Rezaei, who was involved in the 1994 AMIA bombing that killed 85 people in Argentina. He’ll be able to live free of sanctions next week if Malley proceeds.

    7. Also under this action, the U.S. will lift sanctions on IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan, who led IRGC forces in Lebanon and Syria when Hezbollah bombed the Marine compound in Beirut and killed 241 U.S. service members in 1983.

    8. Who else? Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Supreme Leader Khamenei, who was charged in Argentina for homicide for the 1994 AMIA bombing and as one of the “ideological masterminds” behind the attack. He also helped prop up Assad’s brutality in Syria.

    9. This would also lift sanctions on Khamenei’s personal slush funds known as “bonyads”, including Astan Quds Razavi and Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order, which confiscated houses and billions from political dissidents and religious minorities to enrich Khamenei and his goons.”


    “38. Even if Malley later submitted a deal to congress, the b[u]lk of the damage would already be done — Iran will have control of billions and the US will have no more leverage. This is pure diplomatic malpractice, and congress needs to investigate this attempted fait accompli.

    39. The Biden administration is claiming that they are going back to the JCPOA [the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a/k/a the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran] and therefore do not need to submit the deal to Congress under the 2015 INARA law. That’s not true — this deal is not the JCPOA. It is much, much worse.

    40. The degree of capitulation happening here is staggering — especially for people like me who worked in the technical trenches of this stuff for years, That’s why these non-partisan career staffers are coming out the woodwork and desperately asking for oversight from Congress.”


  9. “Putin Invaded Because He Thought He Could

    With a stronger American president, the Russian strongman certainly would have opted for a more pragmatic and cost-effective path.”


    “This recent invasion of Ukraine seems to have broken this pattern, but not for a lack of alternatives. Putin did not even bother waving the most potent weapon in his arsenal: the energy weapon. To halt the streaming of natural gas through the Ukraine would mean depriving the country of a revenue of almost $1.2 billion a year, roughly one percent of its entire GDP. This would have hit Ukraine’s barely recovering economy hard. Such a move would also put further pressure on Germany to certify the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and guarantee its energy security.

    Putin also had the opportunity to establish a more robust de facto presence in Donetsk and Lugansk, without having to resort to a full-scale invasion. By incorporating the two regions’ infrastructures and economies into Russia’s, he could have replicated, at a slower pace, the Crimean scenario. This would have most likely incurred very little resistance from the international community.

    Instead, Putin opted for the brutish approach of an all-out invasion, deploying massive force with the sole purpose of completely eradicating Ukraine’s military and forcing the Ukrainian government to capitulate.

    Given the present and foreseeable repercussions, the rationale for Putin’s choice remains elusive, especially since there do not seem to be any rational long-term benefits to this invasion. What could explain these actions, though, is the permissiveness of the global environment in international politics.

    Primarily, the one power that could have seriously given Russia pause, the United States, is currently not taken seriously abroad. This is not because of its inability to effectively project power, but rather due to this current administration’s image on the global scene. When serious global powers observe the humiliating way in which the United States withdrew from Afghanistan, they do not see leadership that has crisis management potential. When the non-Anglo-Saxon world looks with astonishment at the most recent earth-shattering reforms of the American military, which culminated in allowing servicewomen to wear fake eyelashes while on duty, or of NATO, with its 40-page manual on gender-inclusive language, they react with ridicule.

    Such a transformation in the image of the world’s mightiest military force might possibly assist the current administration in pleasing its base domestically, but to the outside world, it invokes images of lunacy, weakness, and senility. It should come as no surprise that Putin did not see the United States as a current deterrent for his actions. Notice how he had no problem with current NATO bases along his borders, but rather the future expansion of the pact, which could only come to be with a more teeth-baring administration. Only then would it create a real security concern for Russia.

    Finally, the state of the global economy cannot be discounted in Putin’s calculations. It continues to suffer from the effects of the pandemic. One of its most notable effects is the increase in energy prices and the pressure this puts on the supply chain, eventually trickling down to costs consumers incur. Decision-makers in Moscow certainly banked on Europe’s fear for its energy security, a replay of the annexation of the Crimea scenario. In the not-so-distant past, international observers reasonably assumed that, given the cost, the West did not deem Ukraine worth opposing Russia over.

    Without an international context that made him feel comfortable enough to take such drastic action, the Russian strongman would have certainly opted for a more pragmatic and cost-effective path. Sadly, at this point, the only thing that remains to be seen is how this conflict can come to an end with the lowest possible human cost.”


    Biden made this way worse than it should have ever been.

    His weakness shows, and bad men are exploiting it.


  10. I pay about $6 US per gallon ($2 per liter) — should I blame Biden or is Biden only responsible for American gas prices? Its somewhat amusing that the party of the free market blames a politician for gas prices. There’s two reasons for high fuel prices. Short term, blame market fluctuations caused by war and other forms of instability. Despite being almost self-sufficient in gasoline, the US has higher prices — since shortages raised prices in Europe, the prices went up in the US. (if you used a gov’t regulator to monitor oil prices, you could ignore world market prices) This, of course, has nothing to do with Biden and everything to do with Putin. Long term causes relate to the growth of an energy oligopoly in the US which began in the 1980s under Reagan and deregulation and mergers. Without competition, prices rise with very little market push. Energy and resource companies traditional support the Republicans (tech and finance are Democratic) and they’ve been well rewarded by the Bush and Cheney admins.

    To suggest Biden is to blame because he cancelled or put a hold on certain projects fails to recognize the enormous timelines these projects have. Investment rarely occurs when oil is cheap and thus there’s been very little investment in the last 2 or 3 years. Now that fuel is again expensive, projects such Canada’s tar sands will start up again. (The tar sands is only profitable if oil is over 65-70$ a barrel) Any input of oil from various North American projects wont come online for at least 3-5 years. The only immediate relief is to open up the strategic reserves, have the Saudis pump more of their cheap oil or let Iran export again. Biden cant be blamed for a economic structural problem which developed over a longer period than one year.


  11. Another useless gesture from the incompetent president.

    While this may placate ignorant liberals, those with a clue realize that 30 million barrels amounts to less than a day and a half supply of what America needs. It will do nothing, except let them say they’re doing something.


    Like I keep saying, we are bankrolling Russia’s invasion thanks to Biden’s stupid policies.

    This is a fact folks.



    “Key Points:

    America sends Russia $74 Million per day for oil imports.

    America imported 24 percent more oil from Russia in 2021 than in 2020.

    36 percent of Russia’s government budget comes from oil export revenue.”

    “The Biden administration’s anti-American energy policy is responsible for America sending $74 million per day to Russia for oil imports, an analysis of U.S. Energy Information Administration data show, which is enough money for Russia to buy 20 T-14 tanks every day.

    During the Trump administration, the United States became a net exporter of oil. For logistical reasons, America still imported oil from Russia, but America could – if necessary – turn off the Russian spigot and replace Russian oil with U.S. oil. Under the Biden administration’s war on domestic energy production, that has changed. America no longer produces enough oil to cover our needs and would have a much more difficult time replacing Russian oil imports.

    During 2021, America imported 245 million barrels of oil from Russia, versus 197 million barrels in 2020. That amounts to a 24 percent increase during Biden’s first full year in office.”


  12. Ryerson and Carleton are probably the most well known and well regarded journalism schools in Canada. Although the cultural left predominates almost everywhere in Cdn universities, few people take the rhetoric seriously or as serious as this critic does. I would like to point out that he was criticized for his views of on LGBT issues not his religion. There’s diverse approaches to LGBT issues in Christianity.

    I spent Friday morning studying Cultural Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy — sounds like ominous cultural left nonsense. In fact, once you understand it and then apply it to teaching, its just good teaching practise — know your student, know where they come from, make education relevant, motivate your students, etc. A bit insulting to those who’ve taught for 25 years. Sure this type of framework could be taken too far but that occurs each time a new idea is introduced to a profession.

    As for students being afraid to speak their mind — try working; I thought the right was all annoyed with entitled young people and their demans. Working in any profession often requires an ability to know when to be quiet and when to speak, an ability to use the proper vocabulary to express mundane ordinary ideas, etc.


  13. They’ve lied to you all along.

    But the press is fixated on Russia, and let’s face it, wouldn’t be reporting this stuff anyway. If they did, they’d expose their complicit selves along with the CDC, FDA, Fauci, and Biden.


    “COVID Vaccine Bombshells You Probably Missed”


    “In recent weeks, there have been several stunning revelations concerning the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines—and they are being all but ignored by a corporate media eager to change the subject.

    The FDA on Tuesday released a large tranche of Pfizer clinical trials documents in response to a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request by the Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency. The documents show that the company knew people were at risk of experiencing more than 1,000 unique adverse side-effects to the mRNA injections.

    Additionally, scientists last week revealed that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine can enter human liver cells and be converted into DNA—something the fact-checkers and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control assured the public could never happen. Scientists also recently discovered that a sequence of genetic material patented by Moderna in 2018 bears a suspicious similarity to the spike protein in Sars-Cov2.

    And a new study published on March 2 found that the synthetic mRNA found in the vaccines does not degrade quickly as promised, but continues to produce spike proteins for nearly two weeks.

    Amid these new discoveries, the medical establishment won’t stop pushing the genetic vaccines that have failed to stop the coronavirus.

    The COVID pandemic now plays second fiddle to the Russia-Ukraine war in the media, but the virus continues to rage through highly vaccinated countries, afflicting the triple-vaxxed most of all.

    “Hong Kong hospitals can’t keep up with the deaths amid an Omicron surge,” reads a recent New York Times headline. “Dead bodies are piling up on gurneys in hospital hallways as Hong Kong’s health system is overloaded by its biggest Covid-19 outbreak of the pandemic.”

    In the United Kingdom, only 394 vaccine-free persons died in weeks 5-8 of 2022, compared to the 3,527 who were vaccinated, according to the UK Health Security Agency. This means unvaccinated Brits only comprised 10 percent of all COVID deaths during those weeks.”

    “In the face of failure, tyrannical medical policies continue to disrupt our lives, including the military mandate, the CMS mandate, the blocking of early treatments, and the appalling push to inject children with the ineffective experimental vaccines.

    Here’s a partial list of potential vaccine injuries the medical establishment is subjecting us to, as chronicled in Pfizer’s clinical trial documents.

    Via Children’s Health Defense:”

    The list includes acute kidney injury, acute flaccid myelitis, anti-sperm antibody positive, brain stem embolism, brain stem thrombosis, cardiac arrest, cardiac failure, cardiac ventricular thrombosis, cardiogenic shock, central nervous system vasculitis, death neonatal, deep vein thrombosis, encephalitis brain stem, encephalitis hemorrhagic, frontal lobe epilepsy, foaming at mouth, epileptic psychosis, facial paralysis, fetal distress syndrome, gastrointestinal amyloidosis, generalized tonic-clonic seizure, Hashimoto’s encephalopathy, hepatic vascular thrombosis, herpes zoster reactivation, immune-mediated hepatitis, interstitial lung disease, jugular vein embolism, juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, liver injury, low birth weight, multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, myocarditis, neonatal seizure, pancreatitis, pneumonia, stillbirth, tachycardia, temporal lobe epilepsy, testicular autoimmunity, thrombotic cerebral infarction, Type 1 diabetes mellitus, venous thrombosis neonatal, and vertebral artery thrombosis among 1,246 other medical conditions following vaccination.

    It’s no wonder Pfizer wanted to hide the data for 75 years.

    “This is a bombshell,” said Children’s Health Defense (CHD) president and general counsel Mary Holland. “At least now we know why the FDA and Pfizer wanted to keep this data under wraps for 75 years. These findings should put an immediate end to the Pfizer COVID vaccines. The potential for serious harm is very clear, and those injured by the vaccines are prohibited from suing Pfizer for damages.””


  14. Mostly correct.

    “Russia’s Ukraine invasion may have been preventable

    The U.S. refused to reconsider Ukraine’s NATO status as Putin threatened war. Experts say that was a huge mistake.”


    “The prevailing wisdom in the West is that Russian President Vladimir Putin was never interested in President Joe Biden’s diplomatic efforts to avert an invasion of Ukraine. Bent on restoring the might of the Soviet empire, this narrative goes, the Russian autocrat audaciously invaded Ukraine to fulfill a revanchist desire for some combination of land, power and glory.

    In a typical account operating under this framing, Politico described Putin as “the steely-eyed strongman” who proved immune to “traditional tools of diplomacy and deterrence” and had been “playing Biden all along.” This telling suggests that the United States exhausted its diplomatic arsenal and that Russia’s horrifying and illegal invasion of Ukraine, which has involved targeting civilian areas and shelling nuclear plants, could never have been prevented.

    But according to a line of widely overlooked scholarship, forgotten warnings from Western statesmen and interviews with several experts — including high-level former government officials who oversaw Russia strategy for decades — this narrative is wrong.

    Many of these analysts argue that the U.S. erred in its efforts to prevent the breakout of war by refusing to offer to retract support for Ukraine to one day join NATO or substantially reconsider its terms of entry. And they argue that Russia’s willingness to go to war over Ukraine’s NATO status, which it perceived as an existential national security threat and listed as a fundamental part of its rationale for the invasion, was so clear for so long that dropping support for its eventual entry could have averted the invasion.

    Recognizing this possibility does not excuse Moscow’s actions, which are heinous. Nor does it mean Russia’s insistence on regional hegemony is fair or ethical. And ultimately, it is no guarantee that Putin would not have invaded anyway. There are other factors — including, but not limited to, Putin’s general anger over Kyiv drifting away from Russian influence and domination and his isolation as a decision-maker — that may have been sufficient to drive the invasion.

    But the abundance of evidence that NATO was a sustained source of anxiety for Moscow raises the question of whether the United States’ strategic posture was not just imprudent but negligent.

    The fact that the NATO status question was not put on the table as Putin signaled that he was serious about an invasion — so plainly that the U.S. government was spelling it out with day-by-day updates — was an error, and potentially a catastrophic one. It may sound cruel to suggest that Ukraine could be barred, either temporarily or permanently, from entering a military alliance it wants to be in. But what’s more cruel is that Ukrainians might be paying with their lives for the United States’ reckless flirtation with Ukraine as a future NATO member without ever committing to its defense.

    Analysts say it’s widely known that Ukraine had no prospect of entering NATO for many years, possibly decades, because of its need for major democracy and anti-corruption reforms and because NATO has no interest in going to war with Russia over Ukraine’s Donbas region, where Russia has meddled and backed armed conflict for years. But by dangling the possibility of Ukraine’s NATO membership for years but never fulfilling it, NATO created a scenario that emboldened Ukraine to act tough and buck Russia — without any intention of directly defending Ukraine with its firepower if Moscow decided Ukraine had gone too far.

    But for the West to offer to compromise on Ukraine’s future entry into NATO would have required admitting the limitations of Western power.

    “It was the desire of Western governments not to lose face by compromising with Russia,” Anatol Lieven, senior research fellow on Russia and Europe at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and the author of “Ukraine and Russia: A Fraternal Rivalry,” told me. “But it was also the moral cowardice of so many Western commentators and officials and ex-officials who would not come out in public and admit that this was no longer a viable project.”

    The West didn’t want to set limits on NATO’s enlargement and influence or lose face. So what it did was gamble.”


    And how’s that working out?


  15. And with Biden in charge, things are about to get worse in the world.

    “While America watches the war in Ukraine, Biden finalizes a dangerous Iran deal”


    “While the world’s attention is fixated on Russia’s war in Ukraine, President Biden’s Iran envoy in Vienna, Robert Malley, reportedly is readying to finalize a deal that makes a number of worrying concessions to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his regime.

    Gabriel Noronha, a former Senate Armed Services Committee aide to the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former State Department official, has tweeted specifics of some American concessions to Iran. Noronha says his former State Department, National Security Council, and European Union colleagues were so alarmed about compromises the Biden administration appears to be making with Iran that they allowed him to publish details to alert Congress to how the pending agreement could undermine America’s national security interests.

    The agreement details are known to the governments of Russia, China and Iran, but evidently not to Congress, and certainly not to the American people. It’s possible that an agreement could be signed by early next week.

    The Biden team’s desire to revive what they worked on during the Obama administration and to have the United States rejoin the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is no surprise. What is shocking is the extent of sanctions relief that Malley, the lead negotiator, appears ready to offer. Earlier this year, Malley’s deputy, Richard Nephew, protested the lack of a harder approach by resigning.

    Noronha tells me his former colleagues hold out hope that Congress “will act to stop the capitulation” by the Biden administration. Sanctions relief reportedly is being offered for some of Iran’s worst human rights abusers and terrorists, as well as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which the State Department designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2019. Among those who reportedly could be granted a reprieve from sanctions are IRGC Gen. Hossein Dehghan, who led forces that killed 241 U.S. soldiers in 1983 in Beirut, and Ayatollah Khamenei’s personal corporations, worth tens of billions of dollars.

    This could be just the tip of the iceberg. The U.S. helped to restore Iran’s voting rights at the United Nations by releasing Iranian funds frozen in South Korean banks. And an exchange of U.S. and Iranian prisoners, with a release of funds, is reported to be part of the deal. As Noronha tweeted: “Every individual and entity that was de-sanctioned under the JCPOA’s Annex II Attachment 3 will have all sanctions stripped again, even though close to 100 of them were later sanctioned for terrorism, human rights violations, and participation in Iran’s WMD activities.”

    The Biden team evidently intends to bypass the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) of 2015, which requires that any changes to the nuclear deal be given a 30-day hearing in Congress. The last thing that President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken want is to shine a spotlight on their concessions to Iran. The claim that the world will be safer with this deal would be laughable if it were not so dangerous.

    The tragedy in Ukraine has caused the U.S. media to stop scrutinizing a new nuclear deal with Iran, and the Biden administration’s sidestepping of any congressional review could undermine our security interests and those of our allies.

    Biden and Blinken remain illogically married to a deal that inexplicably ignores all the lines Iran has crossed since the first agreement — from its missile development to human rights abuses to terrorism to a full-court press to achieve hegemonic domination of its neighbors. The U.S. and its allies are rightfully outraged at Russia’s aggressive expansionism, but this new Iran deal appears headed to give hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief to a nation that has demonstrated its explicit raison d’etre is dominating the Middle East, spreading hatred and bringing down “the Great Satan.”


  16. I am not a Biden support, by a long shot. Didn’t vote for him, wouldn’t vote for him.

    I was hoping he wouldn’t be as beholden to the far left of his party as he has been, but he clearly is and here we are.

    Because of that, he’s wedded now to his party’s article of faith regarding climate change and thus we are, to be sure, in a bind because of that.

    AJ, we don’t disagree on many of these issues.

    Journalism? Yep, younger reporters have been taught to be advocates (for the truth, but therein lies the complication, of course). In my view, it’s been a huge wrong turn for the profession. Let’s pray and hope it corrects itself in time (a short time, preferably).

    That said, not all mainstream journalists are following that pattern. Life is nuanced, so is journalism. There’s good work being done in many of these outlets. So declaring them all “garbage” somewhat overstates the point (but I suppose overstatement is what is aimed for there).

    I’m just appealing for some old-school fair-mindedness, a skill I’m afraid has been lost in so many quarters in our social media climate.

    We have mid-terms coming soon — and I suspect it will end the Democrats’ hoped for trajectory toward a seasonal dominance, politically. The election in 2024 will be interesting, but again Republicans or conservatives, as a group, are in a good position for regaining the White House.


  17. ps, Though I am more of a moderate/conservative than AJ is. And I think it’s important to hear both sides of issues, I appreciate HRW’s contributions here.

    David French (whom I realize isn’t much respected here, but he is also a fellow believer) argues persuasively for a return to the concept of pluralism. ~ Pluralism Lets Us Live Together with Profound Differences ~

    The US is a secular nation with “profound differences,” I’d say.

    From an interview about his book:

    ~ You write in Divided We Fall: “As we sprint away from each other, we are also scorning the very idea of pluralism itself in the legal doctrines and cultural norms that preserve and sustain our nation’s distinct communities.” What would you say to people about why pluralism matters to our communities and civic engagement?

    Let me get pragmatic and then idealistic. Pluralism is not utopianism. Pluralism acknowledges the existence of permanent and profound differences. You’re going to have a community where people disagree with each other, and we’re not going to all come together. But I like how Scott Alexander, which is a pseudonym for a former writer for the weirdly-named Slate Star Codex blog, said that pluralism and classical liberalism are the greatest civil war avoidance mechanisms ever created by the mind of man.

    If people are going to have enduring differences, how do we live together? That’s a tough question that hasn’t been answered all that well in human history. But the answer is pluralism and classical liberalism. They provide the ability to form distinct communities that enjoy distinct liberties and can thrive according to their distinct values.

    A super shorthand way in which I write about it in the book is, let California be California and Tennessee be Tennessee, so long as you protect the baseline level of human rights that are defined in the Bill of Rights.

    However, we’re living in a political culture where we’re incredibly intolerant of what we perceive to be error, bad policy, or bad cultural norms. We’re intolerant of differences and want to defeat our political opponents, even when they don’t have that much relevance to our lives. …


    Liked by 1 person

  18. And I think it’s not altogether helpful to turn the war in Ukraine into something that turns it into a fault-finding, internal partisan US issue. As someone said a few days ago, “it’s not all about us.” We’re so locked into our own short-sighted civil war in this country that we’re not able to easily step back for the broader, more balanced view of what’s really going on.

    There is fair criticism to be aired, of Biden included, but twisting it into an argument that implies it’s “all” Biden’s fault and the US somehow determined the very existence of this war is off base, I think.

    I’ve enjoyed PowerLine over the years, but think it’s become a too-predictable, 1-note song and dance site more recently.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The Bush Center and the professional grifter/NTer formerly known as David French?


    But you have issues with Powerline?

    OK then…. 🙄


  20. And he’s a fellow believer who knowingly spread lies about Trump, and continues to do so to this day.

    Let’s be honest here DJ. He’s a questionable source at best.


  21. Just one example.

    He’s a hypocrite of the highest order.

    “David French Needs To Stop Slandering Trump-Supporting Christians”


    “David French remains very disappointed that many of his fellow evangelicals support President Donald Trump. He has used the Wuhan virus pandemic to reiterate and expand his arguments against the president’s character and competence (spoiler: He still thinks Trump is too wicked and incompetent for Christians to vote for him).

    But he ignores that evangelical support for Trump, warts and all, is justified by principles French has urged on us — namely, that ours is not a Christian nation and that our political leaders do not have to be representatives for our faith.”


    Funny, no such tweets from French about the even more numerous deaths under the guy who in his eyes, is a better “Christian”, the abortion supporting, gay and trans pushing Joe Biden.

    I’ll pass.


  22. I don’t see “hypocrisy” there. Trump’s character issues before he was elected drew quite a bit of discussion in many circles, and (I’d say) rightly so.

    I don’t see that as slander — and think it’s also fair to call Christians to consider their political support for a candidate with some of those issues.

    Not all Christians have supported Trump, as you know.


  23. Neither my most recent nor my current pastor — men of strong and consistent faith — voted for Trump (or his Democratic opponents), for example.

    Trump’s nomination posed no shortage of struggle for many believers, myself included but I was far from alone. I think we can at least acknowledge that point which Christian charity.

    And the ongoing behavior following the 2020 election only served to confirm my own decision, personally speaking.

    The fact is, Christians can and will disagree about politics. We should show each other charity (some of Trump’s appointments and positions were some I also supported). But the character issue was a fair point to raise (and is one raised consistently against Democrats by Republicans, I’d add).

    Beyond character, there was just the idea of temperament. Trump was not particularly consistent or steeped in principled conservatism — he was a Democrat for most of his life. One could also point to his very recent remarks in praise of Putin.

    So there was a trust issue of how grounded he really was in terms of leading a nation. Fair point, I will argue.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. And meanwhile:

    The Wall Street Journal

    Russia Recruiting Syrians for Urban Combat in Ukraine, U.S. Officials Say
    Moscow is recruiting Syrians skilled in urban combat to fight in Ukraine as Russia’s invasion is poised to expand deeper into cities, according to U.S. officials.


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