Ukraine Is Rewriting the Scripts

We keep hearing that Ukraine is fighting bravely, and that the Russians are advancing more slowly than expected. As I write, Ukraine is still in control of Kyiv. We also keep hearing that there is precious little chance Ukraine won’t be crushed eventually. I have no military experience whatsoever and have no idea how to interpret the many reports.

Germany has a long-standing policy of not allowing lethal weapons to be sent to conflict zones. But a short time ago it relented and will not oppose shipping arms from EU and NATO countries to Ukraine. Now the Netherlands is preparing to send rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and Germany is sending 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles. The U.S. Department of State insists it is throwing assistance to Ukraine as fast as it can, although it’s not clear to me how this is going. I assume the U.S. is sharing intelligence about Russian troops with Ukraine.

European countries are still debating whether to cut Russia off of the SWIFT banking system. “Blocking Russia from the system will require the agreement of all the EU’s 27 members,” it says here. This is a big lift, and it would cause some pain on the EU side. But the threat is real enough that it’s making Russia nervous.

Ukraine is asking Turkey to block Russian access to the Black Sea. There is no indication Turkey will comply. The Moscow Times reports that Turkey is urging Russia to end the “conflict” and has offered to mediate negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.

At the same time, there are reports that Russia is also threatening Sweden and Finland with consequences if they even think of joining NATO. At this point I doubt Sweden or Finland are too worried. Well, maybe Finland.

The man of the hour is Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine. He is certainly rising to the moment. The U.S. offered to help him and his family to evacuate; Zelensky responded that he needs weapons, not a ride. But if Russians get their hands on him, they’re going to kill him. I worry for him. One headline commended him for “going down with the ship.”

And then there’s this meme:

This crisis could well be one of the unforeseen events that sends U.S. politics off on a new trajectory, like September 11 or Hurricane Katrina. Although that’s yet to be seen. It has already changed our ongoing political “discourse,” if you want to call it that, and I think it could be changed even more. Republicans may find they’ll have to rework their rhetorical strategies.

The recurring clown show known as CPAC — it’s supposed to be annual, but it seems to come along about every three months — is going on in Orlando. NBC News reports that the speakers are steadfastly ignoring Ukraine.

As Moscow launched missiles at Ukraine, CPAC speakers were firing away at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his country’s public health restrictions. The agenda had one breakout session devoted to China, but none on Russia, and China was more frequently invoked as a bigger problem for the United States.

Those speakers who did mention Ukraine blamed President Biden for whatever is happening there. I still say their divisiveness encouraged Putin. And, of course, I have no idea how Fox News is covering the crisis, if at all. And I’m not going to look.

But all the meatballs whining about how mask mandates violate their freedoms just look ridiculous now. They were ridiculous before, of course, but the contrast makes them truly absurd. And then there’s Ron DeSantis:

In his 20-minute speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Ron DeSantis hit on everything from immigration and “mob violence” to critical race theory, the Bill of Rights and the peril of a “biomedical security state.”

One thing the Florida governor — who is a U.S. Navy veteran and former member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — did not mention on Thursday was Ukraine….

… Ukraine drew mention from some Republican politicians. Yet attendees heard more about banned books, “Marxist” leftists, Covid mandates and the fantasy that the 2020 election was rigged. 

Tucker Carlon, after weeks of signalling that the kewl kids want Vlad to sit at their lunch table, and Ukrainians are poopy heads, had to moderate a bit and admit that Putin is to blame for what is happening in Ukraine. And then he pivoted to racial slurs of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson.

12 thoughts on “Ukraine Is Rewriting the Scripts

  1. Ron Desantis spoke of Florida being the bastion of freedom and the envy of the world. He usually speaks in bumper sticker slogans, conservative talking points and disjointed sentences most likely intended to confuse his acolytes while making them angry enough to….

    His disingenuousness reached new heights, or is it new lows, when he claimed to have received  two letters from individuals in Austrailia and Canada who toadily wished that their countries could be more like Florida. The Austrailian went by the moniker of "Samuel from Austrailia". I forgot the Canadian's name but I will bet it was "Bryce from Canada". I forgot what happened after Samuel from Austrailia was mentioned because my head was exploding from a case of rotflmfao.

    This just in from Marco Rubio: America has learned that all Austrailians are named (Blank) Fromaustrailia. 

    Marco Rubio spoke but when he finished I thought what I usually thought "what was his point?"

    There are reports that many  Russians oppose the incursion and are taking to the streets to  protest until they are all arrested.  Can't verify that because of information blackout and all.

    OH, and Ron Desantis got his GOP led assembly to pass a law describing four or more people on a street corner as a potential disturbance, and empowers the police to take "necessary steps". The law, of course, does not define "necessary steps".

    Way back when the USSR still existed the  premier served at the wishes of the Supreme Soviet. Remember when premiers and party heads suddenly came down with a "cold" and were replaced the next day? I doubt Putin has allowed his rubber stamp governing body to wield any such power, but isn't it weird to reminisce about the good old days of the cold war from the soviets view?

    Okay, I'll go now.

    • Four or more people… Last I heard, there's still a clause in the US Constitution that guarantees freedom of assembly.  I civil suit against the police who act on that law might be a source of income for BLM.

      The issue potentially has federal repercussions if the four people happen to be black.

  2. Great article about Florida in Vanity Fair, from a few months ago

    …Florida has always been the “sunny place for shady people,” to quote Roger Stone quoting Somerset Maugham, the traditional haven of mobsters, drug kingpins, Ponzi schemers, and Joad-like last chancers on the road to salvation or meth addiction. Pablo Escobar had a home here, and Fox News chief Roger Ailes escaped here after being fired for rampant sexual harassment. Stone’s first condo in Key Biscayne was purchased with help from Richard Nixon, who dubbed his own retreat the “Florida White House” years before Mar-a-Lago was a twinkle in Trump’s eye.

    This is the state that gave us the Florida Man meme and the rogue weekly National Enquirer, precursor to the paranoid and factually challenged style of Fox News and Newsmax, and a crucial ally in Trump’s political ascent. A tabloid state for tabloid people. And now the place is lousy with comers. As Laura Loomer, a friend of Stone’s and radical right-wing activist, tells me, “Every grifter and their mom now wants to move to Florida and establish themselves as the new conservative media network or new conservative publication.”…

  3. Between the Putin lovers and those who want to go to war with Russia, it has not been a good week.  It has done nothing to alleviate my pessimism about the future of this planet.  

    So called 'experts' have been talking about Vlad being in a bubble for the last two covid years with only sycophants having access to him.  Vlad is frequently describes as a megalomaniac but I wonder if he has crossed the line from being obsessed with his own power to being insane and living in his own 'reality'.

    If Vlad is totally nuts, it would not be beyond him to use nuclear weapons.  He talked about them in a speech this past week and Emmanuel Macron responded that France has nukes too.    President Uncle Joe and the leaders of the world are walking a fine line that could spiral out of control.   We don't need every rePuknican in D.C. to think he/she is president but we will have it.

    I hate war.  I have the scars, physical and mental pain, VA medical care and disability pension to show for my war some 50+ years ago.  I hate war.  I hope our country does not get involved in another one – anywhere but for now starting with Europe.

    • I'm a vet from the same era as you. Didn't see combat nor do I regret that. Navy – we were offshore for the evacuation of Saigon.  I'd be more supportive of war if the people who start them had to fight in them. But it's the poor schmuck who becomes cannon fodder. 

      We were the aggressors in Iraq and I'm not proud of that. We beat the crap out of a smaller nation because POTUS was personally offended and US oil companies wanted to seize the petroleum. I'm against imperialism regardless of what country is beating up a smaller country to seize their… whatever. Oddly, I've gotten into debates with friends who are opposed to American Imperialism, but sympathetic to Russian Imperialism.  But I digress.

      But what does the world do when faced with naked aggression? We aren't sending US soldiers into the conflict. We're sending US soldiers to NATO countries which could free up soldiers from those countries if the decision by those countries is to support Ukraine. But we aren't (and can't) directly confront Russian forces. 

      I'm encouraged that a lot of non-military pressure has been brought to bear. Non-NATO Scandanavian countries are talking about joining. If Russia is expanding, they're pretty close so it makes sense. It's the opposite of what Putin wants. The Pope visited the Russian Embassy. That affects the opinions of over a billion Catholics. Germany cut off the Nord Stream project. Thousands of Russians turned out to protest the invasion. Sanctions are hurting the cash flow of Russian fat cats – they won't miss any meals but income they anticipated is not going to materialize. Rich people squeal like stuck hogs when they are deprived of income they felt entitled to. They are the foundation of Putin's power. The conquest is taking longer than expected, which means it's costing more than planned. Probably, (?) the Russian fatalities are higher than projected. Putin did not want hundreds of body bags returning filled – that's why Putin spent weeks trying to get Ukraine to negotiate for a non-war with a partial surrender (and no actual fighting.) Ukraine has distributed military rifles to civilians for a resistance movement that will survive the eventual collapse of the government. A steady stream of body bags back to Russia. Europe has closed its airspace to civilian flights from Russia. Athletes are refusing to compete in Russia.The president of Ukraine has refused to evacuate – he's doing a stream of social media to show he's there and resisting. I wouldn't give a plugged nickel for his chances of survival but he's putting backbone in the Ukrainian fighters. Ballsy move. 

      IMO, Russia will take Ukraine and not be able to keep it. There's not a single thing that will break Putin – he can withstand the pressure of any one or two reactions, but all of them (if sustained) will bring Putin down and Putin's successor will withdraw and blame Putin. That's the end game – not this month and maybe not this year. 

      I'm encouraged that the nations of the world might (I said might) reject authoritarianism, first taking down Putin and then drawing the line with other dictators. Something good might come from the tragedy that's unfolding.

  4. Hillary Clinton: What’s left of the GOP must stand against those giving ‘aid and comfort’ to Putin. She makes the point that Putin is broadcasting videos of our right wingers, Putin’s ‘useful idiots’ to demoralize his opponents, including the Ukranians.

    She’s become far more full throated lately in calling out the traitors here at home. Those cowards at CPAC, Fox News – AKA RT/America – need to own this loud and clear, and stop being able to hide behind their silence.

    Listen to her recent speech to NY Democrats (skip to about 4:00 past the introduction), she’s way more on fire than she was four years ago. I want more.

  5. I think technology reached the peak for the good it can serve humanity and improve individual people's lives a while ago, and now it's just a force for information chaos, insecurity, and group think. Just look at this blog post and comments. It's the same on Twitter and virtually everywhere. Uneducated, uninformed, reactionary, emotional. I know we're all human. I'm posting this with the hope of inspiring a moment of introspection in anyone who reads it.

  6. I have NO inside information but maybe Ukraine outsmarted Putin. I'd be surprised if they can defeat the Russian Army but did they anticipate and allow the Russian "Blitzkerig" to use the term from Hitlers lightning advances?

    The weakness (maybe exploited in Ukraine) is that if your forces do not engage the initial invasion and let them blow by, the supply "train" is relatively unprotected and vulnerable. That allows you to slow refueling and resupply, which means tanks run out of fuel – soldiers don't have food. Nobody in the invading force is sure if they have to withdraw (if they have the fuel) or stay put (awaiting resupply) or continue the attack – fuel and food be damned. 

    The only thing that seems to be certain is that the attack isn't going as planned. Anyone in the know about Ukrainian tactics in the field that seem to be working should not be giving interviews to CNN. It will be harder for the Russian Army to adapt if they haven't figured out how they are being screwed. 

    BTW, conventional wisdom isn't always right. Western journalists thought Israel was history when Egypt was attacking with a superior force. And Egypt got their butts kicked. I'd love to be wrong about how superior the Russian Army is.


    Make a move, play the game. If only history had a rhyme or reason. Putin is giving a green light to liberating Taiwan, please. Spring is on it's way and the invasion of Afganhastan will begin. Trucks of food which thanks to "politics" should enable capture without bullets. How un-American. Let's finish up the espresso, guys cause those rare earths will fit in trucks. Know what's north of China? Whole lot of mostly empty land owned by a people who are about to waste their military on an urban battlefield in Eastern Europe. What is the name of the lion?

    • “Putin is giving a green light to liberating Taiwan, please. Spring is on it’s way and the invasion of Afganhastan will begin.” Seriously? Have you seen the news today? If China had been thinking of taking Taiwan, Putin is putting on a master class in why that’s a bad idea. And nobody is going to be invading Afghanistan again in a very long time.

      “Know what’s north of China?” Yes, Mongolia. So? Kazakhstan told Putin to pound sand when he requested troops, and I believe Mongolia would also, if asked. Try to keep up.

      • Sadly Comedy and satire are hard. Damned by law . "If you have to explain a joke it isn't funny!"

        You won't conquer Afghans with bullets but maybe a candy bar will work since America has left them to starve.

  8. Finland ain't worried.

    The Finns seriously demolished parts of the invading Soviet military when Stalin invaded it in 1939, in the lead-up to Russia's fuller involvement in WWII.

    Like Stalin, Putin got too high on his own supply.

    It also didn't help that from '36 to '40 Stalin had most of his military commanders either arrested, or executed.  Whoops!!!

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