Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Russia Moves on Ukraine

As Russia’s peacekeeping tanks and military units entered Eastern Ukraine, the award for the most stupid remark goes to-- Anne Applebaum of The Atlantic.

As it happened, Joe Biden might not have been the master of empathy-- I cannot imagine how stupid you would have had to be to believe that-- but he has done what leftists wanted him to do. Thus, foreign policy mavens like Applebaum now get the chance to show their party loyalty and their inability to see reality.

As for the fact that Biden has failed miserably, it is of no account to the Applebaums of this world.

Anyway, Applebaum wrote this:

Blinken really has rallied allies. Harris’s declaration was crystal clear. I cannot imagine that the Trump administration would have done the same, and I am relieved that Donald Trump is not in power.

The important point is this-- an ideologue Applebaum does not care about consequences. She refuses to admit failure when failure is staring her straight in the face. Keep in mind, Russia annexed Crimea while Obama the Great was in the White House. It is taking over Ukraine under Biden’s nose. It was relatively dormant, in terms of imperial expansion, during the Trump administration. Clearly, Vladimir Putin knows something that Western leftists do not know.

Even more ridiculous is Applebaum’s assertion that Kamala Harris made a crystal clear declaration in Munich. As you and I and everyone with a double digit IQ knew, sending Harris to Munich to prove herself on the world stage was a colossal blunder. There was no way that Vladimir would do anything to appear to be cowing to the empty rhetoric of a certifiable idiot.

When it comes to clarity, Harris is obviously completely incompetent. Here is her crystal clear response to a question:

I mean, listen, guys, we’re talking about the potential for war in Europe.

I mean, let’s really take a moment to understand the significance of what we’re talking about. It’s been over 70 years. And through those 70 years … there has been peace and security. We are talking about the real possibility of war in Europe.

To which numerous reporters pointed out immediately that during the past seventy years we had the Cold War, wars in Yugoslavia and Georgia-- not to mention Russian occupation of Eastern Europe.

Runner up to Applebaum for stupidity is Joe Lockhart, formerly press secretary for Bill Clinton. It took a special lack of intelligence to claim victory in Ukraine, but Lockhart was up to the task:

What ever happens in Ukraine we shouldn't underestimate the fact the United States has retaken the adult chair in the world. Biden has restored American leadership so damaged by Trump. The world needs us and we have a President who can and does lead.

Pretending the Joe Biden is in charge of anything takes a special blindness.

As for what is happening in the chess game between Vladimir Putin and Western leaders, here is Walter Russell Mead’s assessment from the Wall Street Journal this morning:

Yet this is a defensive accomplishment, not a decisive one. As Mr. Putin demonstrated in his speech Monday, the Russian president is still in the driver’s seat, and it is his decisions, not ours, that will shape the next stage of the confrontation. Russia, a power that Western leaders mocked and derided for decades (“a gas station masquerading as a country,” as Sen. John McCain once put it), has seized the diplomatic and military initiative in Europe, and the West is, so far, powerless to do anything about it. We wring our hands, offer Mr. Putin off-ramps, and hope that our carefully hedged descriptions of the sanctions we are prepared to impose will change his mind.

At best, we’ve improvised a quick and dirty response to a strategic surprise, but we are very far from having a serious Russia policy and it is all too likely at this point that Mr. Putin will continue to outmaneuver his Western rivals and produce new surprises from his magician’s hat.

As for the unified Western front touted by leftist ideologues, the truth lies elsewhere. The Wall Street Journal editorialized this morning:

U.S. officials at the weekend Munich Security Conference kept insisting how unified the trans-Atlantic alliance is in the face of Russian aggression. It’s almost as if they are trying to convince themselves as much as Mr. Putin, since they know the cracks that exist below the surface claims of resolve and unity.

Italy is already wavering. “We are discussing sanctions with the EU and in the course of these discussions we have made our position known, that they should be concentrated on narrow sectors without including energy,” Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Friday. This kind of pre-emptive surrender is exactly why Mr. Putin figures the price of an invasion would be lower than advertised.

Italy imports some 90% of its gas and is one of Moscow’s biggest clients on the Continent. The Italian leader doesn’t want his legacy as a national unity Prime Minister tarnished by an energy crisis, but enabling Russian imperialism would be a much greater stain.

The Biden administration has been caught off guard, and seems not to be very sure-footed. You were not expecting something else, were you?

Yet the White House seemed unsure in its response Monday evening, including whether this was even an invasion, and its initial sanctions were limited to blocking American trade and investment in “the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.” So Russia invades Ukraine, and the U.S. decides to sanction part of Ukraine rather than Russia. That display of weakness won’t deter Mr. Putin.

The West’s weakness was also exposed on the weekend in Munich in remarks by Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky that should haunt Europe. “We don’t need your sanctions after the bombardment will happen and after our country will be fired at, or after we will have no borders and after we will have no economy or part of our country will be occupied,” Mr. Zelensky said. “Why would we need those sanctions then?”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken replied that as soon as sanctions are used they cease to be a deterrent, even as he and Mr. Biden say an invasion is all but inevitable. Mr. Putin’s soliloquy in which he claimed Ukraine has no right to independence showed his real intentions. His claims of ethnic Russian solidarity as an excuse to grab territory smack of the Sudetenland in the 1930s.

We would have thought that the Europeans, especially the Germans, would understand that historical echo and respond accordingly. If the Ukraine slaughter unfolds, American and European elites should reflect on how they have again made themselves hostages to a dictator.

Of course, no sensible human would have believed that Putin would have pulled back when threatened by the likes of Kamala Harris and Antony Blinken, to say nothing of Ursula von der Leyen. In truth, the show of Western weakness and decadence in Munich-- where else?-- over the weekend might have made it impossible for him to do otherwise.

As for the time of the incursion, everyone knew that Putin would await the end of the Winter Olympics, so as not to detract the world's attention from China. No one should have been surprised by his timing.


Anonymous said...

On a roll this morning with this one. Went down well with a cup of coffee.

Anonymous said...

What can I say, but, the STUPID is STRONG in these ones.

rotator said...

the Georgia solution was a pretty obvious probability: recognize dissident Russian majority provinces and then support them as independent of the former country. South Ossetia all over again. Also a possibility in the Baltics, all of which have significant Russian sub populations. Doubt it will do Donetsk PR or Luhansk PR much good in the long run considering the economic and physical destruction that the past 6 yrs have wrought and Russia will have new client states needing ongoing support. Fait accompli if the rest of Ukraine is left alone.

Peter MacFarlane said...

I've been wondering - would Putin be doing what he is doing, if Mr. Trump were still in the White House?

To ask the question is to answer it, I think.

IamDevo said...

To borrow a felicitous phrase, "Applebaum is assho." Meanwhile, all that is necessary to understand Putin is to accept that he is the anti-Biden (or as I will refer to him henceforth, "The Worst President Of All Time"). Whereas TWPOAT throws open the southern border and imports multitudes of foreigners without any attempt to winnow out the really bad actors in order to cement the democrat socialist party in power, Putin invades and takes over some border states in order to reinforce Russian suzerainty in the "near abroad." When TWPOAT devastates and alienates our military with imposition of SJW leadership, Putin galvanizes support from and for his military by giving them a green light to act like a military instead of a social welfare organization. Whereas TWPOAT supports all the efforts of society's weirdos, misfits, outcasts and psychotic head-jobs to transform America into a degenerate cesspool, Putin proclaims Russia to be an Orthodox religious nation which will not tolerate such degeneracy. While Putin has done everything to foster an energy producing and exporting economy (and thereby dominate western European greenie governments) TWPOAT shuts down American energy production, then in what can only be described as a fit of madness, imposes "sanctions" (it is to laugh) which he tells his constituents will result in higher prices for gas which they should be happy to endure because patriotism or something. I could go on, but you get the idea. Is there any wonder that Putin's favorables in Russia (and also America among certain demographics) are higher than TWPOAT's?

markedup2 said...

American and European elites should reflect
How quaint to use the moral imperative "should". The assumption that those elites have morals is the least of the issues with that piece. Mr. Meade is a great writer, but he's so last, last, last century in his understanding of those in power; not entirely surprising in a Classics professor.

They do not care. As long as the money and power keeps flowing to them, the world can burn.