Links 2/25/2022

Patient readers, this set of Links is very heavy on Ukraine, to the detriment of other important topics. But it’s a big story! –lambert

Largest bacterium ever discovered has an unexpectedly complex cell Nature. “Its threadlike single cell is visible to the naked eye, growing up to 2 centimeters—as long as a peanut—and 5000 times bigger than many other microbes.”

A Billion Years Before Sex, Ancient Cells Were Equipped for It Quanta

Capital markets union is key to a sovereign EU FT


Breaking up: ice loss is changing one Anishinaabe fisherman’s relationship with Lake Superior The Narwhale

Unrest in Ethanolia Silvia Secchi, Chris Jones (University of Iowa). Good to see this blog back in action.

Catastrophic wildfires could increase 50% by 2100, UN report says CBC

Association Between Ambient Heat and Risk of Emergency Department Visits for Mental Health Among US Adults, 2010 to 2019 JAMA. The Abstract: “In this case-crossover study of 3 496 762 ED visits among 2 243 395 unique individuals, higher warm-season temperatures were associated with an increased risk of ED visits for any mental health condition and for specific mental health conditions.”


The Moral Danger of Declaring the Pandemic Over Too Soon Gregg Gonsalves, NYT. From last week, still germane.

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Investigation of a cluster of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infections in a hospital administration building (accepted manuscript) (PDF) Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. From the Conclusion: “In a hospital administration building outbreak, sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 confirmed transmission among co-workers. Transmission occurred despite the absence of higher-risk exposures and in a setting with adequate ventilation [800 ppm] based on monitoring of carbon dioxide levels.” But from the body: “These reports and the cluster reported here raise concern that airborne transmission might occur when individuals share the same enclosed space for prolonged periods despite ventilation that meets current standards.” That’s a big step in the hospital infection control community.

Prevalence and circulation patterns of SARS-CoV-2 variants in European sewage mirror clinical data of 54 European cities Water Research. From the Abstract: “This first pan-European surveillance compared the mutation profiles associated with the variants of concerns: B.1.1.7, P.1, B.1.351 and B.1.617.2 across 20 European countries, including 54 municipalities. The results highlight that SARS-CoV-2 variants detected in the wastewater samples mirror the variants profiles reported in clinical data. This study demonstrated that >98% coverage of SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences is possible and can be used to track SARS-CoV-2 mutations in wastewater to support identifying variants circulating in a city at the community level.”

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Titanium dioxide particles frequently present in face masks intended for general use require regulatory control Nature. From the Abstract: “Although titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a suspected human carcinogen when inhaled, fiber-grade TiO2 (nano)particles were demonstrated in synthetic textile fibers of face masks intended for the general public….. No assumptions were made about the likelihood of the release of TiO2 particles itself, since direct measurement of release and inhalation uptake when face masks are worn could not be assessed. The importance of wearing face masks against COVID-19 is unquestionable. Even so, these results urge for in depth research of (nano)technology applications in textiles to avoid possible future consequences caused by a poorly regulated use and to implement regulatory standards phasing out or limiting the amount of TiO2 particles, following the safe-by-design principle.”

Is helping cells self-destruct the key to treating COVID-19? Harvard Public Health. Word of the day: apoptosis.


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s Regular Press Conference on February 24, 2022 (transcript) Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China

AFP: China has consistently refrained from condemning Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine. Now that President Putin has begun an invasion. Will China finally condemn Russia’s actions?

Hua Chunying: China is closely monitoring the latest developments. We call on all sides to exercise restraint and prevent the situation from getting out of control…..

Bloomberg: Can you say then China considers Russia’s action an invasion? Is it an invasion? Is it a violation of the UN Charter?

Hua Chunying: We have stated China’s principled position on the Ukraine issue. There is a complex historical background and context on this issue. The current situation is the result of the interplay of various factors.

We noted that today Russia announced its launch of a special military operation in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s defense ministry said that its armed forces will not conduct missile, air or artillery strikes on cities. China is closely monitoring the latest developments and calls on all sides to exercise restraint and prevent the situation from getting out of control.

I would like to stress once again China’s consistent position. We should pursue common, cooperative and sustainable security for all countries. The legitimate security concerns of all sides should be respected and resolved. We hope all sides will keep the door to peace open and continue to work for deescalation through dialogue, consultation and negotiation and prevent further escalation.

Chinese Experts Uncover Details of Equation Group’s Bvp47 Covert Hacking Tool The Hacker News

Fifty Years Of China The American Conservative

Words Versus Deeds in Biden’s Indo-Pacific Strategy War on the Rocks


Myanmar junta vows ‘no negotiation’ with NUG, bemoans global ‘fake news’ campaign South China Morning Post

U.N. Myanmar expert says junta using new Russian, Chinese arms against civilians Reuters

The Koreas

South Korea, a Virus Success Story, Now Finds Its Model Unsustainable NYT. Openly rooting for “Let ‘er rip.”


‘We could have really used the compensation’ People’s Archive of Rural India


Brexit: Government to launch study on economic benefits of reintroducing imperial units Independent

11 Labour MPs threatened with suspension for signing Stop The War letter attacking NATO Mirror. Expect more of this.

Your Man With the Petition: My Appeal Against Imprisonment for Journalism, 23 February Craig Murray

New Not So Cold War

In Unflinching Speech, Biden Vows That Putin Will “Bear the Consequences” for War Vanity Fair

How Far Will Biden Go to Stop Putin? Franklin Foer, The Atlantic. Reads like a direct readout of today’s West Wing Brain.

Why the West may want Russia to invade Ukraine Al Mayadeen. From Beirut. The Azov Battalion as the Mujahideen of the steppes. Or as David Frum frames it, carefully erasing the neo-Nazis:

And speaking of David Frum:

Sean Penn on the Ground in Ukraine Filming Documentary About Russia’s Invasion Variety

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Russia’s new foreign policy, the Putin Doctrine Sergey Karaganov, RT

‘Russia is against war’: Thousands rally in rare show of dissent Al Jazeera

What the West doesn’t understand about Russia or Ukraine Yahoo News

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Ukraine Crisis Kicks Off New Superpower Struggle Among U.S., Russia and China WSJ

Russia, Ukraine and the doomed 30-year quest for a post-Soviet order FT

‘Not One Inch Eastward:’ How the War in Ukraine Could Have Been Prevented Decades Ago Scheerpost

In Ukraine, ‘No One Hears That There Is a Diplomatic Solution’ FAIR

Archdukes across Europe hiring extra security details Duffel Blog

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Nasdaq Composite turns a 3.5% loss into 3.3% gain as stock market stages epic turnaround after Russia invaded Ukraine. Here are 3 reasons for the rebound. MarketWatch

Markets Are Saying Putin Will Get What He Wants Bloomberg

Inflation fears could limit the U.S. sanctions response to Russia’s Ukraine invasion. NYT

Russia should not be cut off from SWIFT at the moment – Germany’s Scholz Reuters

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Turkey cannot stop Russian warships accessing Black Sea, says foreign minister Reuters

Russia-Ukraine war: Turkey’s power over the Black Sea explained Middle East Eye

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U.S. Spies Made Right Call on Russia Invasion, Buying Biden Time Bloomberg

IAEA says Ukraine nuclear power plants running safely, no ‘destruction’ at Chernobyl Reuters

The Economic Consequences of the War in Europe National Review

The History of Economic Sanctions as a Tool of War Yale University Press

Class Warfare

Amazon accused of violating U.S. labor law after union supporters’ arrests Reuters

Collections: A Trip Through Thucydides (Fear, Honor and Interest) A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. JohnA

    British sanctions shooting Britain in the foot. Banning Aeroflot from British airspace has resulted in Russia banning British aircraft from Russian airspace. Slight difference in area covered by the respective air spaces. Not sure how British Airways will be able to pass on extra fuel costs of a long way round to Asia.

      1. Carolinian

        It’s ok when we do it. Invasions are ok when we do it as well. Just ask Tony Blair.

        I see in this morning’s news that the Ukes and Russ are already talking about negotiations.

  2. Louis Fyne

    as politically incompetent as Zelensky is, he is a tragedic figure

    Zelensky genuinely trusted Nuland and DC and that the US bottom 90% would send their children to ride in like the cavalry to fight, die, and rescue him and Ukraine, no matter how much the West peed on Russia’s front yard.

    everything was so preventable

    1. OnceWereVirologist

      Latest news is that he has retreated to a bunker in Kiev rather than fleeing the country. That’s quite an honourable thing to do. I hope he survives and honestly it’s doubtful that the Russians have any particular animus against him so barring the accidents of war he probably has a good chance.

        1. OnceWereVirologist

          I didn’t think that Russia would invade Ukraine. Now that they have I’m not sure whether I should believe their assurances that they don’t intend an occupation. If they do, better they actually plan for it rather than go the American route and let everything bar the oil ministry get looted. Internment camps, I don’t think so. Show trials for those the Russians think deserve it, but is Zelensky among the deserving, I doubt it.

        2. The Rev Kev

          I can guess why Chechens. During the Syrian war, Chechen M.P.s were highly regarded for their ability in keeping the peace after the fighting was over. There is going to be a transition period after the fighting where their services will be needed.
          Still, Russian soldiers are no slouches here. There is a clip of this Ukrainian granny slinging off at a Russian soldier and saying that she wants to give him sunflower seeds for his pocket so when he is killed, sunflowers will grow out from him. But he politely fobs her off-

 (1:19 mins)

          You could see it was staged. And I have little doubt that this granny was just fine with her army shelling civilians in the Donbass the past eight years and killing them.

            1. The Rev Kev

              The Daily Mail is your go to source for this? Seriously? How about the UK’s Telegraph and the Daily Express?

        3. Yves Smith

          I don’t see how that video proves anything re occupation. Please provide evidence, not assertions.

          Regarding internment, by contrast. Putin said very clearly that one of his objectives was to denazify and have trials. I am pretty sure he also said in that speech they already has names of people they intended to round up, like the perps in the Odessa massacre.

          I questioned how far down the food chain he intended to go. An American who grew up in one of the former Warsaw Pact countries said via e-mail:

          I wasn’t really paying deep attention to the escalation because I didn’t expect it to get this far. I though at most they declare the LPR and DPR independent and absorb them as they did with Crimea. But if it has gotten to the point of full-scale country-wide invasion, that has to mean that the Russians have information about long term Western intentions that isn’t fully public. This will be long, protracted, and extremely brutal once it gets to the phase where the Ukrainian nationalists have to be subdued. Keep in mind that after WWII there was armed resistance against Soviet rule by Banderites in the west of modern Ukraine all the way to the mid-50s. Took enormous effort to squash it — the Soviets killed some 100,000 while suffering over 30,000 casualties themselves. The problem is now even larger. So in order to launch such an operation there has to be a very serious reason.

          As I also mentioned, another complicating factor (I do think Putin otherwise preferred a surgical operation, destroy Ukraine’s ability to wage war, take up the interest of every region that has a large Russian ethnic population to go the Donbass route to establish new friendlies, particularly encourage elections to improve optics) is the fissionable material.

          I think the timing was significantly influenced by Zelensky saying he intended to develop nuclear weapons. That was arguably a repudiation of the 1994 pact that assured Ukrainian independence; it was based on the guarantee that Ukraine gave up nukes. Lambert and I also noticed a big change in Putin’s tone between his Feb 22 speech (recognition of Donbass and intent to send in “peacekeeping” troops) and his Feb 24 (invasion launch) speech. It sounded like Something Happened, like he got new intel. He seemed exasperated, like he’d finally had it. But why hadn’t he also “had it” on Feb 22?

          Anyhow, the point re the nukes is since that seems to be a priority, Russia will want to control fissionable material, at least unless/until it’s sure it had routed out the neo-Nazis. That may mean continuing to have Russian monitors of all nuclear plants even if it otherwise retreats. That could be deemed to be occupation even if Russia does not otherwise control territory.

          The other big big reason for Russia to not occupy (aside from cost and that it is very corrupting to the occupier) is that it will take the West at least three months to mobilize. If Russia has established its new facts on the ground and has pulled out troops except at the invitation of places like Donbass and any areas that follow, that’s even less worth waging war over.

      1. Donald

        Zelensky has made mistakes but he seems like a decent and maybe even heroic person.

        I am pretty ignorant about Ukrainian issues as I have said a few times the last few days, having done very little reading about it for years, but no matter how much the mainstream in the West might be lying about the presence of Nazis in Ukraine, Putin’s action is a “ humanitarian” intervention the US engages in and it is wrong. He is killing civilians and as Mark Ames and Yasha Levine said on Twitter yesterday, he is treating ordinary Ukrainians as though they don’t matter.

        The West is an Empire of Lies as Putin says— I am going to start using that formulation— but he just seems angry he doesn’t get to join the cool kids in NATO and commit war crimes with their blessing. So he no longer cares about having their blessing.

        Having said all that, one should also keep track of every moralizing statement made by a Western leader or pundit or ordinary PMC type about Russian aggression and brutality and throw it back in their face on the subject of Yemen, Palestine,Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Bolivia and probably a few more. Whataboutism my family blog. Exposing powerful moral hypocrites is an old tradition going back to Nathan the prophet with King David back in the Bible.

        1. OnceWereVirologist

          Zelensky is definitely an interesting character. How does someone who won a massive electoral mandate on a platform of rapprochement with Russia end up leading his country into an all-out war with Russia. I suspect that he found himself a puppet with no real freedom of action. If that’s the case, noone can really blame him for how things turned out,

          1. Matthew G. Saroff

            You have to remember that right wing Ukrainian nationalists are a significant part of the polity there, and probably a majority of Ukrainian state security forces.

            What this means is that Zelensky could not do something like, for example, pushing through a declaration that puts off NATO accession for 10 years, because there was a risk (Victoria Nuland is Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs) of another coup in response to such a proposal.

            1. Maggie

              Kamala Harris’ only strength, the chocolate chips on her shoulders, is wearing pretty thin when faced with a an issue of real importance and minds keener than her BLM~ Pussyhatter syncopates. (Deliberate word use.)

              “Come on people! There’s been no war in Europe for 70 years!” Guess she forgot Dollar Bill Clinton’s Bosnian disaster.

              “President Biden’s sanctions have stopped Putin.”

              I am finally embarrassed to be an American with a pathetic creature like her fronted off representing us.

              1. Pelham

                Same here. In fact, if you listen to nearly any foreign leader giving a speech or responses at a news conference, you can’t help wondering why our politicians appear so simple-minded. Do they deliberately dial down their language to a 3rd-grade level to appeal to the masses or are they truly blockheads?

        2. Basil Pesto

          Agreed. It’s a frankly astonishing decision on VVP’s part, like something within him snapped. It’s just totally unnecessary. Yes, having called their bluff, he’ll probably get to humiliate NATO/the west, but at what cost? historical events like this can have unintended and unforeseeable consequences in the medium and long term. And as you/Ames & Levine say, done with complete disregard for the Ukrainian people.

          1. Donald

            Yeah, whatever else one could say about Putin I used to think he was smart. Maybe he was, but this decision, even leaving morality aside, just seems dumb. He is right to have contempt for Western elites but invading another country isn’t going to sit well with people in other parts of the world who don’t like bullies whether they are Western or Russian. He basically threw away his own best argument about illegal Western interventions.

            As for the theory that it is meant to strengthen himself at home, I doubt that. It seems more like, as you said, something in him snapped.

            1. OnceWereVirologist

              Invading another country isn’t going to sit well with people in other parts of the world who don’t like bullies whether they are Western or Russian.

              That’s a subsection of people so small as to be essentially nonexistent. I speak as one of them so I know of what I say. If I had superpowers I’d throw Putin in jail and with him every living American president but the number of people I meet who would agree with that proposition verges on zero.

            2. Andrew Watts

              “He basically threw away his own best argument about illegal Western interventions.”

              I think he’s communicating that international law is a force with no meaning. It’s the law of the jungle now when countries don’t consider other nation’s security concerns. Putin is resorting to the Czar’s final argument.

              1. lance ringquist

                or more likely whats good for the goose, is good for the gander.

                why are people having such a hard time understanding that the russians in the ukraine, do not want to end up like the serbs, or worse.

                didn’t you pay attention to what happened in odesa?

                1. Andrew Watts

                  If Russia had moved it’s forces up to the Line of Contact it would’ve been a reasonably measured response to the failure of the Minsk agreement. If instead, they had proclaimed their intention to occupy the entirety of the Donbass and warned the Ukrainian military to leave it would’ve been a concerning development, but an understandable one. But that’s not what happened.

                  I’m not going to accept any justification for an invasion on the responsibility to protect basis. Not from Washington, nor from Moscow, or from any other government. We either have collective security, or no security at all, and that’s the lesson we all should’ve drawn from the onset of the second World War.

                  1. Kouros

                    Let’s say Russia wanted to get rid of any American presence, influence there, from military installations to individuals in key positions placed there because they align with the US desires…. Neutralizing Ukraine. How those that sound to you?

                    1. Andrew Watts

                      It sounds like the Russian government is angry and distrustful of the West. I assume they feel like they’ve been backed into a corner and the extreme options are their only way out. But I don’t claim to have any insight into the inner workings of the government in Moscow.

                      This war has been brewing for decades and our greatest statesmen in America have tried to warn our government to no avail. But, why now? The timing has never made any sense to me.

            3. lance ringquist

              the russians in the ukraine did not want to end up like the serbs, its just that simple.

              if the russians broke international law in the crimea and the ukraine, the free trading nazi’s running america would take russia to the international courts, but they won’t because they would lose.

              if you have a gripe about this, insist on nafta billy clinton and his crack team of fascists why he broke international law, and created the conditions we have today, face war crime trials.

              russia is just doing what nafta billy did, and daring the free trading idiots to take them to court.

              1. Copeland

                Respectfully agree with most of what you’re saying, but sometimes it seems like you’re playing a game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, with Bill Clinton in the role of Kevin Bacon.

            4. jimmy cc

              seems like giving NATO a reason to exist is a bad way of undermining it.

              he may have a plan. this seems like it has been planned out for a while and Putin and his gang seem to be capable.

              we will see.

            5. cocomaan

              Yeah, whatever else one could say about Putin I used to think he was smart. Maybe he was, but this decision, even leaving morality aside, just seems dumb. He is right to have contempt for Western elites but invading another country isn’t going to sit well with people in other parts of the world who don’t like bullies whether they are Western or Russian. He basically threw away his own best argument about illegal Western interventions.

              Let’s see how quickly this leaves the news feed. The US has an enormous number of problems and midterm elections coming.

          2. The Rev Kev

            I don’t think that Russia had much choice. NATO has been shipping tens of thousands of tons of weapons and ammo so it would be obvious that it was going to become Fortress Ukraine – and a constant threat to Russia. Take a look at the following map-


            You can see Crimea with the Russian Naval Base at Sevastopol. Well, the US & the UK were setting up naval bases along the Ukrainian coastline that would house missile-boats to attack the Russians with, especially its naval base.

            To put this into context, the biggest US Navy base is Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. So how would the US feel if China was setting up a missile-boat base across the bay in Newport News? It is the same thing as those Ukrainian naval bases would be de-facto NATO bases.

            1. InThePines

              Given that the choice wasn’t, if it wasn’t, the options now all are fraught.


              If indeed there’s a narrow path to a pacified vassal state without an actively, violently hostile citizenry, it’s not open for much longer. Too many casualties and the occupation becomes even nastier, they suppose. And some suggest that even more rightists will flock to fight in an occupied, rebelling Ukraine than already do, with broader state support from western coffers. Do you build H Blocks in Newport News? Hire a Beria? A Dirlewanger from Grozny? But these are great games to play from buildings with marble floors.

              1. OnceWereVirologist

                But are Russia’s options so fraught ? I honestly don’t know yet. Every Ukrainian that appears on Western media says that Ukrainians are united to the very end in resistance to Russian aggression and Americans seem to believe that their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan show the futility of attempting an occupation but is that really the case. Russian soldiers can at the very least hold a conversation with the locals. Weren’t Crimean Tatars supposed to lead an insurgency in Crimea according to the more optimistic Western neocons ? That certainly never happened.

                1. JohnA

                  ” Every Ukrainian that appears on Western media says that Ukrainians are united to the very end in resistance to Russian aggression”

                  Do you think it is a coincidence that every interview they do with people on the streets happens to agree with the western narrative. I think it is more likely anyone who disagrees simply gets edited out. That is the way western media work.

                  1. Jeotsu

                    I wonder if they stick to Lviv for interviews. That has the strongest anti-Russian ideology in the population, so the interviewer will (almost) always get what they want to hear.

                2. Yves Smith

                  I am late to this, and only briefly, but as of about 3 AM EST (first thing AM in central Europe), Al Jazeera reported Zelensky saying Ukraine had 137 dead, including civilians.

                  BTW that can’t include Donbass, it appears there was heavy fighting.

                  But if this is true, it means zero resistance in Ukraine. There had to have been casualties due to bombing. So few deaths if accurate implies virtually zero actual fighting.

                  And Kyiv is in the West where the ethnic Russia population that has been treated badly by the post-coup government is much smaller. By contrast, from Colonel Smithers with a report from a contact:

                  Very nice of you asking. I am fine and my family too – they are mostly in Germany. Talked to my friends today who are in Kiew and Donetsk. They are mostly optimistic and see Putin as liberator and not invader. I am originally from Donetsk and the majority there are Russians or Russian speaking people. Ukrainians have suppressed Donetsk people for many many years. For the last 8 years they have bombarded the City and civilian population. People are tired and want peace. They believe Putin will bring that piece.

                  It’s a terrible situation and innocent people will die, but I really hope that the war in Donbass will end.

                  As far as I understood, Russia only targets military facilities and has no interest in Ukraine whatsoever. Let’s hope this is true and remains this way. I am a bit terrified but was calmed down by my brave friends from Donetsk who are very calm and optimistic.

            2. NotTimothyGeithner

              Putin just did what would be expected especially given real US/NATO strength and the start of a clearly aggressive NATO buildup with Zelinsky ranting about nukes. He stopped being sympathetic then. The US announced its intentions. Biden can say they were for peace, but they clearly weren’t. Moscow gave DC the benefit of the doubt, and Biden is very clearly a continuation of the Obama administration. He doesn’t represent administration break from the past.

              This is the 3rd day. Now the we line is warning Russia about costs of occupation. They already know this. Shock and Awe was a two week operation for a smaller country. They do seem to be quite content on forcing the Kiev army into cauldrons where they can flee or be destroyed. Moscow knows what the “break away” republics were able to do to Kiev troops during the fighting a few years ago. The kind of weaponry useful for an occupation can be delivered. It’s not useful for attacking.

              It’s not so much a question about Putin. Yeltsin was the exceptional character who made irrational decisions.

              The big issue is the nuclear reactors.

              1. Questa Nota

                Is it too early to say Thanks, Obama, Thanks Nuland?

                And did they buy enough puts on Burisma stock? /s

          3. Pat

            Just out of curiosity, having watched the arrogance and stupidity that America put on parade the last months how do you game out what would have happened if VVP hadn’t”snapped”.

            As I see it he had essentially three options.
            Do you see him making a line and then saying never mind as the West jumps right over it again and again?
            Do you see him taking a half measure that the West will both decry and ignore? Say just moving troops into the Donbass and fueling increased civil war which would trigger certain NATO constraints almost certainly to be followed on paper but actually leading to more weapons and special opps troops in Ukraine.
            Or he makes it clear that everything he said was no idle threat, upends the board. He isn’t just humiliating the West he is making their position as pawns clear to a more than a few member states only slightly higher in status than Ukraine. Showing how little support the West really provides. I would also posit that Russia does not live in the Beltway/City of London/Brussels bubble. The sanctions will NOT be popular at home in most areas big or small, as Europe, Britain, and the US pay a huge cost for them.

            Our weapons are weak tea short of full on nuclear war. Do you see Americans or Britains or Germans lining up to fight Russia for Ukraine or even the Balkans? Germany might get there sooner, but even that is doubtful. Frum trying to make this the Spanish civil war doesn’t make it so. I actually see them more likely to take having been this stupid out on the arrogant asses who didn’t go “You’re right, we will just be going back to our own countries now and mind our own business which is what we should have been doing anyway…”

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              We have a number of bad and over priced systems, but I think people generally don’t understand what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq in 1991. Every country bent over backwards to help. We were running operations out of Russia for Afghanistan. The 1991 Iraqi Army had problems both from being fought out from the Iran War and Hussein not trusting the regular army.

              In 2003, we had the place surrounded and wrecked with a natural highway for tanks in Western Iraq where it’s hard to hide with anti tank weapons. We had total air superiority over a relatively tight area, and between sanctions and Hussein, the Iraqi army had gone to rot.

              I do think many people are panicked that America’s wunder weapons don’t compensate for troops, discipline, logistics, and other countries having wunder weapons.

              We’ve spent time doing stupid things, but realistically, a Russian buildup to go beyond the Eastern half “Ukraine” for more than random ops would be stopped. We have satellites and phones.

              1. Gavin

                The comments about “denazification” seem more of a callback to the US’ “deBaathification” statements during the Iraq war(s).

              2. Pat

                Winning the battle while always losing the war doesn’t lead to people believing that our military trust knows what it is doing.

                Funnily enough I think Russia has much clearer goals and a better strategy to achieve those goals than was shown by America in Afghanistan and Iraq. Maybe I believe that because Russia has shown more long view ability than anyone in our government has in decades. We’ll know in coming weeks.

                And as an aside I don’t think anyone, including America is really up for a ground war with Russia. Not long term, hell most of our “help” aren’t really up for anything but sanctions. Sanctions by the way that anyone paying attention will expect to have far less effect on Russia than they want. And politically in America I have every reason to believe there will be more pressure to let it go rather than go all in. This one isn’t wagging the dog.

                1. Yves Smith

                  Or to say something similar, Russia has learned from mistakes and we haven’t (or we don’t care much because we are a superpower, can afford them, they pay for a lot of tuitions in the military-surveillance complex, and the American public has little interest in foreign affairs).

                  Doesn’t mean Russia is not making new mistakes, an attack of this scale w/o having minimal allies (our coalition of the willing) is unprecedented. But China basically backed Russia even if it isn’t getting involved formally, and Modi called Putin expressing some unhappiness but is not breaking with Russia. So you have one key supporter and one important country basically standing pat.

                  I think Russia knows the danger of a quagmire very well from Afghanistan. But can it get what it wants to get done in 6 weeks and then pull out w/ locals clearly in charge? That seems to be the key question.

          4. ArvidMartensen

            The comment that maybe Putin’s intel in the 2 days before he acted said that Russia was under a serious existential threat from the US. He has always seemed quite measured in his words and actions, so perhaps this has legs.
            An extreme risk calls for extreme counter-measures.
            The capture of Chernobyl was an interesting side activity, and why would he bother with a dead reactor?
            Also chatter about the Russians taking out secret US bioweapons labs all over the Ukraine, but no proof has been forthcoming yet.

        3. lyman alpha blob

          I’m with you on the “whataboutism”. I’ve come to loathe that term as it’s generally wielded by inferior intellects who can’t defend their positions.

          The concept used to be simply called “context”.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            as i said yesterday, the principle:” there but for the grace”/”walk a mile in their shoes”…is written into my rootcode.
            it’s about humility…i might be wrong and must forever examine assumptions…and compassion..literally, “feeling together”.
            to smack it down with “whataboutism!!!” is not only rude…but stupid, and not an argument, at all.
            anybody else been having flashbacks to arguing with Creationists?
            or the Forced Birth Clan?
            or the blithe spirits of certain charismatic and new agey sects of american christiandom?

        4. timbers

          “Zelensky has made mistakes but he seems like a decent and maybe even heroic person”

          I agree! After all, he originally ran for office on the promise to improve relations w/Russia and turn Ukraine economy around by turning a bit more to Russia.

          He demonstrated a LOT of common sense. In the beginning.

          While I did not follow his story, I would not be surprised The Empire sabotaged him plus the radical elements in Ukraine.

          1. ArvidMartensen

            Companies like getting young fresh grads because they can be moulded to the culture with no backchat.
            Maybe the Empire thought that having an actor “elected”, someone with no entrenched supporters in the military or the political spheres, would be the most malleable and least troublesome solution. Obviously the Empire supported him because otherwise he wouldn’t have gotten the gig.
            Why does the theme from Star Wars keep playing in my head?

      2. Eureka Springs

        Is Zelensky the commander in chief? Has he ordered the weapons firing from the east? Can he actually make them stop? If not, who can? Our spooks?

    2. timbers

      Yes, Zelensky was amazed no NATO or US help. It hasn’t dawned on him yet he is a mere dispensable pawn in US agenda, and he’s not part of The Elites As The Saker asked days/week ago: Will Zelensky come to realize there is only one player he can trust – Russia?

      Apparently he is still quite in the dark about USA using him and Ukraine as throw away pawns.

      I was wrong, Saker right: Russia is liberating the whole of Donbass per their legal boundaries. And Mariupol and maybe more also? Think I read that. Also, Russian wants to retrieve/destroy/account for anything that can used to make nukes…and I suspect that is ALOT of inventory to cover she may not be able to complete.

      Have also read suggestions Russia intends to take all Black Sea coast away from Ukraine to make it a difficult as possible for USA Naval harassment and aggression against Russia.

      Finally, Saker suggests some of those Polish volunteers to help Ukraine that Frum writes about….well more likely they will be overwhelmed by official Polish troops eager to take back some disputed territory from Ukraine and absorb it into Poland. Hungary too, maybe.

      Finally, there are suggestions Russia would like to arrest and put on trial the Ukos who burned Russians in public in Odessa, and hold a war crimes trial with them.

      Did not expect such a wide ranging move by Russia. Expected instead the usual cautious, contained, as little as possible Putin type approach.

      IMO – am impressed Russia went big, because the West would be saying basically what they are accusing Russia of doing now even had Russia gone small. As the Russians have noted, the West was going to do everything they are doing no matter what Russia does.

      1. JohnA

        Bismark got it spot on 150 years ago about Russia:
        Slow to saddle, fast to ride.

        Zelensky should have implemented the Minsk agreement and kept Ukraine intact, bar more autonomy for the east and loss of Crimea. His foolishness in allowing the US to dictate to him, will leave Ukraine as a small rump, probably landlocked, and likely to lose chunks to Poland, Romania, Hungary, as well as Donbass and Lugansk.

        1. ambrit

          And, as someone mentioned the other day in comments; a People’s Republic of Odessa and Kharkov as well.
          I’m wondering what the Turks, with their recent Neo Ottoman Empire designs, think about this New and Improved Russia? Syria in particular will be next on the Russian agenda, if only as a curb to the Jihadists and Neo Ottomans.
          My take on all this is that the Russians have finally said it out loud; “No more Mr. Nice Guy.”

    3. Louis Fyne

      the US really should give a green card to every Ukrainian who wants one, even those from the east UA.

      Why no mention? hope it is not because of something as petty as UA skews Orthodox and Catholic

      1. OnceWereVirologist

        Morally, that’s a fine idea. Geopolitically (which is after all the raison d’etre of the conflict) it would negate everything that the US was trying to achieve.

      2. The Historian

        Why stop there? Shouldn’t we also give green cards to all those people from Guatemala who are suffering because of US policies? What about all those farmers in Mexico who were displaced as a result of NAFTA?

      3. ArvidMartensen

        I saw Psaki’s comments re Ukrainian refugees.
        What she was “really” saying is sure, we will “say” we will take Ukrainian refugees to look like the good guys, but you Ukrainians have a one million per cent better chance of getting into Europe than coming over here, so don’t even think about it.

    4. OIFVet

      All that Zelensky had to do is remember how the Kurds were betrayed, time and again, and most recently just a few short years ago. He wouldn’t have been so trusting then. Zelensky should carry his fair share of the blame for this tragedy. And it is a tragedy, make no mistake. It’s family fighting family, family betraying family. It’s sickening to see it and to know how this came to be.

      1. Carolinian

        From the Putin Doctrine article

        For now, the West is on course to a slow but inevitable decay, both in terms of internal and external affairs and even the economy. And this is precisely why it has started this new Cold War after almost five hundred years of domination in world politics, the economy, and culture. Especially after its decisive victory in the 1990s to mid-2000s. I believe [1] it will most likely lose, stepping down as the global leader and becoming a more reasonable partner. And not a moment too soon: Russia will need to balance relations with a friendly, but increasingly more powerful China.

        This might come directly out of that video you linked yesterday featuring your (right?) old prof Mearsheimer. Much of what Mearsheimer said was par for the course around here, but I was struck by his thoughts on the “unipolar moment from early 90s to 2017”–presumably 2017 because that’s when Trump showed up and made jingoism a lot less warm and fuzzy. After all there was always more than a touch of racism in the Anglo disdain for Russia and China.

        So bring on “mutipolarity” and let it be about “peer competitors” if it must be. But please no new Yellow Peril.

        1. OIFVet

          Yep, 2017 is when the US began supplying Ukraine with lethal military aid, at least officially (I seem to recall some lethal aid being sent in 2014, but I may be misremembering). Trump no doubt saw it as win-win: money for the MIC and containing the Russkies. Let’s also remember he was berating the Germans about NS2, no doubt also seeing it a business opportunity for US fracking and LNG concerns. Business, always business, nothing personal. No doubt US will make a tidy windfall from LNG right now, winter is returning next week in Europe according to forecasts, and natural gas prices broke all records at $1,400 last time I checked a few hours ago. Heating bills were already sky-high in December and January, they will no doubt prove to be beyond the means of many BG households in Feb-Mar. So besides being a propaganda coup for the establishment, this war will indeed be very profitable for some US companies as well. War is a racket. And yes, I did take several courses with prof. Mearsheimer in my youth :)

          1. Moffat

            As Kamala says, “We will have to sacrifice with higher prices” I’m sure she and her billionaire corporate lawyer husband are really going to feel the pinch in their subtropical Beverly Hills home.

            Meanwhile, we’ve been suffering from the mishandling of the economy and money creation from the first day of the Biden administration of economic whippings until morale improves after a new war starts.

            Trump was a jerk, but he didn’t start even one single war.

            1. neo-realist

              So what war did Biden start? He at least pulled out of Afghanistan while Trump kept the party going, and damn near started one by getting an Iranian General wacked.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          That was a great talk by Mearsheimer. Here’s the link again if anyone is interested –

          He points out one of the few things the Obama administration did right – they did not poke the bear by sending massive amounts of US armaments into Ukraine. Once Trump become POTUS the neocons started pushing for arms shipments again, and got what they wanted with both Trump and Biden. And now here we are.

          1. Michael McK

            Poking the Bear with the Maidan color revolution seems like more than enough to make any sort of Obama weapons restraint moot. Since Trump was impeached for holding up Ukrainian arms shipments I really can’t see any way not to put more blame for team USA’s recent role in this situation on Team D though Team R are far from innocent and more to blame for other global catastrophes.
            I am surprised Putin went as far as he did and wonder if Zelensky’s comments about perhaps building their own nukes pushed Putin to quickly enact the most extreme option they had gamed out. Is there anyone in the brain trust (perhaps a native speaker who saw the speech and could tell if it was like Trump’s rambling) who knows if that was an off the cuff statement thrown out by someone who had been a comedian rather than a politician for most of his career or if that was written by some diplomat types who should have known better?

            1. lyman alpha blob

              I probably should have said “further” poke the bear, because yes fomenting the coup was obviously a huge provocation.

              But Obama did show some restraint with Ukraine and Syria too, not arming proxies against Russia not going along with what the hardliners wanted. I still can’t figure out Libya though. Best I can make out there, he basically abdicated and let Clinton take the lead so she could have some warmongering to promote for her upcoming presidential candidacy. Most “experience” of any candidate in history and all… Libya was also not closely allied with Russia and the US does prefer to invade those who can’t fight back.

      1. Fritzi

        Zelensky himself may have one useful role to play yet, both for the USA and for hardcore fascists in his own government, that of the martyr

        In the comments at the Saker it was mentioned that there are enough Azov Battalion Nazis integrated into his personal entourage.

        Would not surprise me if they were to murder him, butcher his family and make it look like the Russians did it, before they have a chance to capture him alive.

      2. Pate

        In a very long thread as above it would be helpful if the “reply to” software identified the comment being replied to.
        Apologies if this is is deemed to violate the “no assignments” rule and for the dangling preposition.

  3. ArkansasAngie

    “The importance of wearing face masks against COVID-19 is unquestionable.”

    Some of us would quibble with that statement.

    1. ambrit

      I know what you mean, but, being squarely in several of the associated co-morbidity risk zones, I will continue my masking when in public.
      The ‘endemicity’ strategy is so stipid, it burns, as a local here likes to say, with the heat of a thousand suns. Too much about the coronavirus, not to mention the ‘experimental’ “vaccines,” is unknown that I will respectfully decline to become a part of the control group in a system wide third stage trial.
      (I don’t get where you are coming from in this. It doesn’t fit my mental “picture” of you. [Not a criticism, but a genuine question.])
      Stay safe!

      1. Objective Ace

        I’m guessing he/she is referring to the needed qualifier — n95/kn95 — before mask. I think its pretty well documented that everyone walking around with a bandana around their face doesn’t accomplish very much

    1. ArvidMartensen

      I tried to look at a Ukrainian site and RT yesterday and RT couldn’t be found.
      And the next time I tried RT was off the air momentarily and then came back with what looked like a lot of US propaganda.
      Did anyone else find that?

    1. c_heale

      Paywalled, but the title seems anything but neutral – “Putin’s Imperial Delirium”. I’ve got a little tired of the articles that seem to know exactly what Putin is thinking – they are just fantasy. And articles that claim that he is working alone. No politician ever works alone. Hitler didn’t work alone. What matters are Russia’s actions.

      Roubini’s article on the same website may well be better given his understanding of economics.

      1. K.k

        You can enter any fake email into the thingy that pops up to register and it should give you access to the article immediately.

        Some real turds, i mean gems in that article.

        In reference to 2014,
        “The crisis seemed to be over. But instead of staying to carry out the agreement, Yanukovych suddenly left Kyiv, and later was smuggled into Russia. In the absence of a president, the Ukrainian parliament proceeded to implement the agreement to the letter. Even a clear majority of Yanukovych’s own party voted to see the measures through. The new coalition government was set up, and another presidential election was called.
        Later, the Kremlin would repeatedly describe these events as a coup. It was nothing of the sort. After days of massive protests and brutal killings by the authorities, calm immediately returned to the streets of Kyiv.”

        No coup, nothing to see.

        And then later goes on to claim there are no “people” living in the breakaway “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk .

        I do however agree that Putin is a reactionary figure looking to the good old days of the Russian Empire NOT the ussr. He admires the days when Russia as Lenin put it was a Prison of nations. The Russian capitalist n oligarchs being rebuffed on being allowed to integrate meaningfully into a u.s led security order which provides members with the privilege to plunder and feast on the global south and smaller weaker nations are growing confident if the Americans/Nato wont open the door they will kick it in. They are sick of being treated like little neighborhood thugs , they want to be treated and respected like the real gangsters they are and get their “fair” share of the pie.

        1. Kouros

          What has Putin to gain by looking towards US hegemony, which he and Russia is supposed to take as the natural order of things?

    2. Brian Beijer

      Lol. Offering an opinion piece by Carl Bildt as an “informed, sober view”? Was there no Dick Cheney piece or some old Donald Rumsfeld editorial to link to? Sorry, but Carl Bildt is the Swedish version of a Cheney or Rumsfeld. Bildt is a total neo-con. This is an account of Bildt’s involvement in Ukraine from Wikipedia of all places.

      Bildt, together with Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski, is one of the main architects of the Eastern policy of the EU.[32]

      During Euromaidan, Carl Bildt has been criticized in Swedish media for ignoring and downplaying the issues with the Ukrainian Svoboda party.[33][34][35][36] Johan Croneman at Dagens Nyheter has also condemned Bildt for pushing Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to rephrase himself after having expressed understanding of the Russians’ concerns about the situation.[34]

      In a public message on Twitter, Bildt compared Viktor Yanukovych to Vidkun Quisling, writing that he was “sitting on foreign soil begging a foreign army to give his country to him”. This has been described as “undiplomatic” by Christer Jönsson, professor in Political Science at the Lund University.[37] Norwegian politician Anniken Huitfeldt also criticized Bildt’s statement, saying that it showed “ignorance of history” and that it “does not contribute to solving the conflict”.[38] Torsten Kälvemark from Aftonbladet has criticized Bildt’s statement as well. “Our Foreign Minister is ignorant, because it was actually Norway’s legal head of state, Haakon VII, that during the war sat on foreign soil and hoped that he would with help from the British get back his country”, he remarked.[39] The culture editorial of the Aftonbladet newspaper where Torsten Kälvemark works has repeatedly been criticized since for being a tool of Russian propaganda in Sweden.[40][41]

      Stefan Hedlund, professor at Uppsala University, stated that “Carl Bildt’s threatening rhetoric should in this context be regarded as extremely destructive”, in an article about the Ukrainian crisis. Hedlund also suggested that Bildt should take a “time-out”, and that progress can only be made through dialogue with Russia.[42]

      In a radio interview with channel SR P1 on March 15, Bildt stated that he considers the Crimean referendum illegal, and “invalid, no matter which way people vote”. He continued his refusal to answer questions about Svoboda, saying that he “won’t describe what that party is”. His overall comment on the new regime in Kyiv was that it’s a “reasonable and democratic government” and that he does not want to “play along with Russian propaganda”.[43]

    3. JohnA

      Carl Bildt is no diplomat, he is a conservative poliitican and ex PM of Sweden, who was also a CIA asset, leaking highly confidential Sweden government secrets to his US paymasters. After Maidan he had been shuttling around trying to get a piece of the action, like the Biden family and crackhead Hunter. I would not believe a word he says, all Atlanticist propaganda.

  4. K.k

    Anyone wondering where the Russian communists stand on this?
    The Communist Party of the Russian Federation. Second largest party after United Russia.
    Completely neutered. They are going along with the de nazifying and demilitarization of Ukraine. I guess they arent the no war but class war, turn imperial or wars of aggression into civil war kinda communists.

    1. OnceWereVirologist

      Didn’t they support the proposal to recognize the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics in the Russian parliament ? Why would you expect them to oppose military action ?

      1. Polar Socialist

        Not only did they support the proposal, they initiated it. CPRF has been requesting recognition since the republics established themselves.

        Also, the four representatives of CPRF in Federation Council, the upper house of Duma, voted for granting the president right to use armed forces outside the territory of of Russian Federation. Which, I’ve understood, is required before armed forces can be used outside the territory of Russian Federation.

        As far as I know, CPRF has been pushing for more help for the republics for years.

      2. K.k

        I expected them to support military action in the Donbas to defend Donetsk and Lugansk as they had stated several days ago but did not think would give full support for the plan to denazify and demilitarize the whole of Ukraine and its many implications depending on what they actually mean by that rather vague objective. Others have proposed various ways it can play out and what the objectives are. In most of these scenarios i see Russian forces occupying for at least a brief period of time. Which really opens up Russian forces to serious attacks. Will they start attacking cities and civilian infrastructure at that point? It does not seem they are right now with the exception of airports. Im wondering if CPRF really did not see this going beyond Donbas as their previous statement indicated. They were outright mocking the idea that the Russian forces were in position to do anything beyond Donbas.

        1. OnceWereVirologist

          I can’t speak for what anyone in power in Russia was thinking but if it were me making the decision to recognize the independent republics I’d do it with the knowledge that it comes with a high risk of a wider war with Ukraine. Simply defending Donetsk and Lugansk sounds good but the preexisting line of contact left Donetsk within artillery range of the Ukrainian army. If you want to change that you’re already contemplating an attack on Ukrainian territory. Escalation seems almost inevitable.

          1. K.k

            Agree with you that defending D and L would invariably include attacking the Ukrainian military capacity through out the country.
            But the denazification and demilitarization goes far beyond that and looks to be regime change. I dont see how the Russians can prop up new gov. after having destroyed the Ukrainian State, and leave soon thereafter without a drawn out occupation that could very easily spiral into urban guerrilla warfare. Dont care how professional or disciplined armed forces are, but when they start taking hit and run casualties, incredible number of non combatants will die along with the civilian infrastructure getting absolutely wrecked. Hopefully this does not come to pass and there is a political solution without the entirety of the Ukrainian State being dismantled which would result in occupation.

        2. Michael McK

          I too am surprised Putin went as far as he did and wonder if Zelensky’s comments about perhaps building their own nukes pushed Putin to quickly enact the most extreme option they had gamed out.
          Is there anyone in the brain trust (perhaps a native speaker who saw the speech and could tell if it was like Trump’s rambling) who knows if that was an off the cuff statement thrown out by someone who had been a comedian rather than a politician for most of his career or if that was written by some diplomat types who should have known better?

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Sean Penn on the Ground in Ukraine Filming Documentary About Russia’s Invasion’

    And we should always pay attention to the thoughts & ideas of Hollywood celebrities instead of our own thinking. They have so much to teach us about how we should think and feel. Remember when those same celebrities got together to sing ‘Imagine’ back in March of 2020 to cheer people up because of the pandemic? Inspiring stuff that. Well Hollywood celebrity AnnaLynne McCord has just put out a video clip to express her own feeling about the Ukrainian conflict. Enjoy!

    1. griffen

      I had managed to forget that effort mentioned above from nearly two years back, now will have to scrub those images. Come on now, open minds and full hearts! \sarc

      I do wonder if Penn flew commercial. As opposed to say another top level male actor who might preen into a conflict on his Gulfstream SuperLuxeVII (ok whatever it would be called).

    2. Otis B Driftwod

      So far, the only good thing to come from this is there seems to be a some competent people working in the US intelligence agencies.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Yesterday one Russian analyst (forgot the name, sorry) said that he believed Russians warned USA in advance, so that there was time to get the diplomats and ‘military advisers’ out of the way to avoid any possible confrontation between to nuclear nations.

        He pointed out that Russian forces didn’t even seem to mind the US spy drones openly (as in visible even on FlightTracker) observing the evolving situation in Ukraine, while everything Ukrainian was shot down.

        Could explain why they were so reluctant to tell the source of their intelligence or couldn’t provide any proof when asked.

      2. albrt

        It is easier to predict an invasion when you are the one in charge of writing down the other side’s red lines, and then systematically making sure every single red line is crossed.

    3. Carolinian

      Hey a lot of those Hollywood celebrities are Oz-ians. To be sure they seem to keep a low profile re US social issues. Could be that successful actors feel they have to overcompensate for being so conspicuously wealthy and working in an industry so utterly dependent on violence for its subject matter.

    4. Sardonia

      Marrying Madonna, only to watch her hook up with Dennis Rodman later on, can really mess with a guy’s head….

    5. Pat

      My first reaction was to pity the Ukrainians. Penn, while an amazing actor, is a walking piece of slime who should also be in prison for all his “help” in Haiti. It might not be as expansive and useless as the Clinton Foundation but he might be almost as damaging.

    6. Nikkikat

      Yes the good old Hollywood liberal joining in the the US propaganda machine, of course we will need to interview Harry and Meghan to get their important thoughts and why hasn’t Neil Young joined in? Of course this Documentary will get theater premieres and he will be interviewed on FOX and CNN and invited to the White House to dine and enjoy the Film.
      Thanks Sean we know you are a true Patriot.

  6. lyman alpha blob

    RE: What the West doesn’t understand about Russia or Ukraine

    “Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belonged to his neighbors?” wondered President Biden in remarks delivered from the White House on Tuesday.

    Heh. I’m guessing Putin checked with Juan Guaido who told him it was OK.

      1. Wukchumni

        It was almost the Nicaraguan Canal, but that got stamped out…

        In the early 1900s, American politicians wanted to build a canal to bridge the distance between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but they were divided on where to build it – in Panama, or in Nicaragua. Many members of Congress originally viewed Nicaragua as a safer choice when planning where to construct a canal. One reason for this was because the French had been working on just such a canal in Panama for the previous twenty years, to little success. The problems the French had run up against included a regular summer rainy season and deadly diseases such as yellow fever and malaria.

        There was also the question of foreign diplomacy; Panama had recently split from Colombia and, at the end of 1903, declared itself an independent nation. If America decided to pursue a project in Panama, it could jeopardize the U.S.’s diplomatic relationship with Colombia, which would not be pleased with an American business deal in a recently lost territory. In contrast, Nicaragua was politically stable and construction on the canal would have been easier, due to a lake in the middle of the proposed canal zone.

        The debate of where to build this canal tied Congress up for years. In 1902, a French engineer by the name of Philippe Buanu-Varilla decided to lobby Congress to continue their construction of the Panama Canal, instead of starting a new one in Nicaragua. Buanu-Varilla had, in fact, not only been an engineer on the French Panama Canal project for the past twenty years, but had also been an investor in the original project. Interested in preserving his work and stake in the project, he worked with an American named William Nelson Cromwell to lobby Congress to carry on with the Panama Canal.

        One of the ways Cromwell and Buanu-Varilla planned to convince Congress to move forward with a canal in Panama instead of Nicaragua was by mailing each member of the Senate a Nicaraguan stamp. This stamp, one of a series, was released in 1900 and depicted the building of the railroad industry in Nicaragua, all in the foreground of a beloved national symbol: the local volcano Mt. Momotombo. The problem with the stamp, however, was with how Mt. Momotombo was drawn. With smoke spewing out the top, the volcano appeared active thereby giving the viewer the idea that it could possibly erupt!

  7. Jessica

    German speakers in our commentariat,
    (from yesterday’s watercooler)

    Die ganze Scheiße ist im Kaputtgehn.

    Wouldn’t it be,

    Die ganze Scheiße ist im Kaputtgegangen.

    1. Worf's Prune Juice

      “ist im Kaputtgehen” implies that it’s a process that is still ongoing. “ist kaputtgegangen” would be how it’s said if it was already finished.

      A lovely Marx-ism

    2. Jan

      No don t think so. Kaputtgehn is the process, gegangen means it s in the past. But i could be wrong, long time since i read or spoke german

    3. loco

      No, the original is in the present tense, or more properly: gerund, while your version is in past tense.

    4. OnceWereVirologist

      Do you mean to say ‘the *** is about to hit the fan’ or ‘the *** has (already) hit the fan’ ?

    5. flawedmind

      I think it’s either Die ganze Scheiße ist am kaputt gehen or Die ganze Scheiße ist kaputt gegangen.

    6. Alex V

      No, first version is correct, but misspelled (Kaputtgehen is correct spelling).

      Literal translation is “The whole shi# is in the process of breaking”.

      Your version literally translates to “The whole shi# is in the process of gone broken”, verbs are wrong tenses.

      Correct grammar for your version would be “Die ganze Scheiße ist Kaputtgegangen.”

      Literally “The whole shi# broke”

  8. The Historian

    I’m with David Sirota. I’ve yet to hear from a talking head or resident chest thumper who knows anything at all about what is going on. But I would also add: PLEASE get someone with some brains to do your reporting. I’m watching CNN right now and I am just disgusted with the level of reporting. Sadly it is better than what the others are doing but not by much.

    CNN is reporting that people are being held hostage at Chernobyl. Doesn’t anyone at CNN understand that you cannot just abandon Chernobyl? That you need people there who know how to operate the systems designed to protect the public from that ongoing disaster? Sorry, but it can’t be soldiers. Those people have to stay until Russia can bring in its own experts if necessary.

    I also liked that video of the cameraman running down halls in a building trying to find a safe space. Yea, that was definitely a ‘breaking news’ story.

      1. The Historian

        Thanks for that article. That is obviously what is actually happening there.

        I am also heartened to see from CNN’s [lack of] coverage that the Russians don’t appear to be targeting civilians. CNN keeps playing the only videos they have over and over and over – the one apartment building and the Ukranian jet wreckage, of course from different angles to make it appear worse – and not much else. They don’t even have any video of any ‘shock and awe’ so I’m betting the Russians are being very judicious about their targets.

    1. Nikkikat

      Historian, I will never forget that during the fake gas attacks in Syria put on by the white helmets. A CNN reporter was on scene at the gas attack picking up things off the ground, such as a back pack she smelled the back pack and then looked into the camera while making a face and claimed that indeed she could smell poison gas on the back pack.

      1. OIFVet

        I would like my burger medium rare with a side of invasion, hold the onions. I watched a report on CNN about how the Ukrainian defenders of Snake Island told the Russian military ship urging them to surrender in order to avoid casualties to “Go f**k yourself.” All of the Ukrainian personnel were killed in the subsequent artillery attack. The CNN anchor had a full blown hard-on about the whole thing. Fighting the Russians until the last drop of Ukrainian blood is a real turn-on for these blow-dried so-and-so’s.

        1. OnceWereVirologist

          That was the go-to clip on Australian news this evening, too. It may be that that was only “inspirational” footage that they could find ? There’s obviously heavy fighting going on in some places (see videos online of destroyed Russian equipment) but the fact that there are also videos showing Russians on the outskirts of Kiev on the second day post-invasion does not suggest the Ukrainian army is acquitting itself well.

          1. michaelismoe

            “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.” – General George Patton

            1. OnceWereVirologist

              Results of the outgoing day according to the Russian Ministry of Defense are : – the number of withdrawn infrastructure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine : 211 – 6 planes shot down – 1 helicopter shot down – 5 UAVs – taken ATGM Javelin and NLAW – 39 radars destroyed – 19 S-300 and Osa complexes were destroyed – 17 control and communication points – 16 MLRS – 67 tanks – 87 vehicles.

              On the other hand, the Armed Forces of Ukraine declare that in 2 days of fighting, Russian forces lost almost 3,000 personnel, as well as more than 600 armored vehicles, 10 planes, and 7 helicopters.

              I leave it up to the reader to determine how much faith they want to place in each source.

              1. OIFVet

                It’s quite simple, really. Ukraine is winning, hence Zelensky’s offer to the Russians to discuss Ukraine becoming a neutral state. If the Russians refuse to entertain Ukrainian neutrality, Ukrainians will be forced to March all the way to the Kremlin and force the Russians to accept Ukrainian neutrality at gunpoint.

                Psy Ops are only effective if they are backed with some credibility. Perhaps the Ukrainians think that these tales would work to get those 50 year old reservists to take up arms and Molotov cocktails. The instructions for making the latter have apparently been made widely public, and civilians have been urged to make them and to use them. Words fail me in this case.

        2. Polar Socialist

          Russian ministry of defense says they sent a platoon of Russian marines to the island to make sure Romanian forces won’t capture it while Ukraine is otherwise occupied – the “island” has significance only in defining the economic areas of Ukraine and Romania in the Black Sea. After some exchange of fire 82 Ukrainians surrendered.

          Maybe we will find out the truth someday.

    2. BillS

      I expect that many of the weapons being passed out to civilians in the Ukraine will turn up on the streets of Brussels and Paris before the year is out.

  9. Sardonia

    (Reuters) – Ukraine wants peace and is ready for talks with Russia, including on neutral status regarding NATO, Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters on Friday.

    “If talks are possible, they should be held. If in Moscow they say they want to hold talks, including on neutral status, we are not afraid of this,” he said via a text message. “We can talk about that as well.”

    In other words: “Dear Biff: You were soooooooo right. I never should have left you for Johnny, but he was so dreamy, and he promised me that he’d take such good care of me. But they were all lies. I’m so sorry I fell for his charms. I was a fool. I guess what you and I had wasn’t that bad, even with our ups and downs. Maybe there’s a second chance for us. Do you think we can talk about that? I mean, if you’ll stop slapping me around for a minute, maybe we can see if there’s a future for us again. Pretty please?? xoxo, Muffie.”

    1. Basil Pesto

      I remember when doing history in high school that I conceived of it (and enjoyed it) as a sort of planetary geopolitical soap opera. So maybe you’re on to something.

      An early peace agreement seems like the best possible outcome atm

    2. Kouros

      My mom from Romania was complaining a bit about Putin and then went on to cry about my sister and her shenanigans with a third. She understood immediately the situation in Ukraine when I explained to her this way:

      Mom = Russia
      Sister = Ukraine
      Vali = US

      The curses would not stop…

  10. Terry Flynn

    COVID: Wasn’t sure whether to post this but an exchange I had yesterday was very much in line with NC’s expressed editorial line that “traditional finger wagging” isn’t productive. I visited my local “corner shop” here in Midlands, UK. The son-in-law of the owner (ethnically Indian, Sikh) deliberately got his mother-in-law to cover for him at the till so he could talk to me – he saw my NHS lanyard and wanted some answers.

    He clearly wasn’t “vehemently anti-vax”, just “naturally hesitant and worried about what the media and govt have been saying”. I quickly brought him up to speed that I was transcribing oncology letters because the pandemic had decimated the pool of “traditional typists”. I had a surgical mask on (virtually nobody else in the shop did). He was polite and very keen to learn all about “coronaviruses” generally, why we’ve been sold on the “Vax only message” (so I explained the difference between sterilising and non-sterilising ones) and the airborne nature of COVID-19 (as well as why I’m probably on borrowed time with a pre-existing heart condition, almost certainly 1+ infections and marked deterioration in health). I really found that we engaged.

    Our next door neighbours are also ethnically Indian subcontinent (approaching retirement and I suspect at least one was born here). They were masked up one day when coming around to ask for eggs when half the family had a craving for making cakes (too much TV!) …..but turns out they weren’t masked against us – their visiting daughter is a dentist who has has COVID 3 documented times and likely one undiagnosed time. Times like this I have such confidence in people. Then I see a newspaper cover or catch BBC/Sky news that mum is watching and I despair.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I try to keep spare N95s with me at all times. When I encounter people who give evidence of receptivity, I offer them along with ideas for ‘where to find more.’

      Yesterday, at a bank interaction in which all staff were masked with stylish cloth masks, I offered a branch officer my on-hand-for-distribution supply, 10 pieces of the 3M Aura 9210+, with the words ‘please accept these; they’re more effective than what your staff are currently using’. He was very pleased to receive them.

      The top-down people seem to want us to die. Perhaps we can preserve, or at least prolong, lives through bottom-up efforts.

  11. Michael

    The Associated Press reports that, according to a source, President Biden will nominate federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the first Black woman on the Supreme Court.

    CNN sources also confirm Brown Jackson as the nominee…

    According to a source who has been notified about the decision, President Biden has decided to nominate to the Supreme Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
    — Jake Tapper (@jaketapper)

    Perfect timing/s

    1. bassmule

      I’m very much against nominating judges based on gender and ethnicity, but damn, she’ll be the only one on the court with experience as a public defender. That seems important to me.

      1. juno mas

        From what I’ve read, she’s as qualified as anyone else on SCOTUS. Competence first, then consider color/gender to broaden perspectives. (How did the Black dude get on the Court?)

  12. Amfortas the hippie

    subtitle of the atlantic bit by Foer:
    “The underlying purpose of American foreign policy is to prove that democracy is “not a relic of history.””

    i have calculated that reading the rest will not keep the house warm, and am off to cut firewood and be a farmer.(ie: “reality-based” activities)

    1. jr

      If you purchase the physical copy of The Atlantic you can heat your home, wrap up food scraps, attend to personal hygiene issues…

    2. Donald

      I often wonder about the intended audience for such nonsense. The depressing thing is that it is obviously supposed to be college educated people whose institutions probably pride themselves on how they teach students to use critical thinking.

  13. antidlc
    CDC Expected to Loosen Mask Guidance on Friday

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to announce Friday that most Americans can shed their masks in indoor public settings, as the agency changes how it measures the threat of coronavirus in local communities.

    Until now, case counts have been the primary metric used to determine whether mask-wearing was recommended. That meant that roughly 95% of U.S. counties fell into that category.

    But the new guidelines are expected to weigh hospitalizations and local hospital capacity, which have improved greatly since the Omicron variant first surfaced in the United States last December, two officials familiar with the process told the Associated Press. The highly contagious variant has been less severe than earlier versions of the virus, particularly for people who are fully vaccinated and boosted. Under the new guidelines, most Americans will likely no longer live in areas where indoor masking in public is advised.

    I have no words.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Fifty Years of China – The American Conservative”

    I have read Doug Bandow’s work at and he is always on about how America is letting the Europeans let America itself do the heavy lifting and that they should buy more US weapons to build up their military with. But here, he gets unhinged. He says-

    ‘Instead of expecting Americans to continue to dominate East Asian waters, U.S. friends and allies need to do more and increasingly work together. Although controversial to suggest, that might require Washington’s friends to deploy nuclear weapons, a better option than for the U.S. to risk Los Angeles for Taipei, Tokyo, Seoul, or Manila.’

    So that would require countries like Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines to have nuclear weapons to keep the US’s influence in the Far East going. That is just nuts. Just have a whole bunch of countries with nukes and depending on them to have solid safety protocols and totally stable governments? And if stuff goes south, it is only an Asian city that gets nuked instead of LA. What else can you say?

    “You just keep thinking Doug, that’s what you’re good at.”

    1. griffen

      Does the author double as a screenwriter for the next blockbuster starring Gerard Butler? \sarc

      I’m not up to speed on countries with nuclear capabilities, but arguing for more weapons sounds like a thumbs up endorsement for the Pentagon, the DOD, military generals and so forth. Aren’t the presence of ongoing military bases across the Pacific a show of presence and might as it is?

    2. Michaelmas

      The Rev Kev: So that would require countries like Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines to have nuclear weapons to keep the US’s influence in the Far East going … Just have a whole bunch of countries with nukes and depending on them to have solid safety protocols and totally stable governments?

      It is what it is. It’s 2022, the world is changing, and people see that US hegemony is ending.

      The US has repressed nuclear proliferation — both kinds — since Eisenhower’s ‘Atoms for Peace’ program was ended, so as to maintain its own ‘nuclear umbrella’ and consequent hegemony. Taiwan started a nuclear weapons program in the 1980s, forex, but the US bought it off. Likewise, the US tried to stop the French civil and military nuclear programs, by means that included the CIA underwriting Greenpeace campaigns — yes — against French nukes. And so on. Much is made of the falsity of US WMD claims re. Saddam’s Iraq before Gulf Two, but a significant motivation for that in parts of Washington was how close Saddam was found to have been to A-bombs after Gulf One: simple A-bombs a la the Hiroshima and Nagasaki devices are much easier to build than most people realize if an actor can enrich enough fissile material.

      Now, though, all these effects of US hegemony are ending. So two trends are likely to take hold —

      [1] The return of nuclear power generation because it’s a decarbonized power supply. Doing nuclear right, however, requires an end to the once-through nuclear fuel cycle that the US has promulgated, which uses only 3-7 percent of the energy potential of nuclear fuel and leaves large amounts of so-called ‘nuclear waste’ — which was what US propaganda has described partially-used fuel as.

      Getting off the once-through fuel cycle and away from ‘nuclear waste’ production unfortunately means reprocessing. Reprocessing inextricably provides the means to create nuclear weapons.

      [2] If a technologically-sophicated state like Taiwan wants to maintain its autonomy and sees the US ‘nuclear umbrella’ is being withdrawn — and maintaining the credibility of that ‘umbrella’ was always a stretch even at the high-point of US hegemony (the ‘domino theory’ was the pop shorthand explanation for this US need to maintain credibility, as the underlying nuclear deterrent rationale was too hard a sell to the masses) — then who’s going to stop Taiwan from acquiring nukes? Seriously.

      Indeed, there are those who’ll be there to help it. The Brits are the instigating actors behind both the AUKUS move to sell nuclear sub technology to the Australians and an ongoing stealth program to help Taiwan in the same way. Yes, the nuclear sub technology they’re transferring is nominally only for nuclear power, but why wouldn’t Taiwan and Australia want nuclear deterrent capability next?

      Fulminate about it and at me all you like. Where am I wrong?

      1. .human

        By the pricking in my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.

        I read someplace during this past week of a feeling of a change of vibe.

        It seems the Rubicon has been crossed.

  15. Robert Dudek

    What everyone needs to remember is how historically important the lands of Ukraine are to Russian history. The birth of Russian civilisation is frequently traced back to Kievan Rus: there is no way that an expansionist leader like Putin was ever going to tolerate this area turning pro-NATO, making them a de facto enemy. When he understood that no one was going to do anything serious militarily, he gave himself the green light. The conventional war will be easily won by Russia, then the insurgency will start and we will see what kind of fight the Ukrainian nationalists will put up. Meanwhile, the country will be slowly destroyed.

  16. griffen

    Frequently there are discussions about the cost of energy / gas / propane (yesterday in particular). Given the size and population of the state of Texas, I came across the link below as it continues the story dating to February 2021. There are several articles available.

    This could go under a few classification tags…Class Warfare or Because Markets. Given frequent comments on the ground by Texas residents, thought this relevant.

  17. antidlc
    I did not listen to the whole thing. Th following tweet pointed to a section of the podcast at the 33:20 mark:

    Walensky continues to advise masks for now, but describes this way, “I just know people are tired. The scarlet letter of this pandemic is the mask. It may be painless, it may be easy, but its inconvenient, it’s annoying and it reminds us that we’re in the middle of a pandemic.”

    It “reminds us that we’re in the middle of a pandemic.” So…let’s get rid of that reminder, OK?

    I have no words.

    1. Tom Stone

      Walensky’ needn’t worry,the dead bodies will be a much more efficient reminder that we are in the midst of a pandemic.
      Counting on “Herd Immunity” to deal with a rapidly mutating coronavirus…
      What could go wrong?

      The Tony and Rochelle show won’t be cancelled, what else matters?

  18. Tom Stone

    Amforta’s,I’d appreciate your take on John Boyd’s essay “Creation and Destruction”.
    I suspect your depth of obscure knowledge would give you insights not available to me.

  19. Tom Stone

    I was thinking about how difficult it must be for Germany and others in the EU right now.
    The big dog (US Empire) is not agreement capable and is being run by people who are arrogant,corrupt, incompetent and in some cases clearly deranged.
    How do you back away safely and ensure that your country doesn’t share in the collapse that is taking place?

    1. Brian Beijer

      is being run by people who are arrogant,corrupt, incompetent and in some cases clearly deranged.

      What makes you think that the European countries are any different than the US? I would say that Boris Johnson fits your description perfectly, although I guess, technically, the UK is no longer European. Some Swedish examples (because that is what I’m most familiar with) would include Carl Bildt (see the above comments), or how about Anders Tegnell who started the Western world on the course of “herd imunity” as the answer to Covid? The leader of the Swedish Democrats, Jimmie Åkesson, is considered by many to be one of the most intelligent party leaders we have… And he’s a neo-Nazi! Sadly, after listening to the other parties leaders in Sweden, I can understand why the Swedish Democrats are the 2nd largest party here. Putin is correct when he identifies “the West” as “being on a course to slow but inevitable decay”. He doesn’t name the US specifically because it isn’t only the US. It is all Western countries, mine included. The collapse that is coming will be like nothing we have ever seen in human history.

  20. Carolinian

    Hilarious Duffel re Archduke fears that history might repeat itself.

    The motley collection of heirs-apparent is leaving nothing to chance. The finest technologies have been employed to ensure the safety of the Archduke corps throughout Europe.

    “We attempted to develop a motorcar that was consistently surrounded by a moat as it traveled, ahem, but the peasants complained that it was too much digging,” mused Archduke Johannes Reberg, of the Kaiserschoten Kaserne. “And isn’t that just like a peasant?”

  21. Wukchumni

    Catastrophic wildfires could increase 50% by 2100, UN report says CBC
    I’d mentioned a few years ago how in conversation with a fire chief working a big fire locally a year prior, he stressed to me how wildfires weren’t going to bed anymore like they used to, and we don’t have the capability to fight them at night, so i’d posit that we’re on the cusp of catastrophic, not four score from now.

    1. Tom Stone

      Wuk, absent a”Miracle March” California is going to see record wildfires this year and may well lose a mid size city.

      1. Wukchumni

        Hard to say really, the giant October and December storms were completely out of character for Cali, and miracles don’t only happen in March…

        Sacramento’s 14.02” total for the month of April 1880 is the 2nd greatest monthly total for any month of the year since their records began in 1850. San Francisco was on the southern edge of the heaviest precipitation band but still picked up an impressive 3.20” on April 20-21 and 6.43” for the week of April 14-21. Its monthly total of 10.06” remains its wettest April on record since measurements began in 1850. In Napa Valley, north of San Francisco, an amazing 14.70” fell in 24 hours at Mt. St. Helena and 14.70” was also measured at Helen Mine further north. These figures still stand as the greatest April 24-hour rainfalls in California records. Other storm totals included 11.42” at Nevada City, 10.28” in Grass Valley (both in the Sierra foothills northwest of Sacramento), and 9.72” at Healdsburg, 8.88” in St. Helena (Napa Valley), and 7.34” in San Rafael.,standing%20records%20for%20the%20city.

  22. Josh

    That’s the best writing by a part of the NATO establishment that I’ve read. Much better than all the superficial stuff that comes out of the US foreign policy circles these days.

    Yet, it remains it only engages with the half of the Russian complaints so I wind up feeling pretty unsatisfied with it because I feel like there is a lot of truth in it but only half of the story. Perhaps it is too much to ask to fit into an already long article.

    What was news to me (as someone who just started paying attention to this part of the world) was:
    * The older history
    * The Budapest accord
    * the NATO establishment’s take of the events of 2014

    What is missing (at minimum) is:
    * NATO encroachment into Eastern Europe
    * Neo-Nazi participation in Russia’s claimed ‘coup’
    * Failure to implement the Minsk accords
    * Ukraine’s renewed nuclear ambitions

    I find the one-line dismissal of Russia’s demands to talk about the security architecture of Europe a bit absurd. I completely understand why Russia feels threatened. It is hard to look at the behavior of the US since 1980 without feeling that we’re an out-of-control superpower bent on dominating the world.

    For me, it was clear that there would be a war from Zelensky’s speech at the Munich Security meeting days before Putin recognized the little statelets. That was not way one talks if you want to settle a fight without violence. He was clearly not going to implement the Minsk II accords so the path that had frozen the previous conflict was dead.

    I’m no fan of Putin but saying that this war is all his fault seems like propaganda and it doesn’t feel like Carl has any ‘outlook’ that doesn’t lead to a broader war. I’ll grant the ‘informed’ but I’m pretty discouraged that this passes for ‘sober’.

  23. Safety First

    Anybody remember Operation Just Cause?

    See, back in 1990 the US thought that the government of Panama, a nation within its proclaimed sphere of influence, was doing something that endangered US national security, and launched a brief but violent military invasion to replace said government. Panama’s leader, Manuel Noriega, was taken captive and died in a Florida prison nearly a quarter century later. Panama itself has since remained super-compliant with US wishes and policies, at least so far as I know.

    For decades, it was the US and its allies (mainly France) who got to do this, while the Russias and Chinas of the world talked about the International Security Architecture (caps for emphasis). Russia’s actions in Ukraine now essentially say – the security architecture, built up after World War II and somehow sustained some years past the Soviet Union’s demise, is dead. Every nation that is sufficiently powerful can stake out its sphere of influence and within it behave as it will, including sending in troops when it feels is necessary.

    I am not saying I agree with this. I am not saying this is a good thing. But this is the real point, not Ukraine specifically, not NATO – which, if you follow the South Ossetia model, became a non-factor the moment LDNR was formally recognised by Russia. Not even the Nazis. The Ukrainian regime has been morally repugnant, but Russia had been ok with the nazification of Ukraine since it began, decades ago. The watershed change is that Russia is saying the world is back to pre-World War I power politics, the rest is just a way to sell the war to its own people.

    By the way, notice, this isn’t a “Putin” issue. There is no way Putin would have launched this if he did not have the backing of the socio-economic elites (who, remember, put him there in the first place). Granted, he is not as dependent on their explicit support as he had been 20 years ago, but this is a CLASS decision. “We, the Russian elites, will no longer be talked down to, and we shall act to enforce our interests because we can so do.” Also signalling to Western Europe – note that Putin pre-invasion talked mostly with Macron, not Biden – to keep to some form of neutrality in the US-Russia confrontation.

    And it seems to be working, from Russia’s perspective. Note that Georgia has explicitly NOT joined anti-Russian sanctions, despite being a US client state. Because Russian tanks are already a few hours’ drive from Tbilisi.

    Insofar as Ukraine, I guess now the plan is to put in a provisional government with Russian military police providing the short-term muscle. What happens beyond that is still a bit unclear, but today’s Ministry of Defence briefing explicitly stated they wanted to capture certain politicians (not Zelenskiy, no-one cares about him) to put them on trial for “war of aggression in the Donbass”. Turchinov was mentioned, for example.

    Again, this is a bloody awful thing. You’d want the US to stop doing empire and rebuild a global security framework, not everyone else blowing up said framework and starting to act like the US. On the other hand, I mean, I guess the Americans finally get what they want – making the Russian elites just like them…

    …also, do not buy any real estate in Taiwan. Not a good idea…

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      “I guess now the plan is to put in a provisional government with Russian military police providing the short-term muscle.”

      That seems to be the plan. And for the entire country, too: not just the eastern half.

      I doubt the peace talks in Minsk will go anywhere, at least not until organized resistance has crumbled, but let the diplomats try. Zelensky seems like a decent man who is hopelessly out of his element. I almost feel sorry for him, but politics is a dirty game. His choice.

      Interesting to note that after yesterday morning’s financial panic, things have calmed considerably. The ruble has recovered most of its initial losses, oil is down a bit, stock markets are generally up, and even the yellow metal that cannot be named is back below 1900. Mr. Market doesn’t see Armageddon yet.

      Also interesting is that the gas continues to flow through the Ukraine pipelines, and the electricity is still on, and the Russian and Ukrainian soldiers calmly agreed on jointly patrolling the Chernobyl area. Despite a lot of hysterical news coverage, there is still a degree of civilization and order.

      Still not clear to me just how much the Ukrainian army is actually fighting as opposed to dropping weapons and changing clothes, though they’re clearly showing more fight than the Afghan army last year. Most of the western news coverage is around Kiev, but there’s a lot of fighting going on in the south that isn’t getting much airtime. We’ll have to wait for the fog of war to clear.

    2. Grebo

      Russia’s actions in Ukraine now essentially say – the security architecture, built up after World War II and somehow sustained some years past the Soviet Union’s demise, is dead. Every nation that is sufficiently powerful can stake out its sphere of influence and within it behave as it will, including sending in troops when it feels is necessary.

      I don’t think so. The old arrangement (Pax Americana) is dying but Putin, together with Xi, have clearly expressed a preference that it be replaced with international law, UN primacy and mutual respect for security concerns.

      Until that day arrives though, Russia is prepared to maintain its sovereignty and independence by any means necessary. Rolling back the Empire could be a messy business.

  24. ProNewerDeal

    Does the NC Covid Brain Trust or others have any idea on when/if Novavax will be approved in USA?

    I checked the Wiki page, it appears most of the OECD nations have approved in the last 2 months.

    1. Maritimer

      Hey don’t forget the taco flavored injection from Trucker Land:

      “The first Canadian COVID-19 vaccine, by Quebec-based company Medicago, was approved for use by Health Canada Thursday.

      The home-grown vaccine, called Covifenz, marks the world’s first-ever plant-based jab authorized for human use and is also the first Canadian shot to be approved in over 20 years….

      A Global News analysis last year of the federal lobby registry shows that from 2017 to March of 2020, when the pandemic was declared, Medicago representatives met with government officials 24 times, seeking “partnerships and funding to support research, development and commercialization of vaccines” and to prepare against “future outbreaks of emerging infectious disease.””

      A typical CDN Pork Barrel job. I wonder what the Prop bet odds would be on any jurisdicition in the world ever approving this injection. Meanwhile, will the Vaccine Gold Rush continue in other jurisdicitons, each Health Authority declaring their injection “safe and effective”. Hey, Chicago where’s the BadaBinger?

  25. ProNewerDeal

    Does the NC Covid Brain Trust have any guesstimate/prediction on a possible Omicron BA.2 wave in the USA, along with its timing and severity?

  26. Roger Blakely

    What about European countries dropping all COVID-19 restrictions? It is the last week of February. What are our experts saying (experts that we actually trust)?

    It is too early to say.

    On today’s indie_SAGE call (1:30 p.m. London time) Dr. Deepti Gurdasani, epidemiologist and senior lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, took over task of presenting the weekly roundup from Dr. Christina Pagel of University College of London. In addition Dr. Michael Osterholm’s weekly update was posted yesterday. Both Dr. Gurdasani and Dr. Osterholm gave the same message. Yes, Omicron infections are falling. Yes, Omicron deaths are falling. However, it is still too early to say whether the dropping of all COVID-19 restrictions by England and Denmark is a good idea.

    1. Robert Dudek

      Omicron spread so fast it was impossible to slow down without draconian restrictions along the lines of March/April 2020. Given the lack of political will to do that, it’s better not to have restrictions at all.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        Hasn’t China pretty much slowed down Omicron, even with a Winter Games? Looks like the myth pedalled by those who couldn’t care less about the voters is just that.

        1. Yves Smith

          A couple of days ago, I posted a Western story trying to make a big deal about a spike in China…to something like 280 new infections/day.

          The seven day average in AL is over 800. And has to be much higher due to the big shift to at home testing.

  27. Pookah Harvey

    With MSM having story after story asking how far Putin will go, it’s interesting I can’t find one mention of this RT article. The article says that Putin’s Press Secretary stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed his preparedness to engage in discussions with his Ukrainian counterpart, with a focus on obtaining a guarantee of neutral status and the promise of no weapons on its territory. If Kiev were to agree to meet the demands, the current military attack on Ukraine could be called off.
    Whether you believe it or not the western press should at least report it.

  28. Wukchumni

    A Billion Years Before Sex, Ancient Cells Were Equipped for It Quanta
    I remember sexual evolution in the 70’s-I was equipped for it, but not getting any.

  29. Wukchumni

    Quotes from the Kiev information minister:

    “Listen, this explosion does not frighten us any longer. The cruise missiles do not frighten anyone. We are catching them like fish in a river. I mean here that over the past two days we managed to shoot down 196 missiles before they hit their target.”

    “Lying is forbidden in the Ukraine. President Zelensky will tolerate nothing but truthfulness as he is a man of great honor and integrity. Everyone is encouraged to speak freely of the truths evidenced in their eyes and hearts.”

    “How can you lay siege to a whole country? …We are in our country, among our kith and kin. …Faltering forces of infidels cannot just enter a country of 44 million people and lay besiege to them! They are the ones who will find themselves under siege.”

    Bakhmut Bob

  30. Amfortas the hippie

    the veterans today thing is hella innerestin…both in general, geopolitical sense…but also in a more weird and idiosyncratic manner:

    “We will have to limit the expansion by refusing to cooperate within an eroding system. Hopefully, by taking a firm stand and leaving our civilization neighbors from the West to their own devices, we will actually help them. The elites may return to a less suicidal policy that would be safer for everyone.
    Of course, we have to be smart about taking ourselves out of the equation and make sure to minimize the collateral damage that the failing system will inevitably cause. But maintaining it in its current form is simply dangerous.”

    when i sit at the Wilderness Bar and dream of autarky, of my 20 acre microstate/hermit kingdom…and the “foreign relations” problems that ensue…the above quote would fit right in with my idle ruminations.
    i’ve seen nothing from putin, lavrov, et alia that looks insane or tyrannical…just a cold reason that applies the concepts we insist we hold so dear.(no, i do not want to be russian…sigh)
    that’s prolly the most damning aspect of this whole mess for the USA….the “Evil Empire” looks to be actually Doing what ‘we’ play like we’re doing when we’re really bigfooting around the globe, knocking over everybody’s stuff–appears that the Ruskies can actually hit what they aim at, too…that’s gotta smart!
    i , too, would like to enjoy friendly relations with the usa…but i’ve known for a while that this is impossible, until they see the folly of empire, and get the frak over themselves.
    when Nemesis finally approaches(can you hear her?), doubling down on the Hubris that attracted her attention will only make things much worse.

    Karaganov’s essay is worth a read and a think.
    a whole intellectual world away from what i heard on CNN this morning.((some shady stoa, with men in robes vs romper room…or even the frelling primate house)

  31. Maritimer

    Titanium dioxide particles frequently present in face masks intended for general use require regulatory control Nature.
    Oh yes, let’s have even more regulatory control like that of Fauci, Collins, Walensky since that seems to have worked so well! Regulatory capture/profiteering rules.

    Heavens, do they give out free weed to Nature contributors?

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