Links 3/9/2022

Dear patient readers,

Lambert and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.

And for those who are new here, this is not a mere polite request. We have written site Policies and those who comment have accepted those terms. To prevent having to resort to the nuclear option of shutting comments down entirely until more sanity prevails, as we did during the 2015 Greek bailout negotiations and shortly after the 2020 election, we are going to be ruthless about moderating and blacklisting offenders.


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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope: The ultimate guide

Critical Bugs Expose Hundreds of Thousands of Medical Devices and ATMs Wired

‘Tech wreck’ looks more like another dotcom bubble bursting FT. That’s a damn shame.


SARS-CoV-2 Incidence in K–12 School Districts with Mask-Required Versus Mask-Optional Policies — Arkansas, August–October 2021 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC. From the Sunmmary: “In Arkansas during August–October 2021, districts with universal mask requirements had a 23% lower incidence of COVID-19 among staff members and students compared with districts without mask requirements.” How can the remaining scientists at CDC continue to work there under management that believes maslks are a “scarlet letter”?

Even cautious Covid experts start to lower their guard as Biden urges return to normal NBC. Translation: “The dogs won’t eat the dogfood.” Democrat consultant: “I don’t understand. The knobs are already at eleven!”

This treatment can protect vulnerable people from COVID. But many don’t know about it LA Times and Hospitals use a lottery to allocate scarce COVID drugs for the immunocompromised CNN. An Evushied lottery. A little bit too on-the-nose, surely? Let ‘er rip!

First Dog in Illinois Diagnosed With COVID-19 NBC Chicago

An immune system molecule makes you more social. Wait, what? Virginia Magazine. From 2021, still germane. Interesting:

Why a deficit in the immune system might affect social behavior remains a matter of speculation. However, Filiano and his fellow researchers hypothesize that the “pro-social” function might actually have been interferon gamma’s original biological role and that pathogens may have evolved the capability to activate that function to drive increased social interactions and thus help spread themselves between individuals. In turn, “the interferon gamma pathways were recycled as an anti-pathogen response to limit the spread of infection as we come together,” [Dr. Anthony] Filiano says.

If that hypothesis sounds far-fetched, consider this: A study at Binghamton University, published in 2010 in Annals of Epidemiology, found that participants who had received a flu vaccination engaged in an increased number of social interactions in the 48 hours following the administration of the medication. Researchers called it “the strongest indicator yet discovered of pathogen-mediated behavioral change in otherwise asymptomatic humans.” In other words, the flu virus inside the vaccination could have hijacked some part of the participants’ immune system to make them more sociable—to spread itself.

Speculating freely here, and maybe the Brain Trust can talk me off the ledge, but what if…. What if, for example, the upwelling of desire for “Hot Vax Summer” was an instance of “pathogen-mediated behavioral change”?

Airborne Toxic Events The Baffler


China offers to mediate, will send aid to Ukraine; ties with Russia ‘rock solid’: Wang Yi Channel News Asia

Why the Chinese Internet Is Cheering Russia’s Invasion NYT. The deck: “As the world overwhelmingly condemns the assault on Ukraine, online opinion in China is mostly pro-Russia, pro-war and pro-Putin.” By “world,” I take it we mean the bubble in which the Acela class can live and travel freely, and where English is typically spoken. Since apparently China’s internet is not part of “the world.”

China lawmakers have West’s decline on their minds at ‘two sessions’ South China Morning Post

China’s city elites wake up to scale of trafficking after chained woman shows human side of age-old crime South China Morning Post. So China’s PMC is a lot like our own (and Xi really is riding a tiger).


Russia Sanctions Intensify Calls for Myanmar Fuel Ban—‘If The Jets Can’t Fly, They Can’t Bomb’ WSJ

After a year of reporting on Myanmar’s military coup, I knew my luck would eventually run out Guardian

Why do so many Indonesians back Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? Indonesia at Melbourne

South Korea

​South Korea’s Presidential Election: What to Watch NYT :


Saudi, UAE leaders declined calls with Biden amid Ukraine conflict: report The Hill

U.S. intelligence shows Iran threats on U.S. soil, but Blinken and Schiff say this shouldn’t derail new nuclear deal CBS. “Shows”?

New Not-So-Cold War

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 8 Institute for the Study of War. Handy mao:

Looks like status quo, to me. (The legend claims that highways are included; I tried heightening contrast to make them show up better, without much success.)

Full Transcript Of Putin’s Remarks On 3/5/22: Includes Comments On Why He Ordered The Military Operation In Ukraine, Why It Went Beyond Donbas, Whether He Plans To Declare Martial Law, Etc. Natylie’s Place: Understanding Russia. Worth reading in full.

How the War in Ukraine Could Get Much Worse Foreign Affairs. Somebody’s gonna have to dial back the triumphalism:

The United States should be especially attuned to the risks of escalation as the next phase of conflict begins, and should double down on finding ways to end the conflict in Ukraine when a window of opportunity presents itself. This may involve difficult and unpleasant choices, such as lifting some of the worst sanctions on Russia in exchange for an end to hostilities.

Somebody also needs to figure out for Biden how to present “difficult and unpleasant choices” as victory. The midterms aren’t far away!

Ukraine’s Zelensky says he has ‘cooled’ on joining NATO and is open to discussions about control of Russian-backed separatist regions Business Insider

Zelensky, an excellent comedian, also an oligarch (dk):

I suspect that for many liberal Democrats, Zelensky fits right into the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert hole in their heads, but he’s really quite a different entity. This whole thread is excellent.

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Biden announces ban on Russian energy imports CNN

The Implications of Unrestricted Financial Warfare (excerpt) The Overshoot

Marine insurers widen high-risk area as Ukraine conflict escalates Hellenic Shipping News

Ukraine war: Poland offers all its MIG-29 fighter jets to US in plan to provide aircraft to Kyiv Sky News. Thanks but no thanks:

I guess it’s not that easy to launder aircraft.

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Political courage (1):

Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to hold fascists “accountable,” Banderite or otherwise, as Von Papen and Hindenburg discovered.

Political courage (2):

Political courage (3), a second retweet:

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A Toddler’s Terror, as Families Flee Shelling in Ukraine The New Yorker. So — just spitballing here — make Ukraine neutral, since Obama didn’t regard it as a vital national interest, and bring a halt to NATO expansion? On the downside, if we did, sentimental New Yorker readers could no longer get weepy (“I have no words” MR SUBLIMINAL Thank gawd!) about teh babies!!!! — at least until they reheat our southern border as an issue under the next Republican administration — but unity demands sacrifice, sometimes even our own.

Montreal Symphony Orchestra drops Russian piano prodigy from concerts amid backlash Montreal Gazette

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An International Relations Theory Guide to the War in Ukraine Foreign Policy

Chartbook #95: Is “Ukraine the West’s fault”? On great powers and realism Adam Tooze, Chartbool and John Mearsheimer and the dark origins of realism Adam Tooze, The New Statesman. I’ve read these companion pieces a couple of times. I think, when you leave out the potted intellectual history, they both boil down to handwaving. What do readers think?

There are no good choices for the west on Ukraine Martin Wolf, FT

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Nuland: US Working With Ukraine to Keep US ‘Biological Research Facilities’ Out of Russia’s Hands

China Pushes Conspiracy Theory About U.S. Labs in Ukraine Bloomberg

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Mapping Ukraine’s Refugees Joshua Stevens. The deck: “A Defense of Proportional Arrows from Geography’s Radical Past.”

Biden Administration

Biden to host Southeast Asian leaders in Washington in late March but Cambodia says ASEAN-U.S.summit postponed, seeking new date Reuters

White House: Venezuela has freed 2 detained Americans AP

K Street was fine taking Russian cash — until it couldn’t Politico (Re Silc).

Supply Chain

A Tale of Two Oil Shocks: Ukraine and Yom Kippur John Authers, Bloomberg

China agriculture minister says winter wheat condition could be worst in history Reuters

Northwest winter wheat crop already stressed by drought KXLY

Food Is Just as Vital as Oil to National Security Bloomberg

Our Famously Free Press

Who could forget “the moderate rebels”?

Zeitgeist Watch

How Did This Many Deaths Become Normal The Atlantic. First slowly, then all at once?

The Second Tragedy of Sandy Hook Slate

Reasons You May Have Brain Fog (slideshow) WebMD. Oddly, Long Covid is not mentioned. Nor is being subjected to two enormous propaganda campaigns (Ukraine On; Covid Off) simultaneously. Dudes, come on.

Robust Joe Costello, LIfe in the 21st Century

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. OIFVet

    Re: Poland’s proposal to transfer their Mig-29s to the US. It’s actually a smart move on their part, they appear to have learned that the US is not the most trustworthy ally. If they directly give their MiGs to Ukraine, and Russia decides to retaliate, Poland has apparently figured that Artucle 5 of NATO might not be quite so ironclad. There is always the possibility that the US can say, “Russia has attacked Ukrainian assets on Polish territory, so it’s not a direct attack on Poland.” Then, there is the matter of trading MiGs for F-16s that Poland wants done. I think it was a smart thinking on their part to attempt this passing of the buck to the de facto leader of NATO. Also smart of the Pentagon to immediately drop this hot potato. At the end though, it makes NATO look bad to Ukraine and to Europeans, and a clusterf**k to the rest of the world. And all of this because Josep Borrell decided to do a Wikipedia search about available MiGs and shoot before aiming to try to score a few political and koral points. Which in turn makes the EU look incompetent and ineffectual.

    1. JohnA

      Plus, Poland does not want its own airbases to be targetted and destroyed, whether or not NATO would look to retaliate. Not sure the Germans would either, but they are among the most obsequious of the EU countries to the US.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think it’s in response to the US statement on Sunday after Poland said no. The White House said they wouldn’t stand in the way. Then boom the Poles actually offer to send planes to Ramstein. Cracks in the coalition.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        The media just spent two weeks telling me how the Biden Administration and our intelligence agencies “anticipated every move the Russians were going to make.” (Let’s not for a minute talk about how the Russians probably fed them every morsel to make sure the nukes didn’t go flying.)

        Then why the hell didn’t they move the planes three weeks ago when it wasn’t an act of war.?

    3. Otis B Driftwood

      Having no credibility has consequences.

      This is what an empire in rapid decline looks like, folks.

    4. David

      Article 5 is far from ironclad, and doesn’t actually commit anyone to anything. All states are obliged to take such actions as “they deem necessary”, and that’s it. If giving a press conference and closing Russian restaurants is what you “deem necessary”, that’s what you do. But this existential void at the heart of NATO has never, for obvious reasons, been much talked about, and the last thing that the US, or anybody else, wants to do is to draw attention to it now.

        1. David

          It’s a Schrodinger’s security guarantee. You don’t actually know it exists until after the war starts.

      1. Andrew Watts

        People don’t read… like at all. But I don’t think there’s a scenario where the US trades New York City for Riga which is what I’ve been worried about before this all started.

        I’m not seeing any disincentives for the Russians not to keep on rollin’ either.

    5. Boomheist

      For a couple days there this MIG laundering scheme seemed to be real, and it still may be. A clear act of war by the US against Russia, this would be, though of course all those Stingers could be called the same. But, in the last 75 years, both we and Russia have given weapons and training to our allies, no problem. I think the most important news item coming last night was Zelensky saying maybe Ukraine has to become neutral because the West won’t support him. I think this is what is going to happen (unless Zelinsky’s fear of his own Azov allies is greater than Russia) – Zelinsky will say because the West and NATO failed to protect him he must take Russian terms. The war will end. Putin will declare his goals met. Ukraine will lose the Donbass totally, it will become independent now, plus Ukraine will never be in the EU or NATO. This will be seen by the right in the West as a huge failure by Biden, and NATO – “who lost Ukraine?” – “we coulda shoulda won” – and might even get Trump reelected, because he will say of course, “If I had been there none of this would have happened.” The Ukrainians will come to hate the West for leading them on then letting them down, a broken country. All the West will have is keeping the sanctions in place (after Russia leaves) and each day that happens the world economy suffers more and more, which will be more to blame on Biden, NATO, and the West.

      I think the current play at high levels of the PMC and neocon Blob is to ravage Russia and defeat Putin and burn in the argument that the eastern movement of NATO was necessary (“look at what Putin did!”), use this crisis to force a Marshall Plan on domestic manufacturing and getting off fossil fuels (which btw no matter what happens we should do in my opinion), and make sure the Russia-China axis doesn’t grab the world economy.

      We shall see.

      1. OIFVet

        You are rather optimistic about the Marshall Plan for domestic manufacturing and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. These are the same people who exported manufacturing and view the war as a great opportunity to frack baby frack and drill baby drill. It would be nice if you were proven right, but I am a skeptic.

        1. Boomheist

          Yes, I totally agree with you. I don’t really understand this “Overton Window” thing but think it says that people’s views can swift suddenly, after long stasis. I expect after this Ukraine and NATO thing the view of the US as the beacon of light might shift to the US being the most dangerous baddest ass in the room (if as I suspect the narrative that the pushing of NATO forced all this, and especially if the recent threads of bio labs in Ukraine, CONFIRMED BY NULAND, are seen as likely true, just like the documents apparently showing a planned invasion of Donbass by the Ukrainians March 8th – causing the Russian invasion – if having some validity, totally shift the narrative). People say the “world” is against Russia but that is not true. I bet more than half the world’s people live in the countries that abstained from the UN resolution.

          But this crisis also shows the economic impact of depending on fossil fuels from risky places, anywhere else, actually, given Saudi response to Biden begging for more oil, and the growing horror of how we exported our economic base overseas. This might just shift the window from “all is fundamentally good here in the USA” to “we better fix this right now.” If that happens suddenly you will see a war economy, price controls, huge taxes on the rich who can afford to pay, calls for sacrifice…..

          This shift is impossible to imagine absent a clear and present threat, but I think 10 dollar gas (or more) and everything else rising through the roof might shift this whole nation in an instant from worrying about CRT and anti-gay bills and the culture wars and climate change to one of basic retrenchment. You know in Russia they will be in the survival mode, and they are used to it. We are not used to it but we are about to find out.

      2. Gx54

        And of course this scenario preserves the Russia regime changers who merely await a new US administration to restart their quest in a compliant DC. I’m skeptical that even eastern Ukraine can be purged of domestic terrorists = “freedom fighters”.

      3. ArvidMartensen

        Which is why the US will fight, tooth and nail, any moves for Zelensky and Putin to talk face to face.
        They know that Zelensky, who is now a puppet of the US, might just as easily become a puppet of Russia if a persuasive offer is made to him by Putin.
        And as regards the persuasiveness of Putin vs Biden, well the military warmongers and the US arms industries are very well aware that poor old Biden couldn’t persuade a dog to go for a walk.

    6. Guild Navigator

      Does the definition of “interoperability” of NATO apply to Mig-29’s? My initial reading was that this was a snub against vintage, non-F-35 aircraft.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Us ‘Murcans are gonna send our best. He may be gettin’ a little long in the tooth, but if anybody can take down Putin now that the Duke is dead, it’s this guy. (video)

      1. Polar Socialist

        Luftwaffe retired their Mig-29s to Poland in 2003, so there may yet be a few pilots left in Germany. Probably retired, though.

        1. Wukchumni

          I knew the fellow who owned Patrick’s Roadhouse on PCH in Santa Monica and ate breakfast there oodles of times and he’d introduce me to anybody kind of interesting, and I met Günther Rall, one of the leading aces in WW2, and it dawned on me later he was the conduit to my six degrees of separation from Adolf, Günther having been awarded high honors by der Führer

      2. BlueMoose

        I believe the idea was to have Ukrainian pilots currently in Poland or elsewhere (who have no planes to fly) to take to the sky. What could go wrong?

      3. The Rev Kev

        Sure. The US Air Force has a whole bunch of them as there are samples of Russian aircraft in the US and these pilots test them.

      1. Dan

        Our local station hit $5.89 for regular yesterday (northern California, but still!). If electric cars were hard to get last month …

        1. Wukchumni

          You’ll not find much else with a price tag in consumer goods that is viewable from the confines of a moving vehicle other than the price of gas, and while i’m at it, can we get rid of that cumbersome 9/10’s of a Cent @ the end of the price, per gallon?

    1. PHLDenizen

      If this winds up cascading through all the plastic suppliers, it’ll reach medical supplies at some point. Given how Covid successfully proved the fragility of long supply chains for items such as blood tubes, Foley catheters, plastic resins for heart valves, etc., if even a single death results from a dearth of plastic I imagine they’ll be counted as “deaths from Russia”.

      Also a great way to hide continued Covid deaths under the flag of the “enemy”. It’s not the let ‘er rip paradigm to blame, it’s those damn commie aggressors.

      1. petal

        Good point. A bunch of backordered 50ml tubes for the lab came in over the last couple weeks. Was second guessing those orders because now we’re awash in them, but it’s starting to look wise. First covid backorders(some of those issues were caused by lack of raw materials), now another potential hiccup in the raw material supply. Tips still haven’t caught up yet.

        1. Louis Fyne

          stockpile anything essential for work or life. enough supply to last the rest of the year

          world peace breaks out today, having a closet full of stuff is a mild inconvenience.

          more supply pain, you are ok. as long as one doesn’t yap about their stockpile of stuff. then you automatically become the most popular person in the neighborhood or campus

          1. Wukchumni

            One thing i’d stockpile is 6 months of pet food, it’s all gonna get eaten, so no need to worry about use-by dates, and there’s already been shortages of many different kinds of cat & dog food, and you know how they’ve gotten used to eating a certain brand.

            Yes, you’ll be part of the problem of supplies dwindling down, but who would you rather bear the rath of, your pets or anonymous human beans caterwauling online?

            Cans of Fancy Feast went from 70 to 76 Cents in the past month, for those of you scoring @ home.

            1. Eclair

              Gotta keep our ‘pets’ well-fed, Wukchumni! They are emergency food rations on the hoof (or paw.) :-)

            2. fringe element

              True that. My girl is only supposed to eat prescription Hills W/D and Petco was all out. Going by tomorrow and hope they have some. If they do I should probably double what I had intended to buy.

        2. Brian Beijer

          If any Western government were worth a damn; they’d already be prioritizing supplies and informing companies of non-essential items that the raw materials will be subverted to manufacture medical supplies and any other essentials for the forseeable future. Of course, THAT will never happen. As Covid has proven, it’s every person for themselves. I say, Buy! BUY! BUY! as much as you can afford and stock up now. The sh1ts about to hit the fan. I really don’t think I’m exaggerating the situation either.

      2. Rod

        it’ll reach medical supplies at some point

        For some applications that may be a blessing, and cause for some reexamination of our use for it in everything. I don’t know.
        I do know Plastic is now ubiquitous everywhere–where we want it, and where we don’t.
        I feel Big Oil and the Chemistry Industry are tag teaming its upside and smothering its downside.
        Those molecules don’t stay so bonded forever, though the product may look intact forever.

        This is from Living on Earth. How the accidental connection was made and established is enlightening, imo.

        Medical Plastic Linked to Breast Cancer Relapse

      1. Louis Fyne

        until you need an IV bag or syringe. Try finding a western manufacturer of glass-pyrex hospital equipment.

        and guess where a lot of raw materials for industrial glass comes from.

        1. Rod

          Surely this is not a TINA situation.
          can we swap? say a million water bottles for every 10,000 Safe and Inert drip lines?

  2. JohnA

    Re I’ve read these companion pieces a couple of times. I think, when you leave out the potted intellectual history, they both boil down to handwaving. What do readers think?

    When you jump from the 2014 Maidan coup straight to the 2022 Russian invasion/special operation, and ignore all the shelling, bombing and associated 10-14000+ deaths in the east in between, then all they are doing is handwaving. The coup was an irritant, the indiscriminate killings and alleged plans to invade the east and Crimea were the trigger for Russian actions.
    That is what has been airbrushed from western media coverage. It is all plucky little Ukraine against big monster, deranged, madman etc., Putin. And anyone who tries to say different is shouted down and shut down.

    1. John

      Yes. Ignoring context and history seems not a bug but a feature of the “orthodox thinking” of the moment.

          1. bidule

            These media narratives will soon end up in Hollywood movies. For a European Netflix consumer, the Secession war, for instance, is a story about good (American) guys who fought and defeated some other bad (American) guys, who were (this is really sad) slave owners and (morally) deserved their fate. But the good guys eventually won, black people were all liberated, and since then everything is pretty much fine (the movie ends here).

            You would probably say: “Stop here immediately European person! This is a caricature, you watched a very bad show, things are way more complicated!”.

            These stories travel also the other way around, going from movies, where the Good is designated to triumph at the end, into media narratives which paint the reality, the dead and the living, in the colors of the Good and the Evil. Children are fond of these stories filled with fury and glory. And when grown up, and are told again the same stories, they think and feel again like these children they once were — and they are as innocent (in all meanings) as they once were.

        1. John Mc

          I am not sure its amnesia, though as I really enjoy that quote.

          Instead, and I have been thinking about this a lot lately, I think we are at a point in our empire where the elite decision makers in foreign policy hide behind a “different perspectives” strategic viewpoint (and while we know they are in dialogue with Russia since 2004 about Ukraine/Georgia and we know very clearly what Putin’s redline was and why (William S Burns current CIA director was the ambassador to Russia under Bush Jr.) – the strategy US undertakes is one of not being able to acknowledge Russia’s need to exist without the threat of weapons on their border (bio, nuclear, or supersonic). This seems insane to me, as an American (remembering his Kennan).

          Amnesia is the notion that at one point we knew and then forgot. US policy is we tow the line of not acknowledging our enemies needs even in public (and thus distort the reasons for their actions any time we want), until we find out that our State Department, IR, and Military/Political leaders all know about our enemies positions intimately, but choose not to share this information with us (in fact, prevent us from finding out the truth using propaganda).

          Amnesia could be explained away as an error. What we are doing is a cluster**** imo.

          Imagine if our government was capable of acknowledging their errors in the pandemic, healthcare systems, employment arena, wealth inequality, Syria, Russiagate etc.. We might just be able to move on and use these events as a way to prevent them from happening again? But I am like Chris Hedges a bit here — all of the levers of powers have been co-opted — so its evil incorporated and we have to read in between the lines and use multiple outlets just to stay in the topic.

          When I think of Amnesia, I tend to think of Operation Mockingbird, the Might Wurlitzer, or Carl Bernstein’s 1977 article called the CIA and the Media ( )

          Anyway, KLG – great quote, and you did not deserve this rant at all, but at some point it would be nice to hold the unipolar world leader to account for the errors that end up killing a lot of people knowingly.

          Take care

          1. Danpaco

            Foreign policy has been thoroughly neoliberalized.
            The spread sheets are ready and they all say the same thing, USA #1.

          2. Adam1

            “Imagine if our government was capable of acknowledging their errors in the pandemic, healthcare systems, employment arena, wealth inequality…”

            OMG pearl clutching slander!!!

            Not that I don’t disagree, but you’re asking for functional government and the overturning of a lot of apple carts. Oh the pearls the horror ;)

    2. Kouros

      “The choice that we faced in Ukraine — and I’m using the past tense there intentionally — was whether Russia exercised a veto over NATO involvement in Ukraine on the negotiating table or on the battlefield,” said George Beebe, a former director of Russia analysis at the CIA and special adviser on Russia to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

      The CIA’s Beebe follows with this almost unbelievable line:

      “And we elected to make sure that the veto was exercised on the battlefield, hoping that either Putin would stay his hand or that the military operation would fail.”

      1. Fot

        Yep that is perfectly stated. Summarises everything in two sentences. I’m going to steal those lines.

  3. DJG, Reality Czar

    Thanks for the photo of the black-backed jackal. I believe that it was here at Naked Capitalism that I read the article about the golden jackal, which has become the coyote of Europe, swiftly extending its range.

    [“Jackals” truly could use better p.r., specifically a name change. What about “freedom dogs”?]

    Meanwhile, and a reminder of just how benign canids are, I will direct the groundlings to the antiwar article on War Criminal Nuland testifying to Congress on war crimes perpetrated by the Virtuous in Ukraine.


    China has called on the US to release the details of the Pentagon’s biological research programs in Ukraine. “The United States, as the party that knows the laboratories best, should release relevant specific information as soon as possible, including what viruses are stored and the research that has been carried out,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.


    1. Samuel Conner

      dogs of war?

      On gets the sense from some of the alternative media that US has been trying to set them loose. ZBig may be smiling from wherever he is in the post-mortem realm.

      1. William Beyer

        Time to reacquaint ourselves with America’s decision after WWII to let Japanese war criminal, Shiro Ishii, walk in return for his data on chemical and biological weapons experiments on tens of thousands of human subjects. Ishii made Josef Mengele look like Mother Theresa. And, the U.S. used chemical and biological weapons against China and Korea from 1950-53. What a coincidence!

        1. ambrit

          Yes, and Ishii’s group were literal “liver eaters.” The story about the infamous “cocktail party” for the program managers seems to be true.
          The relevant unit:
          What does the Ukraine/America Biological Warfare Unit call itself? Unit 731-A?
          There are “good” reasons why such endeavours are carried out in far flung climes and sub-rosa.
          Needless to say, the old maxim about “weaponry” is proven true again and again: “Every advance in military technology is eventually used.”
          Stay safe.
          I append this; the American Government is now actively our enemy. ‘They’ are trying to kill us.

    2. David

      Before this story gets out of control, let’s just review a few basic facts.
      The 1975 BTWC had no provisions for verification, and so it was impossible to actually know whether states were complying with it or not. Likewise, it doesn’t forbid states holding, or researching into, any biological agents: only types, quantities and methods that cannot be justified as having a peaceful purpose are prohibited.

      As a result, the possibility of the actual use of biological weapons was (and remains) real. For this reason, almost all advanced nations have BW research programmes, designed to investigate potential threats, and develop sensors and countermeasures. There have been a number of accusations that states have violated the Convention by continuing to research biological weapons, but the only confirmed case is that of the Soviet Union, which continued the research until at least 1991. (The Russian government has confirmed this). Since the Soviet offensive and defensive CBW programme was quite large, and some of it was in Ukraine, it’s not surprising that there are BW research laboratories there.

      One reason why the Convention was actually possible, is that BW had never been an effective military technology, and that was mainly because it was so difficult to deliver in useful quantities. The SU seems to have envisaged its use either in a strategic context, after a nuclear strike, or for assassinations and attacks on high-value targets such as HQs. But even they seem to have had doubts about its effectiveness, and it’s hard to see what utility it could have now. Certainly, if for some unfathomable reason the US decided to resurrect its offensive BW programme, Ukraine, near the Russian border and heavily infiltrated by Russian intelligence, would be the last place to do it.

      1. William Beyer

        Use of CBW on humans has never been really effective at scale. However, the use against animals seems to work just fine. Thought I saw something over at the Saker about recent, unexplained animal deaths in Ukraine.

      2. upstater

        David, Accepting the fact that mid to large powers all have some need for legitimate Biological Weapons defense laboratories, what about the contention that US DOD has provided funding for 130 of these places? That seems like a lot of labs. Also, Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, etc have been independent for 30 years. If these are legacy USSR facilities, why does it appear they have continued to operate at a level commensurate with Cold War v1.0? Shouldn’t a lot of it been shutdown a long time ago, like much of the USSR’S military-industrial complex?

        1. David

          It is a lot of labs, and I think there’s a lot of confusion here. Remember that biological weapons are essentially diseases. What turns them into weapons is either special treatment, such as machining anthrax spores to make them smaller and deadlier, or developing ways of delivering large quantities at once. Any university probably has at least one centre that researches poisons and infectious diseases, and could easily get included. And I suspect that this figure is more related to “programmes” than actual different institutions.

          Then you have military medical research institutes, which carry out research into things like battle stress, high-G manoeuvres in aeroplanes, human factors in operations and lots of other things. The military is also interested in region-specific diseases: if you are going to deploy to West Africa, for example, you’d better be sure that you know how to protect against and treat malaria, cholera and yellow fever. And finally, every reasonably advanced country will have at least one institution where they research potential biological weapon countermeasures, both on their behalf and that of the government as a whole. That all comes to quite a lot. Nations tend to cooperate on this kind of research (indeed the BTWC encourages it) and it wouldn’t be surprising if the US was helping to fund research in a number of different countries. I also have a suspicion (and it’s only that) that some of this funding plays an intelligence-gathering and oversight role. After all, there was some worry in the 90s that the Soviet successor states, including Ukraine, might try to retain WMD technologies for their own use, so funding research is a good way of keeping an eye on them.

          I’d be interested to see this famous list, but in the meantime don’t forget that tradition is important, and that some countries have historical expertise in certain areas that they want to retain. Quite a lot of the old Soviet defence industry was in the Ukraine, and a surprising amount of it is still there.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I was fascinated to see Victoria Nuland state in front of the Senate committee that there were biological research facilities of concern there – I wonder was it an error? She just have known this would fuel conspiracy theories (assuming those labs are relatively benign in intention). As Greenwald suggests, this has made a lot of media fact checkers look very stupid.

            1. David

              Sounds like a question she wasn’t briefed to expect, so she came out with a pre-packaged answer to another question. Happens sometimes to politicians who are not very bright. She was probably expecting a question about why the sites were of concern, which is, of course, because they handle, if only in very small quantities, highly infectious agents, and such things might be released if the Russians didn’t know they were there or if some ordnance went the wrong way. As you say, her own incompetence is now going to fuel conspiracy theories like Greenwald’s (not that he knows what he’s talking about, but that’s never stopped a conspiracy theorist yet.)

          2. upstater

            An acquaintance is a professor at a medical school and does DNA type research on brain disorders. He received substantial DARPA funding for PTSD research, finding markers highly predictive of susceptibility, identifiable in blood samples of recruits. Pretty important stuff, IMO, especially for creating wolf warriors.

            But everything was public information, AFIK. The grant proposal, the principal investors, amount of funding and results.. I don’t subscribe to tin foil hat theories. So if there is no “there” there, let the sunshine in, no? Why the secrecy?

            1. ambrit

              In large bureaucracies, secrecy is it’s own justification. Often, the aura of secrecy lends gravitas to otherwise mundane and unimportant matters, and the careers of the people in charge of said ‘matters.’
              In Terran human relationships etc. looking for logical and rational reasons for items is not automatically the best course.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Does anybody remember that time a few years ago when the US Air Force sought DNA samples of Russian and Russian-kindred people from Europe? Just for medical research they said. Nothing to worry about. Dammit I am still going with the idea that if you are going to be doing dangerous biological research, then the place for that is an unpopulated island off the trade routes and not in countries that border Russia. Considering the fact that the US has employed biological weapons in both Cuba and North Korea in the past, having all those stations scattered in eastern Europe is like putting a gun to someone’s head.

    1. DataHog

      Thank you.
      Three excellent reports worthy of “don’t miss” recommendations.

      The Lawrence essay is like the excellent Michael Hudson big-picture economic-context reports that NC supplies to us. It offers another big-picture context for a different kind of war in which we are victims.

    2. Pate

      Thank you for these! Truly excellent and agree with DataHog that all three are “don’t miss” reads.

      Here is but one juicy bit:

      “Wang put his finger on the reason behind today’s crisis: “Some major country (US), trying to hold on to its hegemony, has resurrected Cold War mentality and stoked bloc confrontation. This has fuelled instability and division, and added trouble to a world already facing so many challenges.”

    3. Ignacio

      Doctorow’s article, at least the stuff related with bioweapons is wildly speculative thought it rises the questions of what are those biolabs about and why Nuland’s remarks on those “falling in the wrong hands” and some extra explanations would be needed from her to explain why such event would be dangerous. I think that if the Russians had taken any of those under their control and found something that could readily qualify as dangerous would rapidly issue the specifics. I am very wary about believing anything about ‘biowarfare’ in general.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        The thing is a couple weeks ago any speculation about biolabs was written off as some kind of Qanon-inspired conspiracy theory. It remains to be seem what was going on there or why there were also so many of them(!), but clearly it was not a total fabrication. I have the same questions as you but I doubt we will get any kind of honest answer from the likes of Nuland. And that really is a problem – I can’t think of anyone in the US gov that I would trust to give an honest answer, much less that the rest of the world would trust.

  4. russell1200

    What was the % of the “Nazi” vote in general elections? Something like ~5%.

    So the there are Nazis, and 5% of a big country is enough people to put together a brigade to fight.

    But your choice of posting is long on pushing the Ukrainians = Nazi and close critiquing of an inexperienced politician (a fair criticism) whose country has been invaded.

    Do you think that maybe some of the push for the Ukrainian language (and the “rise” of the Nazis) might not have a little to do with reacting to what Russia was up to in the breakaway regions and Russia? That doesn’t mean that it was the correct or wise thing to do. But its not happening in a vacuum.

    To my mind, the biggest surprise has been how poorly the Russians have performed. Some of this was their apparently thinking they would be marching in to cheers and flowers, but a lot of what they are doing doesn’t seem well planned out. Particularly surprising because they have had smaller versions of this type of operation to learn from.

    The second surprise is how vehement the European reaction is. When they say “world opinion” in this case, they seem to mostly mean the Europeans.

    1. Carolinian

      So how many “Nazis”are there in the United States? And yet the Dems and Biden talk constantly about the “fascist” takeover that they believe is just around the corner.

      I believe most of us here know that the Bandera neo-Nazi faction–and yes they go back to the actual Nazis and WW2 rather than Putin–are a small percentage of the overall population. The problem is what isn’t there: any Ukrainian governmental institution standing up to oppose them. Instead the Billionaires who call the shots use these fanatically violent people as their private armies and as terror squads to keep any dissent under control. So it’s really Nazis plus the various ill intentioned actors who want to make use of them and that includes the US. And if you don’t think the US is doing so consider how our government and media are carefully concealing the reality of who these people are. That’s why Lambert has to talk about it. Most of us are here to find out what’s true. The party line sites are “over there.”

      1. russell1200

        My understanding is that the WW2 era Nazi particularly came from the eastern part of the country that had been part of Poland prior to the German/Soviet partitioning. The orthodox church there had some Catholic leanings FWIW. So when the Nazi’s invade, they (much like Finland) simply flip to working with the Nazis. The part of the country that suffered Stalin’s starvation, was mostly on the opposite side of the country.

        I think the current with past Nazi’s is tenuous. But as you say, it certainly would fit that bad actors (aka oligarchs) would use them to have their own little tea party moment: a tea party with a brown shirt like component.

        It is fair to disagree, but I feel that endlessly pushing the Nazi-theme doesn’t really add to the current discussion.

        It’s like talking about how Saddham was obstructionist about his WMD holdings. He was. But it’s a not an excuse to go invade a country. The fact that there are some Nazis (presumably ~5% of pop) running around in the Ukraine isn’t an excuse either. Pushing the Nazi-theme seems to be trying to say that it was a legitimate grounds for invasion.

        1. Harold

          Ukrainian Fascism, a cult of death that embraced political assassination, murder, terror, crime and ethnic cleansing predates the German variety. That the current government does not repudiate this philosophy but normalizes it by allowing monuments to it all over Ukraine and treating it as an expression of healthy patriotism is abhorrent, at least to me.

          1. Lynne

            Harold, I am certainly not defending Ukrainian nazis. But I do know Ukrainians who are not Nazis and I don’t know why their deaths are apparently ok with many here. You know, there are Nazis active in the US South and Pacific Northwest and the latter aren’t far from Russia. Is it ok for Russia to go into Oregon state and Spokane? Where do you draw the line at collective guilt?

            1. K.k

              Has the Us government allowed openly fascist paramilitary forces size of battalions to be incorporated into the various military branches ? Are the fascists being put in positions of power in the various security services within the US? Are there open fascists being placed as police chiefs and mayors in the US? And are these forces being funded, armed and trained by a foreign power? Have these fascist forces been attacking and shelling other American cities and minority groups in the Us? Have American fascists banned other languages in order to repress other American citizens?
              Im not interested in trying to convince you that Russia is doing the right thing here or not. But context matters. You are being disingenuous by equating Spokane, Wa with the conflict in the Ukraine over the last decade. I abhor the loss of life and war and have no love for a reactionary figure like Putin and the political tendency he represents. But once again context matters. There are no good guys on the scene, just bad and worse. Its hard for me to argue the case the Russians are worse than the government that openly gets in bed with fascists and uses them to attack its own Russian speaking population in a conflict that has taken nearly 15000 lives in the last 8 years. The bulk of casualties coming from the Russian speaking Ukrainian population not wanting to live under the boot of fascist thugs. So yes, the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians are not fascists but they will suffer just as the Russian population that does not support the invasion will suffer under the sanctions designed for this very purpose.

              1. Lynne

                If you listen to critics of the US, the answer to all your questions is yes. I am not “equating” Spokane with the conflict in Ukraine (thank you for making it clear by your language that you do not recognize the country), I am simply pointing out that you support some destruction and not others. Since you favor escalation of violence, the only question is why you say that “there are no good guys.” So exactly which children are “just bad and worse” in your world view?

        2. lyman alpha blob

          The presence of nazis isn’t a legitimate cause for an invasion. Greece has a nazi-esque presence (Golden Dawn) which has won seats in their parliament and nobody is talking about invading Greece. At least not militarily – we’ll leave aside financially crushing the entire country for the present discussion.

          The problem is that these nazis have been given a boost by the West. You’d think the West would have learned its lesson about funding murderous right wing fanatics with the mujahedin. The enemy of your enemy is not your friend, and blowback can be a real [family blog].

          1. Jessica

            The key point isn’t that Ukraine has some neo-Nazis. It is that they are quite well organized and armed and that 13,000 or so people have been killed in the separatist regions of the Donbass. If Golden Dawn in Greece had been shelling formerly Greek regions of Turkey for 8 years or shelled the breakaway Turkish republic in Northern Cyprus from southern Cyprus and killed 13,000 people, Turkey would have responded militarily much sooner.

    2. The Rev Kev

      What they mean by ‘the world’ is really just North America, Europe and a few vassal states elsewhere like Japan and Australia. The Euro landmass, Asia, South America and Africa does not come into their calculations and are dismissed

    3. JohnA

      I understand that back in the 1920s and early 1930s, the Nazis were a very small % in Germany. They gained power and pretty much cowed all opposition into silence or worse. What exactly is your point?

      Plus, not sure what you mean by ‘reacting to what Russia was up to in the breakaway regions’. If you do your homework, you will discover that it was the Ukrainian government that was shelling and terrorising the east. There was some retaliatory fire, but the vast majority of deaths and injuries were suffered by the separatists.

    4. Louis Fyne

      Russia has gained more ground per day than any army in history.

      All with less than 500 official civilian deaths according to the UN. more people die per day from Covid

      Empathy with Russia does not equal sympathy. But the West’s brain is so addled by social media dopamine and tunnel vision, any type of reasonable thought is gone from the public debat.

      Every Russian bad, everything not Russian good

      1. John

        Rather like the chant in Animal Farm, “Two legs bad. Four legs good.” … and with about as much cognition behind it.

        1. Bruno

          That was the *revolutionary* chant–the oppressor was not a chicken. The point was that when the “pigs” (Stalinists) became just like people, standing on two legs, the chant became “Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better!”

      2. AnArchitect

        Your first line is categorically wrong and I’m not sure what motivated you to make such a bold statement.

        You seem to be ok with collateral damage to achieve vague ambitions. As has been routinely parroted on this site and its comment board, Russia aims to demilitarize, de-nazify, and to enforce neutrality for the Ukrainian government. How invasion (sorry, “special military operation”) could ever hope to achieve any of those goals is beyond me and apparently Putin.

        For demilitarization, how could the Russian’s not anticipate Western intervention and arms-dealing? That’s what we do! Ukraine will never be demilitarized, unless it is reduced to glass, which is no one’s preferred result.

        For de-nazi-ing process, who gets to determine who are nazis? Are we just head-clipping folks until some sort of Nazi quota is met? If I call you Nazi, does that make you one? Clearly not. Folks get lost in fog of war real quick.

        For neutrality, what’s a more surefire way to motivate other border states to join a defensive pact than invasion?

        This whole war is insane. It’s got nothing to do with nazis and everything to do with power and monopolistic control of resources (gas to Europe?).

        1. Louis Fyne

          Empathy (understanding why someone did something) does not equal sympathy. or approval

          1. AnArchitect

            “All with less” seems like a statement structured to imply approval, as in (read in the voice of a used car salesman): “All of that benefit for just this cost.

        2. Kouros

          The other countries have already have joined a “defense” military alliance. However, Sweden said they are going to put any decision on cold for now, given the overheated environment. Likely the Finns will follow…

          What about the monopolistic control of USD?

          1. AnArchitect

            It will be an interesting few years as the dust settles. Per this NPR report, Finns seem to be warming to the idea of joining NATO. However, as we all know, the will of the people is seldom aligned with the will of its government.

            I didn’t mention anything about the USD in my post.

    5. Josh E.

      I find it rather odd that you object to a well-reasoned article in a context where 99% of all media is just relentless repeating the Ukraine story as one-line “Putin/Russia is evil/crazy” articles.

      The US probably has the same percentage with an ideology that has the same basic openly-racist hyper-nationalistic outlook. (I hope it is only 5% — could be a lot more concentrated in the deep south.)

      But you don’t see them incorporated into the US Military as a unit. You don’t see them using KKK or confederate symbols on their uniforms. You haven’t seen a single US political figure of significance being willing to be in the same room as even the Proud Boys, a group that is not nearly as extreme as the Avov battalion.

      Look, you can pretend they were just reacting to Russia when they banned the use of the Russian language like you can pretend that Texas (my home state) refusing to use Spanish on government forms for a while was motivated a desire to integrate its immigrant population. But it isn’t being honest.

      The Ukraine side has now:
      1. Incorporated paramilitary into its army
      2. Released all its convicted murders and given them assault rifles and grenades.
      3. Sabotaged civilian evacuations (evidence mixed but Russia had no motive)
      4. Assassinated a member of its negotiating team
      Looks like the ultra-nationalists are running the show on the Ukrainian side.

      I think the explanation that fits the evidence best is that Russia hadn’t really decided to invade until Ze’s speech at the Munich conference made them realize that war was inevitable. They decided if they were in for co-pec they were in for a ruble and planned encircle the deployed Ukraine army. Because (a) they acted quickly with available troops and (b) they aren’t trying to level the cities, it is going slow.

      The European reaction (like the American) is entire reaction is entirely predictable. The people who join the military in Europe all have an axe to grind with Russia. The civilian leadership was temporally sidelined. I expect the outcome of all of this is going to be that Germany and France will assume real leadership of Europe’s relationship with Russia because it is too dangerous for them to let the US control it.

      1. KLG

        “The US probably has the same percentage with an ideology that has the same basic openly-racist hyper-nationalistic outlook. (I hope it is only 5% — could be a lot more concentrated in the deep south.)”

        Would you present some support for your assertion about the Deep South, as opposed to the rest of the country? Thank you.

        1. ambrit

          I, being a dweller in the South, see this as a carry over from the “bad old days” when outright racism was tolerated here. That generation is now slowly dying out. The successor generations of Southron are a mixed bag, but nothing as “bad” as their predecessors. “This ain’t your grandpappy’s Deep South no more!”
          Plenty of counter examples of institutionalized racism from the North and West could be bought up, but that’s an almost fruitless enterprise. The propaganda is too strong right now.
          Suffice it to say that America in general is prey to all the usual Terran Human foibles and weaknesses.
          Stay safe, wherever you are.

        2. Robin Kash

          The Deep South has deep-set racial issues, true, but that’s not exclusive to them. A recent report has the five worst states for Black people are comprised by the upper midwest; Iowa is third worst. []
          Then, there are Black’s in the Ukraine. Not a good look for the PR mavens in SC nor the MSM stenographer. []

        3. lordkoos

          As a citizen of the Pacific northwestern United States, I can assure you that there are plenty of Nazi types in WA, ID, OR, MT etc. The south has problems too but I haven’t seen any stats that show more extreme right-winger exist in the south.

        4. fringe element

          I’m in Atlanta and was born here, so I’ve known the city from the Jim Crow days to the present. The influx of Asian and Hispanic immigration for the past twenty years has been enormous. The three large counties adjacent to the metro area that were white flight destinations twenty years ago all now have majority minority populations, and that majority is black in only one of the three counties. White flight has moved to the counties beyond those three, which practically puts them in another state, given the size of the city.

      2. Geo

        “But you don’t see them incorporated into the US Military as a unit. You don’t see them using KKK or confederate symbols on their uniforms. You haven’t seen a single US political figure of significance being willing to be in the same room as even the Proud Boys, a group that is not nearly as extreme as the Avov battalion.“

        • More than a third of US troops say they’ve seen white supremacists in the ranks.

        • FBI has long been concerned about the infiltration of law enforcement by white supremacist groups

        • Marjorie Taylor Green and Paul Gozar speak at white nationalist event

        Maybe not as officially embraced as in Ukraine but we’re not as clean as your comment implied.

        1. Yves Smith

          This isn’t even close to what is happening in Ukraine. Do we have white supremacists in their official military capacity attacking and persecuting people of color to the degree that nearly 13 million flee? That’s the pro-rata level of the refugees that have left for Russia and Belarus since 2014.

        2. neo-realist

          And the ex-President who might want to be President again that told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” I do worry that if the MAGA elements of the GOP assume the reins of power in the executive branch as well as the legislative one, we will see state persecution and state violence against progressive political activists on a level unseen since the Palmer raids.

          I’ll be glad to be wrong.

    6. DataHog

      Your Ukraine vote-count argument is without merit.
      For example:
      How many Neocon votes were tallied in recent American elections?
      How many US political experts claim that the tiny Neocon tail has been wagging the US foreign policy dog?

      How many well-placed neo-Nazis are needed for that tail to wag the Ukraine military dog? Evidently there are more than enough.

    7. The Rev Kev

      Here is an example of what they are dealing with in the Ukraine. So you may or may not remember Natalia Poklonskaya who became the head Prosecutor in the Crimea back in 2015 and whom the Japanese fell in love with. She has been distributing humanitarian aid in Ukraine’s Kherson region lately so a Ukrainian MP with the European Solidarity party – Alexey Goncharenko – has urged the country’s citizens to hunt her down in a ‘safari.’ He also said ‘If you see her somewhere, feel free to grab her.’ This is not just some soldier speaking but a Ukrainian MP here and I am willing to bet that there are a lot like him in the power structure in the Ukraine-

    8. Michael Fiorillo

      You are confusing cause with effect: the Ukrainians banned the teaching of Russian (and murdered dozens of Maidan Coup opponents in Odessa) before Donestsk and Luhansk rebelled.

    9. lance ringquist

      violent extremists are always puzzled by empathy and restraint. the real nazis bombed and murdered millions in short periods of time to get their way.

      they demonized other peoples, and demonized even their own. today the deplorable are yesterdays roma.

      yugoslavia was yesterdays sudetenland, after that, poland, err, iraq, Czechoslovakia, err, afghanistan, norway, err, libya, get the picture!

      1. Bruno

        “the real nazis bombed and murdered millions in short periods of time to get their way.” So did Roosevelt and Churchill with their “strategic bombing” of German working class neighborhoods.

    10. Barbados Slim

      Before the invasion: If you’re sitting at a table with a bunch of people and a Nazi sits with you and no objects, you’re sitting with a bunch of Nazis.

      After the invasion: Sure there are Nazis at the table but just how many of them are Nazis? And what if they have good reasons for being Nazis? Maybe they’re Nazis because they’re inexperienced or because foreigners came to sit at their table too, ever think about that?

    11. David

      The vote was irrelevant after Hitler and Goering were invited into the government. What mattered was the Nazi militia, the SA, which was about 400,000 strong at the time, and able to impose itself by violence.

    12. lyman alpha blob

      I may be missing something, but I have yet to see anyone from the Russian government claiming that they would be met with cheers and flowers in Ukraine. The Russians had to be well aware of the Western-backed nazi presence considering they gained prominence back in 2014 as shock troops for the US-led coup, that they were well armed given the extremely public declarations of weapons transfers from the US, and that they would surely fight back.

      A lot of people seem to be mistaking Putin for Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld.

  5. Samuel Conner

    I think the highways in the ISW maps are only shown in the enlarged inset of the Kiev region, showing the extent to which R land control is obstructing road access to the capital.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Those maps don’t really show what also counts and that is the fire control that the Russians have on whole regions. So in the east, the Russians have the army that was supposed to invade the Donbass this month in a cauldron. On the map you can’t really see it but just watch what happens if tanks or convoys try to go in or out that cauldron. If the long-range artillery does not get them or the drones or the fighter bombers or patrols or mines…well, you get the point.

      1. Louis Fyne

        yes, the map widely used by media leave out some big caveats.

        From social media videos, reasonable evidence that theUkrainian units have zero contact with any organized chain of command or resupply back to kyiv.

        functionally, any army unit not hiding next to a church or school has been neutralized or rudderless

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Per the maps b uses, this is just a waiting game since day 5 (6). Rivers are pesky. Vehicles can’t drive off road. The Russians only had to really watch two relatively close bridges with air power and drones at that point that was still some distance to a retreating army.

        1. John

          The maps posted on the Saker website give more detail. I have no idea how accurate they may be, but for guidance as to the general state of play, they are useful.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          Those rivers appear to be getting peskier, especially for civilians attempting to leave the city.

          At the north-western entrance to the Ukrainian capital across the Irpin river, people flee the advancing Russian forces using a makeshift pedestrian bridge. Some civilians are transporting their groceries, while soldiers are carrying across weapons. Ukrainian forces destroyed several bridges around Kyiv to help stall the Russian invasion of the capital.

          Almost like someone heard that the Russians were committed to minimizing civilian casualties, so they decided to make it harder for them to leave.

    2. jr

      Every time I look at the “news”, Russia is failing miserably. Putin is bungling everything. Every time I come here, it’s a totally different story.

      1. Samuel Conner

        The Rs didn’t destroy the U state the way US would have done were it making the decisions (taking Iraq as the reference for US understanding of ‘best practices in war’). Our rulers appear to interpret this restraint to be evidence of incapacity or incompetence.

        Or maybe that’s simply how they want us to interpret it.

        There’s a ‘through the looking glass’ character to the news these days (though I suppose one could regard the last two years of pandemic news reporting and public decision-making to be like that, too).

        How many impossible things will we believe before breakfast today?

        1. jr

          Thanks for the comments guys. This dip$hit idea of “Putinism” smacks of “Whiteness” or “Blackness” or some other reductionist term for something rattling about in the brains of the US public. Identitarianism seems to have inclined us towards simplistic concepts of complex subjects, no doubt to the shock and surprise of everyone here. It certainly didn’t start with the D’Angelos of the world but it seems likely that it has further decayed the ability of an already credulous public to process new information. Everything is lumped together under one rubric, making it easy to paint a picture of a super-villain in the person of Putin. Or every white person. Or whoever.

          And my crack about Butler’s influence on the “Wish Upon a Star” approach to reality wasn’t a joke. If everything you think is true because it’s “your” truth, then you need look no further for answers or analysis. Everyone is their own authority. Of course, “your” truth is generally the product of authoritarian manipulation and illusion but since you are your own standard how would you ever really know? It’s like peoples claims to personal freedom in regards to eating what garbage food they want or how much Tik-Tok they consume. Coke v. Pepsi freedom, I call it.

          It sounds inane to myself, probably to all of us who strive to see all sides despite our particular political alignments, but I really do believe it’s how a lot of people view the world. How many times have we heard “Well, that’s the way I feel.” in contradiction to brute, material facts. Like the time I mentioned to a group of Blue friends that Hillary was a mass-murderer with Libyan blood on her hands, to mention just one of her groups of victims. Their response was not to argue contra to my claim. It was to express a sense that I was being slightly rude or out of line with downcast eyes and stiff body language. My facts didn’t jive with their emotional stake in it and that was enough to end the conversation.

          1. Andrew Watts

            The obsession with Putin is kinda weird, but if somebody else was in charge of the Kremlin recent events might have come to pass sooner. Putin made it sound like the Russian MoD was impatient to go into Ukraine in his press conference on Women’s Day.

            The whole focus on identitarianism is an analytical basis I can’t agree with. You can take the American out of church, but you can’t take the Calvinist out of the majority of Americans. They need the devil incarnate in some guise to make sense of their world.

            It’s why the response to any contrary information or experience is usually a witch hunt.

          2. fringe element

            I once told a blue check friend that Hillary belonged in the Hague. That did not go over well either.

      2. Cat Burglar

        When you consider that much of the reporting on the war is poorly sourced, and that many of the sources are providing propaganda, and that the media needs to have some product to hand to a public hungry for news — and add to all that the deception and secrecy every army at war uses — then it is very hard to even figure out what is happening. (Like, why does most reporting focus on Kyiv and Kharkov, but almost none on the more militarily significant encirclement of Ukrainian troops in the southeast?)

        Then you have to judge that against the poorly understood criteria of what the Russian war aims really are (Who is claiming to know what they are , and what is the basis for such claims?), if you want to come to some idea of whether “Putin is bungling everything,” or not. The “bungling” meme is one possible state of affairs, but so are others — and it has to be regarded with suspicion when it comes from advocates of NATO governments.

      3. Andrew Watts

        They’re trying to create their own reality for people to live in. The ‘OSINT’ nerds have been doing that with the whole MiG transfer and speculating about a southern counter-offensive for over a week now. It doesn’t occur to them that they’re recreating that scene from Downfall where Hitler is talking about Steiner.

        If the Ukrainians were capable of launching one it already would’ve happened.

  6. Louis Fyne

    Korea has the same red state-blue state (not along the same issues) divide that every Western electorate has right now.

    geez, it is as if income-asset inequality, social media, rigged trade deals creates angry electorates

  7. Sardonia

    “Saudi, UAE leaders declined calls with Biden amid Ukraine conflict: report”

    Mohammed bin Salman sits at his desk. Phone rings. Looks at it, sees that it’s Joe Biden calling. Praises Allah for Caller ID and ignores it. Thinks for a moment, then adds a specific ringtone for Joe Biden – The Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”. Now no need to have to look at his phone when he hears that again….

    1. petal

      hahaha excellent mental video there.
      Looks like Joe should’ve rang those guys up before cutting off Russian oil? Now what? Did no one think this through-like “What if they say no? What if x # of countries say yes, y # say no?” etc? What else are they not thinking through? Yeah, I know, long list, but it’s scary to think about. They never think anything through.

      Airborne Toxic Event is a great band, btw.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Can you imagine old Joe’s phone call to Venezuela? I can see it now-

        ‘Biden: ‘Hey guys, you know that I’m not a lying, dog-faced, pony soldier and I am willing to let bygones be bygones and be generous so how about we let you sell us all the oil that you can.’

        Maduro: ‘Si,si, we can make an arrangement. So payment in advance, all sanctions to be immediately lifted, all our gold to be returned from London and a formal acknowledgment that you regard me as the actual and legal President. Hallo? Hallo? Are you still there? Joe? Dios mío. I think that he just had a stroke.’

      2. Questa Nota

        How did America go bankrupt lose credibility?
        Gradually, then suddenly.

        Loss of face.
        Emperor’s New Clothes.
        Bully getting punched.

        Pick your theme, as there are many available.

        American media, Congress, Bidet, DC Consensus, Acela Corridor A******s, PMC, Atlantic alliances and many others are starting to face greater scrutiny and even critical reviews. That is about to get a whole lot more public, given the race by Nuland, Rubio and others to get out ahead of various stories, not just bio-weapons labs. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

        1. Pate

          It is interesting isn’t it. I keep asking myself “what am I missing here?” and wondering “or is this just simply a horrible example of Greek tragedy, IMDoc’s “hubris nemesis” etc.?” Whatever it is, it’s damn sad.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        Orientalism is the guiding light of US foreign policy. Losing McDonald’s and not being invited to take photos with Trudeau were going make Moscow tremble.

        These doofuses lobbied Beijing as if Beijing would just listen to the US or wasn’t generally aware of the mood in the Kremlin. Then guys like Miley just said they were surprised by the Chinese attitude. DC doesn’t even have a clue how to talk to countries we don’t run.

      4. Nikkikat

        I’m picturing Neera Tanden urging Biden to just attack a couple more countries and steal their oil. While fielding calls from Hillary Clinton on what she thinks about no fly zones.

          1. John

            HRC, Neera Tanden, et al … coming to you from the past you prayed was past to the future you’d rather not consider

            1. ambrit

              Shouldn’t that be ‘Neera Tanden, Protector of the Republic?’
              I don’t see her getting legitimately elected to the top job. I can, however, see her being “appointed” to the job, “…in the interests of national unity etc. etc.”

    2. JTMcPhee

      I read that one index of plutocratic power is whether political leaders will take your call at any time. Looks like the Empire is flagging in this important metric as well.

      Reminds me of Peter Sellers’ President on the phone with the Soviet prime minister… Also recalls scenes from “The Mouse That Roared…” we’ll meet again…

    3. Daryl

      If this wrecks relations with Saudi Arabia, there’s at least a silver lining to the whole thing.

  8. Brian Beijer

    Between the biolabs and this, my opinion is firm that Russia had every justification for their military operation. If only these items can enter into mainstream media; it might turn the public’s opinion against Ukraine. Especially, European public opinion. I doubt that any of the information released by Russia will ever get into the news though. So far, not a peep from news outlets here in Sweden.

    1. JohnA

      At least Sweden PM Magdalena Andersson has finally come to her senses about not joining NATO. I hope she also wises up to the stupidity of shipping arms to Ukraine as well.

    2. arte

      For the Europeans, the invasion was a highly effective vaccine against Russian bullshit. Any actual babies that go with that bathwater, well… maybe can be discussed in a decade if Russia stops the official lying and the eternal denials.

      Just think how hard it would have been to make your voice heard in America after Pearl Harbor, arguing that USA practically pushed Japan into the attack and that it was somehow justified.

      1. liam

        Europeans are acting out of fear. They’ve been conditioned over many years to fear the bear. They see the bear prowling abroad so they’re hyperventilating. It’s not rational. The good news is that some are beginning to calm down and come to their senses. See the Swedish PM mentioned above. Also recent comments from Germany and France. Like Josh E above, I also suspect France and Germany will take charge of relations with Russia. The cost is too high to get it wrong. From the article linked to above by douglass truth:

        The big news out of Wang Yi’s press conference is China’s offer “to carry out necessary mediation.” Germany reportedly has sought Chinese mediation (in what is essentially a European issue.) Such a thing has never happened in history! And this has the backing of France, too!

        We’ll see. They Russians, as they have undoubtedly shown, have agency too.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          If that comes to fruition–China mediates a new mutual security agreement among France, Germany and Russia–that’s the end of NATO, and “the West” is reduced to the Anglos and Japan.

          Look who’s scrambling now. America is, as someone said in comments, such a fest of schadenfreude that it could be health threatening. Putin is scrambling some too after having set things in motion. And the French and Germans, already fragile societies, bullied by the U.S. with their economic survival threatened.

          And there sits China, calm, conciliatory, welcoming to all but the most belligerent.

          Can they have begun on this journey way back when they were brought into the WTO? Or even when Nixon and Kissinger visited? When I grew up, China was regarded as backward country, struggling just to feed its people. Now I’ve lived to see the world come to them, hat in hand.

          Even as jingoistic a fool as Joe Scarborough was looking to China as the only entity able to stop Putin without nuclear war as CIA spokesman Ignatius and Zbig spawn Mike sat there without objection this morning.

          And in the meanwhile, my own country has managed to lose a lot of wars and make a few people richer than even the old Chinese emperors could have imagined.

      2. Kouros

        “The choice that we faced in Ukraine — and I’m using the past tense there intentionally — was whether Russia exercised a veto over NATO involvement in Ukraine on the negotiating table or on the battlefield,” said George Beebe, a former director of Russia analysis at the CIA and special adviser on Russia to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

        The CIA’s Beebe follows with this almost unbelievable line:

        “And we elected to make sure that the veto was exercised on the battlefield, hoping that either Putin would stay his hand or that the military operation would fail.”

    3. Bob

      What ???

      One country is JUSTIFIED in invading another ???
      The unleashing of all of the implements of modern war is justified ?

      1. Brian Beijer

        When a neighboring country has biological research labs to make illegal bioweapons to use on your country, then yes, I believe that is a just cause to invade that country. Can you imagine the US response if Cuba had labs set up to make bioweapons from “anthrax, the plague, tularemia, cholera and other deadly diseases”? Would there even be a question about invading Cuba?

        Second, Putin acknowledged the independence of the seperatist regions and offered to provide military assistance if needed. The documents Russia released prove that an attack was planned in those regions. Russia simply followed through with their promise. I’m sure the US was shocked that he did that since they never follow through with any promises/ agreements.
        Finally, Zelensky threatened to obtain/develop nuclear weapons. Again, if Cuba had threatened to do the same; what would have been the US response? Oh, no need to answer that. We already know.
        As I said, justified.
        To those who argue that I’m using “whataboutisms”, my response is that “whataboutisms” is all we have in dealing with modern geopolitics. No country has set a moral/ethical standard of behavior for which to judge others by. As we have witnessed over the decades, the laws/rules set by the UN and through treaties are regularly ignored by some NA(TO)meless countries. And as some have stated here, every country makes choices based on what’s in their best interest. Russia has simply done the same. Now, it’s up to Ukraine and NATO to decide what is in their best interest. My guess is that they won’t make a good choice for anyone.

        1. David

          Cuba almost certainly has BW research facilities, because most advanced states do. So do countries like Sweden, Japan and South Korea. See my comment above.

          1. JTMcPhee

            “almost certainly”?

            Seems like Cuba govt is doing sensible stuff like turning out vaccines and doctors to share with the rest of the actual world.

            Any links indicating that degree of conditional certainty, even?

            1. David

              No, but it’s a country with advanced healthcare, and so almost certainly conducts research into protecting its population against biological attack, as well as mass epidemics. (The technologies are of course linked).They seem to have dealt with Covid rather well. If the Cubans have long memories, they will remember that the South Africans, under Project Coast, were developing biological weapons in the 1980s, when they were fighting the Cubans in Angola.

              1. Michaelmas

                It’s a country with advanced healthcare, and … conducts research into protecting its population against biological attack, as well as mass epidemics. (The technologies are of course linked).

                This point can’t be stressed enough. It’s all dual use.

                To defend against the bad bug, you have to have the bad bug–if only as a DNA sequence, analyzable in silico. But if you have the DNA sequence for Ebola, say, it’s easy peasy to print it out with modern DNA synthesizers. The Ebola virus is only 180 thousand base pairs, IIRC.

                And so on. It’s all dual use.

              2. The Rev Kev

                Late to reply here, David. Surely you know that the US used biological weapons against Cuba decades ago to ruin their crops. So it would only be natural for such a country to develop a capability to deal with any future attacks. I’m sure that North Korea also has such a capability after having to deal with the bubonic plague which was released upon them during the Korean war. Seems that actions have consequences. Who knew?

        2. Whataboutproud

          Whataboutism is a perfectly valid line of argument in moral discussions.

          Nobody would take lectures from a person to not beat your wife, if he was beating his own wife. Or?

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine war: Poland offers all its MIG-29 fighter jets to US in plan to provide aircraft to Kyiv”

    You have to admire the astuteness of the Poles here. They have been leaned on to hand over their Mig-29s to the Ukrainian pilots already in their country. Those pilots would then take off and bomb those Russian convoys and any other targets as identified by NATO up-to-date intelligence which they are already receiving. Those Ukrainian pilots would then flee back to a Polish airfield for safety having completed their mission. But the Russians have already pointed out to the Poles that if an attack is launched from their territory, then they have the legal right to a counter-strike against those airfields which would trigger Article 5 and then you would have a NATO-Russia war with Poland right on the front lines. As I said, that would be mission accomplished by those Ukrainian pilots.

    So the Poles pulled a swifty. They said that they will hand those planes over to a US base in Germany and then the ball would be in their court while they got a batch of F-16s. The poles were bluffing here. No way will they open up a gaping hole in their air defenses by giving up a third of their fighter force for what exactly? A Washington promise? The Pentagon has harrummped and shot this idea down which the Poles certainly expected. A coupla dozen fighters will make no difference to this war and I bet that military experts know it. But it sounds like the Poles took a leaf out of Putin’s book and did a bit of jiu-jitsu themselves on these rabid warmongers. I salute them.

    1. OnceWereVirologist

      Poland : We can’t hand over the jets to the Ukrainians. Russia might interpret it as an act of war. Why don’t you give us the F-16s and we’ll give you the MIGs in exchange. Then you can give the jets to the Ukrainians.
      USA : WE can’t give them the jets. It’s not as if we can load them in the back of a panel van, they have to fly from somewhere. And you’re supposed to be our most devotedly anti-Russian ally.
      Poland : Dibs on not giving them the jets. Ask Romania.

    2. The Historian

      Actually, I think it is more the Poles calling the US’s bluff. The State Department was floating the idea that they wanted former Warsaw Pact countries to donate their MIGs to Ukraine. Of course, it was just talk – to convince the Ukrainians that the US was ‘doing something’.

      So now it is up to the Pentagon to say no as I am sure the Poles knew they would. Where is Blinken these days?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Not the Ukrainian. No Western elite ever cared. It’s for the dips flying paper air planes in yesterday’s water cooler.

    3. BlueMoose

      I have to admit I had a restless night last night (I live in central Poland). It was a great relief to see the updates from the pentagon this morning regarding how untenable the proposal made by the Poles was! I’m just wondering how much longer Russia is going to tolerate all the arms being flown into Poland and then trucked over the border to Ukraine.

      1. Rod

        Interesting comment. I would be interested in knowing what Poles (non Official) sentiments are regarding the last 2 weeks.
        thanks and stay well.

      1. BlueMoose

        Exactly. I think the Poles are already on the hook for some quantity of Penguins (no offense to penguins) but don’t seem to be in any hurry for completing the transaction. It seems they have also been ‘allowed’ to buy 250 Abrams tanks. Every day this seems more and more like the US has taken the “let’s agree that you and him fight” approach to this situation. EU/Nato forces are playing a game of hot potato(e). Unfortunately, I think Poland is going to end up the ‘winner’.

        1. OIFVet

          My impression is that Poland and the Baltics are the tail that tries to wag the dog. Zelensky now too, the way he won’t take the hint that NFZ is a non-starter. As far as weapons go, one of Uncle Sam’s primary reasons to want NATO expansion is to secure captive markets for its MIC.

          1. BlueMoose

            Could you expand on why you think Poland and the Baltics are the tail that tries to wag the dog?

            1. OIFVet

              Because the amount of strident and unsupported alarmism emanating from Poland and the Baltics is hard to explain otherwise. History is one thing (though there are no innocents anywhere in Eastern Europe), but most of it seemed designed to escalate pressure on Russia by acts of EU and NATO, particularly sanctions.

    4. Bill

      Good analysis, thanks. Just a question though: “But the Russians have already pointed out to the Poles that if an attack is launched from their territory, then they have the legal right to a counter-strike against those airfields…” Would Russia have a legal right even if Russia’s in Ukraine illegally?

  10. OnceWereVirologist

    Re : Adam Tooze.

    In my view Mearsheimer’s analysis also falls short at the level of explanation. Famously “free choices” resist causal explanation. But we cannot simply waive (sic) our hands. Indeed, if we merely waive our hands, or assume an automaticity from structural conditions to action, as Mearsheimer seems to do, we void the domain in which the responsibility of statecraft is actually enacted. We void too the domain in which a sophisticated understanding of realism would have to prove its worth. If we take Mearsheimer’s account seriously, Russia, rather than being a sentient strategic actor, is reduced to something akin to a resentful robot.

    Analogizing the Tooze take to daily life, the policy realist might give the advice “Don’t make pointed eye contact with the biggest guy in the room if you find yourself in a biker bar. You’re probably going to get glassed.” To which Tooze would respond, “Well, the biker glassing you is a choice that could go either way. And in fact, on certain readings of self-interest it doesn’t make sense for the biker to glass you for such a small provocation. You shouldn’t listen to someone who reduces the biker to something akin to a resentful robot.” I know whose advice I’d prefer to take.

    1. Carolinian

      assume an automaticity from structural conditions to action

      Love the bafflegab. While Mearsheimer is perhaps a little too into his long standing talking points one has to note the clarity with which he make his case. What he is presenting is simply analysis rather than some universal moral philosophy. Meanwhile the R2P crowd throw out a smokescreen of rationalizing PR to conceal their own ruthlessness. Palmerston said countries have “only interests.” We may not like such a sentiment or think it cynical but by and large it appears to be true. If our establishment are concerned about morality perhaps they should take a look at themselves. They are our real problem.

      1. Cat Burglar

        Anglo-world intellectuals of a certain age never studied Kant and Hegel (because German Idealism=Marxism=Bad), so we get Tooze walking us through Kant’s third antinomy of pure reason in IR drag. I get tired of this.

    2. liam

      Reading the article with all its fancy charts and complete lack of common sense, reminded me of something Michael Hudson said here some time ago. Paraphrasing: It doesn’t take any great intelligence to see the obvious, but it takes a lot of intelligence to convince yourself that what you see does not exist. Something like that anyway.

      1. John

        Why was Mearshimer not pilloried in 2015 when delivered the lecture? Oh … he’s an academic. No one listens to them. Besides, Obama had given the back of his hand to Ukraine. Karma has nasty and predictable habits.

        1. fringe element

          Speaking of the back of Obama’s hand, there was a very insightful post tonight at a website called Sardonicky, hosted by Karen Garcia. I have tried to post the link tonight three times without success. I sent an email to the NC moderators to see if they can figure out why this is happening. Meanwhile, I will try to just post some passages from the piece to see if that works. I recommend heading over to the website to read the whole thing. For now, let’s see if I can get a couple of key passages to post.

          “The 2014 US-backed coup against Ukraine’s democratically elected president, Victor Yanukovich. was a victory not just for NATO, but for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose historical core purpose is to “open up” distressed nation-states for looting (“investment”) by multinational corporations. Yanukovich had to go, because he was reneging on his agreement to impose austerity on his constituents as the price for borrowing money from the global financial system. Even worse as far as “the West” was concerned, he thought that he could get a better financial deal from Putin.”

          “Enter then-Vice President Joe Biden, the Obama administration’s designated “point-man” for Ukraine, who brayed a year later that the austerity-driven Obama administration itself could also serve as an inspiration for Ukraine.”

          “But when Biden showed up … it was … to demand that ordinary Ukrainians continue to bear the brunt of … the predatory IMF debt.”

          The post is chock full of links to back up all that she says. I left them out in case that was what was keeping the material from posting here. She included a long section from the speech that Biden gave.

          As much as everyone is talking about Ukraine, this is the first I’ve heard about the business with the IMF, so I wanted to share it. My absolute apologies for the length of this post. There was just no other way to do it without including the links that were probably the reason it wouldn’t post previously.

      2. pjay

        Excellent point. It is quite entertaining to see all of these liberal and “progressive” commentators tie themselves in knots to keep from seeing the obvious.

        Both Mearsheimer and Putin (and Lavrov, etc.) have made a number of specific claims about events leading to Russia’s action. It seems to me that any relevant analysis should evaluate (1) the degree to which these claims are *factual*, and (2) the degree to which these events might reasonably be seen as “existential threats” from the *Russian* point of view. To me, this is how you provide an “explanation” of these events (if not a “justification”). But if I read Tooze correctly, he rejects the idea that Mearsheimer provides an adequate “explanation” as well. So, what *is* the explanation? I guess Putin just up and did it! All these “great power,” “structural” factors are apparently secondary. Of course there is no guarantee I’m understanding Tooze, because the level of bafflegab (thanks Carolinian) is great.

        But at least Tooze does a lot of mental work in avoiding these claims. Most liberal commentators simply dismiss the causal factors noted by Mearsheimer, Putin, et al. as Russian propaganda justifying its own “unprovoked” aggression. Supposedly “progressive” or “radical” voices like Yasha Levine or Paul Street in yesterday’s Links do basically the same thing, although they pretend not to.

        1. liam

          Funnily enough when writing that comment, I was visualizing Martin Wolf’s article in the ft. Ironically, Adam Tooze’s “chartbook” article has no charts :) I think however my comment applies to both.

        2. jsn

          I feel for the guy, it’s tough being smart on those occasions that your pay check requires you be stupid.

          Carolinians selected bafflegab, “assume an automaticity from structural conditions to action” is exactly what Tooze & the Atlanticists appear to be doing: assume Putin’s a chicken and will be intimidated.

          Like so many other ongoing tropes in our political economy, it works until it doesn’t.

        3. hunkerdown

          Tooze’s argument is why didn’t they perform our moral test to our moral satisfaction, suffer for our liberty. It’s hard to find a moral philosophy that isn’t elitist and/or sadistic.

        4. Gulag

          Hi pjay:

          If you have the time take a look at my interpretation of what Tooze is up to below.

          Tooze tends to reject the idea that Mearsheimer does an adequate explanation because he sees Mearsheimer as hesitant to do his own reflective critique of the historical origins of his own concepts (i.e. sphere of influence, balance of power etc.) which Tooze sees as originating in German-American intellectual discussions (from the 1890s through the 1930s) as to what it means to be a world power–that realism, in its origins and in its uses is also a justification for empire–as often used by American realists from Kennan to Kissinger to Niebuhr and many others.

          Structural factors come to appear primary because such things as the somewhat romantic idea of a solitary rational decision-maker guided solely by reason (Kennan in action) are never closely examined.

    3. Eclair

      Hah! I like your biker bar analogy, Virologist.

      Why Mearsheimer’s analysis resonated with me has to do, not with biker bars, (some of my best friends ride bikes,) but with my being female. A small female. Who, in my younger days, would meet or work with males who felt it was their prerogative to ‘invade my space.’ (Only a few who give other guys a bad name.) First it would be the verbal overtures, then the actual physical bumping up against, hands on approaches. With some, the ‘I don’t see you,’ attitude would work. Others would be warned away by sharp verbal barbs. With a few, only the ‘hands on’ approach worked. Fortunately, this choice never went beyond the hand-slap-to-the-cheek, or once, the sharp-pinch-to-the-rear cheek, a purely retaliatory, equal force measure. I never had to escalate to the nuclear option, a knee to the …. ahem … And I had a strict ‘no weapons’ policy. But that was because I avoided biker bars. If you’re a country, you don’t get to chose your neighbors. But, what is the U.S. doing in the local biker bar!

    4. jr

      As an idealist, I am inclined to the notion of a truly free will. If we are aspects of a larger Will, one that sits outside of the causality of the space/time framework but available to us via the mechanism of our brain (see Kastrup “Why Materialism is Baloney” I’m looking at you witters. ;) I remember your comment about realism and urge you to explore that book.) then we can truly enjoy freedom of choice. We are free to choose X even when in the process of choosing Y. “We” being an individuated complex of individual and universal willing.

      But we are not free to choose what choices are available for us to make and this is where Tooze goes awry. It’s not robotic for one’s actions to be dictated by reality; it’s a survival mechanism. He is confusing the levels of magnification of his analysis. Putin is free to choose his course of actions in an immediate sense. When faced with the encroachment of NATO, he could have chosen to go have an ice cream cone. He could have chosen to do nothing. He could have chosen to get his remaining hair dyed green. He obviously settled on invasion. But material and political considerations do not allow him to make such a choice without serious consequences that would impinge on his life and responsibilities in unacceptable ways. In that sense, he is not free, he must pick from a small subset of choices that will carry him towards his goals. It’s not robotic, it’s life.

    5. curlydan

      wow, thanks for the commenters helping to unpack the meaning of “automaticity from structural conditions to action”. I had no idea what the heck that was.

      Tooze here appears to fall into the classic trap of seeing only his side of the argument or applying his prosecutorial logic to just one side. Frankly, the “responsibility of statecraft” is a two way street.

      Where was the U.S.’s “responsibility of statecraft”? We chose to be irresponsible and willfully ignore a major power’s existential threat and reddest of redlines for 8-14 years.

  11. jackiebass63

    In reading about Ukraine a Bob Dylan song line comes to mind. Cadillac, a good car to buy after a war.At that time in the US it was considered the brand for the rich.War is about making money. We see constantly changing Covid advice from our politicians and our failed CDC. Mask wearing is being tossed around like a football. I personally will continue to wear my mask in public regardless of what the CDC says.I won’t change until I personally feel it is safe to throw away mask wearing. The war has taken the heat off of Boris in the UK. At 80, I don’t remember so much change and turmoil in such a short time. Some is probably due to technology making information more readily available.

    1. Lee

      “War is about making money.”

      Or one might more broadly posit that war is economics by other means. I’m always interested in trying to understand the materialist underpinnings of international conflict that go well beyond the narrow interests of profit seeking arms manufacturers.

      1. Wukchumni

        The Swiss kowtowing towards one side in this conflict has been the most startling thing of all to me, but then again their whole gambit of neutrality had nothing to do in regards to money.

  12. Bart Hansen

    Last night on The News Hour we watched a subdued interview with Ms Nuland. But the highlight was a child’s story of Ukraine given by new hire Ali Rogin, wife of Josh Rogin of the Post.

    Here is her version of what happened in the Donbass:

    “Russian-backed separatists began an insurgency against the Ukrainian military. There were diplomatic attempts to reach a cease-fire, but those never held. The fighting continued into 2019, when Poroshenko lost reelection to TV star and neophyte politician Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who’d once played an accidentally elected president of Ukraine.”

    The words Minsk, Azov and Nazi were not to be found in her summary.

    1. Samuel Conner

      > There were diplomatic attempts to reach a cease-fire,

      which elides the reality (as I understand it) that the failures to implement the provisions of the Minsk agreements were primarily or predominantly from the Kiev side of the dispute.

      It seems to me that, these days, whenever you hear a statement affirmed by someone in government, one would be justified to assume that what is not being stated is more important than what is being stated, and that the net, and intended, effect of the communication is ‘projection of own faults onto the adversary’.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      From the Patrick Lawrence article linked above by douglass truth, also on Consortium News:

      The other day PBS Newshour ran an interview with one Artem Semenikhin, in which the small-town mayor was lionized for standing up to Russian soldiers. In the background, as the ever-alert Alan MacLeod points out, was a portrait of Stepan Bandera, the savage Russophobe, anti–Semite, and leader of Ukrainian Nazis.

      What did PBS do about this careless oversight? It blurred the Bandera portrait and broadcast the interview with its Ukrainian hero. American journalism at its zenith.

      1. Basil Pesto

        It’s a mistake to misattribute the blurring of the background in that video to PBS: it’s a common Zoom filter and was highly likely applied by Semenikhin himself. Although it’s possible this was done at PBS’ request I suppose.

    3. Susan the other

      I was so annoyed by PBS/News Hour last nite I gloated out loud that I was proud for never having donated a dime to them. And then I realized… they don’t need any of those donations – their quarterly drive so “we can keep the News Hour on the air for you” crap. They need the appearance of consent and cooperation. If they actually were ever to respond to the views in the general public, their news broadcasts would be entirely different.

      1. Ed S.

        Don’t get annoyed. Life is too short :-)

        The only reason to watch the PBS/News Hour is to know how the PMC/Acela Corridor folks are supposed to think about the issues of the day. Under no circumstances watch it to gain knowledge.

        And with the news, generally, don’t forget about Gell-Mann amnesia

  13. BeliTsari

    First NBC article, I’ve EVER read: We’d a crawl on Spectrum’s NY1 at screens bottom (during some inane interview of sneeringly corrupt politicians) which stated what many of us knew a year ago: If you’ve had a Moderna mRNA vaccine against COVID-19, you should delay your second dose 60 days, young males are subject to a RARE potentially life threatening inflammatory side effect. Mind you, I’d NO disagreement with any of my HCW advisors, acquaintances & friends over delaying the 2nd shot (sero-prevalance & “random” testing all looked safe). It’s now the notion that all media are complicit in hiding essential information, following CDC in willfully lying to keep poor folks at public contact jobs, kids spreading BA.2 and foold jammed into bars, restaurants and mass transit MASKLESS (again, at the exact WORST time?)

  14. Craig H.

    Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 8 Institute for the Study of War.

    Since that is a war map it might be a little tighter if it didn’t shade Crimea and Donbas the same color as the territory gained since the invasion. Those areas were previously under control of Russians or Russian allies. As is it is a little bit misleading.

    For historical analog it looks to me more than anything else like the situation north versus south in America in March of 1865.

  15. hemeantwell

    Re Tooze, I agree on the handwaving. But isn’t it worse than that? Trying to resolve NATO expansionism into something that is in the eye of a beholder of a certain realist persuasion seems a tad pomo. It’s dulling political effect reminds me of Perry Anderson having called Tooze out for his feckless central bank-centric view of the world that slides from recognizing their power into affirming it.

    1. tegnost

      In reality it’s”handwaiving”, the process of giving oneself a pass…it’s enough to make you loose your mind…

      Nuland on PBS? We’ve plumbed a new depth

      1. ambrit

        We haven’t hit bottom yet. I’m waiting for PBS News Hour to do a ‘friendly’ interview with a Ukrainian Banderite Militia commander about their “valiant defense of the West from the ravening subhuman hordes from the East.”
        Remember, you read it here first.
        Oh, curses. We were just looking at that with the interview with the “Mayor.” Blast!

      2. Bart Hansen

        And you have to laugh at their nightly “We now have two views” segments on Ukraine. Two views repeating the same slant.

  16. sfp

    I think if you asked Mearsheimer the origins of his realism, he’d repeatedly declare, “I’m a 19th century man!” as he does in the 2015 talk. There wouldn’t be any horseshit about the classical origins of realism.

    Tooze makes some good points about going at realism with a bit more fine tooth of a comb at the end of the New Statesman article, but otherwise comes across like an undergrad wailing about how “sus” Mearsheimer is. The Chartbook post is borderline unreadable.

    1. Darthbobber

      I think those good points about the complexities of realism are good because they are truisms. And while he’s not wrong about-basically- the devil being in the details, I’ve never seen a piece of his that deals with those complexities even as meaningfully as those he criticizes.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


        I was waiting for his Realist Alternative. What does he suppose to do with his 21st century IR Theory?!

        I have my own IR theories on the way States et al. Should act on the Global Stage to ensure the health and dignity of all worthy and unworthy victims. Surely he’s thought about these things, right?

  17. Hidari

    As I sit here, the advert at the top of the NC webpage is a propaganda advert from the Ukrainian ‘army’ asking for money to do something or other.

    There is literally no escape from the pro-war propaganda, which makes it so much scarier than previous US wars. That and the fact that in the ‘civilised’ West there is essentially no push back against the war of any sort whatsoever (most ‘anti’ war marches are in fact pro war marches if you parse them).

    Nato arms are already being sent to the Ukrainian ‘army’ and almost literally no one protests this. There is basically not even any protesting against a No Fly Zone AKA WW3. Even the so-called ‘stop’ the war campaign in the UK can only bring itself to mention ‘no to Nato expansion’ ignoring the fact that that bird flew many years ago.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Biden announces ban on Russian energy imports”

    Because of course he does. The last time old Joe fill up a gas tank, it was probably a buck a gallon so he has no clue what it will mean at home. He may try to weasel his way out of responsibility for the oncoming price hikes by labeling it the ‘Putin’s price hike’ but it won’t work. This gas price increases will seep their way through the whole economy and the first one to take a hit will be transportation costs from food to Amazon deliveries. And this will bump up inflation even more which will knock on to housing, goods services and god knows what. So how will old Joe help? He has already said “It’s gonna go up” and “Can’t do much right now. Russia’s responsible.” So, like with the Pandemic, people will be thrown to the jackals and left to fend for themselves. Oddly enough, I saw a Stephen Colbert video which intentionally or not, has a lot of truth in it which I think went over the top of his audience’s head-

    1. Tom Stone

      Rev,Biden became a Senator in 1972 when Regular was $.29 per gallon.
      I doubt he’s pumped his own gas since.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Any idea how much all these crisis pricing jumps are just monopsony price gouging as opposed to market boggle?

      Effing rentier looters.

      Never give a sucker an even break, and there’s a sucker born every minute. Now the ERLs have a straw man to hide their grifting behind. And how many ordinary mopes are stupid enough to swallow the BS?

      1. Newcatty

        It probably is causing intense cognitive dissonance for people who identify with a red or blue party. Uh, price gouging would never, ever be allowed by the democrats. That is not nice and dems are the party of working class folks. If our president and msm chorus says it’s Putin’s price hike, then so it is! After all Putin started it and, no, we really didn’t want to stop buying Russian oil. But, it was necessary. Republicans will grumble about the price. Some will name it as gouging, but it is more important to not take the eye off of cultural war. Many will shout USA! USA! Lots have kids or other relatives in military and therefore will bear the price, cause “support our troops”, and they know that Putin is evil and, most importantly a communist! Predicting a revival of “God is on our side”! “America love it or leave it! “More of if you speak about any empathy for Russia’s point of view, traitor! It is sad.

  19. jsn

    Re Tooze & Chartbook

    In my estimate, Tooze has taken over for Krugman in policing the leftward border of MSM approved economics. In addition to his books, I’ve been reading his blog since he launched it and he’s incorporated MMT, or at least Chartalism, into most of his analysis. How could he not, having studied Nazi finance of WW2. He now finds himself in the awkward spot where MSM economics starts to run afoul of the National Security State. Of course he has the Schact model for how to wiggle out of whatever downsides might come up (short of radioactive dust, of course).

    Like Mearshimer, Tooze is willing to take some heat up to a point and then fall back on Realpolitik without admitting glaring faults in the US/UK positions. The foregrounding of Nazis now achieved by NATO has put him in a place where he can’t talk about the most relevant points from his early studies so he’s kicking up dust and hand waiving IMO.

    Slightly off topic, the tweets about NATO normalization of Nazis does start to suggest the mechanism for an Eric Adams type to square the circle between Successor Ideology in politics and the militancy of an organization like, say, NYPD, but it doesn’t address ends: who will the Russians be for our fascists to go after? Who, what group, do police imagine are oppressing them?

  20. cocomaan

    As the world overwhelmingly condemns the assault on Ukraine,

    Did it, though? Last I checked, some of the most populous countries in the world did not condemn in the UN vote. If it’s a majority, it’s a slim majority.

  21. WhoaMolly

    re: the worst informational environment ever.

    Yes. I have had to severely restrict my information intake to avoid distress. NC is my morning news scan, and maybe a couple independent blogs.

    A handy list of useful thinking tools to help navigate an information and propaganda deluge. 7 minute read.

    “40 useful concepts you should know.”

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Why do so many Indonesians back Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?”

    Here in Oz you have universities cutting off all ties with their Russian colleagues because ‘unity’ so I would expect the same for the Uni of Melbourne here. But this article is a nice piece of propaganda worthy of study. Like a few other articles that I have seen explaining Russian/Donbass views, they automatically includes images of terrified children, grannies, refugees, etc. to make a silent counterpoint. So the first image that you see is a father running with his child while a house burns in the background. The caption says ‘A man and child flee the city of Irpin, near Kyiv, Ukraine.’ but would it alter your perception if instead the image was labelled ‘A man and child flee the city of Marinka, near Donetsk, Donbass’?

    So you read the article and the author is at a loss why ordinary Indonesians would support Russia at all and so starts groping for reasons. They figure that maybe it is anti-Americanism or American and western hypocrisy. They seemed surprised that Indonesian scholars put it down to NATO expansion because it can’t be that. Then they figure it must be Indonesians like macho men or something because after all, they are only Indonesians. They seem confused that religion is also a factor forgetting the large Muslim population in Russia and the tolerance that they receive. Finally they start wondering into the territory of Russian propaganda but the last bit is the best which I will quote. You have to be a member of the PMC to think this way-

    ‘It is important to stress that it is possible to condemn the hypocrisy of the west while also opposing Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Indonesia needs more voices from the highest levels of politics, academia and the media who can provide more nuanced perspectives and provide some balance to the simplistic pro-Russian views flooding social media.’

    1. tegnost

      Indonesia needs more voices from the highest levels of politics, academia and the media who can provide more nuanced perspectives

      USian oligarchs need to buy foreign media and politicians as it’s not enough to just buy the media and politicians in the good ol’ USA if they intend to rule the world, which of course they think they already do?

    2. sinbad66

      Agreed. Was also dumbfounded by the following: It was a similar story with another UI scholar, whose article repeated Russian propaganda word-for-word. Lecturer Sari Gumilang described the invasion as a “military operation” (in line with the official narrative of the Russian government that there is no war in Ukraine) aimed at “demilitarization and de-Nazification” (which has been debunked by many prominent scholars).
      Huh? “Debunked” by whom?

    3. DataHog

      That is a very curious report exhibiting a sort of a cognitive-dissonance ping pong match in the writer’s mind.
      Maybe it’s a subtle report designed to undercut the official narrative while appearing to toe the official line.
      The news contained in the article is that the Indonesian people aren’t eating the dog food supplied to them by their leaders.
      Is that widely recognized in Oz?
      It appears to me to surreptitiously suggest that maybe the residents of Oz could reject the official narrative too.
      The article introduces a list of good arguments why the Indonesians don’t agree with their leaders. Then it offers soft-ball arguments against those reasons.
      Either way, I’m grateful it was linked. I found the dissonance entertaining.

    4. Kouros

      If it is acknowledged that the west is hypocritical overall, what is to say they are untruthful when claiming that the Russian military operation in Ukraine was unprovoked?

  23. super extra

    So how do we think the administration will try to spin out of this now? I am thinking one of these two:

    – “Iron Curtain 2.0”: After Ukraine concedes and the implication of the new maps becomes clear, Biden makes a big speech about how the only way to protect the liberties of the free west is to continue to block Russian news, oil, cultural output etc, and create (at least) two main economic blocs, so as not to support totalitarian Russia. All info about the biolabs, dirty bombs, and training the Banderites is suppressed and labeled ‘right wing CT’. Azov creeps are given US/CA passports and work to ensure local deplorables do as they’re told when they get ideas like protesting/striking/not listening to the police, probably using tactics they learned in Ukraine.

    – “Qualified Defeat, Domestic Pivot”: Instead of trying to maintain the separation of the economic blocs, Biden admits to some, but not all of the badness that was done, in order to get in front of the lowers trying to sell out his own family. A handful of the worst inciters – Nuland and Blinken maybe – are publicly humiliated and sacked. The biolab stuff is still labeled right-wing CT and the Azov creeps are still sent to north america to form a militarized fed counter-terrorism squad to keep the deplorables down. The sanctions are dialed back in the name of stabilizing inflation. The antitrust and collapse of tech speed up; most people forget about Russia because their lives improve very slightly.

    In either outcome I think the Dems are toast for a generation, if they don’t go the way of the Whigs

  24. Wukchumni

    A Tale of Two Oil Shocks: Ukraine and Yom Kippur John Authers, Bloomberg
    I wasn’t quite a teenager when the gas lines of 1973 showed up, but was a newly minted hellion on wheels for the 1979 version.

    Sure seems like we’re headed that way again, I mean when the Arabs won’t take the President’s call, there’s your clue they aren’t gonna pump out a bunch more go-juice to allow us to keep on keeping on as if nothing happened.

    It was effectively the end of gas stations giving away stuff (free set of LA Rams glass tumblers with fill-up!, or ‘buy the first volume of the Funk & Wagnals encyclopedia for just 1 Cent, letters B-Z $4.99 each’ and other flavors of the same fluff, combined with doling out Blue Chip stamps or S & H green stamps) along with the end of the line for gas station attendants (still going strong in NJ & OR) and nobody ever asks if they can clean your windshield or check your oil, either.

    The longest I waited in line was about half a mile in my hand me down (I was the 4th and final sibling to call it my own) puke green (the manufacturers claim being the hue was ‘avocado’) 1974 Ford Pinto.

    I remember thinking to myself at a tender age, I must be using a gallon or 2 in starting the car up to lurch forward 15 feet only to turn it off again until the next opening like some later-day Sisyphus, my 4 wheeled internal combustion powered chariot filling in for a boulder.

    Gas lines will be a piece of cake today though thanks to the pacifier that everybody has in their pocket or purse, ever notice how quiet it is when everybody is on their smartphone? Its almost akin to being in a library.

    1. hemeantwell

      (free set of LA Rams glass tumblers with fill-up!, or ‘buy the first volume of the Funk & Wagnals encyclopedia for just 1 Cent, letters B-Z $4.99 each’ and other flavors of the same fluff, combined with doling out Blue Chip stamps or S & H green stamps)

      Wow, you’ve broken open a cask of effluvia from Les Trentes Glorieuses. The dishes, the glasses, the stamps! Plentitude on every corner.

    2. Louis Fyne

      Your average family-person was in much better financial shape in 1973. Housing was affordable, little consumer debt as credit cards were a novelty. Health care and education were cheap.

      An equivalent oil-food-stuff shock today will be worse than 2008 or 1973.

      1. Wukchumni

        The stock market up and died in the early 70’s after the go-go 60’s, and hardly anybody had stocks anyway and no 401k’s, so it was a moot point, but if your father was in the stock biz like mine was, he was out of work for a few years. Nobody bailed out Wall*Street then, as compared to more recently when it has become fashionable.

        Of course the situation is a wee bit different from Dow Jonestown finally getting to 1,000 points in 1972…

        1. ambrit

          And then, of course, we had the Chicago Board of Exchange.
          Dad played commodities back in the Go-gos. He was one of the lucky ones. He broke even. [His downfall was pork bellies.]
          In a related note, there was an ‘Outer Limits’ episode where some aliens come to Earth and amass a fortune to fund their program here on Earth. They do this feat by using mathematical formulae to “game” the commodities markets. Oh, such innocent days when we had an adamantine faith in Science!
          The numbers don’t lie, but the number crunchers sure do a lot of bias incorporation in devising those formulae.
          Super Transcendental Coincidence Event time. Looking up the proper spelling of formulae, (which is the correct spelling,) I stumbled upon the site of Formula E, single seat roadraces using electric vehicles. Whodathunkit?
          It’s something straight out of Joules Verne!

    3. Arizona Slim

      I can remember my mother’s frugal self righteousness going up to 11. Like my father, she proudly drove a Volkswagen. She was very proud of her German heritage, so why not?

      Any-hoo, Mom and the rest of us Slims had no end of fun while mocking the neighbors in their gas guzzling American cars. I mean, those people had to have been spending a fortune on gasoline.

      Well, then came that VW commercial that ended with the song, “Volkswagen does it AGAIN!”

      Mom was fond of singing that one in parking lots, especially when she saw some driver of a mega-vehicle struggling to get into a space while Mom just zipped right into hers.

      1. newcatty

        Memories! My first car was a red VW Bug. I was newly engaged and so excited when spouse and I bought it with help from a relative actually buying the car and we paid her the monthly car payment. The car was cool. It had no AC, but a rudimentary radio. We drove the Bug car camping across country to FLA. We stayed for one night in New Orleans and it was like being in a lucid dream. The food! The out-of-the-way blues club that a waiter told us about . An amazing singer had her great band as back-up. The coffee and beignets in the early morning. Yes, Virginia you can car camp in a Bug! The night before we had stumbled into camp ground owned by a Cajun family. The head of family was amused by us young hippies. Think he admired our humble outfitting. He brought over an entire half of a delicious grilled spicy chicken. Then invited us to join the family for some rollicking Cajun music. More simple times for sure.

    4. ISL

      Its not anything like it at all. Its a loss of dollar dominance as a reserve currency, plus a loss of fertilizer, plus rare earth metals, blue saphires, and the US doesn’t make anything anymore, and our supply chain was dysfunctional before, and we have sky high debt that we will default on. Nothing at all like it.

      1. Wukchumni

        There’s also quite a few fewer gas stations than in the 70’s, when it was still common to have gas stations with mechanics on duty who could fix most anything, with a couple of service bays.

  25. Wukchumni

    If you wonder how Allied & Axis stock markets fared in WW2, Barton Biggs wrote an interesting book in that regard called Wealth, War & Wisdom.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Nuland: US Working With Ukraine to Keep US ‘Biological Research Facilities’ Out of Russia’s Hands”

    The video on that page is worth watching. So at the very end of a long session Marco Rubio asks Victoria Nuland if the Ukraine has any chemical or biological weapons and like an idiot, she starts blurting out the truth. Straight away Rubio goes into his ‘cleanup in aisle four routine’ to cover up what she said but it is too late of course. But listen to what he says and how he says it. Straight away he goes on how it is all Russian propaganda and Russian plots but finishes by asking her to say that if there was an incident, that it would be of course be caused by the Russians. So she agrees totally and says that it is a Russian propaganda technique. But if you watch them both and how all these lines spewed out of them unthinkingly, you want to know what that is? It’s ‘Duckspeak’ from “1984.”

  27. Tom Stone

    I don’t think anyone involved with deciding to enforce sanctions against Russia thought about the consequences.
    At all.
    Regardless of what counter sanctions Russia enforces it’s a big hit to the Auto Industry, the Chip making industry, the economy of Turkey (Grain Milling) and the availability of food to MENA Countries.
    Did I forger Potash and fertilizers?
    In the middle of a pandemic
    It also further screwed up already screwed up supply chains.
    For a start.
    $6 gas, higher rates,tighter underwriiting,higher costs for everything…you can kiss the latest US Real Estate bubble goodbye before the midterms.
    Add Covid deaths at 1,500 or more per day and devastating wildfires and quite possibly a serious economic downturn worldwide….
    And that’s before considering how Russia will react to what amounts to an act of war.
    If I were Putin I’d have a few ideas…
    Announce that Nordstream will be shut down in one week for two weeks and that future payments must be made in a currency Russia can spend.
    Rubles at the official rate or Gold.
    In advance.

    1. Wukchumni

      I used to think the housing bubble would go bust, but it’s the one thing keeping the english speaking world’s economies going, thus the need for corporations with oodles of newly minted mouse clique money to buy up swaths of used homes to goose it and make things even more unaffordable, ye gads.

      Oh Larry Yun
      What will you tell us this time
      You’re only dancing on this earth for a short while
      And though American Dreams may toss and turn you now
      They will vanish away like a 30 year fixed
      Mortgage fading up to the sky
      And though you want the bubble to last forever
      You know it never will, you know it never will

      And the pandemic rush make the good buys harder still

      Oh Larry Yun
      What will you have us believe this time

      There’ll never be a better chance to change your mind
      And if you want this world to see a better day

      Will you carry the words of low interest loan with you
      Will you ride great housing bubble into mandate of heaven
      And though you want it to last forever
      You know it never will

      And lack of affordability makes the journey harder still

      Oh Larry Yun
      What will you tell us this time
      You’re only dancing on this earth for a short while
      Oh Larry Yun
      What will you have us believe this time

  28. Wukchumni

    Bought my ticket to ride for this year’s Burning Man today, and it’ll be interesting in that i’ve been away from the game since 2009 (I went from 2003-2009) and a lot of things have changed since I tripped on the playa…

    When I was in attendance there was no internet connection, but that was then and this is now-so that’s a big game changer right there, along with ‘plug & play camps’ with wealthy Silicon Valley types who only have to put up with alkaline dust, everything else is taken care of.

    When I went all those years ago, it was similar to my experiences backpacking, where you are cut off from the information age and the only thing that matters is the here and now.

    1. ambrit

      Watch out for the Staties lying in wait along the roads into the site.
      I can see a business model of some ‘enterprising’ persons flying various contraband substances to the site with Air Drone Delivery LLC.
      Oh, and if those pesky Federales overfly the place, would some of those thousands of “surplus” anti-air missiles be around to put the Fear of the Vox Populi into them? Blowback is a B.
      Also, do send commentary on the quality of the THC saturated masks there, will you? I have read, seriously, that THC is effective in neutralizing Covid in the sinus and air passages. (Some ‘citizen science’ would be of utility.) [Not asking you to do personal experiments. That would be an assignment. Just your usual high level of observation please.]
      Stay safe, in space and time.

      1. Wukchumni

        I remember a campmate waking and baking right on the street and not only did he lose his stash, but there was a $518 fine, ouch.

        It’s a funny place, when I went drugs were everywhere and yet nowhere to be seen-the risk to reward ratio being way out of whack versus the potential of an LEO getting your goods.

        The root word of funghi is fun, was my hazy memory of things.

  29. Nikki

    France 24’s The Observers is trying to verify videos coming out the Ukraine:

    “Thousands of images of the war have been posted on social media since the beginning of the Russian intervention in Ukraine on February 24. In order to compile and authenticate these countless photos and videos, the Centre for Information Resilience, a British NGO that promotes democracy and fights disinformation, has developed a collaborative map to document the conflict and allow people to access verified information. “

    1. Grebo

      Not heard of Centre for Information Resilience before. Its boss gets a small mention on wikispooks. Looks like another British disinfo cutout.

    2. jrkrideau

      The FRANCE 24 Observers team, Bellingcat, Mnemonic and the Conflict Intelligence Team,

      I am reassured, Bellingcat is part of the team!

  30. Tom Stone

    If the US elites are deliberately trying to end the US Dollar’s role as a reserve currency they are doing a mighty fine job of it.
    I’m genuinely impressed.
    And if isn’t deliberate it’s even more impressive.

    1. Captain Obious

      I was always wondering what the economic effect would be if the USA lost its position at the top of the hegemon pile. Which is now the point of this whole exercise, seems to me, in addition to Russia saying “Don’t fsuk with us!” (and you wondered why they call him Captain Obious)

      Solzhenitsyn made quite a bit about the Banderites in The Gulag Archipelago… Stalin’s lethality is unmatched, I think, and WWII gave him even more fodder for the Gulag system. Losing or retreating was usually enough for a lengthy visit to Siberia, and the Banderites did not make good Red Army soldiers. Also, Treblinka by Jean-François Steiner describes why the Nazis found the Ukrainian guards at the camp to be so useful.

      1. Cat Burglar

        Solzhenitsyn wrote that the postwar influx of former frontline Red Army troops and Ukrainian nationalists into the Gulag caused a huge upheaval. Instead of submitting to the savage criminal gangs that were informally used to keep the Zeks in terror, after the war there was a large group of prisoners with experience of working together and using violence against opponents. They organized reprisals against the gangs, and caused things to be better for prisoners. One revolt he chronicles took over a camp and held it for 40 days.

  31. ISL

    From the Toole article:
    “The Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz may have said that war is the extension of policy by other means. But that still raises the question of why anyone, great power or not, would resort to such a radical and dangerous means.”

    Rich from someone sitting in a country that has been at war almost every year of its existence (extreme cognitive dissonance), almost all aggressive. Waste of wordage – Its how powers become great and stay that way (and then die by the sword).

  32. Bob Tetrault

    Without quibbling over who is doing what to whom, the aggregate turmoil supports William Gibson’s defining zeitgeist, The Jackpot.

  33. R. S.

    Regarding the link and map “Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 8 Institute for the Study of War.”…

    I saw a map from a pro-Russia source on Telegram. It looked vastly different, claiming Russia had gained much more territory.

    I honestly do not know who to believe, but my gut says that absolutely everyone is lying at this point.

    1. R. S.

      As an addendum, this is what Wikipedia says about the “Institute for the Study of War”:

      The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is a United States–based think tank founded in 2007 by Kimberly Kagan. ISW describes itself as a non-partisan think tank providing research and analysis regarding issues of defense and foreign affairs. Others have described ISW as “a hawkish Washington” group[1] favoring an “aggressive foreign policy”.[2] It has produced reports on the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War, “focusing on military operations, enemy threats, and political trends in diverse conflict zones”.[3] It has also published real-time reports on the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. The non-profit organization is supported by grants and contributions from large defense contractors,[2] including Raytheon, General Dynamics, DynCorp and others.[4] It is headquartered in Washington, D.C.[5]

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      I also see maps from Russian sources on Telegram, and they are invariably show more territory under Russian control. But not drastically more. Perhaps it’s a timing difference, as Kagan’s institute is probably getting its info via the MIC and therefore is 2-4 days behind the more updated and granular Russian info.

      Fog of War and so forth, but I’m more inclined to trust anonymous Russians on Telegram than Kagan and co.

    3. Cat Burglar

      An awful lot of the ISW’s reports on the war are sourced to the Ukrainian general staff. Well and good if that is the only source they have, but because the reports are without caveat, they must be considered speculative. Ditto for their statements about a “planned offensive” — how do they know what the plan is? Do they have captured documents or radio intercepts? Because statements about “Russian failure” or “slow progress” are often based on such guesses, you have to consider the possibility that there might be no plan to invest Kyiv at all, and that the present dithering outside of town is just a ploy to force negotiation, or a diversion. Maybe they should be called the Institute For The Study Of The Ukrainian General Staff.

  34. Wukchumni

    I heard the Russians are in a 12 steppe program…

    ‘I’m Yuri and feel powerless to stop my advance into Ukraine’

      1. Michaelmas

        Russian anekdoty:

        On the Estonian border, a border guard is filling out Putin’s entry form.
        “Occupation?” the officer asks. “Not today,” Putin replies. “Just tourism.”

        A grandfather and his grandson are sitting on the bank of the Pripyat River, fishing. ‘Grandpa! Is it true that an atomic power plant once stood on this spot?’ ‘It’s true, grandson,’ says the old man, patting the boy on the head. ‘And is it true that it exploded?’ ‘It’s true, grandson,’ says the old man, patting the boy on his other head.

        A man is shipwrecked on a desert island with Claudia Schiffer. After some time has passed, he says to her, ‘um, I was wondering. You’re a woman, I’m a man. We might be stuck here for the rest of our lives. Why don’t we… you know….’ She agrees. Afterwards she asks him how he liked it. ‘Well, it was great,’ he answers, ‘but….’ ‘But what? What else do you want?’ she says. ‘Um, could you do one more thing for me,’ he says, ‘could you put on my hat? And my suit?’ ‘What, you don’t like women?’ she says. ‘Of course I do, but please, just put them on,’ he implores. She obliges. He looks at her, puts his hand on her shoulder and says, ‘Dude! Guess who I just had sex with!’

        A symposium of thieves from around the world. A thief from France stands up and asks that the lights be dimmed for thirty seconds. After thirty seconds, from the same spot where he stood before, he says, ‘The gentleman in the white jacket sitting in the section opposite from where I am standing, please come and get your fountain pen.’ Next, an American stands up and does a similar trick. After the American, a Russian stands up and says, ‘No need to dim the lights. Vasia, give everyone back their socks.’

        Putin is playing with his grandson. ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ ‘President of Russia!’ ‘What would we need two Presidents of Russia for?’

  35. Frank Little

    I think the Tooze article about the origins of realism offers some interesting insights but I think it ultimately falls short because it relies on a false binary between complete invasion and everything up to but not including it. He writes:

    in that struggle for realism – the never-ending task of sensibly defining interests and pursuing them as best we can – to resort to war, by any side, should be acknowledged for what it is. It should not be normalised as the logical and obvious reaction to given circumstances, but recognised as a radical and perilous act, fraught with moral consequences

    Certainly I agree that war is fraught with moral consequences and also that war is not a logical and obvious reaction in this or other cases. However, this posits that the war began with the Russian invasion in February. From the Russian perspective (and realism is about perspectives), this war began in 2014 when the Maidan government attacked the separatist areas in east Ukraine. Putin and other Russian officials have made it clear that they regard soft-power NGOs/color revolutions and overt military exercises as essentially two prongs of a pincer set against them. I think this perspective will be shared by lots of other people around the world, especially in countries that have faced similar efforts at regime change (e.g. the statements of support from Evo Morales in Bolivia). No doubt many in the US and Europe would disagree with this characterization, but as far as understanding what brought things to this point that is irrelevant.

    I don’t say this to defend or justify invading Ukraine. I just think policymakers, particularly in the US, have proceeded on the assumption that they can escalate political conflicts using economic pressure and covert means and expect only responses in-kind or grumbling acceptance due to power disparities. Russia has escalated this conflict far beyond what I and many others thought they would, but from my ant’s eye view I think it’s an attempt to force an issue that the US and NATO were happy to let simmer. Russia’s position in the commodities markets gives them lots of leverage at the moment, though how it all ends is not something I will try to predict. The fierce reaction to Mearsheimer’s points, including the suggestion that he is somehow being paid by Russia to make them, says more about the unstated assumptions of the US and its European allies than about him or realism as a school of thought.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          The Plays the thing in which I’ll catch the conscience of the King!

  36. Pat

    Noted on Spectrum’s news NYC is phasing out and ending their contact tracing program.

    Contact tracing to end in April

    I have a lot of contrary responses to this. One being who knew they were. I know I was in contact with two people who got Covid only because they told me. The other being that it is just another sign that we are just going to have to get used to hundreds of thousands dying from a disease that is inconvenient to capitalism.

    And I do wonder what odds the bookies would give that we will ever seen a full fledged tracing and quarantine program for Covid even if the hospitals fill up again.

    1. Wukchumni

      And I do wonder what odds the bookies would give that we will ever seen a full fledged tracing and quarantine program for Covid even if the hospitals fill up again.

      Humans are the under @ -6

  37. jr

    God save us from science writers.

    I thought this was interesting. I did a quick survey of the titles of articles detailing the recent research into how memories are formed. Here is a short list that I found revealing:

    “Researchers figured out how the human brain makes memories”

    “Researchers Discover How the Human Brain Separates, Stores, and Retrieves Memories”

    “Memory Formation Have Been Discovered By Neuroscientists”

    Now compare these triumphant declarations with this:

    “Newly discovered brain cells may be a memory filing system, study suggests”

    A bit more measured. I bring this up because it’s not uncommon for science writers, if not scientists themselves, to make such claims about aspects of consciousness. It’s ALWAYS all wrapped up in a neat bow. Until one looks at the requirements implied by these assertions.

    To make such a claim, one has to be able to tell us what consciousness is, as memories are only available to us via consciousness and are integral to it. And in order to do that, scientifically, one would have to provide a model of the brain that explains consciousness. And in order to do that, one would need a computer the size of a red giant star or so and more time than is available in the life of the universe to model a brain accurately. One study puts the number of neurons in the brain around 86 billion:

    The number of synapses varies from account to account but it’s in the trillions. Got a calculator handy? In short, a materialist conception of memory seems impossible to quantify. There may be structures, relationships, what have you that we can’t ever see.

    So any claim to having isolated the processes of memory are based on a pile of assumptions, high and deep. Similarly, so are claims of the origins of life. Not only were we not present for those origins, the vast bulk of the fossil record has long dissolved into it’s constituent parts. How can we make claims based upon such patently flawed models?

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      You mean I’m not going to be able to upload my “consciousness” into a computer and live forever? And I’ll bet I’m never going to drive a flying car either.

      We be trippin’ on tech.

      1. jr

        Yeah, given how dull and empty the virtual worlds we have now before us are, why would anyone think it would be any different because you are now a part of the machine? Do they think they would enjoy control over the environment? Does anyone believe such a marketing opportunity would be let to slip by?

        Then again, so many people seem to believe the marketing and hype that infects their lives. Maybe some people would be happy to live in a Meta ad. Sigh.

      2. Jessica

        Passively lying back and having tech upload your consciousness would require the tech to understand exactly what consciousness is physiologically.
        However, it might be possible, at least less impossible, to create a non-biological substrate into which a skilled practitioner could learn to actively transfer themselves.
        Skilled practitioner might mean certain types of meditators, folks with extensive experience with entheogens, some psychics. Also, the substrate itself would probably need to be designed by trial-and-error based on feedback from the folks trying to load themselves into it.
        Also, I suspect that the structure of consciousness may be such that any attempt to do this from an egotistical perspective would fail.

        1. jr

          Or…consciousness is the substrate. The substrate upon which all else is premised. Perhaps an artificial entity or whatever could be designed to interact with it as our minds seem to do. This is why I don’t fear runaway robots, but definitely runaway replicants.

          1. Jessica

            In PKD’s story, the test for replicants is compassion. They don’t have it. Therefore, we must conclude that our societies are run by replicants.

      3. Susan the other

        Somebody please wake me when they can define consciousness. Maybe they can find it by tracing it backwards through the whole tree of memory bifurcations – this is but this is not – until they get to the very first, the seminal, spark of conscious puzzlement. What the hell is it?

        1. Science Officer Smirnoff

          “Awareness” may be less difficult but equivalent.
          It always amuses me that artificial intelligence seems not to require awareness (as in self-driving vehicles).

        2. jr

          Consciousness is consciousness. It cannot be defined in the sense that it cannot be reduced into descriptive components. Consciousness can only be. Everything else must be defined in terms of it.

  38. Wukchumni

    I’ve been sentenced to 30 days in Fresno and when in Fresno drink like a Fresnan (it’s been judged the drunkest city of size in these United States many times, renaming it Barleycorn would be apt, but it ain’t gonna happen) is what I say.

    Lets get together for a snappy cocktail next month…

      1. jr

        Well, she demurred when asked to explain it in regards to the pedophile priests in the diocese of San Francisco…

    1. Wukchumni

      This deliberate mixing up of similar sounding words must be stopped before it gets out of hand and onto fingers, followed all too often by pressing down on a keyboard, digitally.

    2. jr

      Back to my point yesterday about ignorance…let’s add illiteracy to that. True this is France but come on, you know if anyone in the US knew what poutine was there would be calls to assassinate Putin, the King of Kanada…

  39. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    Re: “Check this out. In 2019, @nytimes accurately described Azov Battalion as “Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary organization” (left image). Now it’s just a “unit of the Ukrainian National Guard” (right image). See how this works?”, ect., ect.

    Perhaps, these associations are merely a concrete and at the same a delberately foggy representation (i.e., a delberate concealment of the actual mechanisms that define intelligence and counterintelligence operations, from both foreign and domestic populations and where, “Covert Actions – are defined as any non-nuclear operations which are so planned and executed as to conceal the identity of, or permit denial by, the sponsor.”) of a fairly well documented historical strategy (‘of tension’) developed and coordinated by the ‘West’ and NATO, acting as the forces of ‘good’ to combat their chosen ideological adversary and enduring ‘devil’. (In the sense of, “If the strategy isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”, meaning that the desired long term aims and goals are being achieved by implementing versions of that same strategy, over and over again.).

    How might that be so? The following serves as an example for further lines of inquiry:

    1. “The Gladio network was created in the late 1940s so as to carry out subversive and underground activities in case of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. The core of the force were Fascists and anti-Communists, including former collaborators. It turned out that Italian neo-Nazis were a branch of a network secretly acting in most of NATO member states. Gladio is the name of an ancient Roman short sword, a two-edged weapon used for both cutting and stubbing – quite a symbolic name for a network fighting on two fronts: against the Soviet Union and against domestic leftists. . . . In 1975, Turkish General Talat Turhan published a Turkish version of U.S. Army Feld Manual FM 30-31, which said: “The US army intelligence must have the means of launching special operations which will convince Host Country Governments and public opinion of the reality of the insurgent danger. To reach this aim US army intelligence should seek to penetrate the insurgency by means of agents on special assignment, with the task of forming special action groups among the most radical elements of the insurgency.”—-“NATO and ultras: The Turkish story”

    2. “. . . . these right-wing radicals in contemporary Ukraine received help from financial and political sponsors in Western countries. These modern extremists in Ukrainian halls of power were the leading force of the state apparatuses of suppression (Security Service of Ukraine, National Guard of Ukraine), territorial battalions (terbats), and other paramilitary structures which de facto received financial and materiel support under the general control of the United States, Great Britain, and the EU, so concerned were they at making sure there was no return of a pro-Russian government. . . . In the modern day, photographic documentation shows young Ukrainian activists belonging to the neo-Nazi UNA-UNSO organization in Estonia in 2006, being trained by NATO instructors in urban warfare techniques and the use of explosives for sabotage and attacks. NATO did the same thing during the Cold War to form the clandestine “stay-behind” paramilitary structure, codenamed “Gladio.”

    “Forcing the Correct Choice: Deterring Right-Wing Radicals and Preventing Threats to Nuclear Facilities in Ukraine”

    Further, the application of the term ‘terrorist’ to specific individuals and organizations appears to be dependant upon their designated applied usefulness in the overall ‘grand strategy’ on the chessboard, that is,

    “There was at least a 2016 report by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHA), which accused the Azov regiment of violating international humanitarian law. In June 2015, both Canada and the United States announced that their own forces would not support or train the Azov regiment, citing its neo-Nazi connections. The following year, however, the US lifted the ban under pressure from the Pentagon. In October 2019, 40 members of the US Congress, led by Representative Max Rose, signed a letter unsuccessfully calling for the US State Department to designate Azov as a “foreign terrorist organisation” (FTO). (Source, see above.).

    1. Grebo

      Clearly at the highest levels ideology is seen as merely a tool to manipulate people with. Russia stopped being Communist but it must still be conquered. Nazis are not beyond the pale, just part of life’s rich pageant. Jihadi headchoppers? Now there’s someone we can work with.

  40. Wukchumni

    I like to point out the Bizarro World contradictions of the collapse of Communism versus Capitalism, and towards the end the USSR was all about openness in regards to the west, while we’re all about closing things down in regards to the east.

    Similar to how Communist walls were erected to keep people in, whereas ours are put in place to keep people from getting in.

    1. Foy

      Excellent observation Wuk. Its unbelievable to see all the blocking and cancelling and virtual walls going up.

  41. Danpaco

    I’m beginning to think that the Russian Special Operation is primarily about breaking the Americans second foreign policy stick, the financial stick and Ukraine is a catalyst. We all know the first stick, military, isn’t what it used to be.

  42. Gulag

    In my opinion the Adam Tooze discussion on the history of realism does offer some important insights:

    1) That an important origin of key concepts of realism can be found in German-American intellectual discussion (1890s thru 1930s) of what it means to be a world power. ( for example the highly influential writings of Carl Schmitt and his concept of geopolitical space).
    2) That the doctrine of realism was originally imagined as an art largely practiced and created by a worldly elite.
    3) That Tooze seems to be exploring how a specific set of axioms (balance of power, national interest, spheres of influence, tragedy of power politics, etc) came to be seen as offering a privileged glimpse of international reality.
    4) That it is also worthwhile to explore how an image of statesmanship (as a solitary rational decision-maker guided by his conscience and able to discipline his emotions) came to be hegemonic.
    5) That it is also interesting to examine how the realist lens came to be seen as common sense—maybe Bourdieu’s theory of habitus would be useful in such an examination.
    6) That it is also worthwhile to examine how such an elite practice was transformed into a democratic idiom.
    7) That the concept of realism does suffer from a democratic deficit in its decision-making apparatus ( with most of its supporters over the last 70 years coming from the Kennedy School at Harvard, the Woodrow Wilson center at Princeton, the Nitze School at Johns Hopkins, the Naval War College, Brookings and Carnegie Foundations, Council of Foreign Relations etc.)

    1. Basil Pesto

      I agree, they were interesting reads.

      Additionally, the fact is Mearsheimer talks of blame rather than the more dispassionate ‘causative factors’ or what have you, which I prefer as an inveterate non-side-taker (and remember from high school history, so maybe I’m being reductive), which suggests that his remarks, however persuasive they may be, are not mere dispassionate analysis. When we look back at this period in 200 years when nobody cares about the political implications of the argument, presumably one will be able to point out that the western bloc bears considerable responsibility for generating the causative factors that led to the invasion and that ultimately, Putin (and perhaps also the Russian political elite) is the one who made that decision and bears responsibility for that. That he has been trolled into (what appears to me) a dumb military operation by the nincompoops of the West/USA doesn’t speak well to his acumen, it should be said. But maybe I’m wrong and in the fullness of time it will end well and Ukraine will be fully demilitarised and denazified and we’ll all live happily ever after.

      (Beyond Mearsheimer, it is also perhaps worth pointing out that among those making these arguments, there is a certain amount of cognitive dissonance between “of course Putin’s not going to invade, this is western trolling” to a couple of days later “well I mean, obviously he invaded, what other choice did he have?” – was such an individual wrong then, are they wrong now, or are they wrong on both counts?)

      Two of the problems that I have with Tooze’s arguments are:
      1. In making some of his arguments, he runs the risk of strawmanning Mearsheimer
      2. he ignores the fact that others have been making these same warnings for years, including Pozner and Cohen, who I’m not necessarily sure would locate themselves in the IR Realist camp.

  43. RobertC

    I see two events for optimism about a cease to hostilities:

    1. A nuclear power plant meltdown will focus minds Ukraine says Russian forces disconnected Chernobyl plant from power grid

    “I call on the international community to urgently demand Russia to cease fire and allow repair units to restore power supply … Reserve diesel generators have a 48-hour capacity to power the Chornobyl NPP,” Kuleba added in a separate tweet. “After that, cooling systems of the storage facility for spent nuclear fuel will stop, making radiation leaks imminent.”

    2. A three-way video call March 8 with China’s President Xi Jinping and European leaders Francois Macron and Olaf Scholz raises the prospect of a diplomatic initiative that would have been unthinkable only weeks ago: China might mediate the Ukraine crisis, seizing the diplomatic high ground as a peacemaker. Could China mediate the Ukraine war?

    European backing is indispensable for Chinese mediation efforts. The only conceivable compromise would involve a return to the Minsk II framework, which Russia initially proposed, France and Germany supported, and the United States rejected.

    Ukraine would abandon its application to join NATO, and accept the quasi-independence of the Russophone Donetsk and Luhansk regions adjacent to Russia. Crimea would remain Russian. Substantial commitments of reconstruction aid from China and the European Community would be required. Europe would lift sanctions against Russia. Ukraine and Russia would both declare a victory of sorts and flaunt their magnanimity and generosity in compromise.

    1. RobertC

      Chernobyl cooling back in operation: power restored from Belarus. Let’s keep it that way.

  44. Jessica

    Ukraine does not need to let the Azov Battalion and other such groups have a veto over a deal with Russia for peace.
    If Zelensky and the powerful around him decide to take up the apparent Russian peace offer (Crimea and Donbass to Russia; Ukraine neutralized), a way will be found to eliminate the Azov Battalion and the other such groups. Either the regular Ukrainian armed forces will stand aside and allow the right-wing paramilitaries (including those incorporated into the Ukrainian military) to be eliminated by the Russian military or they will join in the task. There have been reports of small amounts of exactly that, although in the unusually dense fog of this war, those reports may not be true.

  45. John Beech

    Ukraine v Russia is a straightforward exercise in power. The outcome is not in doubt, regardless of the MSM acting like Howard Cosell calling a fight between Larry Holmes and Ray Leonard. Cosell would be all excited about Sugar Ray peppering Holmes with a million jabs but no matter his level of excitement, e.g. all the good PR, none of it would change the outcome. Holmes crushes Leonard. The Russians are going to win. Period. Was never in doubt.

    That President Putin isn’t killing more civilians is telling. Nobody with a clue would presume a granular level of control at the tactical level. Meaning so as to keep an excited kid driving a tank to not loose a round at a moving target. Even if it is grandma and grandpa out for a Sunday drive. Bad press that there’s video? No question. Sad outcome for the civilians out for a drive encountering a tank? Oh heck yeah! But not really Putin’s fault other than as the boss, the buck stops with him.

    Look, folks, you back a rat into a corner and it comes out fighting. No question. So we’ve used Ukraine as a cat’s paw. Putin’s backed into the corner and obviously felt we left him no choice and has reacted. Reacted just as surely as the Japanese did when we shut down their access to crude, thus leading them to attack us at Pearl Harbor.

    Anyone surprised at all this is being disingenuous. Or is straight up ignorant of geopolitics (until spoon fed what to think by the media). After all, we all have our roles to play and useful idiot is amongst the choices.

  46. RobertC

    A readable, thoughtful article on sanctions at Politico Opinion | The West Has Declared Financial War on Russia. Is It Prepared for the Consequences?

    The West’s sanctions strategy is a race against the clock — or rather, two clocks racing against each other. One clock is financial — how long it takes to bring the world’s 11th-largest economy to its knees — and one is military, how long Russia needs to defeat Ukrainian forces.

    The U.S. and its allies have decided to take that risk. In this way, their gamble is threefold: First, that sanctions can bring sufficient financial ruin in time to make Putin turn back his troops, or at least negotiate with Kyiv in good faith. Second, that the benefits will outweigh the potential ripple effects on the global economy. And their third gamble is with the idea of sanctions themselves — that they can be used to defend a political principle and a way of life (democracy over autocracy).

  47. Australia

    Rev Kev and DataHog – RE the Oz article groping around for good feelings and sensory feedback on Indonesia: whilst sleeping alone. See the following pages of The Baltic Times. Covering Latvian, Estonia and Lithuania. The dissonance is extreme. Ukraine joining the EU is supported. Sweden and Finland joining NATO is supported.

    There’s a interestings series of [cough] views just by scrolling down the page. Read and rejoice, Or weep. Or something.

    But the one I specifically had in mind, to respond with: almost as good as your ‘ Indo’ Satire, Rev.

    ‘Baltic National Librariers want Russia suspended from innternational library associations’

    “Libraries around the world stand for the dissemination of free and truthful information and, as memory institutions, for cultural values,”

    “We all share common goals and values, and we commit to continue creating an inclusive information and cultural space that is free from misinformation, lies, hatred and war, and open to all,’

    “We all must and can contribute to strengthen democracy. All responsible people must understand that if we do not stop Russia’s impertinent aggression in Ukraine, everyone would find themselves in the face of calamity,”

    1. The Rev Kev

      It’s the Baltics and they want NATO and the whole world to fight Russia for them. But at least they have the excuse of being under Soviet occupation for a coupla decades. What excuse did Scotty from Marketing have for shipping things like anti-tank missiles to the Ukraine for? The country that I grew up in would have regarded that as just insane but now Scotty wants to expand the military and threaten China as well as Russia. Meanwhile, the leader of our Opposition still says ‘I support everything that the government does and my party backs them fully.’ That’s what we get for having a happy-clapper as PM.

        1. The Rev Kev

          After a week’s delay, Scotty finally got around to visiting the areas devastated by the massive floods that we have just experienced. It was an even bigger disaster than the floods themselves for Scotty and even worse than when he went to visit people after those massive fires that we had a coupla years ago and nobody would shake his hand-

  48. David Jones

    Just read the article re Indonesia public supporting Russia The major reason I was expecting i.e the CIA 1960’s inspired coup that resulted in the deaths of an estimated couple of million communists,trade unionists etc.did not appear – presumably they had no relatives.This truly must be the end of history!

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