557 Comments

Bravo, Secretary Blinken, Bravo NATO, Brava, Professor. History matters, truth matters.

Expand full comment
Feb 25, 2023·edited Feb 25, 2023

From historian, Timothy Snyder:

Why the world needs Ukrainian victory

1. To halt atrocity.

2. To preserve the international legal order.

3. To end an era of empire.

4. To defend the peace project of the European Union.

5. To give the rule of law a chance in Russia.

6. To weaken the prestige of tyrants.

7. To remind us that democracy is the better system.

8. To lift the threat of major war in Europe.

9. To lift the threat of major war in Asia.

For more reasons the world needs the Ukrainian victory, see link below.

https://snyder.substack.com/p/why-the-world-needs-ukrainian-victory-c90

PS What can you do personally? Keep in touch with your elected representatives. Support military and humanitarian assistance. Make your views known. Write a letter to the editor. Share this post widely. Fly a Ukrainian flag. Put a sticker on your computer.

Buy and wear Ukrainian merch. In great causes, small gestures matter. If you want to keep Ukrainian soldiers alive; here is a way to keep Ukrainians warm during winter; documenting Ukraine, a project that supports those in Ukraine who are chronicling the war-- To reach links to donate, first go to Snyder's newsletter and scroll down to his PS, where you will find the links underlined.

https://snyder.substack.com/p/why-the-world-needs-ukrainian-victory

Thank you for reading Letters from an American and this post, which came from Timothy Snyder's newsletter called, 'Thinking about..."

Expand full comment

This is indeed a world threatening situation akin to the Cuban Missile Crisis. The great exception is that Russia has already pulled the trigger. Russia must relent/fail/give up /withdraw, or this will be the end of civilization as we know it We, as a group of nations must prevail, with Ukraine intact, or face the reality of escalation and likely mass extinction. All because of the hubris of ONE man. Putin must be stopped at all costs. We must pull back from this abyss.

Expand full comment

Yes, akin to Cuban missile crisis to Russia. NATO promised not to point missiles toward them beyond Germany's eastern border ... and then ... we did. It's more complicated than just that, of course. Russian paranoia is real and completely understandable. And in some ways, so is our own. WE must look honestly at OUR part in this mess. We ALL must pull back. It's so childish and unnecessary. And with nukes... insanely dangerous.

Expand full comment

But NATO has never threatened nor shown any interest in taking current Russian territory. The USSR ended 33 years ago. Those countries that wished to regain their independence did so at that time. Trying to regain said territory by force is the action of a vicious tyrant. NATO's sole purpose is to defend against incursions against member's sovereign territories. It is not an alliance of aggressors.

Expand full comment
Feb 26, 2023·edited Feb 26, 2023

Totally agree with you, Lisa. YES!!! Far as i can tell, this is absolutely the case.

The big flaw to me... is that we're only looking at and perceiving this scenario through our own lens. As if it's the only one that matters. As if only ours is 'true' and anyone else's that disagrees is 'false' or 'wrong' or 'bad' or 'evil' or whatever. And that attitude only makes things worse. It destabilizes situations.

Putin/Russia sees it through their own lens. And what they are 'seeing' and what it means to them... is very different from our view and perspective. That matters!! Whether or not it makes sense to us, it still matters. It's where we need to start.

One thing that is always true in any human relationship... and that is at the core of this one, too ... is that effective 2-way (or more, depending on how many different participants there are) communication is paramount.

Sooo... yeah... to US ... exactly the scenario you describe is accurate and true. All of it, as we see it. No question. End of story.

If we can't even conceive of the possibility that what we believe to be true and accurate is NOT the final word... and there's absolutely NO other way it might be *perceived* by anyone else... then we're all in for plenty of trouble.

Whether what anyone else honestly sees, feels, perceives is by OUR definition accurate/true, only goes so far if we can't see/hear/feel how it's genuinely experienced by them or anyone else. Putin/Russia, in this case. (And truthfully, by many other countries, too. For their own legit reasons... many of them are not behind us.)

Because their impressions don't match our interpretation or our honest intentions doesn't make them wrong. Just different. If we can't (or won't) recognize that others' views from their own positions are just as legitimate as ours, we're all in trouble. If we can't listen to that, take it seriously into account, and recognize that they have just as much right to their view as we do, our communications break down... and here we are. As many of us agree, War is Not the Answer.

Not to say that everyone operates on the up and up or that they oughta be excused from anything and everything they do. NO! However, we need to make the honest effort to 'get' where they're coming from, too. (Not necessary to agree. Just to understand it from their perspective, so they feel 'seen' and 'heard.')

Diplomacy doesn't happen without this essential piece. To me, this is a huge mistake we're all making... and this war might possibly (likely) been avoided by acting like adults, listening to each other, and figuring how to settle it without war. Duh. 2023... haven't we progressed this far yet?? (Nope.)

Expand full comment
Feb 26, 2023·edited Feb 26, 2023

While I agree with you in terms of trying to see things from our opponent's perspective, I believe that this case is different. Putin sees himself as restoring a historical kingdom that has nothing to do with modern borders. He has brainwashed his people to agree with him. The atrocities he is committing in Ukraine are completely inexcusable. He is insane, I believe. https://newlinesmag.com/argument/history-stokes-putins-dream-of-a-greater-russia/

Expand full comment

This is because of more than 1 man. Putin still lives as proof of that. I was betting last March that he would not see June. Silly me!

Expand full comment

World Central Kitchen is my main donation for Ukraine. I played in a fundraiser concert last fall helping a group of Ukrainians living in the US to send medical supplies to Ukraine. I contribute to a group of people that have traveled to Ukraine twice bringing both supplies and crisis counselling to the people of Ukraine. My wardrobe providers (Life is Good and Teddy the Dog t-shirt makers) have done several printings of shirts that both have messages of support and provide donations to the people of Ukraine.

I need to replace my Ukrainian flag; it is sun-faded. I am planting a row of sunflowers in my garden this year.

Expand full comment

That’s wonderful, Ally! I contribute to World Central Kitchen too and put it in my wedding registry. I also am buying my wedding bouquet (dried flowers) from Inna, a Ukrainian lady whose “Kochetova” shop is in Odesa and is accessible through Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Kochetova?ref=yr_purchases&load_webview=1&bid=Lbi8kp4eEkgUg9RqXYRgDOSe8qwl

We can help in so many ways!

Expand full comment

Everything else aside, congratulations and best wishes for a long and happy life.

Expand full comment

Thank you, Dave! We’re a couple of retired citizens, so a wedding at this point is a miraculous blessing. We thank our lucky stars, for sure.

Expand full comment

Even more awesome Rose.

Expand full comment

Rose Georgia and I give regularly to World Central Kitchen, but it’s a bit late to include it in our wedding registry.

Expand full comment

LOL! Renewal of Vows registry, then? Or if you’re on Facebook, you could also create a birthday fundraiser (I did this for another non-profit, and was pleasantly surprised by the results).

Expand full comment
Feb 25, 2023·edited Feb 25, 2023

Rose Perhaps for my 90th in October? Did this for my 89th and our family Xmas. We are significantly supporting a Ukrainian family that has been relocated to close to our Long Island residence. The cost so far is in the $50,000 magnitude with the local community prepared to provide much more as they get fully settled and the wife can apply her legal skills in America

Expand full comment

So cool, Rose! Happy wedding to you!

Expand full comment

Thank you, Lynell!

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Inna IS lovely, and so artistically talented, too! Your link, Debbie, leads to the page of another Ukrainian woman, Irina—who, from what I see, is also very talented!

Expand full comment

Me, too, for WCK. For the animals, https://www.ifaw.org/. As well as others. Thanks for the info about where you get your t-shirts. I always wonder how to make sure it's Ukrainians who are benefitting from my purchases, so I hesitate.

Expand full comment

Mine too, monthly for over a year now! How inspiring Jose and Zelenskyy!

Expand full comment

I donate to the WCK. I think the work Jose Andres and his teams do around a world that seems to be going up in flames is superhuman and to be supported at every chance. I only wish I could give more to their cause.

Expand full comment

Awesome Ally.

Expand full comment

Hi Ally, wondering what is the name of the group that has traveled to Ukraine to offer supplies and crisis counseling, if you don’t mind me asking?

Expand full comment

It is called "Ukrainian Foundation" and is a group registered in Oregon that has been doing various kinds of support for Ukraine for quite a while.

Expand full comment
Feb 25, 2023·edited Feb 25, 2023

Sorry that the links to the NGOs that Timothy Snyder recommends did not work on this substack. To reach them go the his substack below. Scroll down to his PS and you will find links, which are underlined.

https://snyder.substack.com/p/why-the-world-needs-ukrainian-victory

Expand full comment

THANK YOU, FERN! That worked!

Expand full comment

Thank you, Rose. The correction would not have been made without you! THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING UKRAINE, THE US AND DEMOCRACY EVERYWHERE!

Expand full comment

Fern, thank you for each word filled with information and opportunities to give to and support Ukraine. As a supporter of Ukraine and its fight to defend itself to be a free nation, to defend its great and gifted people and for its farmers and military and poets and children, I have placed a wreath on my front door with blue and yellow flowers. As I plant flowers around my mailbox this spring, they will be blue and yellow. And with my small financial offerings, I will support Ukraine and those whose lives have been devastated by earthquakes and poverty.

This is who we strive to be as free people of this world. Freedom is a hard fought for ideal and unfortunately easily compromised.

Thank you again Fern for your beautiful heart and all that you share with us!!!

Expand full comment

We are together and so fortunate to be encouraging and learning from one another. Thank you, Emily. I can see your flowers for democracy!

Expand full comment

Thank you Emily! I live in an apartment and I have a perennial wreath (artificial green, real feelings!) on my door that I decorate according to the season. It's time for me to get some blue and yellow flowers. Every little bit of good energy makes a difference because at the atomic level, we are all one!

Expand full comment

Thank you, Emily. I will look to plant blue and yellow flowers this spring.

Expand full comment

I've been having breast cancer care the past 6 months. The medical center main desk for this treatment program has loops of LED bulbs strung across in lacy patterns. The colors are changed for seasons and holidays. They've strung blue and yellow lights recently. It is such a wonderful, albeit subtle way to greet patients. I look forward to the changes and life-affirming symbols as I progress with treatment.

Expand full comment
Feb 25, 2023·edited Feb 25, 2023

Hope Good luck with your care!How nice to have changing lights for your visits.

I totally recovered from colon cancer 23 years ago with no lights. Now surgeons scrape out a few nasty things every few months, but again no lights.

I’m tempted to order a Ukrainian son et lumiere!

Expand full comment

Best wishes to you, Keith. Let's promise each other to keep on keeping on!

Expand full comment
Feb 26, 2023·edited Feb 26, 2023

Hope I am Little Toot and you are Littlier Toot—We think we can, we think we can, and WE CAN!

Expand full comment

with support and encouragement as you progress, Salud, Hope!

Expand full comment

Thanks, Fern. I like your new photo.

Expand full comment

Hope, you do not appear to have lost much of the attentiveness you were born with and developed. A friend took the picture about a month ago. Thank you for the compliment. We have always taken notice of one another. I'm grateful for our connection. Salud!

Expand full comment

All the best to you, Hope. Good to know you are in good hands.

Expand full comment

Thank you, Lynell. I enjoy your posts. Actually during this time of treatments, I love coming to these newsletters and seeing "old friends" such as yourself. Its very stabilizing, to say nothing of the wisdom from HCR et al.

Expand full comment

Me, too, Hope. Though I enjoy reading comments from new "faces," it's always comforting to see us "oldies" still here.

Expand full comment

☮️💟☮️💟☮️💟

Expand full comment

Hoping for a full and speedy recovery for you, Hope! 💕

Expand full comment

Thank you, Rose. I am doing well.

Expand full comment

So glad to hear this, Hope! Good things should always happen to good people 🤗

Expand full comment

So sorry to hear that you have had to deal with this. Best wishes to you and thanks for taking time to share that picture.

Expand full comment

Morning, and many thanks, Fern! I remember a time when the country was divided between hawks and doves. I could not imagine anyone wanting to be a hawk back then. Today, in the natural world, I am not sure how a real dove would fare against a real hawk. It is my considered opinion that we need a hawk to defend Ukraine and the rest of us.

Expand full comment

Good morning, dear Lynell, always serving food for thought. Personally, I am both a hawk and a dove; what about you?

Expand full comment

I am a hawk with the heart of a dove.

Expand full comment

100% Ally! One of my mother's friends would've said a "hove" or a "dawk"!

Expand full comment

Agree to be both, Fern: A hawkish dove or a dovelish hawk!

Expand full comment

I’m just curious Lynell as to what you are thinking of practically. Do you consider President Biden to be a hawk?

I think he has steered a masterful course in the first year - his Administration has both walked the walk and, as necessary, talked the talk in supporting Ukraine. I don’t think I would have been comfortable if the United States been a lot more aggressive.

Alas the free world now faces the spectre of China getting closer to Russia. My hope is that they will proceed with the relative caution they have displayed in the past. If they are full throated in their support of Russia, ie supplies of weapons on a large scale, Ukraine will not survive unless the conflict then expands to NATO and the United States. Then we will have what few would want - a world war. The consequences of that are unthinkable.

Pragmatically speaking, Biden will have to become a hawk or abandon Ukraine to its fate, if that country faces both Russia and China. To this point I think he has been hawkish. If China holds a gun to the head of Ukraine (and by so doing, NATO and the US) my support for him would be as full as it is now, even knowing it was like signing a death warrant. The cause is just.

Hopefully China is just rattling the bars. I tend to think they are - I don’t see what they have to gain unless they think they can manage these circumstances to take Taiwan.

We are at a delicate moment.

Expand full comment

I'm an amateur with not much intel that anyone should hang their hat on, Eric. That said, I'm all in for what Biden and his administration is doing to defend democracy for Ukraine and the rest of us.

Expand full comment
Feb 26, 2023·edited Feb 26, 2023

IMHO, China is reconnoitering. I mean within its own boundaries. The SARS virus, lock-downs, and protests within and without its borders have weakened Xi, so I hear. So have the sanctions on its economy and strange defense objects by the US. I think Xi is not so eager to rattle swords. We shall see (sigh.)

I'm certain he is watching Ukraine closely, vis-a-vis Taiwan, because Pres. Biden has done an amazing thing by gathering a coalition of nations and support at the UN.

China, if it unifies with nasty nations such as Russia and North Korea, would be terrifying for the world, of course. However, authoritarians do not do well at sharing the spotlight. Both Putin and Kim are struggling, too, for different reasons. But they all have repressed the true state of their nations from their citizens, which means internal havoc if they should go to war.

I'm far from a political scholar, but I hope I am right about this.

Expand full comment

Lots of food for thought in that comment Hope. I feel that the democracies have regained momentum to a degree in the last year. Long overdue.

There’s lots o room for miscalculation when nations are jockeying as they are now. I hope there isn’t a serious one.

Your points about China are well taken.

Expand full comment

Thank you, Eric.

Expand full comment

Interesting, Lynell. To me, that conversation (about hawks vs. doves) always seemed to be about theoretical situations, or events where there was a choice. In this case, in my brain, there is no choice. There is wrong and there is right. This is not political or economical (although it is also those things) but it is basic humanity. Putin is a monster and his soldiers are monsters. The Ukrainians are innocent, peaceful people. End of discussion!

Expand full comment

Agree 100%, Kim. I was recalling a time when, as you say, people were choosing sides; and the discussion centered around Vietnam.

Expand full comment

Yes, different times. Although I imagine people on both sides felt there was no choice probably.

Expand full comment

Morning, Lynell!

Expand full comment

Morning, Ally! Remember back in January 2021 right after President Biden was inaugurated? I thought, well, soon Heather won't be writing Letters From An American anymore. Glad to be wrong about that; but some of the news she is compelled to report, not so much!

Hope you and yours - all of them! - are doing well these days.

Expand full comment

We are. Traveled to Medford today for my nephew’s birthday. Family times!!

Expand full comment

Fern, which Ukraine NGO are you or Snyder referring to? There is no link on your posting and the linked edition of Snyder’s newsletter is restricted to paid subscribers.

Thanks for summarizing the key points, though!

Expand full comment

Fern posted a corrected link which you haven't seen. https://snyder.substack.com/p/why-the-world-needs-ukrainian-victory

Expand full comment

Thanks, Judith. Actually, Fern posted the link in response to my inquiry. The original thread of Substack comments has now been altered, so my posting is anachronistic.

Happy weekend to you, Judith!

Expand full comment

Back at you!

Expand full comment

Just FYI, Fern, my husband's old hoodie is a fright! So I just purchased a new one for him from Saint Javelin. Picked up a flag while there as well. And a tank top and t-shirt as we head into warmer weather.

Expand full comment

Thanks for this, Fern. I would not have seen it.

Expand full comment

Thank for posting this information!

Expand full comment

In addition to World Central Kitchen, there are more than 20 recognized Charitable organizations working in Ukraine among them are Polish Red Cross, Catholic Relief, Jewish Relief, and World Vision. A number of Charities are focusing on particular sectors, but a nation moves forward on its stomach.

Zelenskyy formed United24 in May 2022 to provide a central funding source.

However, do not forget Turkey and Syria! 48,000+ Dead with no housing for Millions. Again, they must Eat before they can cleanup, plus there is a severe shortage of tents because so many have been used in Ukraine, Myanmar and throughout Africa (where Wagner Group has destabilized 3 different nations' governments for their mineral riches!).

Expand full comment

Thanks for this, Westtrekker. I will keep these organizations in mind as I go forward.

Expand full comment

It's one thing to see the text of his speech in writing; watching it on TV was awe-inspiring. It is rare that our Secretary has that kind of impact on the UN. I compare it to Adlai Stevenson's "I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over" after he asked the Soviet Union representative if his country was installing missiles in Cuba.

Expand full comment

Blinken is a statesman unlike to two bozos wearing the ‘empty suit and lapel pin’ of the position in the previous demonic administration!

Expand full comment

💯!! Once again my passionate gratitude to President Biden for carefully choosing the best for his team!! ❤️❤️ And a big reason the criticism’s about his age are rubbish!! The single thing about leadership courses that has always spoken the loudest to me is about choosing your team wisely.

With that said one can argue that tfg’s choices were always perfect picks for his mission to destroy our freedoms (the wiliest of foxes in every hen house)

Expand full comment

I agree. The team is a marvel. Although inflation financial decisions are often over my head, I really like Janet Yellen. Especially since she lit into the Russians recently!

Expand full comment

YES! Blinken was so powerful!!

Expand full comment

Thanks for suggesting we watch the speech, James.

It is a moving experience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNiIrXDN9V4

Expand full comment

If only there were ears to hear, maybe the deafness of the aggressors will lessen with his words…

Expand full comment
Feb 25, 2023·edited Feb 25, 2023

Blinken says: "Bombing schools and hospitals and apartment buildings to rubble is not normal. "

An interesting statement made by Blinken at the UN to be sure.

Because, when the United States was bombing schools, hospitals, mosques and apartments, first in Afghanistan and then more thoroughly during "Shock and Awe" in Iraq, Blinken did not make a peep of a sound nor did any US representative at the UN from the United States.

IF the US truly does not want "Bombing schools and hospitals and apartment buildings to rubble"

Then the US should not be the world's role model for that behavior for 20 years.

https://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/world/asia/03afghan.html?unlocked_article_code=2uOxq3Vjk5kEq8PYilLS7qBcuVhJneWc-8UL067B8wC_UdtERY46JNohjNIJ-fktEkb2pWZvhUjMU39_s1F1nfL5R5nUrWdOkvV5dbohElzvw82jo8kNDNEKYx6pCpyyic3OfckSnBe6Z0ZqLcFbg9ZIGiPKdZauMZX4oNN0lRTbEBMMbWeI6oEr5En-rTq2vPO6CLROTPwM5FcoV4W5VHc-WILNqQapiu8AlAOBTioQKILyZir5FzktIQonari8x0eloQaGWnV7m_2-aoadw8lyoen8MSQlEHoyzOA0VhkxPQbTUmg37R6d-EkAxnUQQz9GaOg&smid=share-url

Link from a Tuscon newspaper:

https://tucson.com/news/world/9-afghan-boys-killed-in-error-by-coalition-copters/article_fba77997-5e8b-57f8-9743-67e9959c6bfd.html

And, today, this wonderful tidbit of US torture during our wonderful time in Iraq and Afghanistan. Seriously, folks, all this wonderful speech by the US today? Sure seems like BS to me having paid attention to what we were doing for the previous 20 years to real people.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/24/us/politics/cia-torture-guantanamo-nashiri-doctor.html?unlocked_article_code=mWlMDTLyhjIE0rxNPyCJAr4Qr2PrnUeAFqmB6muqVFq-yfc04vyAjy-tSi3ufhfeZuH3ZeqCzccBRZMU7TR-IsP7O_or_RtvLAuNLOoWrKykDiyVnrGHVYZW0tiffy1eJM6mIs1-ikHZaL9zsV6EbBdKhXZ4uLCQOQ9kdDlMCqyidIaF-Yj7rIdd2QeTcOJBmIRgBKTfCloTAxpitrkrjCWQpTW3vixdXtJ_pK6btEMVe31zYS2pbMvH3JcprRse8r42o1o6wmwhTkFOKBqvUc-bSi1ry3ty6p55arjG58bFdYIu4LtBm9vWqUWoy0swB0_z2RVF_sN5yyjdH6X5SaD40bSY09SboRqIXHWrzoe0Nz4&smid=url-share

And this civilian strike with a bomb.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/13/us/us-airstrikes-civilian-deaths.html?unlocked_article_code=fo_7BHY8Oj_ybAuUxy7SRRBi7gV-7w1q-x_y9C3rZ2ksyHdydTYpfzk90izwLd6AcObeMErFYvWPefPC4YYYjKzfqL5MYwkLEq39lHabCflcRmEiw76wAg8b9YUS7WzvlDWLnQGR3HsCLyhzHgNeHIlS0HHZyqTsBa2vM4D81ZMYgyFpvudu1TQ6E2xWnMmwmV6F03aa0zeRqlpSpAn-ijnRo2sSCpmDJPqM86TG5zFclL2xbm5mmyA1klZLsd18yY0iQbGL0wdF257UQZUtOM6dSYktPrxTADaBsHmfZxOB88ZrRQepgQANDuj5YQA6HpupN_f3DQS_shMTxXNwBF5L&smid=url-share

Seriously folks. TWENTY YEARS of bombing whatever, whenever, whomever we wanted.

Expand full comment

Mike-You are totally right about U.S. contradictions. We profess “liberty and justice for all” but don’t apply this equally within our own country. We have caused numerous atrocities and fail to live up to our stated ideals both at home and abroad.

I wonder if we will ever learn. Our history should show the world that while we’ve made some horrible blunders attacking other nations, we learned that war is not the answer.

“I want to say one other challenge that we face is simply that we must find an alternative to war and bloodshed…President Kennedy said on one occasion, ‘Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind’. The world must hear this.”

(From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s speech at the National Cathedral in Washington DC on March 31, 1968 as he was protesting the Vietnam War)

When war is no longer profitable for elites and when tyrants are no longer tolerated (emboldened even) then maybe we can rid the world of needless wars-whether physical or cultural. Humanity can be so much better than it has been..

Let’s hope that we’ll learn the lessons that history teaches us…

Expand full comment

Bravo Gina! Thanks for the reminder of our more "Human" leaders and the wisdom the imparted to us. Let us never forget these quotations so eloquently put.

Expand full comment

Excellent post and quote from MLK

Expand full comment

Our history does indeed contain much of which we should be ashamed, as that of most nations does, along with things in which we can take pride. But that does not disqualify us from doing what is obviously right today.

Expand full comment

This is why we learn from the past.

Expand full comment

… and don’t dwell on the past so thoroughly that we can’t recognize how to move forward to make a better world.

Expand full comment

Mike S. Let's accept that history as a damnable reality for the United States; a reality going back centuries. Representatives of the United States like Blinken, or Biden for that matter, should therefore do precisely what about Putin's actions? When a country has erred, led by many different administrations, has sinned against mankind, what should that country do going forward? This seems to me to be the essential question we are asking of Russia as well as ourselves.

Expand full comment

Two things that can be done (and should have been done long ago: #1...cease allowing the military industrial complex, which thrives on conflict and often-subtly, or not-encourages such conflicts, and #2...discourage corporations with no concern other than profit from also encouraging conflicts that further only THEIR OWN interests.

Expand full comment

And that would stop Russian atrocities in Chechnya, Syria, and Ukraine in what way?

Expand full comment

What's the Point --- good faith comment or another Substack Author poacher? Review your 'Authors' Substack Inc contract please.

Expand full comment

Bryan, as an apparently brilliant lawyer, I’m wondering if you could explain this comment (that you sometimes post) to our less lawyerly minds. The crypticness of your comment is a barrier to engagement in debate. Thank you 🙏

Expand full comment

The US was fortunate to have very wise and compassionate leaders creating our founding documents, perhaps not the least of which we can be grateful for their respecting and embracing the indigenous ways of governing. Culture is very strong and may require decades to change. We have to envision and want the change if we are ever to get there. It’s up to each new generation to keep reaching for the better angels of our nature. Most importantly how do we stop giving away power to bullies and authoritarians?

“”The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely, they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

— Abraham Lincoln – First Inaugural Address”

https://www.lincolnpresidential.org/giving/better-angels-alliance/

Expand full comment

Good question.

But. Perhaps if we had not normalized war Putin would not be following our example and the question you pose would be moot?

Expand full comment

JohnM.

I think we should consider the possibility that had we not role modelled shock and awe for 20 years perhaps Putin would not have concluded that invading Ukraine was Ok.

Expand full comment

While I suspect tRump in the white house for 4 years was likely a greater and more immediate influence on Putin's beliefs about what he could do in Ukraine, let's stipulate the possibility that "shock and awe" campaign influenced Putin's fantasies about and actions in Ukraine, what would you suggest that we can or should do NOW that he's there and continues to violate all norms of war and 75 years of European border stability?

Expand full comment

So would you like the US, and it’s allies helping Ukraine, to withdraw and let the Russian thugs overrun a Democratic country, and then continue on to Poland and elsewhere? Despite the awful history this country has, your suggestions fall in line with the parochial and, TBH, traitorous mumblings of the Republican thugs in Washington and on Fox. Get a grip. If Ukraine falls, we fall with it. If Poland falls, we’ll be embroiled in a global catastrophe which will make climate change look like a walk in the park.

Expand full comment

That is a pointless rhetorical question. The criticism of Blinken’s speech for its apparent blindness to even the most recent history of US aggression is widespread —hypocrisy is grating to most people, and the implicit whitewashing of our history insults the intelligence of those not seduced by the odor of sanctity. In what HCR calls “the rest of the world,” meaning the rather exclusive G7, people are weary of our belief that we can starve nations with our sanctions, break the Geneva Conventions in firebombing Fallujah with white phosphorus, commit torture—and justify it!—for years in a war for oil, and then invoke national sainthood by denouncing Russia for its war of aggression. Putin is a coldly vicious autocrat and has deluded his people, yes, as well as visiting frankly imperialist violence in a neighboring nation, yes. That does not make saints of us or given Blinken a pass for strutting in this preposterous way. He could have admitted that we were in no position to trumpet sanctimoniously against wars of aggression, and promised to commit our nation to the path of peace, away from the neoliberal sabre-rattling that has followed our own latest imperialist adventure. But that wouldn’t go over, a couple days after Biden promised to go on arming Ukraine “as long as it takes.” We like Forever Wars—we have the world’s mightiest arms industry. OK, so be it. But don’t ask to be canonized for it. I am deeply disappointed in Professor Richardson’s column today.

Expand full comment

That’s OK Mary. You may be pure of heart and want to believe in a world without monsters. Unfortunately the monsters are here and require us to continually learn how we can improve on keeping them out of powerful positions. But while they are here we must do what we can to stop their atrocities. It’s not our “government’s fault”. It is the fault of we the people who have failed to keep the Jimmy Carters in power.

Expand full comment

Christy I don't follow your comment. I don't believe in a world without monsters, alas. I believe in a world with lots of monsters, and at least among the big imperial powers--Russia, China, the US--no saints. The point of my complaint against Blinken's speech (not our actions necessarily, though I'm flabbergasted by Biden's promise that we will, yet again, "stay as long as it takes"--can we have an end-game please?) is that we're simply in no position to fling moral brickbats. If we didn't approve of wars of aggression we wouldn't wage them. We have big power reasons to to help Ukraine, and the people of Ukraine may well benefit from that. I'm glad they will, though I'm not convinced they'll benefit in the long run--any more than "the women and girls of Afghanistan" did from our last pledge to stay as long as it takes (as long as what takes? how many years did we stay after bagging Bin Laden--in Pakistan?). I spent time with a lot of Ukrainian refugees and their kids in Europe this past summer. They're deeply traumatized. By what? By the violence and chaos of war. Is Forever war the only option?

Expand full comment

Not sure if my comment I just posted will clarify my meaning. Monsters cannot be reasoned with, they only respect brute strength, and their violence can only be stopped by a greater physical force. I have to say the argument about our past rankles me. How will we ever do better or be better if we hide in the shadows of our shame over crimes committed by leaders elected to power by prior generations. I want to be better and do better! ❤️

Expand full comment

I spoke out and demonstrated against the Vietnam War. I spoke out against the invasion of Iraq. I am appalled at the U. S. treatment of those who aided it in Afghanistan.

However, without the counterbalance of the U.S. and its NATO allies not just Ukraine would be subject to Russian aggression.

Does atoning for past sins require the United States to unilaterally disarm while both Russia and China threaten their neighbors?

I abhor the policies that Reagan used to emasculate Labor in the U.S. But I must also admit that the self governance enjoyed by the people in countries in Eastern and Central Europe is directly due to the defense buildup that bankrupted the Soviet Union in its attempt to match it.

Just as the Soviet Union’s support of North Vietnam allowed the Vietnamise People to wear down U.S. aggression The West’s continued support of Ukraine will allow them to exhaust Russia’s.

Expand full comment

"Does atoning for past sins require the United States to unilaterally disarm while both Russia and China threaten their neighbors?" No Mr. Dicker, agreed, it does not. If you're responding to my post, I'll just reiterate that I was objecting to the hubris of Secretary Blinken's *speech.* I said there, and agree here, Putin is a vicious brute. That doesn't give us the right to vaunt morally against countries that fight wars of aggression for self-aggrandizing motives. It does give us the duty to 1) examine our own militarism, 2) speak modestly, and 3) defend the rights of those who suffer such aggression, as currently do the people of Ukraine. (As also do, by the way, the people of Yemen, whose suffering has not stirred Blinken to such eloquence.)

How we defend those rights is a live question. By escalating the violence? By diplomacy? What is our plan for ending this? Does Russia know about it? Our recent flight from Afghanistan should keep in sight the advisability of an end-game.

Expand full comment

I don’t disagree with any of your assertions about past and what will likely be the bad actions of the U.S. government. What I am asking is does that preclude the U.S. from acting in the present situation? Should Blinken have prefaced his remarks with mea culpa confessing all previous and continuing actions? Would this have been more effective in rallying support for Ukraine?

Expand full comment

As many experts on the psychopathology of violent bullies have repeated over and over and over. There is NO diplomacy with the likes of Putin. Military strength is the only thing that will keep him from terrorizing the entire free world.

I respect the years of scholarly study of experts in their field. TSnyder’s argument has already been posted today so I’ll just add another expert opinion to it:

“We may like to think that Putin may abandon this grandiose mission or "come to his senses” because he is being humiliated every day on the battlefield, but that is not how autocrats operate. Until the United States and its allies give Ukraine the weapons it needs to repel the Russian invader, Putin will consider it worth his while to continue a war he thinks will put him on par with Peter the Great.

Authoritarianism is about having the power to get away with crime. Waging a genocidal war against another country without other nations forcing a cessation of conflict counts as a big win in the autocratic world. Far from standing down, look for Putin to escalate hostilities as this tragic war enters its second year.” from Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Expand full comment

Mary.

My point: if we had not normalized war for 20 years Putin may not have followed our example.

Expand full comment

Respectfully Mary if you were acting as Blinken / the US how would you handle this atrocity?

Expand full comment

Marj, as I tried and clearly failed to make clear, it is not his actions I was complaining about. I was responding to responses in the comments to his *speech*, which HCR’s column today mostly just quoted. People laugh at us, at best, in other countries when we play the saint (I know because I’ve lived in 4 of the G7). It is possible and indeed laudable to do the right thing while maintaining the humility appropriate to the Secretary of a State that has committed the same crimes itself (right down to kidnapping 1000s of children to raise and enculturate in the society of their enemies). Big imperial states like ours are not saintly, as we see clearly when looking at China and Russia. If we were who we like to say we are, and who the Founders hoped we’d be, we would see ourselves more clearly and speak with more modesty. (And we would not fight wars of aggression in which a million people die in order to control fossil fuels in the midst of rapid and potentially apocalyptic climate change. Which is NOT to say that Russia should get away with invading Ukraine and bombing its hospitals!)

Expand full comment

Thank you Mary. Complicated times make resolutions seemingly impossible. Haven't all times been complicated though. 'Imagine all the people Sharing all the world' ~John Lennon

Expand full comment

“If we are who we say we are” in a democracy, sadly, is effected by propaganda, which technology has drowned us in.

Expand full comment

Good question.

But. My point was: perhaps, had we not role modeled war for 20 years Putin may not have followed our example.

Expand full comment

Were we also responsible for Stalin’s starvation of Ukraine, or his boot on the neck of Eastern and Central Europe. Our support of the Saudis in Yemen is abhorrent, but that action does not account for Russia’s brutal actions in Syria.

I haven’t seen this much whataboutism since the last time I saw a clip of Tucker Carlson .

Expand full comment

So am I. It reads like pro-war propaganda, and most of the comments here show that people are riding the bandwagon without asking themselves whether they really want a long term commitment to this war. Oh, Blinken was so commanding! Oh, Biden is so wise and compassionate! Think about the other times we heard such piffle. War is death, torture, starvation, but most of all it's money money money, that after a year, has done zero to dial down this war; instead, it's escalating.

Expand full comment

Marycat2021, your last sentence hits home. I saw and heard through the walls so many traumatized people, including children, in Europe last summer and early fall: shattered by "death, torture, starvation" and the terror that chaos unleashes. And shattered people are not all little girls with big sad eyes like in velveteen paintings. One night in Paris I spent hours helping to handle the psychotic break of a large middle-aged Ukrainian woman who attacked a slight student posing for a snapshot in the street, striking her in the temple and screaming over and over "Where are your papers?! YOU HAVE NO PAPERS!!" My biggest worry is the long term effect of so much trauma on the population. Of Ukraine, and also--why do we never talk about it?--of the people in Yemen. I guess we never do because the autocrat responsible for the carnage there is MBS, with whom (despite his assassination of our Washington Post reporter) the President fist bumps.

Expand full comment

Absolutely great post and writing. Thank you.

Expand full comment

Derek.

I think there is a reasonable chance that had the US not role modeled continuous war for 20 years Putin may not have concluded that was a good thing to do: go to war.

Expand full comment

Our brutal campaigns in Iraq & Afghanistan were begun by the George W. Bush administration. His Secretaries of State were Colin Powell & Condoleezza Rice.

Expand full comment

Guilty as charged.

Expand full comment
Feb 25, 2023·edited Feb 25, 2023

Mike I am an old "peacenik." Never was there a war that didn't activate my protests. Of course you are right. Nevertheless, I find this war different. I believe the message to challenge Putin's aggression. Stop him there or there's no stopping him anywhere. He's a cruel, ruthless automaton. So, respectfully I say to you, not all wars are America's errors.

Frankly, when it comes to wars, they all seem to be generated by men behaving badly. In Putin and Hitler's cases they were antisocial and personality-disordered to begin with. I ask myself why don't these guys face off like fights in the coliseum, or medieval jousts, and stop sending their innocent citizens to their deaths. It amazes me---not in a good way---that the world allows such horror to continue when a simple solution is so obvious.

Expand full comment

Thank you. I paused for a moment before reading comments, but wanted to see if anyone else would point out the rank hypocrisies in Blinken's speech. Atrocities in war *are* normal--have we already forgotten how easily we became cheerleaders for the good wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? I shiver.

As much as I deplore Putin's actions, watching us slide easily into this moralistic rhetoric is disheartening. Europe learned humility--at least for a little while--from the devastation of the wars of the Twentieth Century, while all the US seems to have learned is that we are always the heroes--as we march backward toward our own reenactment of suicidal fascism here at home.

Dr. Richardson knows the history well. The Indian Child Welfare Act is under attack this year in the Supreme Court, while in South Dakota the 50th anniversary of the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee is being commemorated this weekend--which occupation arguably led to the reversal of federal policy of placing Native children in white families. Kidnapping others' children? We never stopped. It should not be normal, but here it certainly seems to be.

Reality is subtle and complex. We are not and never will be pure. War is an atrocity, and we need to keep our eyes open while we try to find a way to end this one without giving Putin what he wants. Is hypocritical bluster a strategic necessity? Maybe. That doesn't make it less hypocritical.

Expand full comment
Feb 25, 2023·edited Feb 25, 2023

America is a war country built on violent conquest and genocide. However, we have convinced ourselves that we're the good guys, the heroes, the moral society, when we're no better than anyone else. We are not having the conversations we should be having on what war means for all of us, what it does to our collective consciousness, our memories, and why we refuse to ever really hold any politicians accountable for anything. Trump should have been impeached for kidnapping refugee and indigenous children and shipping them to strangers as though they were stray kittens.

Expand full comment

Very well written.

Expand full comment

Excellent bit of writing !

Expand full comment

Were readers who find themselves here ever 'cheerleaders for the war in Iraq?!'

Yes, we should be called out for our own bad behavior when we are behaving badly. That doesn't make anything in Blinken's speech any less true.

Expand full comment

Ah Yes indeed! Hubris thy name is "Collateral Damage."

Expand full comment

Thank you, Mike. I posted a comment today simply asking something the folks on the pro-war bandwagon haven't considered. What's our exit strategy? Or will the US enjoy another endless war supporting the deaths of tens of thousands of human beings? The defense contractors are raking in billions in weapons sales, and this cannot go on indefinitely.

The pro-war propaganda machine is flooding the media, and this always works like a charm to stop people from asking questions the government doesn't want to answer.

Expand full comment

Mary at, my main point was: iIf we had not role modelled war and hubris for 20 years maybe Putin would not now be following our lead?

Expand full comment

When they look like us it's an atrocity, when they don't it's a necessity. :*(

Expand full comment

Say it again!

Expand full comment

I see. So this is a reason to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Got it.

Expand full comment

How about saying something useful? Or is there "no point"? Why is it so hard to accept others' views as legitimate?

Who here is supporting Russia? NO ONE.

Expand full comment

No.

My point was: Had we not role modeled horrible war for 20 years perhaps Putin would not have felt so entitled to follow our example.

Expand full comment

Huh?

Expand full comment

James Dicker

Writes What’s The Point

38 min ago

How are all your condemnations helpful in Ukraine’s current situation? What nation has the right to assert what Secretary Blinken asserted? Because you offered nothing but diplomacy in the face of the actions Russia has taken over the last year as far as I can see.

Expand full comment

Hi James--I've said at least 4 times in several different ways that I wasn't offering suggestions about what to do, or arguing about what we've done in Ukraine so far. That is your interest, and that is a serious interest. I respect it. Me, I was just complaining--as someone who studies rhetoric and its history and teaches people to analyze it--about his SPEECH, the topic of Prof. Richardson's column today. To me speeches are important, in fact a kind of action. This speech was self-blinded and thus inappropriately worded: it won't impress listeners among our allies in the G7, who routinely complain about (or mock) American lack of self-reflection and our inability to glimpse how we look from the outside. There are many ways to say Ukraine deserves our support and will get it (there are also many ways to provide it, and opinion among those who know is divided about the best ways) without waxing indignant about countries who fight wars of aggression and bomb civilians. We gave up the right to take that tack when we fought our first war of aggression (during which we invented waterboarding), and bombed our first residential district, and we've done both many times--in some cases so recently that only children have no memories of it. It's foolish to pretend that we soar angelically above the moral standards of Russian warfare. I work hard to keep from having to live in an autocracy like Putin's--he is, to make the point a third time, a brute. But I believe that moral tact is a more effective form of speech, and I know from living in four G7 countries that our lack of it makes our allies uneasy and the choice to follow our lead unclear.

Expand full comment

Exactly.? And why all this bleeding heart when children in this country cry for food. Enough of the “ lapel pin “ blather.

Demand that our leaders have ethics and adhere to our laws.

Kick Putin off the planet, get Snowden home to give us his expertise on computers and quit shoveling horse manure around to pretend we care.

Those of us who do care voted for change. Let’s kick some “A__ __”.

Expand full comment

Ditto.

Expand full comment

It only matters if someone acts on it.

Expand full comment

Couldn’t have said it better, so I won’t try.

Expand full comment

Yes, but we're still under the influence of the permanent war paradigm, where the US holds much responsibility...

Expand full comment

Oh, come on, Candace! What would "America's Mayor" say----

"Truth isn't Truth"!🤣🤣😲😲🤣

Expand full comment

Magnificent...

Expand full comment

It is comforting to have experienced diplomats associated with the Biden administration and NATO. Blinken has taken very important steps to ensure the Ukrainians that we, as well as the G7 in NATO, will not leave them behind. We want them to win and be successful as a country. I want them to prevail for selfish reasons. My father was born in Boryslaw Poland. The pronunciation of the city is “Borslav”. The city is now a part of Ukraine and is very rich in oil, as many small cities were. Many of my father’s relatives and friends were annihilated by the Nazis there. It would give me the greatest of joy to see Ukraine forever gain freedom from the likes of Putin and autocracy.

Expand full comment

Marlene , thank you for sharing your family connections to Ukraine. My heart is with you and your family. The loss and pain. And I share your stories. And the history. We all must share and listen, understand that numbers are not the true story. It is the tragedy of war and loss and millions and millions of personal and real life stories. And human beings. We’re not so far away.

Expand full comment

I know you share a lot with me, Irenie. Someday, our paths will cross.

Expand full comment

Marlene, yes we do share a lot. Which I love. Maybe our paths have already crossed. Irenie (CA)

Expand full comment

Similar background here (although a couple of generations earlier). For me, Ukraine is family.

Expand full comment

I feel like that too, Talia.

Expand full comment

I stand with you.

Expand full comment
Feb 25, 2023·edited Feb 25, 2023

After reading this, can an old man feel extraordinarily uplifted and proud while fighting back tears? This is our troubled country at one of its finest moments.

And without HCR keeping us so well-informed, I doubt I would’ve read so much of what Blinken said or appreciated the full context. If only more people would read it and comprehend the historic work the U.S. is doing for Ukraine and the rest of the world.

Expand full comment

The video of Blinken's speech should be played on every network, at multiple times, so that no one misses it. It was that stirring. Another old man feeling very proud to be an American.

Expand full comment

What Biden and Blinken are doing is extraordinary.....just extraordinary. In league with Lincoln, FDR, JFK.

Expand full comment
Feb 25, 2023·edited Feb 25, 2023

So true. Those moments (actions, speeches, events, joint efforts...) that make us most proud of our country and give us hope in these worrisome times, are the stories least often heard by those who need to hear them most.

Expand full comment

And this "old" Granny as well!

Expand full comment

President Biden’s decades of service in public office, and his ability to choose brilliant, motivated people to help his administration accomplish the many tasks before them, gives me such a deep sense of relief, compared to the chaotic criminality of the previous administration. Thank you, Heather, for laying out in clear terms, what Biden and his team are accomplishing. We all need to know.

Expand full comment

Agree completely with one additional observation -

TFG took the ultra-rich, put them in Cabinet positions they have demonstrated animosity towards, and proceeded to dismantle government institutions as they all lined their pockets.. TFG's own autocratic goals would have placed the USA as the ultimate "bad guy," making us a threat to foes and allies alike.

He still aims to end democracy through violence and coordinated criminal actions.

He is also the greatest national security risk, having stolen thousands of government documents including an untallied amount with classified markings.

Expand full comment

And yet, he still has blond followers, and worse, many are in our congress. WHERE are the indictments against this conman?

Expand full comment

I don't understand what you mean by TFG; maybe define it?

Expand full comment

I will forever correct my auto correction wanting to capitalize tfg. And over time, my mind now recognizes those three letters to refer to “that effing guy”

Expand full comment

Joe Biden referred to Donald Trump as “the former guy” at a CNN town hall in Feb. of 2021, & the nickname immediately took hold!

It has also been reported that NYTimes columnist Gail Collins suggested using TFG as a nickname to make fun of Trump & to annoy him.

Expand full comment

I think it started right here, by people reluctant to refer to him by name using various euphemism, starting right after the election. "The former guy" stuck, quickly shortened to tfg, then capped to TFG. LFAA is widely read and passed around to other audiences. Many politicians and journalists picked "the former guy" and TFG up quickly. It tickles me to see it so ubiquitous!

Expand full comment

The former guy: the guy who preceeded President Joe Biden.

Expand full comment

I use EOTR: Enemy Of The Republic

Expand full comment

Oh shite... now I'm seeing tfg everywhere... and this is all an unfortunate alternative to my musical reality...

Expand full comment

I've seen it defined as 'the former guy' and as 'that f*****g grifter'. No doubt there are other interpretations.

Expand full comment

Thanks, James. “That f***ing grifter” is a little closer to expressing my feelings of bottomless contempt and revulsion than The Former Guy. It’s interesting that in this era so many Americans want so badly a simple-minded world in which We Are Good and “They” Are Evil. The same people who want that simplistic, low-intellectual-demands fantasy elected a simple-minded, hate-filled charlatan, who sold them a worthless story of his own heroics and their superiority, and who is himself an archetype—of greed, of ignorance, of hubris, of vanity, of megalomania, and of several florid mental illnesses. He is a perfect counterfeit, purporting to offer his supporters everything to which they imagine they are entitled, while actually defrauding them and the country of everything that matters. Climate change has accelerated, turbocharged by the willful blindness of so many since 1988 when scientist James Hansen warned Congress of its existential threat (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hansen). Climate change will multiply all of our challenges including those to democracy. We will be challenged more and more to maintain our stance of science-based, reality-based thinking, of acknowledging the hard, real problems and their need for real solutions that demand more of us than sitting back doing things the way we always have. We will have to fight harder and harder against those who yearn for snake oil salesmen like That F***king Grifter, a false messiah whose easy promises and glib offers of “winning” were always dust.

Expand full comment

tffg

Expand full comment

Your enhancement is most appropriate. I stand corrected.

Expand full comment

I’m sorry Ann, but can you define “shite” please? 😉

Expand full comment

A more polite word for 💩

Expand full comment

My Irish aunt used to say Shite and shinola, her go-to exclamatory expression of dismay.

Expand full comment

You quoted Secretary of State Blinken showing, by use of Mendevev’s words (Russia plans to “push the borders of threats to our country as far as possible, even if these are the borders of Poland.”), why we need to assist Ukraine—if Russia invades Poland or any other NATO country, then there will be US boots on the ground.

The fact that the Russian leadership disavowed plans to invade Ukraine should not surprise us; after all, Putin told TFG that Russia had not interfered with the 2016 election. If they were to state today that, if we stop helping Ukraine, they will not invade any other countries, we would do well to remember their past lies.

Expand full comment

Secretary Blinken lays bare that this whole, dreadful, punishing conflict was willed into existence by one deeply immoral individual. I hesitate to call Putin a man, because that would imply that he has some humanity. He is as vicious and cruel as any dictator who has lusted for raw power and worked ills to achieve it. May his days be numbered, may his health fail, that his vanity will no longer crush innocents.

Expand full comment

Not one man in my view, I think chump was in on the scheme, remember Helsinki

Expand full comment
Feb 25, 2023·edited Feb 25, 2023

Maybe. I'm not sure TFG had/has enough brain cells to understand how he was manipulated and played by a far craftier and smarter miscreant.

Expand full comment

Pics show Putin leading him around by the nose, personally, I think Putin is biding his time waiting for the Repub goons to deliver chump or worse…. If I were a betting person, I would have made a fortune betting on where Tea Party nuts would take us. The only shocker is that 90% of repubs are traitors

Expand full comment

Hmm. Not a betting person. Maybe you should try bingo?

Expand full comment

Once a twitter troll, always a twitter troll.

You made some important points, but they existed in a vacuum without context. What should be the response to Russian agression in Ukraine?

Expand full comment

James. What should have been the response to American aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria?

Expand full comment

Let’s just say then that tfg was willfully manipulated. He didn’t necessarily want to know. I believe he was so sure he would be re-elected, one way or the other and so did Putin. So Putin planned his little invasion thinking it would be met with a smattering of short lived outrage and then, like with his takeover of Crimea, the Putin maw would just open wide and swallow Ukraine without so much as a belch.

Expand full comment

I don’t think TFG was willfully manipulated. He’s on board with Putin. The vision that they’re operating under (including too many Rs in the U.S.) is that white supremacy must reign. They feel desperate to solidify their power now.

Obama’s election was their wake up call-they’re now “woke” to changing demographics. I’ve heard too many White supremacists admire Russia and Putin. They say they’re joining forces with Putin because it’s “a great white country”. Too many fantasies of having the U.S. be the same.

Stop and think about what the Rs (including their “base”) are fighting for-these r not all poor white people who’ve lost jobs. Their donors are not worried about inflation and they don’t mind violence to achieve their aims.

Having a political party made up of mostly White males is not about deficits or small government. It’s about race and power.

Expand full comment

Gina you may be right...you're certainly correct about the white supremacy part. Whether TFG was manipulated or "all in" is the only question...but even that doesn't matter because I believe he's all in with White Supremacy now. Obama was their wake up call. Considering that Charlottsville even occurred says mountains.

Expand full comment

Yes-and January 6 too-amazing how they think TFG is their “savior” - he really only cares about himself

Expand full comment

Seems that Younkin is setting his sights on UVA, following along cautiously DeSantis’ actions in Florida.

Expand full comment

Grievance is still there, and the sense of victimization: the sense that diversity will allow folks who don't look like them to be in charge.

Expand full comment

tRump started working for Putin long before either held office. tRump knew, and had no problem selling his country to the highest bidder, or three.

Expand full comment

Remember the solemnity of the international gathering in Paris to commemorate the centenary of the Armistice? TFG sat there in the front row looking sullen. Then Putin arrived, and the smile as they shook hands was like a sunburst.

https://time.com/5451539/putin-trump-thumbs-up-paris-wwi-commemoration/

Expand full comment

I'm glad I missed that. Another image I won't have to try to unsee.

Expand full comment

Wasn't that when TFG said he didn't understand why all these honored dead had given their lives? Or maybe that was at Arlington. Still, it explains his boredom. A vapid, self-absorbed, fool. Sadly, he was empowered by voters.

Expand full comment

He was relieved that there was finally somebody there who would talk to him. As I recall, the rest pretty much shunned him.

Expand full comment

Well, it hadn't taken long for the world to observe him. The view from afar was disconcerting from the start, and then there was the unforgettable moment, during his first overseas trip, when he elbowed the president of Montenegro aside to get a front row spot in the group photo. And then, remember Mike Pence at the UN: "I have the honor to represent the President of the United States, Donald J Trump!" He paused for the applause, and there was complete silence.

Expand full comment

"Humanity" in the sense of decency, no. "Humanity" in the sense of human, yes. "Mr. Hyde" run amok. The cast of actors change but the cast of characters persists. We need to get better purchase on human nature. And somehow a more encompassing response to predatory impulses that somehow can define whole society. In the meantime a shark attack means fighting off the shark. If we cannot eliminate such impulses you would think that the great majority of humans could learn to avoid supporting them. we seem to be running out of time to take that lesson, but Trump didn't win and hope remains.

Expand full comment

Carmen.

What if Putin was watching us for the last 20 years and concluded prosecuting war, as we did for 20 years, was a good thing?

Expand full comment

I'd say he wasn't watching closely enough. The wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan cost us more than most are willing to acknowledge, not only in materiel and American lives, but credibility. As you point out, numerous atrocities were committed - euphemistically collateral damage in service to a greater good. That good was never achieved. Wars don't deliver good. We are still sorting out the repercussions left after what was arguably a moral war, WWII. I won't get into the polemics, just to agree, war is hell.

Expand full comment

If you want to understand why Biden’s age doesn’t matter, think about the leadership he has organized in his administration... that’s what matters, in Ukraine or at home. Watch Richard Engel tonight to get a sense of our support matters and ask what you would do for your country.

Expand full comment

That was an excellent program. Those people whose story he featured a real examples of how anyone can step up if they choose to.

Expand full comment

TCInLA, you are the Community authority on military matters, per Wikipedia, the US Army HIMARS system is a truck mounted highly mobile system mounted with six ( 6) GMLRS rockets or one (1) AFACMS missle with a range of 5.6 to 300 miles, I presume the HIMARS system is for use in Spring mobile battles in the East & South of Ukraine. Your thoughts, please? FYI, Poland has already delivered four (4) Leopard Tanks per The Guardian.

Expand full comment