Methinks following Russian money will lead into the pockets of many of the Republican lawmakers now deciding what US response should be to potential Russian militarism in Ukraine. I include Mitch McConnell in that list. It certainly would explain much of the otherwise irrational devotion to Trump by so many Republicans.

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Heather is too polite to explicitly call out the GOP's incentives.

Multiple investigations and court cases have indicated Russia spent money on behalf of the GOP in USA elections, especially in the 2016 cycle. If the USA's response to Russian aggression against Ukraine is heavily financial, it could impede that financial support. If there is a hot war instead, Republican donors at home (not many Democrats control the finances of big defense contractors) stand to make a lot of money from it and there will be plenty of chaos for foreign money and influence to sneak through.

Of course the GOP wants Biden to go for a military solution right away.

I live in the UK. We get some of our natural gas from Russia. Continental Europe gets a bigger proportion of theirs from Russia than we do. Russia will retaliate by cutting gas supply. Our already-spiking heating prices will spike even worse and that will cause a lot of pain. But Europe remembers what it is like to have a world war fought all over its lands and peoples. A choice between cold houses with financial pain and another great war is not a difficult choice at all.

Take the Republicans on a field trip to Kiev without their body armor and maybe they'll start to see it this way.

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The involvement - ie geopolitical unity - of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia precedes even the Russian empire, let alone the Soviet Union. The territory of Ukraine has been dominated by Mongols and Turks, Poland, Lithuania, and the AustroHungarian empire.

The pull between East and West, Russia and Western Europe continues. There have been diplomatic understandings negotiated with Russia regarding the expansion of NATO, which have been tested/ignored.

George W. Bush's incompetent military adventurism weakened America's hand. Donald Trump's ignorant blunderings upset a delicately balanced apple cart overseas, while nearly demolishing the State Department at home.

Ukraine's Eastern European, former Soviet, neighbors have been sending aid to Ukraine and sending up red flags which were largely ignored. Germany, always leery of sending troops into countries the Nazis had invaded, has committed to a field hospital. The rest of NATO is scrambling for a coherent policy.

Russian groups, parents who wearied of their sons coming home from Afghanistan and Georgia in zinc coffins, have been on social media opposing the deployment of Russian troops.

Then there is president for life Putin. With memories of Soviet domination and dreams of Russian empire - happy to stir up the pot in a distracted world.

It is not an easy thing to deal with schoolyard bullies - with their hands on the levers of government and their entourage thinking only of their own advancement. We should know. We've seen it in McConnell's Senate and Trump's administration.

It is always more difficult for those who want to be reasonable, ethical, and play by the rules. America is out of practice in balancing flexing one's muscles and playing with the team. Especially with the Republican party and entire right wing apparatus on auto pilot to obstruct any Democratic administration. And not minding destroying democratic administration in the process.

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Fiona Hill wrote a solid op-ed about Putin and what Russia wants in the NYT. While I don't quite agree with portraying Putin as this endlessly-brilliant Machiavellian mastermind (in some ways he is; rest assured he has his blind spots), I agree with her general take. What Biden MUST do now is get NATO on the same page. There CANNOT BE, in the event of an invasion any of the weak, meandering behavior/commentary from the alliance as there has been in the past. Hill is correct, and I stated this seven years ago (I'm paraphrasing my own quote) "By 2022, Putin will create an incident specifically designed to destroy NATO, by isolating its probably too-many parts, disparate interests; exposing its lack of fortitude and some of its members' legacy weaknesses. There will come a moment the alliance will either have to act decisively--and with real risk--or dissolve into a puddle of mud because it can't bring itself to do what it must. Oh, the alliance will continue to officially exist after that, but that will be the day historians note it ceased to mean anything." Rest assured THAT is exactly what Putin aims to do here.

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Let's let Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity go live in Russia, under Putin's rule, with no ability to come back to the US. It's easy to sit here and criticize because one is allowed to. Just because both of them were in Trump's back pocket does not make them valuable to someone like Putin. He wants their dissension and misinformation here; in Russia? Not so much...

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Bravo ... again Professor Richardson (Heather, to all your indebted readers) for taking a complex issue and its bedrock history and making it understandable. The gift of a wirter, journalist, historian and most of all, educator. KUDOS!

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Oh geez, Professor Richardson. Sometimes your last sentences in the Letters are the envelope to tuck the entire letter in.

“The economic sanctions that Republicans are finding weak sauce might, in the end, reach far beyond Ukraine.”

Bam. Another zinger.

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"In winter 2014, Ukrainians protested for weeks against corruption and Russian influence. Surrounded by police with shields, they stood their ground, singing, speechifying, and defying. When snipers from Russia were finally brought in and killed 100, millions flooded the streets, Putin’s puppet President fled, and Russian tanks and troops rolled into eastern Ukraine. But volunteers held off a full-scale invasion and now Ukraine has a huge army and a civil society that is more united against Russia than ever. They are digging in and preparing for a guerrilla war by distributing weapons to citizens. Said one official: “Our people are ready to fight. Every window will shoot if [Russians] go [in]."

"That is why now the tables must be turned. Putin should be given seven days to pull his troops back 100 miles from Ukraine’s borders or be hit with severe sanctions damaging to his economy, corporations, and cronies. He should be told that such sanctions will remain until Russia withdraws its troops from all Ukrainian territory invaded in 2014, Donbas and Crimea. Next Russia should be declared a terrorist nation by the United Nations, G7, and G20 and a scorched-earth policy of diplomatic and economic isolation must be undertaken. No imports from, and no exports of technology or capital to, Russia." https://dianefrancis.substack.com/p/mr-putin-every-window-will-shoot

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I see a thread running through Putin toying with Ukraine, one angle being an effort to make Biden appear weak with an eye towards the midterm elections in November.

Stoke more opposition, kick up more dust around President Biden, Ukraine being used to drive down the perception as to the effectiveness of the Biden Administration.

Add in China harassing Taiwan in recent days. Is that coordinated?

Am I imagining this, or is it real Professor Richardson?

The champions of Oligarchy aligning, lining up versus the champions of Democracy.

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Putin is by no means a brilliant Macchiavellian thinker. He's merely employing classic Soviet Negotiation Technique. Historically speaking, being unpleasant, paranoid, and implacable has routinely yielded good results right up until an actual fight breaks out.

We mustn't lose sight of the fact that Russia needs to keep selling their gas or they'll go broke.

Their legit national economy is relatively small (comparable with Italy), and they can't afford a protracted war. They'd definitely feel the pain from additional sanctions!

Expect a fan-dance to distract us from that reality whatever comes next.

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Thank you Dr. Richardson for taking the time to give us the historic background of these fast moving events. Following the money has long been a principle of great investigative journalism and I think it goes without saying that most countries want their boundaries respected. Entities like the current GOP are apparently all about power grabbing and corruption. I hope the diplomatic efforts of our current administration help persuade Putin to restrain himself. But my sense is that this alarming situation is not going away.

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I have for a long time believed that Tucker Carlson works for Putin. Seems obvious now.

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Dear Heather:

My gratitude, as always, for contextualizing your topics and situating events within their historic frames of reference. Your style invariably allows for a deeper understanding of the situational circumstances and positionalties. The Russia/Ukraine debacle has not happened in a vacuum, and you shed a clarifying light on the background and settings which determine, specify, and elucidate the looming over-and-undertones of this crisis. I will be asking my students to read today's letter.

As I have often pointed out, your concluding sentence is another exquisite clincher: "The economic sanctions that Republicans are finding weak sauce might, in the end, reach far beyond Ukraine.” Brava!

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First off, I have to say that, just like Peter Doocy at Faux Noise, Tucker Carlson is also a stupid son of a bitch. And, Biden should not have apologized for saying the truth. In 2017 Sen. John McCain told Doocy “Why would you say something that stupid? Why would you ask something that dumb?” That is the same opinion from 2 different sources, so maybe there is truth to it.

Next, as a certified “Cold Warrior” who served in the U.S. Air Force Security Service in the mid 1960s spying on the USSR, I have to say Ukraine reminds me of Hungary in 1956, which I actually remember seeing on B&W TV news. Again, the same action in 2 different nations, there may be a common aggressor.

This is the stuff of political fiction, like James Bond or Jason Bourne. We called it the “Soviet Union,” but it was Russia at the center of it and probably the same corrupt oligarchs there directing it. Now consider a cabal of the Russian Oligarchs tied to the United States Oligarchs who control the Repugnant Party and its propaganda outlets at Faux Noise & Breitbart and this supposition has as much credence as any other.

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We have a rogue politician, who does not represent the will of the Russian people, instigating a war that nobody wants except him. I said my piece on Lucian Truscott.


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Wow the links here goimg a ways back are fascinating and of course frightening The former so called twice impeached president was really their guy and front I keep asking who or what determined his decisions This could well be the answer And possibly confirms calling him Putin s puppet Ah so many strings and connections here on so many levels Thanks

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