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5 More Questions For Stephen Kotkin: Ukraine Edition
Last month, Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson asked Princeton Professor and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Stephen Kotkin 5 questions, all in the foreign policy and history realm. Since then, the world has changed in ways that were unimaginable just 3 weeks ago. So we asked Professor Kotkin to come back for a second round of questions, this time all dedicated to one topic: the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And as usual, his answers are concise, incisive, and analytic. If you want to understand this crisis and some possible outcomes, don’t miss this conversation.
Recorded on March 3rd, 2022Published in General
This is fantastic. On the strength of the first interview I bought Kotkin’s first volume on Stalin.
This was pretty good. Kotkin presents himself better and can handle questions better than Niall Ferguson, who has not been good on this issue.
Clear and concise.
Those Stalin books are amongst the best works of history that I have ever read.
Unimaginable? It’s been clear for years that Putin viewed Ukrainian membership in NATO—whatever Americans have thought about NATO—as an existential threat. We usually attribute the “intentions are the most important thing and excuse unwise actions” idiocy to the Left but there’s plenty of it to go around on the “conservative” side.
Only unimaginable if you think that it was unimaginable for Putin not to think of NATO the same way as NATO’s spokespeople want us to think about NATO.
I was grateful for getting a whole different perspective from Kotkin, and a reasonable one at that. I’m glad he came back for a second round of questions.
First, Ukraine isn’t in NATO. Second, the “unimaginable” refers to the wholesale destruction of cities of no military value by the Russians, the wanton and careless bombing of hospitals, orphanages, and apartments buildings in those cities, the ability of the Ukraine military to put up such a strong fight, the President of Ukraine unexpectedly and out of nowhere rising to the level of a 21st Century Churchill, and the world responding to this situation with sanctions that have actual teeth.
If you were able to imagine all of that prior to 3 weeks ago, more power to you. Consider buying some lottery tickets, because you are clairvoyant.
Your side needs to admit that unlike the lie made up by the right that there was an influential portion of the American left that wanted the Soviet Union to triumph, there is certainly an influential portion of the right today that wants Russia to triumph over the United States.
You have the power to prevent the spread of their influence. Don’t give such people Uncommon Knowledge interviews, which they use to spread their nonsense to impressionable minds. Stop giving interviews to Pat Buchanan, Peter Thiel, Steve Wynn, and others who have provided financing and succor to either pro-Russian or pro-Chinese individuals. Stop giving interviews to European righties who want to bring down the EU.
As a producer of right-wing entertainment, you have the power to limit the influence of Russia and China in America.
We haven’t had Pat Buchanan on the show in at least 10 years, maybe more. As for Wynn and Thiel, I don’t think the subject of Russia came in in the one interview we did with Wynn (5 or so years ago, now) or with the several we’ve done with Thiel.
Do you consider anyone who was pro-Brexit a “European rightie[s] who wants to bring down the EU”?
Why did the EU let themselves gets beholden to Russian energy? I think we should nuke them on general principles.
The EU sucks. The EMU is even worse.
I actually wish there was a show of somebody of Peter’s caliber interviewing sort of radical conservatives and libertarians complaining about the GOP and the GOPe. What is David Stockman wrong about, for example? etc. I think if Republicans would fix this in their heads really well, we would all be a lot better off.
Pat Buchanan was on in 2012.
Thiel backs the National Conservatives. If you look on the Twitter accounts of prominent National Conservatives such as Sohrab Ahmari, Adrian Vermule, and Pedro Gonzalez, you will find admiration of Russia and China. Indeed, Vermule has expressed admiration for the Chinese government, while Ahmari, in a now-deleted tweet, seems to hope that China will triumph over the US.
Wynn is a known Chinese agent.
As to your last point, I think Nigel Farage definitely wants to bring down the EU. He was the most prominent member of the Brexit movement, and he is a rightie. Perhaps there are Brexiteers who don’t wish for the EU to be destroyed, but that doesn’t matter so much when the leader of the movement was so open about his desires and what he stood for.
Nuking them would benefit the Russians more than the benefits that they get from selling energy to the EU.
2012 = ten years. And I wrote that without looking it up. Pretty good!
I don’t know if Steve Wynn is a “known Chinese agent” or not, but he certainly wasn’t “known” as one when we interviewed him seven (!) years ago. I’d have to go back and watch it again to be sure, but I doubt we discussed China.
We tend not to censor people for specific views or who they support, even when we disagree with them. And by your standard, we could not have anyone on who voted for or even expressed a modicum of support for the last occupant of the White House since he is on record repeatedly (and very recently) expressing support for Vladimir Putin.
We’ve never had Nigel Farage on Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, so I think we’re in the clear on that one. And the pro-Brexiteers we had on were interested in the U.K. exiting the E.U., and were not advocating its destruction. Maybe they would have been OK if that had happened, but that was never the stated goal of the Brexit movement.
I only mentioned the year of Pat Buchanan showing up so I could confirm your guess.
I don’t think you guys discussed China at all with Wynn, but I don’t think he should be given air time. In 2014, I don’t know if the extent of his lobbying on behalf of the Chinese government was public knowledge. Nevertheless, I don’t think he should be interviewed in the future because of his work on behalf of the Chinese government.
Do you disagree with one of the points that I made in my original reply, which is that there is a pro-Russia element on the right in the US which is supportive of Russia? Even if this group is not a large segment of the GOP base, they seem to be disproportionate amongst intellectuals on the right.
I don’t disagree with it at all. But not to worry, we don’t have any plans to have Tucker or any of the other people you mentioned on the show.
You can’t be this dumb, based on what you say your job is.
It’s hard to tell how serious people are on the internet.