#UkraineUnderAttack

Is anybody else wondering why we’re seeing more coverage about politicians chattering or journalists ducking from skirmishes than, you know, military movements, logistics and strategy? Our hosts sure do, and that’s why they’re eager to hear from Eli Lake, Bloomberg’s foreign policy columnist. Eli gives his take on the Russian pipe dream, Europe’s need for a wakeup call, and how Biden can get serious about his promise to stand up to Putin (hint: some crow eating would be in order).

On the bright side, our hosts notice that we’ve been relieved of CoViD talk for the past few days; on that note, John Kerry tries to keep our eye on the greatest anti-climate(ick!) consequence of the whole ordeal. And Rob still wants you to join, so you hang out with him and the gang for our members-only events coming down the line!

Music from the week’s podcast: Back in the U.S.S.R. by The Beatles

 

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  1. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    “The only people who ever used encirclement as an actual strategy are the Russians.”  — Rob Long.

    It is so great to learn new things about history.

    So it was the Russians who encircled the Red Army at Kiev in 1941.

    It was the Russians who encircled the Belgian, British, and part of the French army after the breakthrough at Sedan, in 1940.  Led by that outstanding Russian tank general, Heinz Guderian, right?

    It was the Russians who encircled the French at Metz in 1870.  During the Franco-Prussian War, or maybe it’s now the Franco-Russian War I guess.

    It was the Russians who devised the Anaconda Plan to strangle the Confederacy.  Devised by the great Russian general, Winfield Scott.

    Not to mention the granddaddy of all encirclement— the Russians at Cannae, under the brilliant Russian general Hannibal, encircling the hapless Roman legions.

    • #1
  2. FredGoodhue Coolidge
    FredGoodhue
    @FredGoodhue

    I think it’s more like 1935, not 1939.  There, a lesser power attacked a weaker country (Italy and Ethiopia).  The world community was aghast, but did not do anything substantive.  A greater power (China) will see this and be emboldened to follow its own expansionist wants. 

    I think it’s too soon for maps about force movements.  Maybe the Russian high command knows where their forces are.  Maybe we have very good intelligence about where the Russian and Ukrainian forces are.  But none of that is public knowledge.  I love maps of battles and campaigns.  I likely have more historical war atlases than most libraries.  I want to see what’s happening, but it’s going to be a while.

    I do think that how long a country is occupied by communism has a big effect over what happens after liberation.  Communism destroys the old national culture, and if the occupation lasts long enough, people who knew the old times will have died off.  For a seemingly trivial example, I’m told by friends with first hand knowledge that Russians have terrible table manners.  Good manners was a bourgeois trait and has now been lost to the nation.

    Environmentalists are big proponents of global warming.  With a few exceptions, environmentalists are big antagonists of nuclear power.  This is contradictory.  This is one reason why I’m skeptical of global warming.

    Rob Long says Ricochet has been proactive in preventing big tech from shutting down Ricochet.  Too bad we’ve not had Rob Long in charge of energy and foreign policy so that we would have been proactive in preventing Russian aggression.

    • #2
  3. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    I could listen to Eli Lake talk about anything. I don’t get why he isn’t on Fox News more.

    • #3
  4. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    FredGoodhue (View Comment):

    I think it’s more like 1935, not 1939. There, a lesser power attacked a weaker country (Italy and Ethiopia). The world community was aghast, but did not do anything substantive. A greater power (China) will see this and be emboldened to follow its own expansionist wants.

    I think that 1935 is a pretty good analogy, but that you may be drawing the wrong conclusion.

    Britain had no important interest in Ethiopia.  They imposed ineffectual sanctions, which alienated Italy and drove it into an alliance with Germany.  That made WWII more likely, and worse when it came.

    In the same way, I worry that our opposition to Russia will drive them closer to China.  We’ve already seen the start of this, I think.

    • #4
  5. Quickz Member
    Quickz
    @Quickz

    Had to pop in (not finished with podcast yet so maybe it gets corrected) and mention that – counter what was said – Russia was not let back into the G8. In fact Russia remains out and the organization remains the G7.

    Yes it was true that 45 thought admitting Russia back into the group was something to be considered. Yet what is often unmentioned when this is brought brought up is that 45 also wanted to see S. Korea, Australia, and India also brought into the group – often saying that the group was outdated and should include more of the larger economies of the modern day.

    Note who is missing – China – and for good reason. It always has been (and is often times now just believed that everyone thinks this; they didn’t – hence the Olympics being in China this year. Decided in 2015 back when China was not recognized for the thugs they are. Almost makes you think that 45 was onto something…) 45’s contention that the “enemy” is China. One could say that inviting all those nations in to work together in economic cooperation would be better than say – oh I don’t know – making up false allegations of 45’s love of the tyrant Russia for years only to then have them driven into the arms of China, N. Korea, and Iran. 

    Oh wait. That’s what has happened. Heckuva job Brownie.

    • #5
  6. Rob Long Editor
    Rob Long
    @RobLong

    Perhaps I was unclear. I know that many generals have encircled the enemy during wartime, throughout history. I’m aware of its use as a battle tactic.

    I was using the term “encirclement” in the way the Soviets and their western apologists did for fifty years — to describe a geopolitical position. They felt “encircled” by the US and its allies. US planes, they would say, can take off from Germany and Turkey and Japan and Pakistan and (then) Iran. This was their justification for expanding their influence abroad — to protect themselves from a US-led invasion.

    Which never came, and never was going to come. But did provide the pretext to keep Russian tanks in Eastern Europe and mischief elsewhere.

    But now — and here’s what I was getting at, probably inarticulately — we have Russia making use of its allies to the north and the south of Ukraine, and their territories to the east, to launch an invasion from three points of the compass. It’s exactly what they (disingenuously) feared was the American strategy. It’s exactly what they did in 2008 in their war with Georgia — took advantage of airbases to the north (their territory) and the south (Armenia) to bomb the areas around the Georgian stretch of the BTC pipeline.

    I was using the term “encirclement” in only that way — as a geopolitical idea, and the pretext the Soviets used for enlarging and arming and (in the case of Hungary, for example) invading their “sphere of influence.”

    • #6
  7. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Did expanding NATO net out for anybody? Didn’t we tell them we weren’t going to do that? To be clear, I know hardly anything about it, including the timeline. 

    Supposedly, Putin went crazy around 2003 or something because of things related to that.

    • #7
  8. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    Sometimes I wonder if Ricochet podcasters and their guests listen to themselves.

    I was struck by Eli Lake’s elaborations of Russia as a thuggish oligarchy. When reference was made to billionaire oligarchs’ $200 million yachts, I could only think of the pictures I see in the media of Jeff Bezos’ $500 million dollar mega yacht. When the discomfiture of the oligarchs who support Putin was mentioned, and the fact that Putin’s opposition party leader is in prison, I couldn’t help but think of our oligarchs, Zuckerberg, Dempsey (though he has left Twitter), Bill Gates, Pichal, Cook; and the fact that the leader of the opposition party is in a defacto communications prison, cut off from the major platforms critical to communication today. (Though he is trying to escape).

    And when Rob started talking about the elderly leader going off somewhere to take a nap and never returning, I thought he was talking about Biden, not Putin. My mistake.

    And all those financial sanctions. And the efforts of the CIA that Lake references–while thinking about how the CIA under Brennan was involved in attempting an overthrow of the American presidency under Trump.

    And the financial sanctions–levied against ordinary Canadians who donated to the Truckers. And the fact that Larry Fink is threatening CEO’s of American companys to get them on board with the woke leftist agenda.

    And Putin calling Ukrainians “Nazis” and promoting the “De-Nazification” of Ukraine–seems like that is all we hear from the Left about Trump supporters–some of whom remain imprisoned on dubious charges as I write, and others apparently are still subject to some sort of dragnet from the FBI as “terrorists.”

    It dawned on me that everything our intrepid Ricochetti founders were saying about Russia, seems to hold for the American oligarchy today. How did a venal houseplant become the leader of the free world?  I know, he got 80 million American votes, the largest number of votes for any President in America history. Right.

    After listening to this podcast, I was convinced that I live in an evil oligarchy.

    I still wonder:  Do our intrepid founders listen to themselves? Or am I, one of the faceless, mindless, meaningless hoi poloi out here, whom no one wants to hear from, jus t out of my ever loving mind? Perhaps I should just shut up and go help Cliven Bundy with his cattle.

    • #8
  9. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Well put.  I had the same thoughts.

    • #9
  10. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    I spent some time during my USAF service in the Cold War at the US Air Station at Sinop, Turkey. If you look up Sinop in Google maps you can see that our station (positioned at the high point of the little almost-island on the coast had a great radio/radar view across the Black Sea.

    When the Cold War ended (or so we thought) that station was torn down and abandoned. Satellites have come a long way, but I think we might be wishing we had that asset back.

    As an aside, nobody wanted to go there because it was a station where you could not bring your family. And the local area was not a place where off-base socialization or travel was practical. 

    • #10
  11. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Here is what is left of Sinop Air Station today. Mostly concrete pads for the buildings and antenna foundations.

    • #11
  12. Wolfsheim Member
    Wolfsheim
    @Wolfsheim

    Greetings from Japan!

    The Russo-Japanese War ended in Japanese victory in 1905, not 1911.

    A polite complaint: I am disgusted as anyone about delusional  German “Green” types (I know so many!),  but please…Imitating the way German speakers supposedly speak your language is bad manners and adds nothing to the argument. I just spoke today, in our Teutonic tongue, with an old friend, across the vast continent, who would agree with most everything you’ve said…

    On the other hand, Peter Robinson’s characterization of the insufferable John Kerry hits the nail on the head…Another fine podcast!

    • #12
  13. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Oh no, you messed up by interviewing Mr. Lake. At least according to this blue check I’ve never heard of.

    Enjoyed the episode and the insights.

    • #13
  14. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    “The only people who ever used encirclement as an actual strategy are the Russians.” — Rob Long.

    It is so great to learn new things about history.

    So it was the Russians who encircled the Red Army at Kiev in 1941.

    It was the Russians who encircled the Belgian, British, and part of the French army after the breakthrough at Sedan, in 1940. Led by that outstanding Russian tank general, Heinz Guderian, right?

    It was the Russians who encircled the French at Metz in 1870. During the Franco-Prussian War, or maybe it’s now the Franco-Russian War I guess.

    It was the Russians who devised the Anaconda Plan to strangle the Confederacy. Devised by the great Russian general, Winfield Scott.

    Not to mention the granddaddy of all encirclement— the Russians at Cannae, under the brilliant Russian general Hannibal, encircling the hapless Roman legions.

    Jerry reminds me of those “fact checkers” who accuse Donald Trump of lying every time he uses hyperbole.  Pedantic much?

    • #14
  15. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    FredGoodhue (View Comment):

    I think it’s more like 1935, not 1939. There, a lesser power attacked a weaker country (Italy and Ethiopia). The world community was aghast, but did not do anything substantive. A greater power (China) will see this and be emboldened to follow its own expansionist wants.

    I think it’s too soon for maps about force movements. Maybe the Russian high command knows where their forces are. Maybe we have very good intelligence about where the Russian and Ukrainian forces are. But none of that is public knowledge. I love maps of battles and campaigns. I likely have more historical war atlases than most libraries. I want to see what’s happening, but it’s going to be a while.

    I do think that how long a country is occupied by communism has a big effect over what happens after liberation. Communism destroys the old national culture, and if the occupation lasts long enough, people who knew the old times will have died off. For a seemingly trivial example, I’m told by friends with first hand knowledge that Russians have terrible table manners. Good manners was a bourgeois trait and has now been lost to the nation.

    Environmentalists are big proponents of global warming. With a few exceptions, environmentalists are big antagonists of nuclear power. This is contradictory. This is one reason why I’m skeptical of global warming.

    Rob Long says Ricochet has been proactive in preventing big tech from shutting down Ricochet. Too bad we’ve not had Rob Long in charge of energy and foreign policy so that we would have been proactive in preventing Russian aggression.

    “[H]ow long a country is occupied by communism has a big effect over what happens after liberation.”

    Ukraine has the advantage over Russia in that the western part of the country was occupied by Communist Russia for only about 45 years before independence.  So the old people still remembered.

    The difference between 1935 and the current situation is that Italy taking over Ethiopia, while repugnant, did not constitute a threat to Europe; whereas Russia taking over Ukraine certainly would.  Look at a map.

    • #15
  16. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):

    Sometimes I wonder if Ricochet podcasters and their guests listen to themselves.

     

    Oh, I do, often wincing, if I said something stupid, obvious, inelegant, or wrong. 

    I don’t think we’re Russia Lite, though. 

    • #16
  17. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Did expanding NATO net out for anybody? Didn’t we tell them we weren’t going to do that? To be clear, I know hardly anything about it, including the timeline.

    Supposedly, Putin went crazy around 2003 or something because of things related to that.

    I find this very hard to argue with:

     

     

     

    • #17
  18. Ausonius Member
    Ausonius
    @

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Did expanding NATO net out for anybody? Didn’t we tell them we weren’t going to do that? To be clear, I know hardly anything about it, including the timeline.

    Supposedly, Putin went crazy around 2003 or something because of things related to that.

    I find this very hard to argue with:

     

     

     

    Have you seen Peter Hitchens (the less famous Hitchens) writing about this very thing?  If the editors were smart they would have him on to balance Lake’s neocon analysis.   If not Hitchens, then Jon Gabriel’s recent guest, Gray Connolly.

    https://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2015/03/a-review-of-frontline-ukraine-by-richard-sakwa.html

    • #18
  19. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    Ausonius (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Did expanding NATO net out for anybody? Didn’t we tell them we weren’t going to do that? To be clear, I know hardly anything about it, including the timeline.

    Supposedly, Putin went crazy around 2003 or something because of things related to that.

    I find this very hard to argue with:

    Have you seen Peter Hitchens (the less famous Hitchens) writing about this very thing? If the editors were smart they would have him on to balance Lake’s neocon analysis. If not Hitchens, then Jon Gabriel’s recent guest, Gray Connolly.

    https://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2015/03/a-review-of-frontline-ukraine-by-richard-sakwa.html

    I note that some hard-right Christians see Vlad as Slaughterer of Musims, Crusher of Homosexuals, and Defender of the Faith.

    • #19
  20. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):

    Sometimes I wonder if Ricochet podcasters and their guests listen to themselves.

     

    Oh, I do, often wincing, if I said something stupid, obvious, inelegant, or wrong.

    I don’t think we’re Russia Lite, though.

    So why can’t I shake this sensation of feeling like I’m living in a foreign country that I have never known before in my 72 years of life? Military vehicles around the Capitol for a State of the Union speech?  I lived in Argentina when I was young. Military police with machine guns in front of buildings. That was in the years of Peron’s exile, with a military dictatorship. I have the same sensation now living in America. And burning downtown Minneapolis?  That’s not Minnesota nice. Yeah, I  know that happened in LA in the 60’s, but Minneapolis?Censorhip. Cancellation. Charges of terrorism for being White. Back to burning cities. Approved by politicians, justified, excused, “mostly peaceful” anarchic riots. Politicized trials (George Floyd died of a self administered drug overdose, however callously he was treated by police). 

    I have a horrible sensation of scales falling from my eyes, and America appearing to me as something I never knew nor expected.  I’m glad that you  don’t see the country the same way I do. But I can’t seem to shake my horrific sense of the country. An email from Hillsdale that I got today asked if we have lost America. The observation was made that in the Roman Empire, the SPQR sign was used long after the Republic ended. The question was, has the American Republic been lost without the recognition of the citizens. It was an ad for financial support for a course on the Roman Republic. My immediate and unconsidered, knee jerk answer to the question, was, emphatically YES.  And I think that started in the Progressive Era, when the serious effort to replace the US Constitution began:  A direct tax on citizens; the re-imposition of a central bank (Federal reserve). Popular direct election of Senators, destabilizing the federalist order. Add the New Deal, the Great Society, and etc. and, voila’, no more American freedom as originally constituted. Maybe it’s because I just did my tax return. Every year when I have to do that I bemoan Leviathan and the loss of freedom consequent to that utter up-ending of the Constitution. Now there is no limit on taxation of any sort. Anything that can get past Congress is fair game. We no longer have a Constitutional guarantee of freedom from excessive and abusive taxation. And since 1913 we have not had the buffer of a State between us citizens and the tax mad Congress. Perhaps if the 16th Amendment were repealed, I wouldn’t feel so morose about the country…..? 

    What would it take to induce you to think you no longer lived in a country with the guarantee of fundamental freedoms as originally constituted? 

    • #20
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