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`Nothing Like War to Eclipse the Epidemic

By February 24, 2022Commentary

This is a very somber day.  I am filled with deep empathy for the people of the Ukraine, whose lives have been turned topsy-turvy at the whim of a pyschopath.  I don’t feel much like writing about the epidemic in this context. To some extent Putin is doing this because he senses weakness and division in Europe and the US.  Ironically, this invasion will likely heal that division.  But he is also doing it because he is old and has had this delusional fantasy of rebuilding Russia for decades and is running out of time to realize that fantasy.  He is dangerous because of his delusions.  People say he is smart, but not so much really.  This will prove to be another dramatic step down for Russians.  The country is a corrupt kleptocracy, kept functioning only because of oil and gas revenues, which will now decline substantially.  China, the only remaining customer, will not be interested in paying $100 a barrel or more for Russian energy.  It is losing population at a rapid clip, alcoholism is rampant and young people want to leave.  Putin’s version of Russian jingoism isn’t going to play well as living standards decline yet further.

It is our obligation to do everything we can to keep those living standards going down–close off every export market we can to Russia; seize every asset owned by a Russian in the US or Europe and sell them with the proceeds going to Ukraine resistance and relief.  All Russian military assets in this hemisphere should be destroyed and we should make it clear that any ship or plane that carries any Russian goods to countries like Cuba and Venezuela will be sunk or shot down.  Economic sanctions are not enough to deter psychopaths; they must pay a price in their precious military.  Action must be immediate, massive and persistent.  We aren’t going to change Putin’s behavior, but we can make him and the Russian people pay a huge price, and eventually the Russian people will themselves rise up against his dictatorship.

A couple of side notes.  I have read extensively on climate science for decades.  Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit was one of my heroes for his brave and persistent deconstruction of shoddy and fake climate science.  Steve unfortunately has become a Russian propogandist and Putin apologist, and that has become his main avocation, rather than climate, which he has far more expertise in.  Truly, truly sad.

And then there is Congressperson Tulisi Gabbard, also often a brave, independent voice, but whose take on the Russian invasion of a sovereign nation is that it is our fault because we talked about Ukraine coming into NATO, which would put NATO right on Russia’s borders.  Aside from the general inanity of this take, she might want to look at a map, where she will see that NATO already is on Russia’s borders.

And finally, the Russian invasion will allow Democrats to get out from under the epidemic.  It will provide great cover for ending all restrictions with everyone’s attention focussed elsewhere.  That is not much of a silver lining for the people of Ukraine.


Join the discussion 20 Comments

  • Barb says:

    We have been distracted these past two years. The threats of a dangerous world were never going to wait. The Russian invaders didn’t wear masks, present their vax documents or get tested. Their goals had nothing to do with the Virus, just plain violence and an intent to take over an innocent country.

  • JT says:

    Who needs Steve McIntyre !

    The Biden’s have Ukrainian blood on their hands too. Germany refused Kiev NATO membership due mainly to the perceived ‘corruption’ level. How hypocritical is that ! At the same time you have the Biden’s at the root of corruption with at least one Ukrainian oil company. And our corrupt, senile, arrogant, puppet, dictator (I’m sure I missed a few) president has the ‘chutzpah’ to address this great country about what he’s going to do about the ‘invasion’ while Hunter is enjoying his millions.

  • joe Kosanda says:

    I am surprised by the number of the woke clan blaming the russian invasion on trump.

    The russian invasion is a product of the decline in the US military and the shift in military preparedness and strategic goals which began under Obama, and only partly stalled under Trump.

    The shift in strategic goals included military planning for threats from global warming, the shift to crt, the purge of military leadership in the militarty , Then with the serious implosion with biden

  • Mike M. says:

    I was surprised to see Putin invade Ukraine. Not because he has any scruples, but because it is likely to be not so easy, followed by a long and difficult insurgency. I am still not clear as to what he expects to gain that is worth the trouble and the risk.

    It looks like the Ukrainians are fighting hard. If they can keep it up, even after the nominal conquest is complete,perhaps they can weaken Putin to the point where his enemies can bring him down. If that happens, we will be the undeserving beneficiaries of their courage. I say undeserving since we will only help as long as our gas prices don’t go up too much.

  • James L. Edholm says:

    Your usual good column, Kevin; however, I take issue with your comments about Tulsi Gabbard. I think she’s right. Putin has been telling us FOREVER that he wouldn’t tolerate a move to put Ukraine in NATO. Yet we persisted in refusing to tell Putin that we understood his concern for the security of his country. I feel that somewhere – not now, but at an earlier point – there was something to be gained with a tit-for-tat offer of leaving Ukraine alone in return for our outspoken refusal to bring them into NATO.

    Too late now, unfortunately for the citizens of Ukraine (and the US?).

    • Kevin Roche says:

      I think it is more complex than that; Putin was always going to try to find a way to force Ukraine to be subjugated to his rule, and NATO was a good pretext, just like the “de-Nazification” bullshit. The Ukrainians tossed out the prior pro-Russia government, and from that day forth, the invasion was just a matter of time. And no country has a right to tell another one which alliances it can or cannot join. And certainly I don’t recall a NATO invasion of independent country, much less one as strong as Russia, so its garbage for him to claim to be “threatened”.

  • Sandy says:

    None if our business, and more defensible than the neocon wetdreams during the illegal and ridiculous US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      another person you would really want as your neighbor if criminals invade your home. Not really their business what bad stuff happens to another human.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      and also a complete ignoring of the comprehensive efforts Russia has made for decades to undermine, with great success, the US culture and economy.

  • LA_Bob says:

    “another person you would really want as your neighbor if criminals invade your home. Not really their business what bad stuff happens to another human.”

    I’m not sure this analogy is especially apt, but I’ll run with it.

    If the victim neighbor is on the other side of town, and if the victim’s “local” neighbors aren’t interested in helping and the neighborhood ain’t that great anyway and the cops won’t come, it’s a stretch to think “you” can do much about it.

    If we were at all serious about Ukraine, we would have done something about it long ago. Long before Putin annexed Crimea and long before the current unpleasantness. But we didn’t and neither did our European “allies” who have acquired an unquenchable thirst for Russian gas. Nobody across the pond gives a damn about Ukraine, which makes it a little hard for us to do any more than wring our hands over it.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      People who don’t care about brutal invasions and that kind of destruction being visited on humans anywhere, don’t really give a crap about anyone, whether it is an immediate neighbor or not. Ask not for whom the bell tolls.

  • Alex says:

    I’m afraid I have to disagree here. Putin is no angel but in my opinion it is the West that has been antagonizing Putin. And this is not an invasion – he’s declaring two regions in the East that are heavily Russian in culture and language. Western Ukraine is aligned wth the West but there are two areas that are not. I fear Western media is not telling the truth. For nearly years Ukraine has been bombarding the disputed areas causing 80% of the deaths there – which is far more than anything Putin has ever done. Also, from what I’m gathering, the Russian army is not directly involved but rather supporting local armed groups. The overall beef here is the U.S. and its allies continuously court Ukraine to join NATO directly violating an agreement they would not do so. It’s a little like if the Warsaw Pact came to Canada and asked us to join them during the Cold War. I highly doubt the USA would allow it. Russia, moreover, had apparently asked to join NATO but was rebuffed by the U.S.. Russia is the perfect boogeyman for the military industrial complex. Then comes the hypocrisy. We’re supporting gangsters that appear to be running American owned bio-labs while the Ukraine army is basically dominated by actual Neo-Nazis. Ukraine is a vassal state for American might and is not independent in any way we’ve come to understand independence. i’ve been listening to Putin’s speeches these past few years, he sounds much more logical and sound than anything we in the West peddle from Macron, Johnson, Justin and of course Biden. I’m not convinced they’re the enemy here. I think we’re the trouble makers. Hope I’m misreading this but it’s distracting us from the real enemy: China.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      You have clearly bought into the Russian troll misinformation. Apartment buildings in Kiev beg to disagree with the notion that this was a limited invasion. The Russian military is directly involved, just look at the pictures from Russia itself and their announcements. And I can’t believe you are accepting the bullshit about Nazis running the Ukraine. Putin for decades has said he wanted to rebuild the Soviet Union, this invasion has been planned for years and nothing was going to stop it short of Ukraine voluntarily subjugating itself to him. And look at the protests in Russia and other countries under Russian domination–Georgie,e.g. Don’t buy the bullshit. This is all due to Putin. The timing may have been influenced by Biden’s weakness, but it is as much influenced by Putin’s age–he doesn’t have much longer to realize his fantasy. Fortunately the Ukrainians are tremendously courageous and giving the Russian military all it can handle. It is disappointing to me that people are swallowing Russian propaganda wholesale.

  • LA_Bob says:

    Believe me, I would certainly like to see Ukraine kick as much Russian butt as possible, even if they ultimately go down.

  • Chuck says:

    Think Alexi may be a Russian??

  • Dale says:

    That apartment building was hit by an errant surface to air missile from Ukraine. That is one of many instances where the main stream media, liberals, and their useful idiot boomer-neocons have once again gotten it wrong. The US has been the primary aggressor in over 80% of all wars since 1945. Maybe you neocons and warhawks should sit this one out. After all, it was the NATO sabre rattling that started this. Russia is 7 to 14 days from victory. There have been no genocides, nor will there be. Most likely, whomever is in charge next will be an improvement over the corrupt comedian and corrupt partners of Hunter Biden.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      and another person who is happy to believe any propaganda the Russians hand out. You are full of shit, and ignorant shit at that. Please stop reading the site. If you knew my history you would know I am the furthest thing from a hawk. But for you to pretend like this isn’t 100% the responsibility of the psychopath Putin is intolerable bullshit. People are dying in Ukraine solely to slake his delusional fantasy that he can rebuild the Soviet empire. His own people think he is insane. Get the hell of my site and stay off it.

  • Right said fred says:

    The neighbor analogy is pretty rich too, considering the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens pouring into our neighborhoods, the skyrocketing crime rates, and suffocating levels of inflation. That is OUR neighborhood; that is OUR country. Fix the beam in you own eye before worrying about the speck in someone else’s.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      more great logical reasoning. We have a problem here, therefore we should not care about any problems anyone else is having anywhere. I missed that branch in my logic classes. This isn’t about beams and specks, it is about the cold-blooded slaughter of civilians, and if you don’t care about that, might want to spend a little time in church or somewhere reflecting on your level of empathy

  • JT says:

    Anyone who thinks this is a recent set of situations with Russia and NATO needs to re-educate themselves. At this point I feel that’s about 98% of the population in this country. We are as dumb as bricks regarding foreign policy and its related history. If it’s not click-bate, it’s not important anymore.

    Maybe this sight will help some of you …

    The silver lining to this is that Putin will be gone in 6 months to a year if the free world keeps its foot on his economic neck ! That means opening up US production of oil and halting all imports from / payments to this draconian psychopath.

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