Friday Open Thread

“When you’re focused on your enemy, then you are ignoring your allies.”

–Stacey Abrams

36 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ParkHill says:

    Best take on the Geopolitical consequences from economist Noah Smith: "A moment of clarity The Russian invasion of Ukraine should wake us up."

    “all sleeping the deep, deep sleep of England, from which I sometimes fear that we shall never wake till we are jerked out of it by the roar of bombs” — George Orwell, “Homage to Catalonia”

    Few events create as much moral clarity as the unprovoked, brutal invasion of a peaceful nation by a militaristic empire. It’s the backdrop or the driving conflict of so many of our stories — Star WarsCasablancaLord of the RingsThe Sound of Music — precisely because it creates heroes and villains so easily and automatically. On one side, the haughty, iron-fisted dictator with his legions of destruction — on the other side, children hiding underground while their parents make a desperate stand to protect their homeland.

    The law of the jungle has returned, and the strong will dominate the weak if they see fit.

    This will have several ripple effects. First, it will dramatically increase the incentives for nuclear proliferation — recall that Ukraine gave up its nukes in 1994 in return for a (worthless) guarantee of security from the Russian Federation. Countries whose territory is menaced by powerful neighbors — Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and so on — will now be thinking very hard about whether to get nukes of their own.

    It will also push countries toward great-power alliance blocs, as in the Cold War (when even most of the so-called “non-aligned” countries really chose sides). Countries in Asia — India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and so on — must now be thinking about drawing closer to the United States in case China should decide to follow Putin’s example. And expect alliances to become more militarized — NATO seems likely to put permanent bases in East European countries like Poland and Romania, lest Putin’s appetite continue to grow.

    So the post-WW2 moment — a sort of extended after-party for the world to recover from the great catastrophe of the modern age — is now over. Perhaps it was always destined to end once the generation who lived through it passed on.

     

    • ParkHill says:

      Paul Krugman at the NYT says that Putin has a big obvious achilles heel:

      Filip Novokmet, Thomas Piketty and Gabriel Zucman have pointed out that Russia has run huge trade surpluses every year since the early 1990s, which should have led to a large accumulation of overseas assets. Yet official statistics show Russia with only moderately more assets than liabilities abroad. How is that possible? The obvious explanation is that wealthy Russians have been skimming off large sums and parking them abroad.

      The sums involved are mind-boggling. Novokmet et al. estimate that in 2015 the hidden foreign wealth of rich Russians amounted to around 85 percent of Russia’s G.D.P. To give you some perspective, this is as if a U.S. president’s cronies had managed to hide $20 trillion in overseas accounts. Another paper co-written by Zucman found that in Russia, “the vast majority of wealth at the top is held offshore.” As far as I can tell, the overseas exposure of Russia’s elite has no precedent in history — and it creates a huge vulnerability that the West can exploit.

      But can democratic governments go after these assets? Yes. As I read it, the legal basis is already there, for example in the Countering America’s Enemies Through Sanctions Act, and so is the technical ability. Indeed, Britain froze the assets of three prominent Putin cronies earlier this week, and it could give many others the same treatment.

      So we have the means to put enormous financial pressure on the Putin regime (as opposed to the Russian economy). 

  2. ParkHill says:

    J.D. Vance has suddenly discovered there are 60,000 Ukrainians living in Ohio.

    • Genghis says:

      lol JD Vance. That boy can't even generate any serious traction with Ohio wingnuts. If you're a crazy who can't get traction with OHIO wingnuts, it's definitely time to take your campaign out back and have it look at the rabbits.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      As far as white trash, rednecks who graduate from Yale Law School, JD Vance doesn’t hold a candle next to Bill Clinton.

  3. DavidThi808 says:

    This is what Russia is facing:

    “I am a Russian warship,” a voice from the invaders said, according to a recording of the communications. “I ask you to lay down your arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed and unnecessary deaths. Otherwise, you will be bombed.”

    The Ukrainians responded boldly.

    “Russian warship,” came the reply, “go f— yourself.”

    • NOV GOP meltdown says:

      I read that this morning David.  Those Ukrainians on Snake Island had balls of steel.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Hope the stories like this one clarify things — 13 people on a rock in the ocean, unarmed to be a danger to any Russian move, and the ship takes the time and effort to bombard and kill them.  The defiance cost their lives — but their example will inspire resistance for years to come.

  4. Gilpin Guy says:

    In their darkest hour, their finest stepped forward.

  5. MichaelBowman says:

    …and yet, those Russian-lovin’ MAGA can’t pull off a convoy on I-495 🤣🤣🤣 If you need a pick-me-up this morning, this is just what the doctor ordered. 
     

    Paging logistics expert Dr. Pfruit…

  6. Genghis says:

    It didn't take long for Tommy Tuberville to wrest the title of Senate's Dumbest Republican from long-time title holder Ron Johnson, did it now?

  7. RepealAndReplace says:

    But why haven’t our Three Percenters, Oath Keepers, Promise Keepers, the Constitutional Sheriffs, the Second Amendment Nuts and other MAGA folk traveling to Europe to join their ideological soulmates in fighting FOR the Ukrainians….

    (1) Russia-Ukraine War, Kyiv News: Live Updates – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

     

    “In recent days, militia leaders in France, Finland and Ukraine have posted declarations urging their supporters to join in the fight to defend Ukraine against a massive Russian invasion”

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Soccer matches got cancelled, too.

      Each of the moves is small enough to seem inconsequential.  The cumulative impact is yet to be known. 

      I was stunned to read of public anti-war demonstrations in Moscow and other Russian cities.  They are spontaneous outgrowths of convictions — and before there are protests based on the casualties to Russian troops, recognition of economic consequences, and organized efforts to rally opposition.

  8. kwtree says:

    Papa John is a Putin promoter.

    Boycott Papa John’s pizza. 

     

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