Drumbeats category archive
Robert Reich takes exception to a comment by noted fifth columnist Tucker Carlson:
Well, I’m sorry, Tucker. You’re wrong.
Real leadership is the opposite of thuggery.
Follow the link for the evidence.
The Pittsburgh Post’s Gazette’s Gene Collier finds Republicans’ refusal to assist Ukraine to resist Putin’s aggression to be–er–somewhat problematic. Here’s a bit of what he has to say:
It was Johnson who scuttled the bi-partisan border deal Republicans have been screaming about for decades, which he did at the urging of Trump, who has to run for president on something other than 91 felony charges. Trump was doubtless behind Johnson’s Ukraine walkout as well, which happened just as Putin opponent Alexei Navalny was turning up dead in a Russian prison.
Dick Polman looks at Tucker Carlson’s Russian impulses and finds a parallel from the past.
At AL.com, John W. Davis savages Donald Trump’s ahistorical, incorrect, incoherent, inane promise to lead the United States to violate its commitment to its NATO allies. Here’s a bit (emphasis added); follow the link for the rest.
During World War II America deployed, fought and died with our allies to liberate democracies occupied by Hitler. We formalized this alliance after that war, the better to deter future dictatorial adventurism. NATO countries remain united to stop any thought of invasion; an attack against one is an attack against all.
Former President Trump said he would not defend NATO allies if invaded, if he deemed them financially delinquent. Says Trump, who regularly reneged on just payments to his own contractors. Says Trump who would encourage Russia to, “… do whatever the Hell they want” to our allies. Our NATO allies risked all to trust and join NATO, so to shed Soviet chains and torture chambers. Russia’s leaders want nothing better than to enslave Eastern Europe again.
Once again, Maya Angelou’s admonition comes to mind:
Der Spiegel takes a long and deep look at the situation in the Middle East and at the background. Christoph Reuter und Monika Bolliger, authors of the story, come to the disturbing conclusion that “the risk of escalation in the Middle East is growing.”
Given the often contradictory and frequently emotionally-charged reporting and commentary on events there, I think this article is well worth the few minutes it will take you to read it.
Thomas Geoghegan offers a theory as to why the Trump and the Trumpettes are so hostile to the U. S. aiding Ukraine in its battle to defeat the Russian invaders. Here’s a tiny bit from his article:
Aid to Ukraine, as Biden and the Democrats have made it, requires a belief in the U.S. or at least a belief in electoral democracy, civility, and our constitution. But that is what the far right attacks. Biden frames support for Ukraine as bolstering democracy over authoritarianism and order versus expansionism. Aid to Ukraine is also an implicit judgment of Trump—the moral equivalent of denouncing January 6 here. And, of course, aid to Ukraine was the casus belli of Trump’s first impeachment when the 45th president threatened to make military aid to Ukraine dependent on Volodymyr Zelensky’s complicity in smearing the Bidens. For Trump and his allies, Kyiv’s comic actor turned wartime hero is a mortal enemy far more dangerous than Hunter Biden Liz Cheney. Zelensky’s integrity and self-sacrifice are antithetical to Trump’s disdain for public purpose. Trump does not even feign any interest other than private interest. Of course, aid to Ukraine is in trouble—it is a defense of democracy in which the Trumpian far right no longer believes.
The whole piece is worth the few minutes it will take you to read it.
Not long ago, I heard an apocryphal quotation from a fictional Native America chief. I forget exactly where, but it stuck with me. The chief was speaking to a cavalry officer and said something like this: “If you win a battle, it’s a victory. If we win, it’s a massacre.”
At Psychology Today Blogs, Joe Pierre explores the line between labeling acts of violence as “terrorism” or as “mental illness.” Here’s a bit:
In summary, evidence from several experimental studies indicates that we’re more likely to attribute terrorist violence to mental illness when the perpetrator aligns with our own personal identities or ideological positions. This appears to function in an identity-preserving way, allowing us to think of ourselves and our larger group identities as “good” by discounting violence perpetrated by those in our ingroups as an aberrancy of mental illness. Conversely, when perpetrators are viewed as “others,” in terms of either identity or ideology, we’re more likely to blame violence on ideological belief, with moral culpability assigned accordingly.
I think his article a worthwhile read, especially in the light of recent events.
In longer post about (some) Republicans apparently unwillingness to support Ukraine against Russia’s invasion, long-time BJ blogger Betty Cracker writes:
Maybe the dwindling handful of GOP Russia hawks would rue that day, but the ascendent Trumpists in the House (and some in the Senate) would welcome a right-wing, ethno-Christianist conquest of Europe. They want that for this continent too and would merrily leave NATO allies to their fate, never mind that it would destroy American credibility in international affairs until the heat death of the sun.
I sure hope she’s wrong. Follow the link and draw your own conclusion
Sam argues that no credibility should today be given to those who mongered the Great and Glorious Patriotic War for a Lie in Iraq, regardless of how they in retrospect attempt to legitimatize their lies.
It was two decades ago that U. S. started the Great and Patriotic War for a Lie in Iraq. I remember standing outside in the smoking area at work. It was the same spot where we had stood and looked up at empty skies in the days following September 11. Though we were just a few miles east of Philadelphia International Airport under one of the approach routes, there were no planes for days . . . .
I was chatting with my boss (who was, by the way, one of the best bosses I ever had). He was opining that “Iraq will be sorry that we have a Texan for president.”
My response was simply, “Dave, I have a bad feeling out this.”
I take no comfort in my qualms having been justified.
That moment came to mind because of something my old friend Noz wrote yesterday about the run up to the Great and Patriotic War for a Lie in Iraq. Here’s a bit of his post:
Don’t buy the 20 years after the fact spin that the Iraq War only appeared senseless in retrospect. The ridiculousness of the idea was right there in the open from the start. Lots of people tried hard to tell the public how ridiculous it was, and they were mocked and marginalized for it. Meanwhile, the people who mocked and marginalized them mostly kept their influence to this day, without ever paying a real price for the death and destruction they made happen. That’s a big legacy of the Iraq War.
Der Spiegel has a fascination interview with historian Timothy Snyder focusing on Vladimir Putin’s Russia and its war on Ukraine. It goes into a depth not seen in most U. S. reporting.
Here’s a tiny little excerpt from Snyder’s remarks:
Putin is pursuing practical goals as well as ideological ones in Ukraine. The practical side is that he’s governing an oligarchic Russia which can’t be reformed as long as he is in power. Ukraine is extremely important for Putin because if democracy were to work there, it would look better than Russia. And that would be a real problem for Putin. Given that he can’t make things better in Russia, he tries to make the West look worse, beginning in Ukraine, in the minds of Russians, but also in reality. That’s why he supported Brexit and Donald Trump and fueled scandals in Germany.
Farron points out that, thanks to John Kelly, we narrowly escaped death by stupid.
But stupid remains a menace.
Sergei Guriev, in an article at The Japan Times, argues that the future does not seem bright for Vladimir Putin.
Follow the link for his reasoning.
I fear that Guriev’s faith that others might learn from Putin’s mistakes (enumerated at the link) disregards the lessons of history. If history teaches us one thing, it is that humankind (especially succeeding generations) seems incapable of learning from history.