31 thoughts on “Lots of Questions

  1. I don’t know whether this report is true or not, but I do remember the Russian assassination squads, which tried to kill Zelensky. You remember that, too, right?

    It’s not Ukraine which is putting the world at risk of nuclear war, it is Putin. Do you think appeasing him by letting him conquer Ukraine would make the world safer? Do you think it would end his territorial ambitions? Do you think it would reduce the risk of nuclear war? Do you think it would bring Peace In Our Time?

    1. I think a properly stated quiet threat would have prevented it entirely but someone cheated to put a potato in office. I also think that it is silly to trickle in weapons that only appease the weapon makers and prolong a conflict. They can do nothing but escalate at this point. They currently are piling money which does nothing but circulate into mostly Democrat campaigns after time.

      Either stop the war by violence or negotiation, not by tricking in more weapons and mountains of money we don’t have. If Ukraine were Russia controlled, it wouldn’t change my own life one bit. Europe should be concerned however.

      1. China’s rulers clearly saw Russia’s conquest of Ukraine as a template for China’s conquest of Taiwan — and if THAT goes down, the global consequences will make the Great Depression look like a cloudburst at a Sunday picnic.

        Just as Obama rolling over for Russia’s conquest of Crimea, and Biden’s betrayal of our Afghan allies to the Taliban, were taken by Putin as a green light to grab Ukraine, letting Putin win in Ukraine would be taken by Xi as a green light to grab Taiwan — and THAT must NOT happen.

        1. Taiwan is a war that unfortunately would need to be fought — and won. There is no option for the US in that case. Someone, who is not a potato, should tell china that loud and clear such that this never happens.

      2. “I think a properly stated quiet threat would have prevented it entirely”

        A threat of what? We’ve already thrown every diplomatic option we have at the problem. And apparently a single drone strike on Russia is unacceptable to you as it could provoke nuclear war.

        So what credible threat could you make?

          1. NATO membership would (likely) fully protect Ukraine far better than anything else. For example, we have a modest force in South Korea as a trip wire in case the North invades, but US or NATO troops on the Russia-Ukraine border would likely be a non-starter for Putin . Unfortunately, IIRC NATO doesn’t allow new members to join if they have unresolved border disputes with their neighbors and new members require unanimous approval from existing members.

            FWIW, in my opinion, Putin didn’t invade Ukraine while Trump was president for several reasons. 1) Trump hated the Ukrainians because of the exposure of Manafort’s corruption in the middle of the 2016 campaign. Congress, not Trump, insisted on providing lethal weapons and training to the Ukrainians during the Russia investigation, an inopportune moment for Trump to object. By embracing weapons for Ukraine, he could look tougher than Obama, but as we saw, he was perfectly happy to let that appropriation die unspent before the end of the fiscal year if Zelenskyy was unwilling to publicly announce an investigation of the Biden’s. 2) Trump wanted to pull out of NATO completely and nearly did so at one meeting, according to his national security advisor, John Bolton. In general, Trump believed that defensive alliances endangered and exploited the US. Putin wouldn’t do anything interfere with Trump’s destruction of NATO. 3) Putin carefully isolated himself during the COVID pandemic. IIRC, he saw no one in person who hadn’t isolated for two weeks. Consequently, he lost touch with the day-to-day reality his advisors had formerly brought to meetings and focused on his legacy as his 70th birthday approached. His publicly announced goal for more than a decade has been to reverse the outcome of losing the Cold War and reunite all Russian speakers in a Re-constituted Russian empire. Stare at a map of Russia’s western borders and you see Belarus governed any a Putin puppet and Ukraine. The amateur politician, Zelenskyy, shockingly had immense success in the 2018 elections: The remnants of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions (formerly advised by Manafort) we down to 6 seats in a Parliament of 400 and the right-wing Neo-Nazi parties were down to a single seat. Zelenskyy’s Party controlled an unprecedented majority and Ukraine was getting more capable every day, despite Trump and Giuliani supporting Zelenskyy’s pro-Russian opponents.

            I think this is why history will say Putin attacked Ukraine when and how he did. He united fragmented Europe a solid alliance behind Biden, a man who looked like a whim, but wasn’t. He made every European leader who believed trade had made military aggression a thing of the past look like an idiot.

          2. Frank,

            Are you aware at all of Ukraine’s role in Burisma and how that impacted the fake Clinton/Democrat “Russian” investigation? It’s very biased to look t this from a Trump fear standpoint. Like you’ve overwatched MSNBC or something.

          3. Yes, Jeff. I was reading about Ukraine during the Revolution of Dignity, in particular an ebook “Witness to Revolution” written by group of cynical reporters who worked for the Kyiv Post. My interest was prompted by what I now see as Russian disinformation I encountered on the Internet. The reporters told the story of what they saw and lived through, including the Neo-Nazi groups, the murders, the snipers who incited the worst violence, the political police, and the ordinary people of Kyiv who held out against the government’s terror for three long months in winter. (And had done so a decade ago.) The story of Nuland and the EU selling out the demonstrators with a deal that would moved up elections, but left blood-stained Yanukowych in power. The people of Ukraine had waited five years for a trade deal to be negotiated with the EU, which included some legal help dealing with corruption. (Corruption in governments in Eastern Europe is limited by a European court.) The same day Yanukovych (announced three days before signing), he was backing out of the deal, and pursuing a better economic deal from Putin, the protests began. The people didn’t want to continue to be governed by the kind of kleptocracy that governs Russia and had governed them for more than two decades. These cynical reporters didn’t believe anything would be changed by the demonstrations they reported, and under Poroshenko there were only moderate reforms. An enormous demand existed to root out and jail oligarchs like Zlochevsky, who had built a solely owned company. Burisma, worth $10B (the largest private oil and gas company in Ukraine) from nothing in a decade, serving part of the time as the government minister in charge of oil and gas leases and a key supporter of Yanukovych. After the Revolution, Zlochevsky had hired a former President of Poland, a former chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, Hunter Biden and tried to hire Kerry’s son-in-law to serve on a toothless Board of Directors that would serve as a “Western face” for his company to investigators. He also hired the DC lobbying firm headed by current SoS Kerry’s former Senate chief of staff. All of this influence peddling stinks, but is perfectly legal here, thought their price is much higher when the client is as infamous as Zlochesky. (Your market value goes down working from someone like him.) (BTW, Hunter had been appointed to the board of Amtrak by GWB.) Zlochevsky was living in Cyprus for about five years of investigation, safe from extradition, and running his company through its existing management. He didn’t need a “Board of Directors” to represent shareholders; he was the ONLY shareholder! There are several dozen such oligarchs that dominate Ukrainian businesses. As a percentage of national GDP, they make our biggest billionaires like Musk look like like midgets and most are deeply involved in politics. According to the reporters, Ukrainian politics “was a choice between being ruled by the pro-Russian oligarchs from the Donbas or the pro-Western oligarchs from Kiev”. The post revolution election make Poroshenko President, an oligarch with a foot in both camps, and he desperately needed to prosecute some corrupt oligarchs to gain credibility. Biden was in Kyiv to fire the Chief Prosecutor, who was dragging his feet over Zlochevsky and others and damaging the credibility of the Poroshenko government. The system was so corrupt and many people lived in fear, so that nothing could be legally done, much like with the Mafia here and organized crime during Prohibition.

            So when Trump came out with his absurd conspiracy theories based on Biden publicly bragging to the Council of Foreign Relations about his role in getting the Chief Prosecutor fired, I already knew the real issue that brought Biden to Kyiv concerned Zolchevshy’s BILLIONS, not Hunter’s few millions. Years later, of course, the fired prosecutor was happy to say he had been investigating Hunter and for all I know he could have been. Hunter was already being investigated by the Trump-appointed AUSA for Delaware, but there has been no indictment despite almost four years of investigation with the laptop. Trump had a DoJ here to investigate Hunter, he din’t need to extort a public announcement of an investigation from Zelenskyy in return for the military aid Congress had already appropriated and Trump appropriated.

          4. You know that there are so many twisted facts in your comments, I don’t really argue with them anymore. “Trump came out with his absurd conspiracy theories based on Biden publicly bragging”

            Trump did not invent this. Biden did by making his accurate public comment about having a prosecutor investigating Hunter removed in exchange for the transfer of congressionally approved funds. How the hell can that possibly be Trump’s fault? Well everything else is I suppose.

            It’s even documented in the russian built hunter laptop emials. Bieden is on tape. Hunter’s finances show the money transferred. US State policy access was traded for money as there is nothing else of value the Biden’s had to sell. Recenlty we found that stacks of classified documents littered the Biden’s residences relating to the same folks. I for one, find no strangeness in that the Democrat swamp filled government does not investigate Democrats.

            For years, per the Democrat controlled FIB and DOJ and CIA …… it was Errrussain propaganda. In fact the Ukrainian corruption was (and still is) based on funneling money to corrupt politicians. All of whom are Democrats and a few RINO’s.

          5. Jeff: The [untwisted] facts are that the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity was motivated by hatred of corruption and a desire not to be (or continue to be) a kleptocracy like Russia. The Revolution cost them Crimea and a Russian-sponsored independence movement Eastern Ukraine. The EU and US were involved in helping new government gain credibility with its people by successfully prosecuting corrupt oligarchs, especially Burma’s sole owner Zlochevsky. The British government was so sure he was guilty and would be indicted that it had already seized his property in the UK. After two years of failing to indict anyone of significance and many reports from European officials aiding the Ukraine prosecutors, it has become clear that Ukraine’s chief prosecutor dragging his feet. Fighting Ukrainian corruption was a major foreign policy object of the Obama administration involving large numbers of people. Poroshenko’s credibility and popularity were cratering. Things are getting so desperate that, in the next elections, 3/4ths of newly elected Parliament will have zero previous political experience, including Zelensky, the new president. The goals of US foreign policy are why Biden went to Kyiv, and privately twisted Poroshenko’s arm to fire his chief prosecutor.

            More than two years later, motor-mouth Joe Biden is talking publicly to his pals at Council of Foreign Relations and decides to tell the inside story of how HE got the chief prosecutor fired. Everyone in the room knows why Biden was in Kyiv (Ukrainian corruption). NO one with half a brain would think that Biden would publicly brag about his actions if he did so to protect his son. Of course, no one in their right mind would believe that Podesta was running a child sex ring at the Cosmic Ping Pong Pizzeria in DC either, but in today’s crazy world of internet-fueled conspiracy theories, the Pizzeria grew into Q-Anon. Likewise, conspiracy theories about Biden’s trip to Kyiv grew into Trump’s attempt to extort an investigation of Hunter from Zelenskyy and his impeachment. For someone who understands what motivated the Ukrainian people and US foreign policy – and why the Ukrainian people are fighting so heroically against the Russians today – both phenomena seem SO incredibly stupid.

            If I’ve gotten any facts wrong, I would appreciate correction.

          6. Frank,

            You do a good job laying out the facts of the case that make motivations clear. It’s a welcome counter to the standard arguments where opposing parties shout their opposite headlines at each other. Thanks.

  2. Odd to choose — not only sides in a war — but which wars in which to choose sides.

    Why choose Kosovars over Serbs and get in?
    Why choose Turks over Kurds, and stay out?

    Why NOT choose the state over the criminals even if we stay out of “the halls of Montezuma” in Mexico?

    Do Pirates off the coasts of Somalia deserve better than those, once, near “the shores of Tripoli?”

    Japan surrendered governance over the Korean Peninsula after WWII and the then-newly- formed United Nations sent international armies (including some — most — from the United States) to establish peace and a unified government. (Sort of like how the UN ended plagues, famine, over-population, global warming…) The US Congress never bothered to declare a Korean “War” nor ratify the ceasefire of 1953 that left the divisions and conflicts and territories held by competing factions pretty much unchanged from three years earlier. So as far as “war” goes — the Korean War goes on, 70 years later. U.S. troops still guard the “demilitarized zone” and American military men and military material flow from CONUS to East Asia while Samsung and Kia and Hyundai and Hankook and LG and others pump 25 billion per year of consumer products into American markets. (This is called “free trade”.)

    Imagine a cease fire in the divided Ukraine that leaves both sides armed and hostile in charge of portions of the territory and a Romulan Neutral Zone continually monitored by a UN / NATO / US “force of observers” — that lasts somewhere as long as the Iron Curtain and Berlin Wall if not quite as long as the Korean DMZ. Almost, somehow, I suppose, maybe such a patch on the problem might be the best available solution right now…

    But it’s not clear to me how we get into these situations.

  3. The Russians lie
    The Ukrainians lie
    American politicians lie
    The media lies

    I don’t believe ANYTHING about what’s going on over there.

    1. Matt: Steve Bannon would be proud of you. You are the embodiment of his “flood the zone with shit” strategy: Trump doesn’t have to convince people what he says is true; just convince people that there is no truth to be found or that it is too much work to find it. Then you can win their support by appealing to their base instincts and fears. Don’t believe me? Look up “flood the zone with shit”. Oh, that’s right, there is no truth to be found.

  4. Jeff: Why aren’t you concerned about how many times indicted war-criminal Putin tried to assassinate Zelenskyy? And has assassinated dozens of his political opponents? If you are not aware, the International Criminal Court has recently issued a warrant for his arrest for war crimes.

    Surely you recognize that Zelenskyy has not previously responded in kind to the more than dozen attempts to assassinate him, because it wasn’t in his country’s best interest to do so. So why now? (No matter how justified that might be.)

    You might think back to 1999, when the Second Chechen war was beginning and the head of the FSB, then little-known Vladimir Putin, had just been appointed Prime Minister by rapidly deteriorating Yeltsin. Apartments in Moscow and three other cities were bombed in less than a month, allegedly by Chechen terrorists, killing 300. Then the police caught 2 FSB agents bringing a bomb into an apartment Ryazan. The FSB announced this had been a drill and released their men. The inspired Russian army captured Grozny five months later (after being humiliated in the First Chechen War). By then, Yeltsin had named Putin acting President and three months later Putin was elected president. Among those who investigated the bombing incident and reported that the FSB was responsible were FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko – assassinated in Britain with Polonium-210 – and widely-admired journalist Anna Politkovska – who survived attempted poisoning only to be executed in her apartment building on Putin’s birthday in 2006. Former KGB agents aren’t very subtle when they want to send a message.

    Why now? The bloody Russian spring offensive has gone nowhere and a Ukrainian offensive has long been expected. Perhaps Putin has arranged for a little extra motivation for his troops as the war approaches another key moment. Xi may have called Zelensky for the first time because he is also worried. Unfortunately, I’m worried too, because I fear the incompetent Biden administration has done nothing to replace the US material that as been consumed and the Ukrainians won’t even be ABLE to launch a spring offense. I wouldn’t bet on a successful Ukrainian spring offensive, but I would bet that the attack on the Kremlin was staged. It clearly helps Putin and harms Zelensky.

    1. I would love to see Putin gone but that is entirely different than properly managing international relations. Biden is beyond incompetent, he is corrupt, as is the nearly 100% Democrat DC swamp.

      Corruption and Socialism have a symbiotic relationship that is parasitic to the populous.

      1. I understand how you feel Jeff, but the Europeans would not have rallied around Biden’s leadership if they perceived him to be incompetent and totally corrupt. If Trump were president today, Ukraine would be long gone, because the European leaders didn’t trust Trump.

        Yes, the best solution to Putin’s aggression would have been to deter it from the start. To have deter with such overwhelming power and resolve that Putin wouldn’t dare try. US resolve has been dissipated mostly by unsuccessful adventures related to the war on terror. European leaders have been living in a fantasyland where trade with Russia would ensure peace. They have literally unilaterally disarmed since the end of the Cold War: Germany, France and the UK don’t even have 1,000 tanks between the three of them! (Look it up.) Russia has 6,000. The Europeans were highly dependent on Russian oil and gas. Putin could see every card in the Western hand – and there wasn’t a single “trump” card that could be played to deter him from attacking Ukraine in 2022 and paying a high price for doing so – whether those cards were held by the shaky elderly Biden and his whimpy Democrat appointees or the unpredictable impulsive Trump who didn’t trust his military experts or intelligence or think strategically. If Putin had planned better and committed more force, Ukrainian resistance might have collapsed in two months and he would have won an easy victory (and been fighting guerrilla a war for years). That’s what everyone was predicting.

        Today, the war is one of attrition. The defense has the advantage (as in the Civil War and WWI) and offenses are only possible with overwhelming use of artillery and other consumables. According to CSIS, the Ukrainians have expended about 5 years worth of US production of artillery shells, Stingers, Javelins and other consumables. These have wiped out a large amount to Russian mechanized equipment. Both sides are running low on stockpiles. The Russians wouldn’t be launching human wave attacks at Bakhmut if the Ukrainians had enough artillery shells. Just about every non-front-line tank in Europe has been committed to Ukraine and many are gone, which is why you are hearing about front-line tanks like German Leopards and US Abrahms.

        In the Pacific, we are critically short of nuclear attack submarines, which may be the only vessels capable of operating near Taiwan. Our aircraft carriers and single airbase in Okinawa may be vulnerable to missile attacks. Deterrence is hard when the country doesn’t realize that our post-Cold War dominance is a thing of the past and hasn’t increased defense spending to match our new needs.

        1. “I understand how you feel Jeff, but the Europeans would not have rallied around Biden’s leadership if they perceived him to be incompetent and totally corrupt. ”

          Everyone knows Biden is not making decisions, this includes Europe. This has not one thing to do with Biden and is an evil arrangement between the unelected and the congress. I also think military spending is a non-issue. We spend too much and allow them to waste it on stupid. Spending on development needs to increase. Focus on cost asymmetry needs to be elevated in priority dramatically from where we are at. Overpriced and overcomplex systems are not the answer every time.

          Seems like more strategy in US sourcing of expendables through at home manufacturing is critical too. All of this is being destroyed by the Democrat agenda.

    1. It’s too bad “Sundance” doesn’t realize that all the documents the government obtained from the internet platforms had almost certainly been subpoenaed by the government by convincing a judge they had a legitimate need for those documents. The fact that ” that someone *inside* Twitter had created a fictitious identity of me associated with the networks and communications as the investigators described them.” So the government investigation was perfectly legal and necessary given this fictitious identity. The government wasn’t merely investigating a hit-and-run accident involving a Red Ferrari in Michigan: The top leaders of both the OathKeepers (to which the fictions identity was linked) and Proud Boys have been convicted of sedition – equivalent to treason or trying to overthrow the government. There is no evidence anything corrupt occurred, unless is it corrupt to investigate anything having to do with Trump.

      I’m not sure how the author knows the fictitious identity was created by someone inside Twitter and I doubt the government shared everything they knew about this fictions identity.

  5. “You know that there are so many twisted facts in your comments, I don’t really argue with them anymore”

    It’s like Grandpa Simpson piecing to together world history from the back’s of sugar packs………..

  6. Trump frustrates me, but, love him or hate him, you’ve got to admit he got some things right. For example, here he was, in Sept. 2018, warning the Germans that they were making a big mistake by increasing their reliance upon Russian energy with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (and, incidentally, demonstrating what an imbecile Seth Meyers is):

  7. NEPAL
    May 7, 2023 at 11:36 am

    Actually frank is plodding through his “facts”, not THE facts.
    I highly suggest that you read “Spygate” and “Follow The Money”, both by Dan Bongino.
    You will be shocked with what the “media” doesn’t tell you .

    1. That’s a lot of right wing conspiracy stuff … aka facts. The problem is that large portions of the population spend their time figuring out ways to equivocate around reality. It doesn’t take a hundred sentences about the foundational aspects of Ukraine to determine whether Biden withheld money to get a prosecutor fired.

      He literally said he did it. It doesn’t even take Trump to make it true, because Biden succeeded in his goal. It doesn’t take the FIB to figure out what the prosecutor was doing against Joe Biden, because it was known.

      The noise and sideshow impress some though.

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