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Let’s apply Occam’s Razor to the question: What does the Biden Administration think it’s doing about Ukraine? Answer: No one’s in charge. Biden himself is patently incapable of exercising leadership, and the presidency is so structured that no one can take his place. So the various factions within the administration, doves and hawks, are fighting it out, and Biden’s bloviations represent the views of the last person he talked to.

On the substance of the issue: Unless Ukraine enters NATO after this war ends, another war is inevitable. Only a united front based on the principle of collective security can hold Russia in check.

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Jul 16, 2023Liked by Claire Berlinski

Well, that's all rather depressing. We're so far down the Tory batting order now that I'm prepared to believe that anything a British minister says is likely a result of personal and collective government inadequacy, but there's obviously more going on that. Claire's suggestions seem plausible, and I guess it's likely that messages from all sides were crafted with an eye on domestic consumption, but public signs of disunity are not good. Russia needs to see implacable and collective opposition.

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"But are Ukrainians not allowed to have a preference? A strong one? Must we belittle them for being insufficiently grateful if this preference doesn’t accord with that of the White House?"

This line captures exactly how morally repulsive those lectures on gratitude were. Colossal the detachment and entitlement. By the way Jake Sullivan is the most despicable member of the Biden Administration besides Biden himself. That guy is so enamored of himself, the architect of Biden's "foreign policy for the middle class,"-- whatever in God's name foreign policy has ANYTHING to do with socioeconomic status and middle class incomes, and his strategy for "derisking" trade with China as a pretext to employ the white working class, patronizing them with free jobs and money like guinea pigs, to build chipfabs and Ev's. If he is one, I can almost understand why people are so mad at "elites."

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WigWag is (pardon the expression) dead on. Where are the preparations for Ukraine losing? Russia absolutely cannot be defeated in the way Japan and Germany were in 1945: accept unconditional surrender on pain of annihilation by the victors. There is no conceivable scenario under which Russia can be brought to that point or even remotely close to it. Ukraine might regain its territories (not a given) and destroy Russia's armed forces (not likely), but even those would not constitute anything like a defeat for Russia. So Ukraine will not win no matter what, and indeed may very well eventually fall to Putin's armies. What is the plan for that?

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NATO was created for exactly one purpose and had exactly one job: stop Russia's (then branded as "the USSR") aggression. It has failed to stop Russia's aggression. Ukraine has successfully stopped Russian invasion and is now pushing it back. So maybe it is NATO who should apply to join Ukraine's military initiative.

Why can't Ukraine, the most powerful military in Europe by far, form its own coalition? Poland, Estonia, and others would absolutely jump at something like that. Perhaps the U.S. could be invited to join later too -- once it had met the necessary conditions.

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Jul 15, 2023·edited Jul 15, 2023

Ref: "a subversive, seditious bomb like Trump..." Don't hold it in Claire, let it all hang out, tell us what you really think! Also —if minimally OT here— did anybody here actually find illuminating that NATO blog offshoot interminably going on about electric main battle tanks, blah blah?

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Jul 14, 2023·edited Jul 14, 2023Liked by Claire Berlinski

I’m confused why NATO couldn’t provide a conditional accession plan. They could offer to begin the accession and even admit Ukraine so long as Ukraine didn’t invoke Article 5 for this particular war. Seems like an easy win-win.

BTW, do I get a prize for seeing rightwing media types lighting their hair on fire about WWIII starting because DoD’s calling specialist reservists back to the flag for ordinary, run-of-the-mill, annual NATO maneuvers? #WhatWouldAbleArcherDo?

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Jul 14, 2023Liked by Claire Berlinski

A comprehensive, informative and beautifully written review of the public session. There are more questions than answers but how could it be otherwise? Claire’s conjectures about what happened behind the scenes seem very thoughtful.

But the real elephant in the room went unmentioned; what happens if Ukraine is defeated. So far, the much-touted offensive is a slog at best and has bogged down at worst. There’s some evidence that Russia has mounted a counter-offensive in spots with some success.

Western tanks, which were supposed to turn the tide on the battle field, haven’t turned the tide and to anyone who’s reasonably objective, American provision of cluster munitions is an act of desperation. Biden himself admitted that he’s doing it because Ukraine’s allies are running out of ammunition to provide.

August is approaching. That gives the Ukrainians no more than 100 days to make real progress before the weather turns and things become difficult or impossible due to weather.

Truth be told, at this point it is at least as likely that Ukraine is defeated as it is that it emerges victorious, at least if victory is defined as Ukraine re-conquering all of its territory.

While I think Biden is a co-conspirator with Putin in instigating the war, it’s critical that Ukraine and it’s NATO allies prevail. A Russian victory, after the American defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention Korea and Viet Nam) could very well spell the end of the United States as a great power in much the same way that Great Britain’s dominance was crushed by World War II. The world simply won’t be a better place with the United States humbled while China becomes a colossus.

I didn’t listen to the public sessions at NATO because those sessions occurred at the same time as the House Hearings on the COVID pandemic. Specifically the star witnesses were Drs. Anderson and Gary, the two main authors on the Proximal Origin article in Nature that insisted a lab leak could not be the proximate cause of the pandemic. Based on Claire’s essay, the COVID hearing and the NATO public sessions had something in common. They both were populated by blow-hards more interested in covering their backsides than in facing reality.

I was sorry to see Claire rely on reporting by Timothy Garton-Ash. He’s a famous journalist but he’s an awful person. Back in 2010, with his colleague, Ian Buruma, he championed Islamic extremism in Europe and he made light of the assassination of Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch artist by a Islamic radical. It was reminiscent of the recent attempted murder of Salman Rushdie, except that sadly it succeeded. The assassination seemed to hardly trouble Garton-Ash at all.

To top it off, Garton-Ash and his fellow travelers proceeded to blame Ayan Hirsi Ali and her exposure of the tenets of radical Islam as an inspiration for extremism in Europe. Surely there is someone with a greater sense of decency who’s commentary Claire could have cited.

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Jul 14, 2023Liked by Claire Berlinski

"...the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” Thucydides

Our (many) billions buy us control of the issue.

And American politics is the driver of NATO indecision.

To paraphrase Churchill, we will eventually do what is right, after having tried everything else.

Hope that the Ukrainians can hold out.

Eventually, the Intermarium Alliance may come into its own; Western Europe is too distant from the Russian problem.

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