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Ukraine's trolley problem
So, Penguin Random House over the summer proposed itself as the only publisher of the condensed (or large-print) version of the ur-text of approved pep rhetoric. A Message from Ukraine contains a preface that explains the context of the incised line breaks and verse settings.
That brings us to George Will and his Tim Snyderish op-ed urging us to Be Thankful for Zelensky’s Magnificent Resistance to Suppression.
Of course, there’s a fine line between pugnacious individualism and stupidity, historicism and historiography, college lectures1 and reality, et cetera. It would be churlish of me to wade into that mess now because the water has been turned off and I wouldn’t be able to take a long, hot shower afterwards.
For the history books.
According to former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in the run-up to Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022:
UK leaders were in denial.
Ukraine’s leaders were in denial.
France’s leaders were in denial.
Germany, under the assumption the war would happen, cynically hoped for a rapid Russian victory for economic reasons.
Italy's initial position was to make zero sacrifices.
Meanwhile, jackasses at the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency led by Lieutenant General Scott Berrier believed Kyiv would be overrun in 72 hours.
The “war” has since then turned out to be less than an exercise in power balancing against an external threat than an ongoing operation of mass murder2. Leaders in Europe and the United State don’t want to admit this publicly, yet, because it would increase pressure on them to intervene in order to stop more needless suffering and senseless killing.
War is not unlike a badly-trained lion in the circus that doesn’t obey the people who let it out of its cage.
In other news, the other day I watched this 37-minute chit chat between Frishman and Gessen broadcast by TV Rain. So you don’t have to.
It is almost 20 years since Masha teamed up with Steven Korn, a former CNN executive, to fuel the meltdown of RFE/RL’s Russia bureau. Masha, who had written a critical book on Putin, met with the Russian autocrat shortly before she took over the bureau — a horrible misstep. She only lasted a couple of months. She and Korn were sacked after doing enormous damage. Now she’s a Ukraine expert, teaches jornoism and inserts commas at The New Yorker, which pretends to ignore the RFE/RL disaster.
Russia’s Vindictive Rage. Ukraine is winning, but at a high cost in reprisals on civilians. (The Atlantic. Tom Nichols. November 22, 2022)