Russia

Don't Cancel Regular Russians

Yanking The Batman from Moscow theaters won’t bring peace to Ukraine, it will just sever much-needed cultural connection with everyday Russians.

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Last Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a violent invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

Late that night East Coast time, the D.C. bar and restaurant Russia House—located just across the street from Reason's D.C. office—had its windows smashed in and its Russian flag (flown next to its American one) torn down. The following night, vandals left anti-Russian signs on the business.

The vandalism of Russia House is both condemnable (no matter who the owners are) and poorly targeted: According to its website, one of Russia House's two owners is an American military veteran. The other is from Lithuania.

"It's just sad is what it is, that there's people with this mindset out there that because of the name of the restaurant that we are politically affiliated or government affiliated," said co-owner Adam McGovern to local outlet WTOP. "Our job is to make people happy and give them an experience, not promote anything or any country's political views."

Unfortunately, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine wears on, the distinctions between the Russian government that ordered it, Russian institutions generally, and the Russian people writ large are starting to fade. All are congealing into one amorphous bad guy targeted with boycotts and cancellations.

That obviously includes sanctions imposed by the U.S. government and its allies. Increasingly, private actors are getting in on the action.

A Nature article published yesterday details the ways in which the academy is severing ties with Russia. Conferences that were going to be held in the country are being canceled. Academic journals are refusing to accept papers from Russian scientists. Universities are severing ties with private, Russia-based research institutions. Calls for even more sweeping academic boycotts are growing.

The explanation given for these boycotts is that the illegality and humanitarian toll of Russia's war in Ukraine makes it impossible to work with people from the aggressing country. The targets are nevertheless Russian scientists who don't necessarily have anything to do with their country's government or war effort.

It's not just the sciences. The arts are also coming up with their own creative ways to punish the Russian bear.

Conductor and Putin supporter Valery Gergiev is losing gigs across Europe and is being threatened with termination from his position with the Munich Philharmonic if he doesn't denounce the Russian leader. The Metropolitan Opera of New York and Carnegie Hall have both also said they won't host performers who've supported Putin.

Implementing that deplatforming is easier said than done, writes Tyler Cowen over at Bloomberg.

"It is simply not possible to draw fair or accurate lines of demarcation. What about performers who may have favored Putin in the more benign times of 2003 and now are skeptical, but have family members still living in Russia? Do they have to speak out?" he asks.

During the Cold War, Cowen notes, the West eagerly hosted Soviet performers and competed against Soviet athletes. The reason for that was simple: those peaceful interactions gave Americans the opportunity to showcase the value and benefits of living in a free country.

It seems we've lost that patience for persuasion. Indeed, this new punitive approach is extending beyond individual, pro-Putin Russian performers to the Russian population as a whole.

The Associated Press reports that movie studios are canceling the planned Russian theatrical release of films because of Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

"Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the release of theatrical films in Russia," said a Disney spokesperson, explaining that Pixar's Turning Red wouldn't be played in the country. Warner Bros. is canceling the Russian release of The Batman. Sony Pictures is also pulling its films from the country.

Again, the link between the two goes woefully unexplained. Russian tanks have entered Ukraine, so Disney's films can't enter Moscow's cinemas?

The most immediate impact of that decision is that Russian theater-goers—who happen to live under a dictatorial regime that cares little for their own views of its foreign policy—will miss out on the latest cultural products from the West.

At a minimum, that's not particularly helpful to the Ukrainians who're having their country invaded. It's also potentially counterproductive, and devastatingly so. Russians' media diet will be ever more dominated by their own state propaganda and all its warped justifications for the invasion.

People who are both supportive of global freedom and critical of the state's ability to secure that freedom have often promoted the alternative of privately sharing or smuggling information and culture to oppressed peoples. Don't embargo Cuba, beam uncensored Wi-Fi to its people, we say. Don't station troops in South Korea, send clandestine balloons laden with copies of The Interview to the North.

The case for the cultural boycott of Russia is generally the same as the case for broad-based economic sanctions. Raising the material costs of Putin's invasion of Ukraine will push him to realize war isn't worth it.

That strategy is ethically problematic given that it requires harming millions of ordinary Russians in order to induce a policy change in a government they have no say over.

It's also ineffective. The fact is that economic sanctions have generally proven impotent at changing states' behavior when they believe their core interests are at stake. Decades of impoverishing trade barriers haven't forced Iran or North Korea to give up their nuclear programs. So far, they're not convincing Putin to pull out of Ukraine.

If cutting the Russian state and major industries off from Western financial systems isn't bringing about peace, we shouldn't think cutting off ordinary Russians from The Batman screenings will be more successful.

Private companies and institutions have every right to decide who they do business with and on what terms. On an individual level, some are faced with legitimately difficult questions of how entangled they want to be with the Russian state or Russian state-sponsored companies.

Netflix, for instance, recently announced that it wouldn't be complying with a new Russian law that requires it to carry Russian programming.

Complying with that law would make the company complicit in spreading Russian state propaganda, including propaganda about the war in Ukraine, to its Russian customers. On the other hand, refusing to cooperate—and getting its Russian service shut down as a consequence—means those Russian former customers have one less source of media that isn't state propaganda.

That's a tough dilemma to parse.

It's similar to the one faced by social media platforms and cable companies currently distancing of themselves from Russian state-sponsored media outlets. Facebook's parent company Meta is demoting content from Sputnik and RT (both funded by the Russian government) across its platforms. YouTube is completely blocking both outlets' channels in Europe. DirectTV announced it would stop broadcasting RT as well.

"People allow themselves to be seduced by all sorts of media nonsense—the QAnon lunacy, for example, or the teachings of the Modern Monetary Theorists," writes Politico columnist Jack Shafer. "Ideas, we generally agree, must fight for themselves, against 'legitimate' contenders, fringe positions or outright propaganda."

Boycotts, of course, have their role to play in a free society too. The more targeted they are at people and institutions responsible for actual evil, the more reasonable and less objectionable they become; it's hard not to cheer the International Judo Federation overthrowing Putin as its honorary president, for instance.

What's so concerning about the ever-widening cultural boycott of Russia and Russians is that it's punishing people with little connection to and no influence over the Russian government and its war in Ukraine. That probably won't change the course of Russia's war against Ukraine—and when the war does end, the world will have a lot fewer cultural ties to sustain whatever fragile peace emerges.

NEXT: Biden's State of the Union Highlights Absurd Reach of Federal Government

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  1. Don't Cancel Regular Russians

    What if they aren’t wearing a mask?

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    2. I'm like....why not cancel them? Russians detest all LGBTQ+ and persecute them. Where are the fucking uberlibs on this one?

      1. PornMD says otherwise. Russlans not only can like LGBTQ+ people, but, as with people of every nationality and heitage, i>are LGBTQ+...and very hawt at it too!

        I can't speak for anyone else, but as for me, hating Putin and his Revachist megalomania does not equal hating all Russians. Ukrainian Russians have been among the bravest people fighting for Ukraine!

        Today, I just watched Yakoff Smirnoff: Just Off The Boat on Tubi.tv! Excellent comedy and very educational!

        He pointed out to his Branson, MO audience that when he came here, he heard all these Americans saying: "Yep!"

        He then pointed out that in Russian, "Yep!" means "Sex!" He then said his practically trademarked punch-line: "What A Country!" 🙂

        I'll say: "What A Country!" right back to him! The only country where the word for "sex!" means automatic, positive, enthusiastic consent! 😉

        As Arte Johnson playing Pyotr Rosmenko on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In would put it: "In Mother Russia, you don't consent to sex. Sex consents to you!" 😉

        1. Correction: Yakov, not Yakoff...Though when I learned about what "Yep!" means in Russian, "Yakoff" describes what I did when I went to my bunk and didn't come out for a while!

          1. Pop-Up Video Factoid: Yakov Smirnoff also hails from Odessa, Ukraine!

        2. The sound of the word "fu.k" in Russian is a bit different though. The vowel "e" sounds different. Also that particular Russian word that sounds like "yep" is only used in a particular word combination that would translate as fu.k your mother.

          1. Yep Biden.

          2. So in Russia, "Yep!" would be used by teen boys trying to aggravate each other with talk of fucking each other's Moms? Cool!

      2. I think instead of cancelling ordinary Russians, streaming services should flood Russians with Anti-Communist, Anti-Czarist, Anti-Nazi, Anti-Tyranny, Pro-Freedomvideos of every stripe and kind!

        Specifically Russian/Cold War ones include: We The Living, The Defection of Simas Kudirka, Sakharov, Moscow on the Hudson, White Nights, Eleni, The Rambo/First Blood Series, G.I. Joe, An American Tail, An American Tail: Feivel Goes West, and many others!

        And include movies on business and entrepreneurship. Looney Tunes and John Sutherland cartoons can be very informative on Economics and Free-Market Capitalism!

        Don't throw out Babushka with Putin's skunk juice bathwater!

        1. Absolutely, we need to invade Russia with truckloads of translated Ayn Rand. The Russian collectivist mentality is a true evil disease that all the previous Russian regimes and the Slavic culture in general perpetrated on Russians and eastern slaves in general.

          1. I looked for and asked about foreign translations of Ayn Rand books in the late Eighties.

            Second Renaissance Books sent me a list of foreign publishers of her works and I found that Poland had publishers with translations of her works.

            Whether the publishers were above-ground or underground Samizdat I don't know.

            Nowadays, the Mystical/Collectivist/Statist slave mentality has perpetuated in all factions of life in the U.S. as well. Welcome to one of the outposts where some fight back!

        2. On the other hand, one of my college professors (from Soviet Ukraine) said that one of the biggest influences they had was Dallas. Even though the government allowed it as a "look at these evil bourgeoise", it ended up undermining the government's narratives by complete accident.

          Yes, the Soviets knew the soap opera was wildly fictional, but the basic wealth of the country in comparison to their own was undeniable. The sheer number of cars visible in the background and location shots undermined the narrative that they were miles ahead of America.

          1. The Last Picture Show. Television altered small town America too!

    3. OK unless the mask has a Ukrainian flag or 'Putin sucks' written on it.

    4. I'm originally from Ukraine. I have been an American citizen for 25 years though. Both, people of Ukraine and Russia are fed all kinds of collectivist nationalist garbage by their media and the government. That said, Russian on the whole seem much more indoctrinated in the idea of their leader never doing any evil, but on the contrary, being the greatest caring father of the nation, a hero that alone stands against the evil west, international imperialism, ukrainian nazism as they perceive it. Many of those people will not need any cultural manifestations of the west, including Disney, etc, but most of them do have cognitive dissonance. They bitch and moan against the west in general but use all the products that are the result of the culture and the economy of the western world. These people will definitely feel some burn. But mostly the burn of course will be felt by Russians who are pro-west.

      1. Thank You. Excellent comment.

        BUT.... we are not American citizens, if you mean U.S.

        We are State Citizens.

        This is not America.

        "America " is an early Communist collective term used to pretend we are Glibalist citizens.

        America is the continent.

        We are State citizens. There is no Federal citizen in US.

        America is a hoax to pretend that were Federal citizens, subject to big Central Government in Washington DC.

        1. This false concept is behund, for example, the DC power grab attempt over elections.

          Elections are LOCAL and rehulated at the State level.

          The US Govt are attempting to take that over under the Propagandized term " US Elections."

          Theres no such thing.

          Another part of this big lie is concealed in the idea of ' US military fught for us/keep us safe'
          ( theres the Communistic Father Figure ideal to wit you refer, or Big Brother ).

          The US Mil have NEVER done either as no one has ever made a meangingful attack on the US. The closest was a few pathetic attempts by Japan in WW2

          The US military have ALWAYS fought for foriegn nations as a police power for the UN. That happened since the US Congress gave control of our military to the UN at its formation.

          In 1950s TV programming, it was " wars in Europe". That was literally stated in an episode of the Donna Reed show.

          Since communism invaded, thats been reframed as somehow we are America and they fight for us. Two propaganda lies.

          The US mil are not permitted to operate in the US, invalidating the idea they ' fight for us'

          Theyre fighting for the Useless Nations and thats been mistly a disaster since 1948- namely Korea and Viet nam.

          I missed where Koreans invaded California.

          I did notice the occasions the military was used to murder US Citizens:

          Bonus Army
          Waco

          1. ...and the Big One..

            The falsely termed Civil War where Traitor Lincoln became a milutary dictator, subverted the Constitution and used the US military to wage war against State Citizens, murdering 258,000 plus according to the NY Times.

            Was that " keep us safe?"

        2. Russian troll?

      2. That is a pity. Flooding the Russian idea-sphere with movies, books, and other media from the U.S. and the West in general would create more cognitive dissonance and help change Russian culture for the better.

        John Stossel had a video on people who translate U.S. and Western works into Arabic and Persian for minds struggling to be free in the Islamic world. Really, the whole world needs the Ideas of freedom in mind and in markets.

  2. Wait, what?
    Disney, the Communist Chinese loving, propaganda generating advocate for slavery, is going to not show (yet another) superhero movie in Russia? For now?
    Did any member of the "press" ask any Disney official to explain this obvious conflict?
    Didn't think so.

    1. It's one of the films Disney doesn't own-it's a WB production.

    2. Disney is withholding the animated Pixar movie, Warner Bros is withholding the superhero movie

    3. They all worried about keeping a straight face in front of cameras.

    4. Same as Coca-Cola, which had no trouble chiming in on the voting legislation in the State of Georgia, but is somehow silent about Russia invading Ukraine.

      1. Same as Coca-Cola, which had no trouble chiming in on the voting legislation in the State of Georgia, but is somehow silent about Russia invading Ukraine.

        Even better was Coca-Cola's vehement involvement with the Carolina tranny bathroom issue while they're the biggest soda bottler in the entire fucking middle east, including Saudi Arabia where trannies and fags get thrown off the tops of tall buildings.

        1. Again, all the more reason to buy a SodaStream...Though with hateful language like that, I have to wonder what you think "Adds Life" and "Can't Beat The Feeling."

          1. Shut up fag.

            1. Soooo...You like your partners with ball-gags? Is that what you're saying?

      2. I am failing to see how the Russian people don't bear some of the responsibility. Putin has been doing this shit since his first day in office, and yet he has won everyone of his elections by wide margins. If they truly didn't support him he would have not received overwhelming majority of the votes in everyone of his elections. We have to face the fact that the Russian people appear to mostly support his actions.

        1. Not meant as a reply but meant as a stand alone comment.

        2. I kinda see Putin as being elected as honestly as Biden did.

          Actually, maybe more honestly because the guy flagrantly offs the competition as a warning.

        3. Look,the Russian vote means no more than ours, so Russian voters have no more responsibility for Putin than we do for Biden, except, in each case, for the actual supporters.

          I haven't voted since 2004, so, outside of my apartment nook and daily itenarary, how am I responsible for causing this train wreck nation or train wreck world? And I donate to worthy pro-freedom causes when I can, so I'm actually trying to clean the mess I didn't cause.

        4. That may be changing.

          PuXis actions ring of desperation.

      3. Now I'm finally sold on SodaStream and will get one come tax refund time!

        1. yes but your refund will be in Rouble according to bidens latest support measure for Russia.

    5. They should show them the Superman: Red Son animated movie. In which the Kryptonian orphan Kal-El lands in Siberia instead of Kansas, and grows up to become an adviser to Stalin, eventually, er, replacing him as a more incorruptible and well-meaning commie.

      And in which Batman is a freedom fighter trying to resist Kal-El's utopian vision, since he's still an authoritarian commie, just a well-meaning and incorruptible one.

      1. I'm normally a Marvel Man, but I do love "The World's Greatest Detective" on the DC side, so I'm watching this one!

        Deep Geekdom Pop-Up Video Factoid: Batman is also an Atheist, so this video fighting a Commie Superman practically makes him an Libertarian/Objectivist Superhero:

        Batman is An Atheist, DC Comics Confirms
        https://screenrant.com/batman-atheist-dc-comics/

        1. It seems the run time of Batman is not much less than the tedious slog that was Avengers End-Game (6 mins shorter). End-Game was a fucking bore to end all bores --- could've easily sliced an hour out and lost nothing --- and I have little patience for Pattinson's "acting" as is. Not going to watch it, but certainly will not miss it.

    6. incrementalist bullshit is what this is.

      Weve tried the ' peace and tolerance and giving away the store" to Communists like Russia and whered that get us?

      Another decade older and deeper in debt.

      This Appeasement bullshit is a sucker bet.

      Problem. Solution. The people of Russia must choose one NOW before Mad Mad Mad Vlad starts murdering them too.

  3. It won't bring peace, but ordinary Russians who just wanted to watch a movie may reflect on why they can't watch one and note that their Asshole-in-Chief Putin is responsible for it.

    1. Or, they'll conclude that the West is unjust and run into Putin's arms.

      The problem with collective punishment is that you never know which way you will end up pushing people.

      1. Their stomachs will figure it out.

        1. Do Russians eat popcorn while watching movies too strudel?

      2. War is collective punishment. Russia is waging collective punishment on Ukraine. Let's see you speak up against that collective punishment.

        1. You really only have one setting, don't you?

        2. Oh FFS.

          1. It's been fun watching the psychotic left wing Marxists go from forever sliming the name "McCarthy" and defending the Rosenbergs to full McCarthy-ite, Better Dead Than Red, John Birch Society, jingoistic Cold War lemmings. I guess tHe PArTiEs SwItCHeD again.

            1. YOU GOT THAT RIGHT!!#!-

              Their Commie underbelly is now exposed for what it is and theyre running away at Warp 11 plus impulse power.

    2. Have you spent any time around eastern europe? It's interesting that you think Russians would blame putin more than the people responsible for the issue. Putin may be a dickhead, but he's their dickhead, disney is fucking with them and him -and there's the difference.

      1. "disney is fucking with them"

        Such aggression cannot stand!

      2. Have you spent any time around eastern europe?

        No, but to add to your arguments, the number of movies I've seen with cyrillic subtitles gives me the impression that, one way or the other, Russians aren't going to miss their Disney movies. Not for very long anyway.

        1. its blasphemy to even call that goddamn new age, spirutualist, humanist homosexual trash by Disneys name.

          Their SpokesWhore Britneys gone full nude.

          1. Those arent her Mouse Ears, its her feet with ankles at her ears

            1. its blasphemy to even call that goddamn new age, spirutualist, humanist homosexual trash by Disneys name.

              Their SpokesWhore Britneys gone full nude

              Hey, now! I've been on your side against Putin and the Putineers and I resemble most of that remark!

              Protest corporate virtue-signalling if you will and keep protesting Putin and the Putineers, but leave Goddamn, Humanist, LGBTQ+, Britney-Lovers alone!

              1. you have your feet beside your ears too?

                Anyone can claim that.

                We need pictures

                Imgur

                1. I'm not that flexible and besides, your remarks implied you didn't like that sort of thing. Willing partners who are sure of their sexuality only.

    3. In the past week, the following global megacorps have cut off Russia's access:

      -McDonald's
      -Disney
      -Sony
      -Facebook
      -Twitter
      -Pr0nhub
      -Onlyfans

      So in the span of a week, Putin's managed to get vectors of obesity, degeneracy, and social dysfunction to voluntarily withdraw their services from the country. Too bad it took an invasion to convince them to leave.

      1. Maybe Biden should invade Mexico to get the Chinese to cut off TikTok.

      2. Don't forget, he also cured covid worldwide!

    4. Putin makes decision to invade = Putin responsible for war.
      Disney makes decision to deny service to all Russians = Disney is not responsible for denying service.
      Wait, what?

      1. "We were forced to do it, we had no choice. They made us."

        Every escalation in the march toward a full scale war is always sold as an inevitability -- a convenient, but obvious lie to make war seem like a force of nature, like a storm, or earthquake. Combined with a general consensus among the population that everything our government does is always a good faith reaction to the unmitigated evil of others, the inevitability of war becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

        If the past 20 years of war were not enough to break this cycle, nothing will.

      2. Wait, what?

        *adjusts glasses, waves wand*

        Sectionus Twothirticus!

    5. they can't buy Apple phones either.

  4. What's so concerning about the ever-widening cultural boycott of Russia and Russians is that it's punishing people with little connection to and no influence over the Russian government and its war in Ukraine.

    This has been a staple of American culture for at least 70 years, and counting. When a government is more or less powerless to control or meaningfully steer the actions a rival state government, the government starts to target anything and anyone they deem to be associated with their rival.

    This is why Japanese Americans were placed in internment camps.

    This is why Americans began boycotting German goods in the 1930's.

    There are many other examples.

    It is a lashing out because that is what governments do best when they cannot sufficiently exercise total control.

    It is a form of collective punishment.

    1. You can't make this about America Ivan. We're a step behind the Germans! You done fucked up. Putin woke up a sleeping giant.

      1. When do you ship out to the Ukraine to join the fight?

        1. Good question and if you're asking me that question it says alot about how bad Putin miscalculated. I'm sending money.

          1. I'm sending money.

            LOL

            1. Like i said yesterday, dopamine is a more addictive drug than cocaine.

          2. Beautiful.

          3. You did a mitzvah, LoS = sending money to Ukraine

            1. He sent money to the Nigerian Prince of Kiev, who was regrettably not allowed to enter Poland as a refugee on account of his blackness and then forced to bequeath his fortunes to a lucky foreigner in America on account of the fact that everyone else is dead.

              1. Oh, fuck! I'm sorry!

                Kyiv

                Blew my cover again ...

          4. Dear people of Ukraine,
            In lieu of joining the Ukrainian Foreign Legion I have generously Venmoed 50.00 USD to the government of Ukraine and will vigorously and vituperatively virtue signal in the comment section of Reason Magazine and on Twitter against my own country men who remind of evil and dirty foreigners.
            Yours truly,
            Lord of Strazele

      2. Ok, Stroople.

      3. "Putin woke up a sleeping giant."

        Strazele is stealing the expression used when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to apply to... Russia attacking Ukraine.

        Who is the sleeping giant here: Ukraine? The US? Global megacorporations?

        1. I think he meant himself.
          He did “send money”, you know.

          1. lmao

    2. Russia's invasion is a form of collective punishment.

      You're like TDS victims. If someone doesn't preach against US involvement, they are for US declaring war on Russia.

      Tiresome Troll.

      1. Russia's invasion is a form of collective punishment.

        Okay.

        Did you think I was going to disagree with that?

        You triggered neocons really only have one setting, and watching you have the same stroke over and over again is getting tiresome.

    3. No question, we should not have interned the Japanese, the lynch mobs would have been more effective.
      If they gave you a choice, where would you rather be (remember the times, and the police attitude towards all minorities), an internment camp or the streets of San Francisco with all the sailors who had buddies killed in Hawaii?

      1. Governments manipulating their people into irrational hatred is not something we should be endorsing.

        1. True, but it's also inevitable in an existential conflict. The question is how best to mitigate it rather than fruitlessly try to prevent it from happening altogether. Attempting the latter is about as useless and energy-wasting as working for a zero-COVID world.

          1. A good way to mitigate the irrationality is to engage in self-reflection, even if occasionally.

            "Why do I believe what I believe?"
            "Why is my government saying [X]?"
            "Haven't I believed something different before?"
            "Hasn't my government previously said [Y]?"

            The biggest issue, in my view, is fickleness and short memories. There are people pontificating about this entire situation that have no memory of 2014, even though they lived through it. It's like the connection between 2014 and 2022 is completely shattered, and they are viewing the conflict as one occurring in a complete bubble, without context, without history, with no background, isolated entirely --- and, now, all they see are memes unfolding on a screen that make them mad or sad for reasons they cannot even understand.

            "Well, now we have to hate all things Russian, even though just a few years ago we were laughing at people suggesting we have to hate all things Russian."

            Orwell had a point, but it is really bizarre seeing it play out in real life.

            1. Hell, we have grown adults and even politicians saying this is the "first war between European countries since World War II." Like, these motherfuckers forgot all about the Balkan conflict or the fact the US created an ethnostate out of whole cloth from Serbia in the wake of that war.

              1. ^both of these

                Though they've been priming the "hate Russians" pump since the late 00s.
                Remember how, in the middle of the heaviest fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the midst of relatively frequent Islamic terrorist attacks in the west, starting around 2007ish the bad guys and main villains in movies started to be rogue Russians.
                Anyone ever read The Sum of All Fears?
                Book description: "The Sum of All Fears is a political thriller novel, written by Tom Clancy and released on August 14, 1991. Serving as the sequel to Clear and Present Danger (1989), main character Jack Ryan, who is now the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, tries to stop a crisis concerning the Middle East peace process where Palestinian and former East German terrorists conspire to bring the United States and Soviet Union into nuclear war."
                Movie: "The Sum of All Fears is a 2002 American spy thriller film directed by Phil Alden Robinson, based on Tom Clancy's 1991 novel of the same name... An Austrian Neo-Nazi plans to trigger a nuclear war between the United States and Russia, so that he can establish a fascist superstate in Europe. After the Neo-Nazi's scientists build a secret nuclear weapon that destroys Baltimore, and a rogue Russian officer paid off by the Neo-Nazi attacks a U.S. aircraft carrier, the world's superpowers are pushed close to the brink of war."
                Ok, so it actually started earlier. I just remember noticing how quasi-official Russians were frequently the bad guys in movies where it would've made more sense if the villain was Middle Eastern/Muslim.

                1. Like every Tom Clancy film adaptations, except The Hunt for Red October, this was a terrible movie that changed the story completely. They do the same thing to Clive Cussler movies. That's why he refuses to allow any more film adaptations.

          2. True, but it's also inevitable in an existential conflict.

            If we ever end up having one of those, do let me know, won't you?

            1. What will you be doing, Tulpa, furiously banging away on your keyboard like always?

      2. Free to run my own life, or a prisoner? Was that a trick question?

        1. Only if you're historically illiterate and didn't comprehend what was being asked.

          1. So a prisoner for their own safety, then?

            Gee, it's so much better when fascism wears kid gloves.

    4. The people can always influence the government. Mass protests in the streets will topple anyone. They don't happen because people either tacitly agree with the tyrant, or are afraid of the repercussions if they make their disagreement known. But every leader everywhere is greatly outnumbered by the citizens, who have the power if they choose to use it.

      1. Mass protests in the streets will topple anyone

        Until they freeze your bank accounts, crack your skull open, and imprison you indefinitely.

        1. For morons like CE, history began somewhere around their 10th birthday, and they literally cannot comprehend life, politics, social circumstances, war, or the state being in any way different from one time and place to another.

          Unhappy with your government? Just walk around the street holding signs! It worked for Ghandi and MLK, so how could it not work for Solzhenitsyn and the Arab Spring?

  5. idk, "Putin Lampposted Because No Mulan 4" is a little funny

    1. Um, THIS.

    2. Everyone has their line in the sand. For The Founders, it was a 1 % increase in taxes. For Tunisians, it was a poor college student who couldn't get a business license to sell produce.

      1. Shut up.

        1. Go away, bad dream!

  6. If you don't cancel everything there is no use in canceling anything you have to make the citizens upset with their own government for causing this.

  7. Look, this is the new Corporatism that unfortunately, has been cheered on in one way or another in these pages. Private company. Social pressure. Markets. The fact that its devolved into a kind of petty weaponized virtue-signaling is an unfortunate side effect. But it appears it's here to stay.

    1. Many times in these pages people have been warned that once businesses start choosing sides it never ends.

      It is not inappropriate to hold people or organizations to their own standards. Even if they are not your standards.

    2. It's amazing how many people's principles have been cast into the fire because Russiamanbad.
      Unfortunately this new wave of mass hysteria has claimed many of the survivors of the covid mass hysteria push.

      1. I have a theory that, after a prolonged period of civic division and an endless stream of demoralizing propaganda, people are psychologically worn down and more than eager to rally behind something unifying and uplifting.

        After two years of being steamrolled by obviously nonsensical COVID politics and scolding, including lockdowns and mandates, the people were more than happy to be told that they are, once again, the good children --- that they have done right, played by the rules, and must now unite.

        The people are free to hate someone other than their neighbors, and now have something to talk about parties and dinners that draws them closer, rather than apart.

        After all, once you have been starved, even a bowl of bland oatmeal can taste like a steak.

        1. Makes sense.
          But me, I'll never forget or forgive the traitorous totalitarian bastards who cheered and helped tear down our way of life.

  8. Disney does stuff like this to distract from all the terrible things they do. They'd rather talk about racism and gay marriage than explain their relationship with the Chinese government. They'd rather signal their disapproval of Putin than talk about how they turn princess films into propaganda for the Chinese government. Signaling through cancel culture costs them practically nothing.

    1. Disney has the progressive, and post-industrial society citizen disease. They over-estimate their importance in the world by at least tenfold.

      1. Along with their estimates of concurring consumers.

    2. Yeah, that's part of it, too. Nike's keeping Kaepernick living in a life of luxury to distract from their factory abuses. Mars did the stupid shit with the M&M rebranding to distract from the negative attention they were getting over cocoa harvesting.

      Every time a corporation goes all-in with the virtue signaling, look behind the curtain and see how they're really operating.

      1. This strikes me as a "chicken-or-egg" issue. Do they virtue signal to cover up unethical practices, or are unethical practices just typical of the entities who typically virtue signal?
        Progressivism, being a totalitarian philosophy prioritizing the superficial, cultivates a populace/consumer slavishly devoted to branding. The more progressive the environment, the more easily brainwashed the population within it is.

    3. "Disney does stuff like this to distract from all the terrible things they do. They'd rather talk about racism and gay marriage than explain their relationship with the Chinese government."

      Except they're not really taking a ton of heat for those things. It's mentioned at times, but hardly a mass conversation or something that has much of any effect on their bottom line.
      There was no necessity for a distraction.
      If anything, this draws more attention to specifically their relationship with the Chinese government. It creates/highlights the very thing you claim it's intended as a distraction from...

  9. I disagree.

    I have been furious with Russia ever since they attacked our democracy in 2016. That entire country needs to be punished. Make it so anyone living there is miserable — no Internet, no entertainment, no food except what they can produce on their own.

    In fact the only thing Russians should be able to do is immigrate to the US and provide cost-effective labor for Reason.com's billionaire benefactor Charles Koch.

    #LibertariansForGettingToughWithRussia

    1. Like any well-read Democrat half-deafened from the cognitive dissonance, I support punishing Putin for Trump by sanctioning and impoverishing people who had nothing to do with anything, but I worry about welcoming Russian refugees in - they are traditionally a conservative culture and might lean on electoral margins in a time of crisis.

      Until we have enough deceased on the voter rolls or guaranteed subsistance populations, you just have to worry about these spontaneous acts of Democracy getting in the way of progress.

      #OnlyTheRightOnes

  10. As the war in Europe rages, the above-the-fold top story in my local newspaper:

    Danny Westneat
    Here’s proof the pandemic culture wars were never about the pandemic
    There's a protest and trucker convoy planned against COVID restrictions in Olympia on Saturday — even though Washington state is ending most COVID restrictions.

    1. ending most COVID restrictions

      Which restrictions is Washington keeping?

      1. Yeah, "most". LOL

      2. Masks for now. Although Inslee just finally relented and decided to remove the indoor mask mandate (subject to change if he decides it's too dangerous) on March 12th. He was holding hard to his end-of-March timeline until he finally relented after pressure. He's bound and determined to be the LAST state to remove restrictions to prove to his utterly paranoid constituency that he's the safest, most cautious governor in the 50 states. I believe there's still a vaccine mandate for all state employees. That's not being lifted to the best of my knowledge.

        1. "his utterly paranoid constituency that he's the safest, most cautious"

          Ironically, these very same people are likely to enthusiastically support things like a no fly zone or admitting Ukraine into NATO.

          World War that could go nuclear?
          "No price is to high to stand for democracy! The Ukrainian people's rights are under attack!"

          A cold?
          "People must be forced to wear masks and be injected with experimental drugs! Antivaxxers must lose their jobs, banned from retail stores, and totally shunned for the public good!"

      3. the fun ones.

  11. Heck of job Putin!

  12. "Unfortunately, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine wears on, the distinctions between the Russian government that ordered it, Russian institutions generally, and the Russian people writ large are starting to fade. All are congealing into one amorphous bad guy targeted with boycotts and cancellations."

    Pre-war propaganda conditioning?

    1. Yes.

    2. Based on the comments here as of late, either you swallow Russian propaganda, or American propaganda, and if you claim not to want either government shooting their load of bullshit down your throat -- well, you may as well be Russian.

      People have lost their fucking minds, almost overnight.

      1. "People have lost their fucking minds, almost overnight."

        Again. Two weeks to stop the war.

      2. People have lost their fucking minds, almost overnight.

        Disagree. People have been losing their fucking minds for quite some time. I'd peg the start at about the time Joe Lieberman had Amazon kick Wikileaks off their platform but it certainly gets impossible to refute somewhere between the Russian Pee Dossier and the second impeachment.

  13. War is hell.

    We're looking to give everyday Russians as many reasons as humanly possible for them to garrote their asshole leader. With video please.

    Smashing up a bar in D.C. clearly isn't going to further that cause.

    But cutting off all forms of commerce with Russia proper is a-okay by me. Especially if it's done voluntarily by the companies involved.

    1. Especially if it's done voluntarily by the companies involved.

      LOL

    2. "Especially if it's done voluntarily by the companies involved."

      But no pressure, eh?

      Russia elected Putin like America elected Biden.

    3. IOW companies doing it isnt a tool for Biden to keep implicitly supporting his commie masters.

  14. Because destroying the economy of an authoritarian nation for making war in Europe has never historically resulted in that nation ending up with a much worse leader....

  15. https://twitter.com/mtracey/status/1498911607929323526?t=aWwmwnZk5DquehO-VJ7nZg&s=19

    In the "how would you feel if it happened to you" department, how would you feel if ordinary American citizens were deliberately targeted for economic immiseration as punishment for George Bush invading Iraq

  16. https://twitter.com/mtracey/status/1499120368098979842?t=gThPHvRgWGIH4ktN_zofYw&s=19

    Biden Administration officials keep touting the amazing “unity” of world leaders against Russia when the leaders of the two largest countries in the world have repeatedly declined to come out against Russia

    1. What happens when a prominent Eurasian alliance, or alignment, arises?

      Russia, China, India, Central Asia, Brazil, large and developing countries like Nigeria? What happens when the Eurasian Economic Union expands?

      What then? What happens if all of the sanctions and business cancellations create a void that is swiftly filled by others? Do the U.S. and Europe suddenly find themselves isolated, instead?

      Something to consider.

      There is a good chance, in my view, that shutting Russia off -- while painful in the short term -- is going to result in greater damage to the economic prospects of the West in the long term.

      Where will the West be in 10, 20, or 30 years? And is it possible we will look on this attempt to excommunicate Russia from the world with regret?

      1. You and Neville Chamberlain are cut from the same cloth. Russia's economy is less than Italy or South Korea. Russia is smaller than THREE U.S. States! Your problem is you're YELLOW.

        1. LOL

          + fuck off

        2. There's a few other factors to the equation... STARTing with why is it our business, especially when so many pols found themselves enriched by deals in energy...

          https://news.usni.org/2022/03/02/report-to-congress-on-russian-nuclear-weapons-3

        3. What a strange response that didn’t address anything in his post.

          1. Anything short of escalating up to and including nuclear war is appeasement.
            It's The Science.

            1. Nice Strawman you built there. Wouldn't want anything bad happening to it...Oops! It looks like you knocked it over yourself.

    2. I think it was Politico that had a smarmy piece about how Putin 'made the EU great again' by fostering an unprecedented unity of purpose and conviction amongst all world leaders... as Germany fought SWIFT and China vetoed UN censures.

      Straight up pre-war propoganda.

      1. Putin is Safe and Effective.

        Its Settled Communism.

        Two weeks to flatten Ukraine.

  17. Russia House should be punished for their nearly unreadable website, not the red white and blue colors they fly.

  18. YES, CANCEL AVERAGE RUSSIANS. ALL RUSSIANS. The West's response to Russia needs to be a DIKE not a SIEVE. Make them pariahs - let them know what it is like to be a leper. Facilitate Putin's fall from power. Don't do ANYTHING to give them respite. Are the Ukrainians getting any comfort from Putin? The message is clear, if your leaders disrupt the world order, you will eat shoe leather.

    1. Now do America.

  19. A Batman film is the kind of culture one finds in a petri dish.

    1. Yet Batman was modeled, in part, upon your character, Don Diego! 😉

      Think about it: A wealthy man living in a corrupt world who takes up a disguised alter ego to fight against the corruption and who is loved by the common man and has a distinctive symbol.

      That's you too, Amigo!

      Pop-Up Video Factoid: The world's first disguised alter ego superhero was Barroness Orczy's Percival Blakeney a.k.a. The Scarlet Pimpernel, also a rich man who is a frivolous fop in normal life and a fighter against Robespierre's Reign of Terror in his double-life, rescuing the victims of Robespierre's Madame Guillotine.

      The Scarlet Pimpernel was actually a better, more realistic premise than any superhero since because he had multiple disguises.

  20. The Russian people are responsible for tolerating Putin. They should stick their necks out and depose him, rather than killing Ukrainians. They are cowards who would rather let other people suffer than risk their lives to get rid of him. Their military follows Putin's orders. They would rather kill Ukrainian civilians than risk their lives disobeying their orders. Don't let them off the hook. Hold every last one of them responsible for going along. Make no distinction between the citizens of a country and the people they allow to govern them.

    1. So, all Democrats must die?

      Easy on the genocide by nuclear winter button.

      1. Nuke winter will stop global warming.

        Nuclear IS the answer.

    2. Many thousands of Russians are now risking Putin's Gulag to oppose invading Ukraine! Give them the space and Secular blessing to do so!

    3. I assume you are not in Ukraine fighting with their militia?
      Seems you're the coward.

  21. Don't Cancel Regular Russians

    Not even pee prostitutes? Asking for a friend.

  22. "Unfortunately, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine wears on, the distinctions between the Russian government that ordered it, Russian institutions generally, and the Russian people writ large are starting to fade. All are congealing into one amorphous bad guy targeted with boycotts and cancellations."

    Oh, huh, so maybe the second impeachment was misdirected?

  23. Indeed, this new punitive approach is extending beyond individual, pro-Putin Russian performers to the Russian population as a whole.

    Somebody ought to let Maria Butina know about this new punitive approach.

    1. Ed Snowden probably already got the hint.

  24. loans default, shares crash. That’s what sucks about the IMF or Banks bribing KGB mobsters or Mao commies to open up their markets. After awhile the yachts, mansions, jets, penthouses and artwork don’t do it for them- only pure power. Nukes=checkmate

  25. How about something constructive, instead. Donate to Save the Children; they are helping Ukrainian children who are refugees. Save the Children is legitimate, has been around for a while. A few dollars can go a long way over there.

  26. I just check to see if Disney is still a private company, and it still is. Oh well debate over.

    If you bet money in Vegas that Reason would publish their "war is bad, but sanctions are also bad" article before St Patrick's Day, you probably came out a big winner.

    The libertarian position during an unprovoked invasion of a peaceful nation - you can't get involved militarily for we risk war. OK. But we also can't press sanctions, because they don't work anyways and inconvenience ordinary citizens.

    The only option is accepting everyone who's involved in these conflicts into your own land, because none of these people can be considered as hostile agents and adding million of Euro nationalists to our gen pop is default gain for us and minus for the other guys.

    This isn't a serious position guys. Ukraine is under invasion and innocent people's lives are at risk. I don't want Russians to be denied jobs because they're not vaccinated, oops I mean, because they don't openly denounce Putin. But no one will suffer if the Batman movies don't open in Russia. A society that would strive to purge and cancel all "bigotry" on Twitter but continues to fund war machines that invade ethnic minorities out of their own economic interest is morally conflicted.

    1. "innocent people's lives are at risk. "

      BULLSHIT.

      Theyre DEAD JIM.

      Are the fucking buildings " at risk" or blown to bits?

      Check your Sanctimonius in for a Reality Check.

      1. Everyone in Ukraine is dead?

        Well, guess the war’s over then.

    2. I just check to see if Disney is still a private company, and it still is. Oh well debate over.

      Do we get to check to see if any Russians hold Disney+ subscriptions or does blind justice suddenly develop X-ray vision and put a thumb on the scale if one of the people is a corporation?

    3. "an unprovoked invasion of a peaceful nation"

      You've swallowed the propaganda well, comrade.
      +10 social credit points.
      By the way, the Ukrainian government has been bombing their own citizens for 8 years. 15,000ish people have been killed. Not sure that counts as "peaceful".

    4. "continues to fund war machines that invade ethnic minorities"

      Umm... you know, this is exactly what the post-Maidan Ukraine government has been doing.

  27. Boycott Canada!

  28. Not sure that anyone is "punished" by missing out on a movie. The lost tax revenue from those sales, on the other hand...

  29. Putin is using censorship on social media and the news to prevent the bulk of the population from knowing what's going on. Such very public actions like shutting down movies sends a signal that can't be blocked. It gets ordinary Russians asking questions.

    1. So is every government/corporation in the west...

  30. Don't cancel regular Russians who no longer live in Russia.

    The Russian population? Heck yeah cancel em. Why? Because Putin has Nukes and the US an NATO are powerless to shut the bully down out of fear of starting WWIII.

    So the only way out of this is the Russians themselves take Putin out of power. Discontent makes for stronger protests.

    If them not being able to see the sparkly vampire, Cedric Diggory pretend to be a bat to fight crime, will invigorate them into a coup, well so be it.

  31. Not sure a Batman movie is a valuable "cultural connection."

    1. Yes just like Britney is a coke sniffing violent black street gang banging culture model of motherhood

  32. as long as the disneybergs make money I'm sure they don't care.

    1. You know who else would say that?

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  34. The "good Russians" have a job to do. That's get rid of Putin. Until they do that job they will suffer.

    1. Yeah, I'm sure losing out on McDonald's, social media, and Disney's shit-tier entertainment offerings is a real loss to Russian society.

  35. Punishing Russians who have no connection to the regime other than the fact that they and Putin were born in the same country is stupid. Why ban a Russian hockey player in the NHL? He didn’t invade Ukraine. Oligarchs who support Putin and profit from him? Sure. Seize their assets for enabling the monster but leave the little guys alone. That said, I fully support isolating Russia economically on all fronts be that crude oil, vodka or movies. We need to bring economic and political pressures to bear so the Russian people will see that grooming Putin is the only solution to the current crisis.

    1. Interesting you Party Bootlicker posts arexall the same kind of lie.

      Its stupid, you demand, but you cant put 3 words together to PROVE that.

      What your comment is is a childish
      knee jerk reaction to personally attack anyone disagreeing with your Leftist politics and like a child just screaming " youre stupid"

      Bye Karen.

      Sanctions " punushung" ( patronizing attitude) them, not OK.

      Commie Rusdian Dictator " piunishing or killing them, OK.

      Your moral compass is spinning wildly

  36. https://techxplore.com/news/2022-03-ai-mental-disorders-based-web.html

    " We regret to inform you that your credit cards have been cancelled due to anti Covid comments."

  37. So, are we going to do this for *all* wars from now on? Or is there something special about this one? I'm pretty sure there is a war going on somewhere all the time.

    If I were a leftie I'd be asking if this one is different because Ukrainians are white ...

    ("The world" has occasionally expressed some displeasure with our wars, BTW. Do we want to be cut off from everything too the next time we indulge in one?)

  38. Amazing the number of people here who are banging the war drum.
    What happened to all the other libertarian issues, like ending the Covid lockdown and opposing cancel culture?
    Well, you can forget about them 'cause Fredonia is going to war!

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