Ukraine

When Professors Do Foreign Policy

What the John Mearsheimer controversy tells us about theory’s role in international affairs.

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Academics often strive to get the public to engage with their work. But John Mearsheimer, an international relations theorist at the University of Chicago, got more attention than he bargained for.

Mearsheimer has been raising the alarm for years that Western attempts to ally with Ukraine would provoke a violent Russian response. That prediction became tragically relevant last month when Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. To make matters worse, the Russian foreign ministry has promoted a 2014 article by Mearsheimer called "Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West's Fault."

Academic figures from a former U.S. ambassador to Russia to a biographer of Joseph Stalin lined up to explain why they disagreed with Mearsheimer. Anne Applebaum, staff writer at The Atlantic, even accused Mearsheimer of providing Russia with its talking points for war.

The controversy over Mearsheimer's work is about two different questions. The first is whether his theories accurately explain what is happening to Ukraine. The second, deeper question is about the role academics play in foreign policy. International relations scholars try to explain how the world works, but what is their usefulness and responsibility when a crisis begins? Where does one draw the line between describing the logic of an enemy state and justifying it?

"Everyone has an implicit theory in their mind when they're making policy proposals," Ben Denison, an expert in regime change and a nonresident fellow at Defense Priorities, said in a phone interview. "Your theory of why this war began will affect the solution."

There are plenty of competing academic theories about war and peace. Liberals and neoconservatives try to explain geopolitics in terms of ideology and institutions. Marxists look to economic factors and class struggle. Both Mearsheimer and Denison are part of the growing "realist" camp, which teaches that states are motivated by the competition for security.

Ukraine's violent crisis began in 2014, when Ukrainians who wanted their country to build stronger relations with Western Europe carried out a successful revolution. Russia then backed a violent counterrevolution in the east of the country and annexed the Crimea region. After eight years of civil war between the Ukrainian government and the pro-Russian rebels, Russia is now launching a new large-scale invasion of Ukraine.

There are many different theories as to why Russia chose to escalate now.

Many realists focus on the role of NATO, the U.S.-led military alliance in Europe. In recent years, NATO has expanded to include several formerly communist Eastern European nations. The alliance has even promised that Ukraine could become a member, while NATO countries dramatically increased their cooperation with the Ukrainian military.

Russia saw NATO's moves as threatening. An important part of realism is accounting for uncertainty, Denison explains; even though NATO calls itself a purely defensive alliance, Russian leaders have to think about the possibility that NATO countries might use Ukrainian territory to threaten Russia during a future crisis.

Mearsheimer repeatedly pointed out that the United States itself refuses to accept foreign influence in its region under the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, and nearly invaded Cuba in 1962 to destroy Soviet missile bases there.

Several former U.S. diplomats have made similar points. George Kennan, architect of the anti-Communist "containment" strategy during the Cold War, predicted that expanding NATO into Eastern Europe would provoke a "bad reaction from Russia." So did Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state, and Jack Matlock Jr., former U.S. ambassador to Russia.

Critics counter that Moscow has more ideological reasons for menacing Ukraine. The country used to be part of the Russian Empire and the Russian-dominated Soviet Union, a history Russia's leaders have not forgotten.

"We're not afraid of Venezuela, and Russia is not afraid of Ukraine," Applebaum said in an interview before the invasion. "They're afraid of Western democracy in the form that it could unseat Putin…and in Ukraine it particularly bothers him, because Ukraine is a former Russian colony."

She pointed out that Poland joined NATO in 1999, yet it did not host U.S. forces until the 2014 Ukrainian crisis "created this need to defend the West, to defend Europe." (However, the U.S. has been floating the possibility of setting up missile bases on Polish soil for decades.)

If the realist view is true, Denison says, that opens the possibility of striking a peace deal that resolves Russian security concerns. But if Putin really has an ideological disgust for the existence of Ukraine or Ukrainian democracy, then there isn't much to negotiate about.

Even Russian statements have given off mixed signals regarding the president's motives. In his speech before the invasion, Putin called the possibility of NATO bases in eastern Ukraine "a knife to the throat." In peace talks between the two countries, Russian negotiators have focused on getting Ukraine to renounce any future ties with NATO and accept "neutrality."

On the other hand, Putin has also ranted that Ukraine is a fake country run by Nazi holdovers involved in a Western conspiracy to destroy Russian culture.

For critics of realism, explaining Russian interests in reasonable terms veers dangerously close to Putin apologism. (American officials have run into similar controversies for writing about the reasoning behind Iranian strategy.) And blaming Western or U.S. actions for the crisis seems to take responsibility out of Russia's hands.

After all, the Russian government itself found Mearsheimer's work worth promoting.

But at the end of the day, there is a strategic danger in denying that other countries have rational goals. If U.S. leaders treat their enemies as simple madmen, "it almost makes you throw your hands up and say there's nothing we could have done" to prevent war, Denison says. Deterring rivals is only possible with a clear sense of what those rivals want.

"In an ideal world, it would be wonderful if the Ukrainians were free to choose their own political system and to choose their own foreign policy," Mearsheimer told New Yorker reporter Isaac Chotiner after the invasion began. "But in the real world, that is not feasible. The Ukrainians have a vested interest in paying serious attention to what the Russians want from them. They run a grave risk if they alienate the Russians in a fundamental way."

Mearsheimer did not respond to a request for comment.

NEXT: In a New Magazine, the Illiberal Right and the Illiberal Left Converge

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  1. This is just a bad reboot of the Cuban Missile Crisis with the teams and home field flipped around.

    1. It is just the same, except for the US military invading Cuba.

      There is also the fact that Cuba was Soviet aligned until there was no Soviet Union.

      1. ***coughcoughBayofPigscoughcough***

        1. Which happened more than a year before the Cuban Missile Crisis and did not involve over a hundred thousand American troops.

          1. Simple Mickey

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      2. And aside from the fact that the Soviets were actively building missile silos in Cuba?

        Merely allowing the possibility that Ukraine could join NATO, or even having it join, does not amount to actual missile silos on Russia's border.

        (Cuba remained a Soviet ally until the collapse of the Soviet Union).

        1. While Cuba may have been aligned with the Soviet Union, it was never formally allied with it. But imagine if, at the end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union didn't dissolve the Warsaw Pact (as it in fact did), but rather extended it to Cuba. Would we have thought that a benign move, even if made under someone genial like Gorby or Yeltsin rather than by Putin?

      3. Just other acts of war, like a blockade.

        The US military did not invade Cuba because a diplomatic resolution was reached.
        For nearly a decade, Russia has been seeking diplomatic resolution.
        Unfortunately, your completely evil masters will not allow diplomatic resolution.
        So mickey gets his wish: turn Ukraine into Syria/Libya (with all the US taxpayer resources required), world war 3, possibly nuclear war.

        Your position is far more morally repugnant than Putin's.
        Mind your own fucking business, or go fight for the globalists. But fuck you to hell for giving moral support to the Great Reset cabal destroying our lives.

        1. It is Putin's war of choice. If he attacked a country he cannot conquer then he can order his troops out.

          Putin is responsible for thousands of deaths for a bad cause and you think everyone else is evil. You are twisted.

          1. Literally parroting Biden's rhetoric.

            Lol

            1. I can separate my distaste for Biden without falling in love with an murderous autocrat just to spite him.

              1. Don't know where you get distaste vs love from, Simple Mikey, I'm just pointing out that you've turned into a branch covidian style NPC

    2. NYT Millennial journalist: The Cuban what?

      1. Would the Ukrainians ever lobby for nukes to be used on Russia? Because Castro was completely serious that those missiles should have been used on U.S. targets.

        Bad reboot indeed. It is missing an actual crisis. Of course, that is what propaganda is for.

        1. Ukraine amended its constitution in 2019 to add pursuing NATO membership as official, legally binding policy.

          Russia has been pursuing diplomatic resolution for 8 years. Ukraine/globalists have rejected their concerns every time.
          We have 30 years of western analysts talking about how Russia could not survive a hostile, NATO aligned Ukraine.
          The 2014 coup brought an overtly hostile government to Ukraine that immediately started a war on resistant populations, incorporated neonazi extremists into their military, and has been receiving funds, arms, and training from NATO since 2015.

          What options did Russia have other than invasion?

          1. Ukraine would not give Russia their lunch money when asked. What choice did Russia have but to beat them? The Ukraine was so mean as to punch back!

            1. Holy shit, thank you for proving the point.
              Simple Mickey, foreign policy expert!

        2. I’m a live and let live kind of person. Unlike you. I don’t care if you people believe a bunch of disproven nonsense.

          However, I have the right to defend my rights from Mormon aggression.

          Spread the word little bitch BOY! Heads on pikes!

          1. I’m a live and let live kind of person. Unlike you. I don’t care if you people believe a bunch of disproven nonsense that your interests are different from ours.

            However, I have the right to defend my rights from Mormon NATO aggression.

            How cute! KAR and Putin are exactly the same.

            1. Good one! Except Mormons are invading MY TURF. I was tricked into going to Utah under false pretense(I consider myself a victim of fraud).

              Chuck the fascist!

              1. (I consider myself a victim of fraud)

                I will take that to mean that nobody else does.

                I think I will start referring to you as Kutin. It works on so many levels for a little Vladi-me-r like yourself.

                1. The courts in Utah are run by Mormons so I’m not gonna waste money on an attorney when I wouldn’t get squat.

                  I don’t care if I remind you of Putin.

                  Again you bigots are the ones invading. You’ve turned Utah in to a theocratic shithole. Why can’t you stay there? Why do you have to try and ruin other places? Why are there fascist Mormons in left wing Oregon anyway?

                  1. Utah has the hottest housing market in the country.

                    Why are there fascist Mormons in left wing Oregon anyway?

                    Would picking up a non-lefty history of America kill you? Oregon was about timber until the CA housing bubble migration in the late 80s. They had 2 of the most powerful Republican senators until the mid-90s.

                    OR surpasses WA as an example of how badly a state can be corrupted by CA Democrats and the proof will be when they go bankrupt before the rest of the left coast.

                    1. Utah has a lot of MORMONS moving to it because you fuckers breed like rabbits and many want to live in a Mormon theocracy.

                      Packwood and Hatfield were pretty liberal. The reason the GOP can’t compete in Oregon is because they’ve gone too far right. Other than Dudley they’re all Knute Bhueler and Greg Walden types.

                2. My friends and family and other victims of Mormon fraud consider myself a victim. The Mormons are too fucking arrogant, self righteous, and stupid to realize they’re fucking people over left and right.

                3. It’s not a political thing ever. It’s about respect. In my experience the progressive Mormons are worse than the neocon ones. They’re rare, but they’re smug self righteousness is worse than your average mormon.

                  1. *either
                    Goddamn typos

                  2. Kutin, you are the intellectual love-child of Kirkland and Buttplug.

                    1. Magic underwear boy: You belong to a fascist church. That makes you a fascist.

                    2. You belong to a fascist church. That makes you a fascist.

                      You misunderstand Fascism as well as Christianity.

                    3. I understand that the Jesus in the BOM is not the Jesus of the Bible.

                      I understand fascism just fine. I think you’re the one who misunderstands how your church impacts other people.

                    4. I understand that the Jesus in the BOM is not the Jesus of the Bible.

                      LOL! There is so much evidence in that statement that you are completely ignorant to what you referencing. You just read the anti-position and select your attacks solely based on what you guess will get a rise out of your victim.

                      You are the worst type of bully. You don't even do it for power, just to be mean to others. Sleep tight, buddy. You disappointed me again.

                    5. Why am I wrong?

                      The Jesus of the Bible was a real person. I don’t know if he did all the supernatural shit the Bible claims, but he did exist.

                      He didn’t preach to Nephites(forgive me if I’ve confused them with another BOM group) in North America because there is no such thing as Nephites. The only evidence of them is in a book written by a proven fraud.

                      I’d love to hear if I’m mistaken anything?

      2. "NYT Millennial journalist: The Cuban what?" "Cuba was the good guys, right?"

        1. Between the USA and the USSR the Cubans felt sandwiched

  2. Just thought I'd point out that the domino theory turned out to be correct.

    Occasionally, just occasionally, I miss Henry Kissinger.

    1. Surprisingly, he's still around. 98 years old.

    2. As a thinker, Kissinger is pretty intelligent (if evil). Nixon, surprisingly, was much the same way. They'd be great people to have around to read analysis by. Terrible people to have running your country.

  3. More proof that corporate media can't stand you being unmasked, un-locked and un-distanced.

    Return to ‘normal’ threatens physical and mental health for vulnerable WA residents

    For immunocompromised people in WA, return to ‘normal’ threatens mental and physical health

    As public safety measures against the coronavirus fade into the rearview mirror — Washington’s mask mandate has ended in most locations and, in general, proof of vaccination is no longer required to eat in restaurants or attend crowded events — many people like Williams are receding even further into lives of solitude.

    1. Remember when they used to put immunocompromised people in literal bubbles instead of whining that the rest of us are responsible for them? Good times.

      1. The number of articles on how the sprint-away from normal threatened the physical and mental health of anyone: 0

      2. Remember when we thought hypochondriacs were a little bit nuts instead of upending our lives to humor them?

        1. First it's "we have to destroy western civilization to avoid a mild cold" and now it's "we have to start world war 3 so corrupt globalist+Ukrainian oligarchs can keep stealing from the middle/working class"

      3. And of course, before covid, there was nothing out in the world for immunocompromised people to worry about. This is the first deadly (ish) virus ever. And masks are magic and totally work.

      4. Just like how your Mormon pals treat their gay and trans kids?

        Fucking scumbag.

        1. I personally know church members who are or who have kids who are gay. I have a nephew who is living as a woman. Nobody I know is ostracizing or even avoiding them.

          So sad, because I can see how hard you trying to shit your pants today. Eating some bran cereal might help.

          1. I’m sure you think that. When they’re away from the perv worshippers who have control over them I’d wonder if they’d say they feel accepted.

            All I know is LGTBQ folks were discriminated against constantly by Mormons.

            You’re church spent millions on prop 8 you fascist fuck!

            You support a fascist church. Why the fuck are you on a libertarian website?

            1. *power
              Instead of control.

            2. When they’re away from the perv worshippers who have control over them I’d wonder if they’d say they feel accepted.

              Dude, they are adults. I don't pretend to know how they feel. I do know they have support. Whether they accept it or not is up to them.

              All I know is LGTBQ folks were discriminated against constantly by Mormons.

              The way that sentence is constructed tells me that you know no such thing.

              And Prop 8? A 14 year-old issue that was completely mooted by the SCOTUS?

              With membership in CA at less than 2% of the population, you are casting complete blame on people considerably outnumbered by homosexuals in the state. You might want to save some of your vitriol for the other 7 million voters who marked yes. I suspect it confuses you to no end because so many of 80% of voters that turned out have dark skin tones.

              1. Ask them when they aren’t around Mormons if they feel they have support?

                It’s probably a different answer than they tell you and other Mormons.

                When I was in Utah every LGTBQ person I talked to said the Mormons discriminated against them and treated them like shit. It was common for Mormons to go on homophobic rants.

                Most the people I still talk to there say LGTBQ folks are treated like shit there.

                1. When I was in Utah every LGTBQ person I talked to said the Mormons discriminated against them

                  This is the kind of ridiculously stupid claim that lets everyone know that you are just making shit up.

                  You do know that 'the gays' actually just look like everybody else, right? And that they are a small portion of the population. And where they are discriminated against they are unlikely to reveal it. How is it that a rough and tumble straight man like yourself knew so many gay people in Utah intimately enough to get them to talk to you about such a sensitive topic?

                  Are you going to regale us next about how 'all your black friends' hate Utah? Or maybe all your 'friends on the rez'?

                  I am 100% back to the notion that some missionary came home and the girl you had been working up to asking out for 2 years went right back to him and it burns you up. You read completely like a late twenties incel.

                  1. Those of us who felt disrespected by the Mormons tended to gravitate towards each other. I also tend to stick up for people being shit on. Especially once I noticed the Mormons didn’t like confrontation.

                    Feel free to think this is about a girl rejecting me. It just confirms your arrogance about your religion. I would never give a magic underwearing cunt the time of day.

                    You people have no idea how fucking arrogant you are. It’s impossible to reason with you.

                    Heads on pikes motherfucker.

                    1. Those of us who felt disrespected by the Mormons tended to gravitate towards each other.

                      You and all the gays and the jews and the blacks? Nah. You are full of shit. I went to 4 different high schools in three states on opposite coasts in four years. One universal truth. Even the unpopular kids segregate.

                      You reek of incel. The rape fantasies give it away.

          2. It’s hilarious that your church campaigns against legalizing polygamy because it’s ashamed of its past. If consenting adults want to have more than one spouse I don’t care. However, the fundamentalists are basically sex traffickers. They’re just imitating your prophets. Shit you believe when you die you’re a judged by Heavenly Father(the sex machine near kilobytes), Mormon Jesus(the Jesus of the Bible is a different Jesus), and Joseph Smith(polygamist). Your church considers polygamy(in this lifetime) a sin, but you worship one?

            You people shouldn’t have power over anyone. What you believe is so fucking stupid but you’re so devout it creates an army of arrogant bigots who can’t be reasoned with.

            If the Christian god exists then all Mormons burn in hell.

            1. *KOLOB not kilobytes. Fucking auto correct.

            2. You sure are convinced that you know what I believe. So much so that your responses ignore the things I actually say.

              I am sure that raging at me in such a complete non-sequitur fashion makes you look so accepting of all races and creeds and not at all like a nasty little bigot.

              1. Why would you give 10% of your income to a church if you disagreed with their beliefs?

                I don’t know what you believe personally, and I don’t care. Your actions are causing harm.

                1. I don’t know what you believe personally, and I don’t care.

                  The fact that you rage on about it for hours completely out of context is evidence that you are lying.

                  Your actions are causing harm.

                  No. They are not. You need help.

                  1. Yes they are. You fund a church that harms others. You send your kid out to recruit for that church.

                    1. No. It does not. You need help.

                    2. No. It does not. You need help.

                    3. Not my fault you’re too arrogant to see it.

                      You need help. You worship a proven fraud.

  4. If the realist view is true, Denison says, that opens the possibility of striking a peace deal that resolves Russian security concerns. But if Putin really has an ideological disgust for the existence of Ukraine or Ukrainian democracy, then there isn't much to negotiate about.

    Or if Putin has an ideological disgust for keeping Russia's military within Russian borders.

    1. It almost seems as significant as our leaders' apparent ideological disgust at keeping our dirty tricks people outside his allies' borders.

  5. But at the end of the day, there is a strategic danger in denying that other countries have rational goals.

    That's a messed up statement. Countries don't have goals. People have goals. And country isn't synonymous with government.

    If U.S. leaders treat their enemies as simple madmen, "it almost makes you throw your hands up and say there's nothing we could have done" to prevent war, Denison says.

    If they don't treat their enemies like madmen then they'll be forced to concede that they are actual people who more than likely think they're doing the right thing. But that would go contrary to the American Way of dehumanizing anyone who disagrees with you.

    1. American way? Everybody does it, whether as individuals or as leaders. It's how humans work.

    2. I have noticed that a lot of pundits have a bad habit of characterizing a person who has evaluated a situation in a way the pundit does not agree with or does not understand as "crazy". It is obnoxious. The person may have come to a different conclusion, is operating off different premises and may just be wrong

      A lot pundits thought Putin was bluffing, that he was not going to through with an invasion and they seem to resent being wrong in their evaluation. I think Putin has a made a bad bet and has caused the deaths of thousands for a bad cause, but I do not think he was irrational.

      1. It is obnoxious.

        Not only that, but it's willfully ignorant, arrogant, and quite popular because it's easier to attack strawmen than to actually evaluate where someone else is coming from.

        I think Putin has a made a bad bet and has caused the deaths of thousands for a bad cause, but I do not think he was irrational.

        From his point of view he's got NATO, a military alliance created specifically to stop the expansion of the Soviet Union that he misses, expanding onto his doorstep. In his world we're not the good guys. We're the aggressors. He's simply trying to stop that aggressive expansion.

        And yeah, he bit off more than he could chew. I hope he chokes on it.

      2. Everyone is rational by their own lights. Dear Leader in North Korea is acting rationally, based on what he saw happen to Kaddafi and sees happening in Iran. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, all acted rationally. Serial killers acted rationally, even though very few would agree with their base assumptions or logic.

        But that's not the definition of crazy or insane. Putin was insane by several standards, just as were Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Dear Leader. If an ordinary human had broken into his neighbor's occupied house and started shooting it up, stealing stuff, breaking things, and generally acting like a mad man -- people would call him crazy. It might not meet the legal definition of insanity -- knowing the difference between right and wrong -- but the general public consensus would be he was crazy, acting like a mad man.

        Putin invaded a peaceful neighbor, wanting to steal the territory and its occupants. In the process, he has shown how inept Russia's military is, he has trashed his and Russia's reputation for years to come, and his only provocation was the voices inside his head saying things that no one else can hear or believes.

        1. "a peaceful neighbor"

          JFC, the ignorance.

    3. That's a messed up statement. Countries don't have goals. People have goals

      And those people sometimes voluntarily gather together and form associations to press those goals into action.

  6. This entire controversy is beyond absurd. As the author notes, Mearsheimer's observations weren't even particularly novel. They were pretty much textbook realist geopolitical analysis. Mearsheimer just happens to be one of the best living academic adherents of the theory. And the fact that his talk from 2015 holds up pretty much as if it were given in late 2021 should give people reason to give his arguments some credit. I'd be willing to bet that Applebaum's analysis from the time don't hold up quite as well.

    And speaking of Anne Applebaum, am I the only one here for whom "Putin hates the Ukraine for its democracy" sounds like a cheap knock-off of the idiotic "They hate us for our freedom" mantra leading up to Iraq War II? What happened in the Ukraine in 2014 was hardly "democracy" by any rational definition of the term. It was a US/EU/NATO managed street putsch. Sure, Yanukovych was incredibly corrupt. But, even Western observers had conceded that the election that put him in office was basically free and fair. Hell, we even have the Deputy Secretary of State for Political Affairs (and wife of Robert Kagan - PNAC) on tape with the Ambassador to the Ukraine planning the post-"revolution" government before the protests really built up.

    1. Yeah when I got to "Ukraine's violent crisis began in 2014, when Ukrainians who wanted their country to build stronger relations with Western Europe carried out a successful revolution." I decided not to bother with the rest of the article.

  7. So, instead of ending the war immediately by agreeing to:
    Not seek NATO membership
    Recognize Crimea as Russian
    Recognize DPR and LPR as independent
    Stop shelling DPR and LPR
    No longer include entire units of officially neonazi extremists in the military
    Zelensky has chosen to call for world war 3 every day, and get more Ukrainians killed.
    And some of you here think this is the morally righteous position...

    1. Why should Ukraine let Russia dictate what they, as a sovereign nation, do? Putin promised to recognize Ukraine's borders. He lied. Why should Ukraine or anyone accept his new promises?

      Hitler just wanted the Sudetenland. Then Poland. Then France.

      Stalin just wanted his share.

      Mao just wants Taiwan.

      What the fuck is your problem?

      1. My problem is globalist totalitarians trying to institute global centralized government to institute worldwide feudalism, and dumbasses who have no clue what they're talking about virtue signaling us into world war 3 to advance that cause.
        Your analysis of this situation is extremely childish, and being pushed 24/7 by corporate media and government while censoring alternative sources of information/perspectives and outright lying about almost everything.
        Gee, where have we seen this unified propaganda, censorship, and vilification before?

      2. Hitler just wanted the Sudetenland. Then Poland. Then France.

        Stalin just wanted his share.

        Mao just wants Taiwan.

        You do realize that, with the exception of the last (which is all but inevitable at this point), they all got what they wanted? You are not making the point you think you are.

    2. Look. There are huge inventories of Zelensky as superman T shirts at Amazon warehouses worldwide. With the holidays coming up, a settlement in the Ukraine would render them valueless leading to economic collapse. Are we willing to risk that just to save a few thousand Eastern Europeans? I think not.

  8. https://twitter.com/richimedhurst/status/1506642880919740416?t=s5aHz0NtJ73yE-EF_wCLag&s=19

    Explosive.

    Russia is now demanding that Europe pay for gas in rubles.

    Europe gets 40% of its gas from Russia. That’s 200-800 million euros per day.

    Putin is basically saying: you want to play sanctions? Either pay up in rubles or freeze.

    This rule applies to all “unfriendly” nations. Russia published a list of 48 “unfriendly” states a few weeks ago which includes the EU, U.S., Japan, Switzerland and Norway. (These are generally countries that have sanctioned Russia in the last weeks).

    Putin: “Now everyone in the world knows that obligations in dollars can be defaulted” […]

    “It doesn’t make sense to deliver our goods to the EU or U.S. and receive payments in dollars or euros,”

    Following Putin’s announcement

    — The ruble is now at its strongest point against the dollar and euro since March 2nd, after plummeting due to sweeping U.S./EU sanctions

    — Benchmark European gas prices rose as much as 21% in Amsterdam

    Remember! The US is begging Maduro for oil. It wants the nuclear deal back to get Iranian oil on the market. Saudis are considering selling oil to China in Yuan, not USD. India bought Russian oil in rupees.

    I covered all of this here. Essential watching: [video]

    1. Maybe poking the bear isn't that much fun after all.

  9. Your leader

    https://twitter.com/POTUS/status/1506643748880633859?t=2swVZykGkdibgbXIK8cA1g&s=19

    I’m on my way to Europe to rally the international community in support of Ukraine and ensure Putin pays a severe economic cost for his war of choice.

    1. BTW, international community = US+Europe+Canada+Australia+Japan

  10. https://twitter.com/AdamKinzinger/status/1506475229492793346?t=gHGb6tG8EH3TI1ZhSP2rtg&s=19

    In this war, there is no middle ground. Israel has to pick a side. Slam me all you want, but this is real and serious.

    “Israel doesn’t have a special exemption": Republican slammed for blasting lack of Russia sanctions

    1. This is hilarious. If there's any nation on earth that pursues a more realist foreign policy than Russia, it is Israel. Israel will do exactly what it thinks will protect and advance its own national interests, and any appearance of friendship or alliance it creates, whether toward the US or Russia, is strictly in furtherance of that purpose..

  11. https://twitter.com/AdamKinzinger/status/1505274519887527942?t=d3oXBVVNZjBceRXIitQAVQ&s=19

    Russian thermobaric weapons should be destroyed by NATO. These are barbaric. Shame on us for just watching their use.

    How many more people need to be killed, have their lungs exploded till we overcome our fear? The old generation talking head cold warriors are wrong

    These are in a league with chemical weapons

    1. Funny how Kinzinger is willing to start World War Three to get rid of some weapons he doesn't like that belong to another country, but not willing to vote to get rid of the same weapons that belong to the country that he's actually a member of the government of.

  12. https://twitter.com/AdamKinzinger/status/1504979212268150797?t=cXCWK5-ptFgnGb_N_DSzvw&s=19

    I just wonder, in ten years will this be another regret? That we didn’t do more? Like Rwanda, Congo, Syria? I’m betting yes, I’m hoping no

    1. Kinzinger is one sick fuck. He represents my district in Il for the rest of the year because the Democrats map makes the district blue. Not that he'd survive a Republican primary if they hadn't. Pretty sure he's got a fat offer waiting at the Lincoln Project. The TDS broke him. Now he's good to go on WW3. Fucking asshole.

  13. https://twitter.com/ConceptualJames/status/1506668630234259461?t=UZBcBKJatHUCAXjw9-HkzA&s=19

    Basically everyone who is big mad at my threads about Marxism has a Ukraine flag in their handle. Weird.

  14. Good job, russiamanbad bros

    https://www.zerohedge.com/military/here-are-all-latest-news-and-developments-ukraine-war-march-23

    Just a day ahead of the Thursday emergency meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels, which Joe Biden will attend in person, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has previewed in a new speech that countries will commit to "major increases" in troops along Europe's 'eastern flank'.

    He also took the opportunity to warn Russia to stop its 'nuclear saber rattling' - a day after the Pentagon called recent Kremlin remarks related to a heightened nuclear posture that was raised last month "dangerous". Stoltenberg stated, "Russia should stop this dangerous irresponsible nuclear rhetoric." He said, "But let there be no doubt about our readiness to protect and defend allies against any threat anytime."

    "Russia must understand that it can never win a nuclear war," Stoltenberg added. And despite weapons shipments from the West continuing to reportedly enter Ukraine, he added an important caveat: "NATO is not part of the conflict … it provides support to Ukraine but isn’t part of the conflict."

    1. "Russia must understand that it can never win a nuclear war,"

      That is shockingly naïve. Why do I keep having to point out that Russia is currently holding Chernobyl? They can certainly survive anything but a full nuclear exchange. They could create the buffer they want with radiation and the Carpathian Mountains will ensure the Motherland is unaffected by fallout.

  15. "Realism" isn't solely about Russia's security concerns. It means dealing with motivations and desires of foreign actors as they are and weighing the real consequences rather than asserting that because "we're right" we must oppose them at any cost simply on principle. In this case Putin's motivation isn't even security, it's a quest to return Russia to its status as a world superpower to cement both his own position and wealth and his legacy as that country's greatest leader.

  16. "Where does one draw the line between describing the logic of an enemy state and justifying it?"

    That question applies directly to Trump's statements on Putin just after the invasion -- he was describing, the press ran with it as justifying/praising.

  17. "We're not afraid of Venezuela, and Russia is not afraid of Ukraine," Applebaum said in an interview before the invasion. "They're afraid of Western democracy in the form that it could unseat Putin…and in Ukraine it particularly bothers him, because Ukraine is a former Russian colony."

    Anne Applebaum is full of shit. Boris Yeltsin wasn't "afraid of Western democracy in the form that it could unseat" him (possibly because Western "democrats" helped ensure his election in 1996, but that's another story), and even he was opposed to extending NATO membership to the Ukraine.

  18. Ukraine's violent crisis began in 2014, when Ukrainians who wanted their country to build stronger relations with Western Europe carried out a successful revolution.

    It should be remembered that the 2014 "revolution" was a coup d'etat to remove the democratically-elected president from office, by a process that ignored the procedures set forth in the Ukrainian constitution for impeachment of the president.

  19. So I ask again, who's blocking whom in this game of tit-for-tat?

    A Russian court bans Facebook and Instagram as extremist

    A Russian court has banned Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, for "extremist" activities, making its work in Russia illegal. The decision excludes WhatsApp, which Meta also owns.

    The ruling immediately bans Facebook and Instagram from Russia, where both platforms are already blocked. Russian authorities are also seeking to designate Meta an "extremist organization," which could go into effect after a potential appeal by Meta. The company did not immediately comment.

    There's so much irony wafting off of this...

    1. If only it didn't involve lots of people dying and property being destroyed, it would be some awesome trolling.

    2. Does Zuckerberg have any assets where the Russians can get at them?

  20. O/T yet on-topic: CNN reporting Madeline Albright dead at 84.

  21. https://twitter.com/emeriticus/status/1506482620355469318?t=i2vTN7P9tPHYi9s0Oy0utQ&s=19

    The Pandora Papers exposed the secret offshore holdings of more 300 politicians and officials from over 90 nations. Ukraine was the biggest haven for them.

    Anyway, it's important to accept that we're doing WWIII for democracy. Remember that as sanctions and war take their toll.

    [Link]

  22. No shit. Some of us have even brought this up, only to be ignored or shouted down by the "virtuous" calls for regime change...

    https://twitter.com/The_Real_Fly/status/1506744390387183626?t=C4_k8dTQJRyMbfsLMg_Blg&s=19

    MEDVEDEV:

    If Americans succeed in their objective, "here is the result: the largest nuclear power with an unstable political regime, weak leadership, a collapsed economy and the maximum number of nuclear warheads aimed at targets in the US and Europe."

  23. Putin was certainly not afraid of Ukraine and did not think their military was a significant obstacle to his progress. How wrong he was. Putin's objective is to reconstitute the Russian empire under his kleptocratic leadership. Twenty years in power and where has Russia gone? Nowhere. Declining population, oligarchs with giant boats big palaces build to satisfy Putin and his cronies.

    With Lukashenko in Belarus actually agreeing to merge his country with Russia we see the plan. Then we merge in Ukraine, depopulate it, kill most of the men of military age. Next Baltics

  24. Both Mearsheimer and Denison are part of the growing "realist" camp, which teaches that states are motivated by the competition for security.

    And the core part of 'realism' is to accept 'spheres of influence' where big countries get to stomp on little countries - because they can. Molotov and Ribbentrop negotiated a great 'realist' treaty - that led directly to WW2. Stalin/FDR/Churchill negotiated yet another great 'realist' treaty (at Yalta - in Crimea) that carved up Europe into spheres of influence and directly precipitated both the Cold War and the direct transfer of territory from Poland (basically ratifying the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) to the Soviet Union which is now part of Ukraine.

    There can be real value from a realist approach to foreign policy. There is also a shit-ton of pure evil that realists will not only ignore but perpetuate in their desire to always go along with the perceived powerful.

    And a clown like Mearsheimer will never expect an outcome like the Winter War or the seriously spectacular buttwhipping that the Russian Army is going through right now. Instead that asswipe will just excuse it all and throw a Ukraine under a tank.

    1. What you are describing is simply the realities of power. It may be immoral but it is the way of things. What makes the realist school distinctive is the idea that security concerns are the primary motivation behind the foreign policy of countries like Russia. It is about understanding motivations not about passing moral judgment. You can be a realist and still decry Russian aggression. But opposing aggression doesn't help you understand why some governments launch aggressive wars.

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