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U.S. Response to Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

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  • U.S. Response to Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

    Putin's Right-Wing Shills

    And why they matter.

    Flashback to July, 2018.

    After the summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, this is what I wrote for the now-deceased Weekly Standard:
    .
    It seems only moments ago that Republicans derided Barack Obama’s “apology tour.” But that has been replaced by Donald Trump’s Groveling Tour, a peculiar combination of bullying our friends and fawning on our enemies. Monday’s summit seems destined to be recorded in the annals of diplomatic folly, with geopolitical consequences that will last far longer than our own frenetic attention spans.

    What we have learned again is that at the heart of every truculent and strutting bully is a craven sycophant eager to cower before a bigger bully.

    On Monday, Trump found that bigger bully and his cowering was the embarrassment heard round the world.

    The president did not merely insult and dismiss members of his own administration (Dan Coats) and attack the institutions of his own government on foreign soil (the FBI and DoJ), he also demeaned his own country, all in order to curry favor with a bloody martinet, who is aggressively attacking us.

    Consider this the context of today’s news. President Biden has agreed “in principle” to a summit with Putin, which may or may not avert a catastrophic war. We don’t know.

    What we can know, however, is that Putin is fully aware that he faces a divided U.S., and that influential voices on the right have been channeling much of his own propaganda.

    By now the cast of Putin’s useful idiots is familiar, ranging from Tucker Carlson and Josh Hawley to Candace Owens, MTG, and Maria Bartiromo.

    Fiona Hill, the former senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, calls them "the ultimate stooges," but at least for now, these right wing voices do not speak for most congressional Republicans, who have tended to take a far more hawkish stance.

    But Putin can be forgiven if he thinks his “conservative” allies represent the sentiment of MAGAWorld, coming as they do from some of Trump’s most loyal acolytes. And he may be especially emboldened if he believes that Trump himself may actually return to the Oval Office.

    So these right wing shills matter. Here’s former NSC/White House aide expert Alexander Vindman:
    Alexander S. Vindman @AVindman
    These people and a great deal of the GOP leadership will have blood on their hands. They’re fanning flames, encouraging Putin to attack Ukraine. Putin and his regime perceive opportunities because such fools suggest the U.S. is weak, divided, and distracted. https://t.co/OCmnjFadQb

    Julia Davis @JuliaDavisNews
    Another heinous lie, told at the time when Ukraine is facing escalating Russian aggression. https://t.co/rcH6ymBEsj
    February 20th 2022
    1,348 Retweets4,809 Likes

    Commenting on Vindman’s tweet, Garry Kasparov wrote: “What's most pathetic is that these Republicans are openly supporting a dictatorship that has attacked America. Putin openly treats the United States as an enemy, and they are doing his bidding in slandering Ukraine, his target.”

    **
    Putin’s Stooges
    The loudest defender of the Kremlin’s view is, of course, the loudest voice in right wing media, Tucker Carlson, whose anti-Ukraine commentary has become a running feature of Russian State television.

    "Vladimir Putin does not want Belgium,” explains Tucker. “He just wants to keep his western borders secure. That's why he doesn't want Ukraine to join NATO, and that makes sense."

    As for Ukraine? "It's run by a dictator who's friends with everyone in Washington," Carlson said.


    The Russian are, of course, thrilled.
    Julia Davis @JuliaDavisNews
    #Russia's favorites, Tucker Carlson and Josh Hawley, are again being featured on state TV. Their efforts to undermine U.S. support for Ukraine are much appreciated in Moscow.


    Julia Davis @JuliaDavisNews
    THE RED PACK: Russia is thrilled with the split within the Republican party and thankful to Tucker Carlson, Josh Hawley & Co. Russia's state TV is predicting Trump's triumphant return: "Having elected him the first time... we can manage to do it again.” https://t.co/cNq92elO5g
    February 13th 2022
    513 Retweets854 Likes
    **

    Here he is with former Representative Tulsi Gabbard (who has become a fixture on the right), asking why Americans should want Ukraine to join NATO.
    TULSI GABBARD: I've looked at this carefully, Tucker, and I have yet to find any benefit that a political leader has used or could use to justify this to the American people. All you hear is like, 'well we have to defend democracy. We have to defend this democratic country of Ukraine.'

    But as you know, very well, this current [Ukranian] president, you know, shuts down, arrests political opposition, throws them in jail, shuts down TV stations that are critical to him. I have a hard time seeing how President Biden or anyone can say with an honest face, ‘we are defending democracy.’

    **

    Tucker is not the only voice on Fox News arguing that the focus on Ukraine-Russia is all a big distraction.

    The conspiracy maven formerly known as the “money honey,” Maria Bartiromo, insists that the whole Ukraine-Russia threat has been fabricated to distract from (checks notes) Hillary Clinton.
    “Was this a ruse?” she continued. “Was this whole thing an effort to take everybody’s attention away from what Hillary Clinton did and what we know to be a complete hoax over this Russia investigation?” After all, she continued, Sullivan worked for Clinton, and he had been involved in “peddling this Russia collusion lie.”

    **

    Laura Ingraham also tells her viewers that the whole thing is a distraction from the real crisis.
    "Anyone paying attention to Biden's presser last week heard the sounds of the war-drums beating [as] the media desperately wants to get off the raging crime, raging COVID, raging inflation story that's driven Biden to another new low in the polls today.”

    **

    But this sort of thing is by no means confined just to Fox News. Prominent voices in the MAGA-centric media have also taken up Putin’s cause. As Cathy Young wrote in the Bulwark over the weekend, right-wing commentators like Sohrab Ahmari are eagerly pushing smears of Ukrainians as anti-Semitic fascists (while ignoring Russian fascism and anti-Semitism).

    **

    Ben Shapiro’s Candace Owens has not only defended Putin’s position, she has also suggested that we should be be invading Canada instead:
    Candace Owens @RealCandaceO
    Imagine if Putin, absent any proof, declared “Canada is going to invade the U.S”. Then Canada said “no we aren’t”, and U.S agencies agreed “no they aren’t”—but Putin moved his troops into our region to “help” anyway. That is exactly what Biden is doing in Ukraine right now.

    February 13th 2022
    9,906 Retweets39,461 Likes
    Candace Owens @RealCandaceO
    STOP talking about Russia. Send American troops to Canada to deal with the tyrannical reign of Justin Trudeau Castro. He has fundamentally declared himself dictator and is waging war on innocent Canadian protesters and those who have supported them financially.

    February 19th 2022
    18,483 Retweets72,463 Likes

    Marjorie Taylor Greene has also deployed her deep knowledge of international affairs to lie about Ukraine:
    Ron Filipkowski @RonFilipkowski
    Marge Greene yesterday told a complete lie that “Ukraine was the number one donor to Hillary Clinton when she was running for president.”

    February 20th 2022
    428 Retweets1,635 Likes
    **

    J.D. Vance, who has been desperate to establish his MAGA bona fides, thinks that it is “ridiculous that we are focused on this border in Ukraine.”

    “I’ve got to be honest with you, I don’t really care what happened to Ukraine one way or another.”
    Ron Filipkowski @RonFilipkowski
    OH Senate candidate JD Vance: “I think it’s ridiculous that we are focused on this border in Ukraine. I got to be honest with you, I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine one way or the other.”

    February 19th 2022
    1,063 Retweets3,647 Likes

    Former Trumpster A.J. Delgado is pushing the Putin’s-not-so-bad line…
    A.J. Delgado @AJDelgado13
    Expand your mind, you're almost there. If Putin wants to throw some cold water on American expansionism and interventionism, for whatever reason, that's a good thing. We're overly aggressive sometimes and NEED another bully on the world stage, to check our worst impulses.

    Det_Ligers @DetLigers
    @AJDelgado13 Putin assassinates people left and right. Some for theater as in the poisoning cases. He is also trying to destroy the world order, AKA the United States. Not saying you are working for Russia, but seems like a weird country to be defending.
    February 20th 2022
    1 Retweet3 Likes
    A.J. Delgado @AJDelgado13
    Why am I supposed to despise Putin so much? Does he have firing squads? (Nope. Meanwhile, Castro did you and you Dems spent DECADES 'both sides''ing him.) Does Russia have freedom of movement, free enterprise, etc? Yes. Are women stoned? No. Are dogs tortured for festivals? No.

    Nick Cummings @nickcummings3
    @AJDelgado13 That’s a lie, we don’t appease dictators invading important democratic allies all the time, and your defense of Putin as “not that bad” is deranged.
    February 20th 2022
    70 Retweets370 Likes
    **

    Then there is GOP Representative Paul Gosar:
    “We have no dog in the Ukraine fight. Not one American soldier should die there. Not one American bullet should be fired there. We just lost Afghanistan to sandal-wearing goat herders. I assure you [the] Russian military is no joke either,” said Republican Congressman Paul Gosar.

    “Ukraine has no basis to be in NATO, and NATO itself — a Cold War relic — arguably has no current purpose or mission. Getting involved in a military situation with no U.S. interest is America Last, not America First,” he said.

    Nota bene: No one — as in no one — is suggesting that any American troops be deployed in Ukraine.

    **

    ***UPDATE***
    Clint Watts @selectedwisdom
    .@SykesCharlie one more addition

    February 21st 2022
    61 Retweets158 Likes
    **

    What is Putin making of all of this? I think it’s reasonable to assume that he thinks these are the authentic echoes of the Once and Future MAGA king.

    And Putin very much has the measure of the man, who has lavished him with praise, tried to weaken NATO, sided with him over his own government’s intelligence agencies, and actually held up military aid as part of his pressure campaign to get Ukraine's president to dig up dirt on Biden

    "All this did was say to Russia that Ukraine was a playground," Fiona Hill said.
    ____________
    Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

  • #2
    More on anti-democrats ...


    The Guardian, Nov 26, 2019: “Tucker Carlson says he's rooting for Russia in conflict with Ukraine,”

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/20...ussia-fox-news


    Laughing, Carlson said: “Why do I care, why do I care what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia? And I’m serious. Why do I care? Why shouldn’t I root for Russia, which I am.”

    Because, Goldstein said, “preserving democracy is important”.

    “I don’t care!” Carlson said.







    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by DOR View Post
      Because, Goldstein said, “preserving democracy is important”.

      “I don’t care!” Carlson said.
      Isn't Tucker Carlson the most popular conservative talking head on the most popular conservative entertainment network?

      No wonder Putin has been so emboldened to attack Ukraine. The one bloc in this country that should be standing up to him the most vehemently is instead inviting him into the front door to do as he pleases and take whatever he wants.
      Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
        Isn't Tucker Carlson the most popular conservative talking head on the most popular conservative entertainment network?
        Surprise! Tucker Carlson Draws the Most Democratic Viewers in Key Demo, Even Topping Rachel Maddow

        There is an entire cottage industry within media dedicated to disseminating Tucker Carlson’s nightly Fox News musings to presumably liberal audiences who may not be tuning in to hear what the leading conservative voice is telling his large following. But recent data from Nielsen MRI Fusion suggests those nightly dispatches may not be necessary: In October, the most recent month for which data is available, Carlson’s 9 p.m. ET program was the top cable news show among Democrats in the advertiser-coveted age range of 25-54.
        Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
        No wonder Putin has been so emboldened to attack Ukraine. The one bloc in this country that should be standing up to him the most vehemently is instead inviting him into the front door to do as he pleases and take whatever he wants.
        As I stated here
        Originally posted by Parihaka View Post
        The American right simply now view and treat you with the same contempt and hatred that you have with them.

        As I keep repeating, their catchphrase is 'these are your new rules, learn to live with them.'
        Last edited by Parihaka; 22 Feb 22,, 18:05.
        In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.

        Leibniz

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
          Isn't Tucker Carlson the most popular conservative talking head on the most popular conservative entertainment network?

          No wonder Putin has been so emboldened to attack Ukraine. The one bloc in this country that should be standing up to him the most vehemently is instead inviting him into the front door to do as he pleases and take whatever he wants.
          With Zelensky fucking up all our attempts at keeping the peace while doing fuck all to defend Kiev, you two are worried about a TV talking head?

          The person emboldening Putin is Zelensky, not Tucker.
          Chimo

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
            With Zelensky fucking up all our attempts at keeping the peace while doing fuck all to defend Kiev, you two are worried about a TV talking head?

            The person emboldening Putin is Zelensky, not Tucker.
            You are right about that although Carlson is still a Benedict Arnold who would sell out America quickly if the time ever came...

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

              What is Putin making of all of this? I think it’s reasonable to assume that he thinks these are the authentic echoes of the Once and Future MAGA king.

              And Putin very much has the measure of the man, who has lavished him with praise, tried to weaken NATO, sided with him over his own government’s intelligence agencies, and actually held up military aid as part of his pressure campaign to get Ukraine's president to dig up dirt on Biden

              "All this did was say to Russia that Ukraine was a playground," Fiona Hill said.
              Why would Putin worry about what conservative talking heads in the US are saying about his actions right now when they aren't even in power? Biden has already ruled out a military intervention. And Biden is not going to bother about what Tucker Carlson thinks when he makes his decision about sanctions and other economic responses. The Europeans will not care about what US conservatives want when they decide on their responses. It makes zero practical difference to Putin or indeed for the outcome of the current situation.
              Last edited by Firestorm; 22 Feb 22,, 21:39.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Firestorm View Post
                Why would Putin worry about what conservative talking heads in the US are saying about his actions right now when they aren't even in power? Biden has already ruled out a military intervention. And Biden is not going to bother about what Tucker Carlson thinks when he makes his decision about sanctions and other economic responses. The Europeans will not care about what US conservatives want when they decide on their responses. It makes zero practical difference to Putin or indeed for the outcome of the current situation.
                Two words: Useful Idiots.

                And while conservatives arent in power now, they almost certainly will be after the midterms. And eventually there will be a conservative President back in office, as soon as 2024. Trump showed Putin and the rest of the world how conservatives view Russia, no longer as a geopolitical adversary and threat, but as a partner with a leader to be admired and emulated.

                Conservatives didn't even want any investigation of January 6th. Their loyalty to the authoritarian and Putin-loving Trump is that pathological. And they'll be back in power in the relative blink of an eye, regardless of the means they use to get "elected".
                Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
                  With Zelensky fucking up all our attempts at keeping the peace while doing fuck all to defend Kiev, you two are worried about a TV talking head?

                  The person emboldening Putin is Zelensky, not Tucker.
                  No, not a talking head. American conservatives and their love affair with Putin and his authoritarian rule.

                  Americans can't do fuck all about Zelensky but you'd think that our own people wouldn't be so ready to jump into bed with the Russians but there it is.

                  Trump of course is in Putin's back pocket and Trump is the undisputed leader of American right-wing conservatives (to say nothing of much non-American conservatives love him).
                  Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Your references scream of "A pox on both your houses," not supporting Putin. Regardless, Tucker Carlson has zero calculus input in Putin's decision making. At best, it gave Putin a chuckle.
                    Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 22 Feb 22,, 22:08.
                    Chimo

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

                      Two words: Useful Idiots.

                      And while conservatives arent in power now, they almost certainly will be after the midterms. And eventually there will be a conservative President back in office, as soon as 2024. Trump showed Putin and the rest of the world how conservatives view Russia, no longer as a geopolitical adversary and threat, but as a partner with a leader to be admired and emulated.

                      Conservatives didn't even want any investigation of January 6th. Their loyalty to the authoritarian and Putin-loving Trump is that pathological. And they'll be back in power in the relative blink of an eye, regardless of the means they use to get "elected".
                      If Putin cared about this he would have waited till next year and a fully Republican congress before starting his military buildup. He didn't. The president is not changing for another 3 years. And even when Trump was in power what did Putin get? Dead Russian mercenaries in Syria killed directly and openly by the US. He had no answer to that. Putin has to assume the GOTUS will remain antagonistic toward him and Russia no matter who is in power. He is not going to gamble based on what idiots like Tucker Carlson and Candace Owens have to say. Foreign policy is a serious business.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Firestorm View Post

                        If Putin cared about this he would have waited till next year and a fully Republican congress before starting his military buildup. He didn't. The president is not changing for another 3 years. And even when Trump was in power what did Putin get? Dead Russian mercenaries in Syria killed directly and openly by the US. He had no answer to that. Putin has to assume the GOTUS will remain antagonistic toward him and Russia no matter who is in power. He is not going to gamble based on what idiots like Tucker Carlson and Candace Owens have to say. Foreign policy is a serious business.
                        He doesn't have to wrap his entire timeline around it. Congress is almost certainly going to change in about a year and when it does, the President will be largely powerless. Biden won't be able to suggest naming a post office after anyone without complete Republican obstruction and Putin knows it.

                        I'm not saying he's basing his entire operation on what Tucker Carlson says. But given the favorable view of Republican politicians and pundits toward Putin and Russia, led of course by Trump, he knows damn good and well that he has American conservatives in his pocket now as much as he probably ever will.

                        Also, a relative handful of plausibly-deniable mercs in Syria are as disposable to Putin as a used piece of toilet paper. They and Syria are nothing compared to Ukraine to him.
                        Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

                          He doesn't have to wrap his entire timeline around it. Congress is almost certainly going to change in about a year and when it does, the President will be largely powerless. Biden won't be able to suggest naming a post office after anyone without complete Republican obstruction and Putin knows it.

                          I'm not saying he's basing his entire operation on what Tucker Carlson says. But given the favorable view of Republican politicians and pundits toward Putin and Russia, led of course by Trump, he knows damn good and well that he has American conservatives in his pocket now as much as he probably ever will.

                          Also, a relative handful of plausibly-deniable mercs in Syria are as disposable to Putin as a used piece of toilet paper. They and Syria are nothing compared to Ukraine to him.
                          One other thing and this is the bottom line: All Putin needs is a sufficiently-divided, distracted, confused or otherwise unfocused United States. He's certainly got that, especially when American conservatives are parroting his propaganda lies for him.
                          Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Seriously, what can a focused US do? We're not going to start a nuclear war because of Kiev. Incidentally, a large percentage (37%) of Democrats want to stay out of the Ukraine-Russia fiasco, while 41% Republicans support Ukraine. So, NOT a uniquely Republican-Democrat issue.

                            https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ukraine...-poll-02-2022/

                            Also, it doesn't matter what the US does outside of military intervention that is officially off the table, Putin couldn't care less about US input. He needs a dumb-ass fuck running the defence of Kiev and he got that. Zelensky has zero to do with American conservatives or liberals. You are mudding up the issue with irrevelent POVs.
                            Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 22 Feb 22,, 23:35.
                            Chimo

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              An yeah, 71% of Republicans support Ukraine joining NATO. So, there goes the conservative in Putin's back pocket theory.

                              https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tan...rainepartisan/
                              Chimo

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