David Brooks | The Cold War With China Is Changing Everything – The New York Times

“So I guess we’re in a new cold war. Leaders of both parties have become China hawks. There are rumblings of war over Taiwan. Xi Jinping vows to dominate the century.

I can’t help wondering: What will this cold war look like? Will this one transform American society the way the last one did?

The first thing I notice about this cold war is that the arms race and the economics race are fused. A chief focus of the conflict so far has been microchips, the little gizmos that not only make your car and phone work, but also guide missiles and are necessary to train artificial intelligence systems. Whoever dominates chip manufacturing dominates the market as well as the battlefield.

Second, the geopolitics are different. As Chris Miller notes in his book “Chip War,” the microchip sector is dominated by a few highly successful businesses. More than 90 percent of the most advanced chips are made by one company in Taiwan. One Dutch company makes all the lithography machines that are required to build cutting-edge chips. Two Santa Clara, Calif., companies monopolize the design of graphic processing units, critical for running A.I. applications in data centers.

These choke points represent an intolerable situation for China. If the West can block off China’s access to cutting-edge technology, then it can block off China. So China’s intention is to approach chip self-sufficiency. America’s intention is to become more chip self-sufficient than it is now and to create a global chip alliance that excludes China.

American foreign policy has been rapidly rearranged along these lines. Over the last two administrations, the United States has moved aggressively to block China from getting the software technology and equipment it needs to build the most advanced chips. The Biden administration is cutting off not just Chinese military companies, but all Chinese companies. This seems like a common-sense safeguard, but put another way, it’s kind of dramatic: Official U.S. policy is to make a nation of almost a billion and a half people poorer.” . . . .

How Russia Lost an Epic Tank Battle, Repeating Earlier Mistakes – The New York Times


KURAKHOVE, Ukraine — Before driving into battle in their mud-spattered war machine, a T-64 tank, the three-man Ukrainian crew performs a ritual.

The commander, Pvt. Dmytro Hrebenok, recites the Lord’s Prayer. Then, the men walk around the tank, patting its chunky green armor.

“We say, ‘Please, don’t let us down in battle,’” said Sgt. Artyom Knignitsky, the mechanic. “‘Bring us in and bring us out.’”

Europe Struggles to Find Leopard 2 Tanks for Ukraine – The New York Times


“BERLIN — Nearly a month after Berlin gave European allies permission to send German-made tanks to Ukraine, the flow of tanks so many leaders vowed would follow seems more like a trickle.

Some nations have discovered that the tanks in their armory don’t actually work or lack spare parts. Political leaders have encountered unanticipated resistance within their own coalitions, and even from their defense ministries. And some armies had to pull trainers out of retirement to teach Ukrainian soldiers how to use old-model tanks.

The struggle to provide Leopard tanks to an embattled Ukraine is just the most glaring manifestation of a reality Europe has long ignored: Believing that large-scale land war was a thing of the past and basking in the thaw of the Cold War, nations chronically underfunded their militaries. When Russia launched the largest land war on the continent since World War II, they were woefully unprepared.”

David Axe | Some of the Best Weapons in the World Are Now in Ukraine. They May Change the War. – The New York Times

Mr. Axe is a staff writer at Forbes and a nonfiction author, graphic novelist and filmmaker.

“Tens of billions of dollars of weapons have flowed from European and North American countries into Ukraine. Rifles. Bullets. Missiles. Artillery pieces.

At first, those nations insisted that the weapons were “defensive,” designed to help Ukraine fight off a marauding Russian Army that had stormed, unprovoked, across the border.

One year later, as the battered but still potent Russian military prepares for a renewed offensive, the type of weapons heading into Ukraine have changed dramatically. Now, what’s flowing in from the West are armored vehicles, long-range rockets and advanced tanks.

The distinction between offensive and defensive weapons was always a little arbitrary. Now, though, Ukraine will have the ability to play offense and potentially drive Russia out of their country using some of the best weapons in the world. That means the stakes for all sides have increased substantially.”

Nicholas Kristof | Biden Should Give Ukraine What It Needs to Win – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Russian Air Force pilots are scaredy-cats who have been surprisingly absent over Ukraine. Russian ground forces are being mowed down as cannon fodder, and one of the best known examples of Russian military discipline involves an officer using a sledgehammer to execute a fellow Russian.

But the Russian war effort does excel in some areas:

  • It stands out at committing atrocities. In my interviews in Ukraine, I was struck by how commonly Russian troops engaged in torture, rape and pillage.

  • Russia’s government has become a leader in child trafficking, transferring more than 6,000 Ukrainian children to Russia or Russian-controlled territory, with some put up for adoption.

  • Russia has manipulated Western fears that it might use nuclear weapons, thus deterring the United States from fully supporting Ukraine in this war. We give Ukraine enough to survive but, so far, not enough to win.

So a year after Vladimir Putin’s all-out invasion of Ukraine, it’s time for President Biden to reassess and give Ukraine what it needs to end this war and save Ukrainian and Russian lives alike.

“We are well past the point of trying to measure this a few systems at a time,” said James Stavridis, a retired four-star admiral and supreme allied commander at NATO. “Putin is all in, and we should be as well. That means fighter aircraft, ATACMS, high-end anti-ship cruise missiles — the kitchen sink.” “

‘Our Losses Were Gigantic’: Life in a Sacrificial Russian Assault Wave – The New York Times


“LVIV, Ukraine — Creeping forward along a tree line late at night toward an entrenched Ukrainian position, the Russian soldier watched in horror as his comrades were mowed down by enemy fire.

His squad of 10 ex-convicts advanced only a few dozen yards before being decimated. “We were hit by machine-gun fire,” said the soldier, a private named Sergei.

One soldier was wounded and screamed, “Help me! Help me, please!” the private said, though no help arrived. Eight soldiers were killed, one escaped back to Russian lines and Sergei was captured by Ukrainians.

The soldiers were sitting ducks, sent forth by Russian commanders to act essentially as human cannon fodder in an assault. There are two main uses of the conscripts in this tactic: as “storm troops” who move in waves, followed by more experienced Russian fighters, and as intentional targets, to draw fire and thus identify Ukrainian positions to hit with artillery.”

David Lindsay Jr.

NYT Comment:

Excellent reporting. thank you Andrew Kramer et al. This is stomach churning, especially, if you are Russian, which thank God, I am not. It is a wasteful and evil war, may it end soon, in victory for the attacked Ukrainians.


What 70 Years of War Can Tell Us About the Russia-Ukraine Conflict – The New York Times


“Any Russian invasion of Ukraine was long expected to play out as a kind of postmodern war, defined by 21st-century weapons like media manipulation, battlefield-clouding disinformationcyberattacksfalse flag operations and unmarked fighters.

Such elements have featured in this war. But it is traditional 20th-century dynamics that have instead dominated: shifting battle lines of tanks and troops; urban assaults; struggles over air supremacy and over supply lines; and mass mobilization of troops and of weapons production.

The war’s contours, now nearly a year into the fighting, resemble not so much those of any future war but rather those of a certain sort of conflict from decades past: namely, wars fought between nations in which one does not outright conquer the other.”

Nigel Gould-Davies | The U.S. Should Define Russia’s Red Lines – The New York Times

Mr. Gould-Davies is the senior fellow for Russia and Eurasia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

” “What are Putin’s red lines?”

This question, asked with growing urgency as Russia loses its war in Ukraine but does not relent in its aggressions, is intended to offer analytical clarity and to guide policy. In reality, it is the wrong question, because “red line” is a bad metaphor. Red lines are red herrings. There are better ways to think about strategy.

“Red lines” implies there are defined limits to the actions that a state — in this case, Russia — is prepared to accept from others. If the West transgresses these limits, Russia will respond in new and more dangerous ways. A red line is a tripwire for escalation. Western diplomacy must seek to understand and “respect” Russia’s red lines by avoiding actions that would cross them. Russia’s red lines thus impose limits on Western actions.

There are three flaws to this reasoning. First, it assumes that red lines are fixed features of a state’s foreign policy. This is almost never the case. What states say, and even believe, that they would not accept can change radically and quickly. In 2012 President Barack Obama said that Syrian use of chemical weapons was a “red line” that would invite “enormous consequences.” Yet when Syria killed hundreds of civilians with the nerve agent Sarin the following year, as numerous watchdog groups reported, the U.S. response was muted. The Taliban’s return to Kabul in August 2021 — an outcome the West had spent two decades and trillions of dollars preventing — was the brightest of red lines until, in the face of changing priorities and a different view of costs and benefits, it suddenly wasn’t.

These are not exceptions. In truth, red lines are nearly always soft, variable and contingent — not etched in geopolitical stone. While national interests, as Henry Temple, Viscount Palmerston, said, may be eternal, the way they manifest themselves as specific commitments will reflect temporary, shifting circumstances — among them, relative power, perceptions of threat, domestic calculations and wider global trends. Diplomacy should therefore seek not to avoid an adversary’s red lines, but to change them.”

Strong clear logic above, good comments below.


Yawn. There is no appeasing a dictator but defeat. Once we give the weapons that Ukraine needs to fight to win the sooner this war will be over. Simple math – better weapons sooner equals less deaths and destruction later.

8 Replies551 Recommended

Mountain West commented January 1

Mountain West

Putin will not stop. Putin’s Russia will not stop. If you know Russian language, then look at Russian state media, or read Telegram social media Russian accounts, both official government sources and Russian civilians accounts. Or read translation into English. The movement towards a return to USSR and indeed Stalinism is much broader than merely nostalgia, it is becoming a juggernaut of political and social will in Russia. Estonians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Poles, Finns and many others understand this clearly. Thank you to Ukraine for fighting for democracy and freedom.

3 Replies529 Recommended

William Neil commented 3 hours ago

William Neil
Maryland3h ago

Yes, very good. In a recent 53 minute online discussion, the historian Niall Ferguson and Russian specialist Michael Kofman shared their views with Ferguson being freer by occupation to be candid. At around minute 19 he shared his fears: that Russia badly wants to drag this war out into one of attrition, counting on holding ground militarily while destroying Ukraine’s will to fight by shredding its civilian life. Ferguson fears exactly what this column is about: that the U.S. and NATO deny Ukraine exactly the weapons it needs and wants to take the battle into the Russian sources of its torment, deterred by more imagined than real Russian “red lines.” That has been my position since the war started, that there is no satisfactory conclusion which does not involve Ukraine winning the war by pushing Russia back to the 1991 borders. I don’t believe Ukraine can accomplish this without better aircraft, longer range attack missiles to reach deep into Russia and Crimea – military targets, and more artillery and those modern German tanks. And of course, the best air defense systems the West possesses. Here’s my logic, close to Gould-Davies and Ferguson: https://williamrneil.substack.com/p/ukraine-on-the-ropes-again-as-the

4 Replies410 Recommended

Megan K. Stack | Reality Winner Tried to Resist and Found Herself Alone – The New York Times

Ms. Stack is a contributing Opinion writer.

“It was a big deal that Reality Winner’s probation officer let her travel from Texas to her sister’s house in North Carolina over Thanksgiving. She is, after all, a traitor, in the eyes of the law.

Ms. Winner was arrested in 2017 for leaking to journalists a classified intelligence report on Russian hacks into U.S. election infrastructure and has been confined ever since — in a Georgia county jail, a federal prison, a halfway house and, most recently, in a probation so strict that she often feels strangled.

(DL:She wanted to prove that Trump was lying when he said there was no foreign interference in our election. She knew he knew, he was lying.)

Still, Ms. Winner viewed the trip with the wariness of an underdog conditioned to expect any small kindnesses to turn against her.

“It wasn’t my idea,” she said flatly by phone. “I preferred not to go.” “

“. . . . .   She still isn’t allowed to talk about her military service or the contents of her leak, leaving me to puzzle over why a young woman who still guards the secrets of the terrorism wars would risk everything to expose a five-page National Security Agency file on efforts to hack voter registration systems.

Ms. Winner mailed the report anonymously to The Intercept, where a reporter took the ill-advised step of giving a copy to the N.S.A. for verification. The authorities almost immediately zeroed in on her. She was charged under the Espionage Act, the same laws used to prosecute the Rosenbergs, Aldrich Ames and pretty much any other 20th-century spy you can name. The act has long been criticized for lumping together leaks motivated by public interest and, say, peddling nuclear secrets to a foreign government. Ms. Winner is considered a prime example of its downside.

She pleaded guilty and was given 63 months in prison, the longest federal sentence ever for the unauthorized release of materials to the media. (The former C.I.A. director David Petraeus got off with probation and a fine for sharing eight notebooks full of highly classified information with his biographer, who was also his mistress.)

Deemed a flight risk and denied bail, Ms. Winner languished for 16 months in a crammed Georgia county jail cell. While negotiating her plea deal with prosecutors, she said, she plotted suicide and fantasized about federal prison “like I was going away to an elite university — ‘Oh, look, they have a rec center, they have a track, they have a commissary, they sell makeup.’”

All of that for nothing or, at least, for very little. Ms. Winner’s intervention hardly registered. She wanted to prove that the White House was lying: U.S. officials knew that Russia had attacked U.S. voting infrastructure just days before the 2016 election. But the revelation hardly scratched public awareness.

“Reality Winner is a whistleblower because?” said Ben Wizner, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. “How many people would give the same answer to that?”

“You can’t imagine a more unlikely person to serve the longest-ever sentence under the Espionage Act” for leaking to the media, he added. “It’s perverse.” “

“. . . . . .  It is hard to understand how Ms. Winner evolved into an ideological insurgent, because she can’t talk freely about the days when she was a loyal service member. The state-imposed silence about the years she spent identifying drone targets and helping to assassinate people casts a fog of ambiguity over a complicated and perhaps even morally compromising part of her story.

Everything we know about Ms. Winner’s war contributions comes from an Air Force Commendation Medal praising her for “enemy intelligence exploitation” and geolocating combatants. According to the medal, she aided in 650 captures and 600 kills.

That’s a sobering body count for a young woman who, just a few years earlier, was teaching herself Arabic at the public library to better understand the faraway land that her country had invaded. As a teenager, Ms. Winner joined the military to learn more languages and because college looked like “somebody else’s moneymaking machine.” In the Air Force she learned Pashto, Dari and Farsi but ended up sequestered in a Maryland base eavesdropping on the other side of the planet.”

Surrounded by Threats, Japan Rethinks Decades of Military Dependency – The New York Times

Motoko Rich and 

Reporting from Tokyo

“Over nearly seven decades, Japan has relied on commitments from the United States, its most important ally, for protection in the event of an enemy attack. Japan hosts the largest contingent of overseas American troops and regularly conducts drills with them. It has purchased more American-made F-35 stealth fighter jets than any other country outside the United States.

Yet now, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine challenges long-held security assumptions and as threats from China and North Korea multiply, Japan is starting to rely more on itself, a shift that could quietly alter the balance of power in Asia.

The country’s governing party is pushing to increase Japan’s defense budget drastically, develop more military hardware domestically and redefine what it can do with those weapons under the pacifist Constitution in place since the end of World War II.

By asserting its own deterrent power, Japan — the world’s third-largest economy — could become less a military protectorate of the United States and more an equal partner. That could help fulfill the desire of American leaders for Japan to serve as a stronger military counter to China, as Beijing uses its rapidly improving armed forces to menace Taiwan and send ballistic missiles and coast guard ships into Japan’s territorial waters.”