Bret Stephens | Putin Is Starting to Do What Won Him a War 7 Years Ago – The New York Times

“. . . The strategy is clear. Putin’s armies might be falling back in the field. But if he can freeze, starve and terrorize Ukraine’s people by going after their water supplies and energy infrastructure — while waiting for winter to blunt Ukraine’s advance — he might still be able to force Kyiv to accept some sort of armistice, leaving him in possession of most of his conquests.

That would count as a victory in Putin’s books, however wounded he might otherwise be. It would also be encouragement to China’s Xi Jinping as he eyes Taiwan and Iran’s Ali Khamenei as he tries to suppress weeks of protest that are starting to have the color of a revolution. Much more is at stake in the outcome in Ukraine than the fate of Ukraine itself.

What can the Biden administration do? More. And more quickly.

So far, we’ve had a policy of nick-of-time delivery of critical weaponry, such as the Javelin and Stinger missiles that saved Kyiv at the beginning of the war and HIMARS, the rocket systems that turned the tide of war over the summer. We need to switch to an approach that stays consistently ahead of the pace of war and weather.

On Tuesday the administration announced that it would soon be delivering to Ukraine two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS, with ranges of up to 30 miles. But there’s a hitch: Only “in the next few years,” according to a report in The Times, will Ukraine get to take delivery of the next six systems.

Ukrainians, whose country is nearly the size of Texas, need the systems now. If the United States can’t deliver them quickly, we can at least provide Ukrainians with unmanned aerial vehicles (U.A.V.s) that can give them vastly improved detection and defensive capabilities over much longer ranges.

The Biden administration has been considering the sale of four of the U.S. Army’s long-endurance U.A.V.s armed with Hellfire missiles since June, but the request has been held up in the bowels of Pentagon bureaucracy for months over excessive fears that some of its technologies could fall into Russian hands. Why not approve the sale, increase the numbers and start training Ukrainians on the systems immediately?” . . . .

Bret Stephens | Climate Change Is Real. Markets, Not Governments, Offer the Cure. – The New York Times

“ILULISSAT, GREENLAND — On a clear day in August, a helicopter set me and a few companions down on the northern end of the Jakobshavn Glacier in Western Greenland, about 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The ground under our feet seemed almost lunar: gray silt and dust, loose rocks and boulders, and, at the edge of the glacier’s face, mud so deep it nearly ate my boots. To the south, the calving front of the glacier known in Greenlandic as Sermeq Kujalleq periodically deposited enormous slabs of ice, some more than 100 feet high, into the open water.

I asked the pilot to give me a sense of how much the glacier had retreated since he had been flying the route. He pointed to a distant rocky island in the middle of the fjord.

“That’s where the glacier was in 2007,” he said.

Over the course of the 20th century, the Jakobshavn Glacier retreated about 10 to 15 kilometers. Over just the next eight years, it retreated about the same amount, according to the oceanographer Josh Willis of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Later the front advanced a little — a function of complex dynamics partly involving ocean currents — before resuming its retreat.

For anyone who has entertained doubts about the warming of the planet, a trip to Greenland serves as a bracing corrective. Flying low over the vast ice sheet that covers most of the island, I immediately noticed large ponds of cerulean meltwater and dozens of fast-flowing streams rushing through gullies of white ice and sometimes disappearing into vertical ice caverns thousands of feet deep. Such lakes, scientists report, have become far more common over the last two decades, occurring earlier in the year at higher elevations. Last year, it even rained at the highest point of the ice sheet, some 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle. That’s a first since record keeping began in the 1980s.”

David Lindsay:  Hallelujah. Thank you Bret, for this careful and honest essay.  One climate crisis denier starts to understand.  Here is a comment I especially liked, of many I endorsed.

Former American engineering professor
EuropeOct. 28

I have been waiting for this column. I liked it. Thank you for stating everything so carefully. Mostly I agree with what you have said, but as FunkyIrishman points out, we would not be in nearly as much of a bind if the earth had the same population it did in the 1950’s. “Grow and multiply until you fill the earth” doesn’t mean standing room only. The earth is “full” when population starts to stress the system in potentially dangerous or irreversible ways. I know conservatives hate regulation and I can relate, but consider the horrible photochemical smog that plagued Los Angeles in 1970. We had the ability to make it go away all along, but it did not start to go away until a regulation limited vehicle emissions. It is naïve to assume companies will consider the wellbeing of society. I am not saying companies are bad. Companies are certainly indispensable, but they exist to make a profit and nothing more. They are incredibly good at that. Once a clean-air level playing field was established in California, they made profits while improving air quality. Having said that, regulation needs to have the lightest touch possible to get the job done, and it needs to be straightforward. About having a lot of time to deal with it – the idea worries me because policy makers are so good at kicking the can down the road. I think you were a little unfair to climate scientists. They have tried to explain about the uncertainties, but the public have a hard time with that concept.

3 Replies 265 Recommended

David Lindsay: Most of the top comments were hyper critical, and they scored great points, without recognizing the strengths of Stephen’s piece. He overstates the case for letting markets solve the problem, and yet keeps mentioning regulations that were successful in guiding markets to sanity. It is as if, he hasn’t digested all that he has just learned. I reread the piece and marked most of the good or excellent and bad or terrible points, and the count came out, 42 good or excellent points, 17 bad or terrible points, so the score or grade was 42/59= .71 or 71%. Many of the comments discuss the 17 terrible points, without acknowledging all the many good points in the piece, which is typical of the carelessness of many commenters in this space.

I’m rereading the second half of the Fritjof Capra book, “The Hidden Connections, A Science for Sustainable Living,” which I recommend to Bret Stephens, for an introduction to the new economics of sustainability, which is not based on GDP, but bringing humans into balance with nature, and a healthy environment and ecosystems, in an economy that recycle everything and doesn’t pollute.

David Lindsay Jr  is the author of the Tay Son Rebellion about 18th century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net. 

 

 

 

I

Gail Collins and Bret Stephens | You Cannot Be Too Cynical About Trump (or His Imitators) – The New York Times

Gail Collins and 

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are opinion columnists. They converse every week.

“Bret Stephens: Hi, Gail. Any plans to hop a flight to Martha’s Vineyard?

Gail Collins: Gee, Bret, I think the Vineyard folks have had enough unexpected guests for a while. But I really was impressed by how gracious they were to the immigrant families that Gov. Ron DeSantis shipped there.

Bret: It’s a shame for the Venezuelan migrants that they weren’t on the Vineyard for long, because the community there is extraordinarily generous.

Gail: As opposed to DeSantis and his slimy attempt to score political points with the right wing.

Bret: It was definitely a stunt, but it was a politically effective one.

Gail: Are you still open to the idea of him as a possible president?

Bret: All depends on the opponent. If you were a Republican primary voter and your choice was between Donald Trump and DeSantis, who would choose? No fair to answer “Canada” or “euthanasia.” “

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
Great conversation, thank you Gail and Bret. The one area I completely agree with Bret is immigration. We need to be pro immigration, with firmly closed and controlled borders. Uncontrolled borders just gives the GOP a winning issue, and they are in their current formation, a threat to our democracy.
     We do not want a billion climate refugees coming to this country, so we should abandon the asylum law we have now. It was written a long time ago, when the world population was, I’m guessing, 4 billion. Now we are 8 billion, and that, dear friends, is crazy and unsustainable.
David Lindsay wrote “The Tay Son Rebellion,” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

Bret Stephens | This Is the Other Way That History Ends – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“The End of History was supposed to have happened back in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell and Francis Fukuyama announced the conclusive triumph of liberal democracy. We know how that thesis worked out. But what happens when the other kind of History — academic, not Hegelian — starts to collapse?

That’s a question that James H. Sweet, a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the president of the American Historical Association, tried to raise earlier this month in a column titled “Is History History?” for the organization’s newsmagazine. It didn’t go well.

Sweet’s core concern in the piece, which was subtitled “Identity Politics and Teleologies of the Present,” was about the “trend toward presentism” — the habit of weighing the past against the social concerns and moral categories of the present.”

David Lindsay: One of Bret’s best pieces, and the comments are glowing with praise, on a complex and difficult subject.

Opinion | Bret Stephens: I Was Wrong About Trump Voters – The New York Times

“. . . . A final question for myself: Would I be wrong to lambaste Trump’s current supporters, the ones who want him back in the White House despite his refusal to accept his electoral defeat and the historic outrage of Jan. 6?

Morally speaking, no. It’s one thing to take a gamble on a candidate who promises a break with business as usual. It’s another to do that with an ex-president with a record of trying to break the Republic itself.

But I would also approach these voters in a much different spirit than I did the last time. “A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall,” noted Abraham Lincoln early in his political career. “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.” Words to live by, particularly for those of us in the business of persuasion.”   -30-

Gail Collins and Bret Stephens | The Supreme Court’s Fighting Words – The New York Times

Gail Collins and 

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are Opinion columnists. They converse every week.

“Bret Stephens: Hi, Gail. We’ve had two monumental Supreme Court decisions over the last week, on guns and abortion. Maybe it isn’t a fair question, but which of them scares, dismays, enrages or makes you want to bang your head against the wall more?

Gail Collins: I feel totally traumatized by both of them — even though, I admit, I was pretty much expecting everything that happened.

Bret: A line that’s making the rounds: It’s like knowing daylight saving time is coming and setting your clock back 50 years.”

Bret Stephens | The Left Is Being Mugged by Reality, Again – The New York Times

     Opinion Columnist

This column has been updated to reflect news developments.

“Is a decade of destructive progressive ideology finally coming to an end?

That San Franciscans, some of America’s most reliably liberal voters, chose on Tuesday to recall District Attorney Chesa Boudin, one of America’s most leftward D.A.s, is a sign of hope.

Voter patience for what Mayor London Breed of San Francisco calls “all the bullshit that has destroyed our city” — aggressive shopliftingrampant car burglariesopen-air drug use, filthy homeless encampmentssidewalks turned into toilets — is finally running thin.

Progressive overreach has its price. Even for progressives.

What’s going on in San Francisco is happening nationwide, and not just in matters of criminal justice and urban governance. In one area after another, the left is being mugged by reality, to borrow Irving Kristol’s famous phrase. Consider a few examples:     . . . . . “

David Lindsay:

Great points Bret, thank you.

My beyond beef, is that you sound ignorant, or dumb, on the threat of climate change. Your brilliance is your hard honesty, that we climate hawks have a tough job, since, as you point out, most folks are for the environment, as long as it won’t cost them more than an extra $10 a year. The irony, is that as you sound almost gloating over our failures to mitigate climate change, you seem oblivious to the fact that the planet we are trying to keep habitable, is the same one you and your family live on.

Your punishment, or assignment, is to go study Edward O Wilson, and learn about the sixth great extinction of species going on right now all around us. Why did he conclude that at current rates of growth and pollution, we will lose 80% of the world’s species in the next 80 years, and humans will be probably one of the casualties.  Some aliens in outer space are probably gloating, since those humans won’t last very long.

David blogs at InconvenientNews.net

Gail and Bret | There Has to Be a Tipping Point on Guns, Right? – The New York Times

“. . . . Bret: Imagine a TV ad from a moderate Democrat like Ohio’s Tim Ryan or Virginia’s Abigail Spanberger that goes something like this:

“I believe in the Second Amendment. But not for this guy” — followed by a picture of the Tucson, Ariz, mass murderer Jared Lee Loughner, “or this guy” — a picture of Aurora, Colo., mass murderer James Holmes, “or this guy” — a picture of Newtown, Conn., mass murderer Adam Lanza.

It would continue: “I also believe in the right to own firearms responsibly for hunting and self-defense. But not for this” — a picture of the scene outside the Uvalde school, “or this” — a picture of the scene from the Buffalo grocery store, “or this” — scenes from the Parkland massacre.

And it could conclude: “Justice Robert Jackson once told us that the Bill of Rights cannot become a suicide pact. That includes the Second Amendment. We can protect your guns while keeping them out of the hands of crazy and dangerous people by using common-sense background checks, 21-years-of-age purchasing requirements, three-day waiting periods, and mental-health exams. It’s not about denying your Constitutional rights. It’s so your children come home from school alive.”

What do you think?

Gail: I’m sold. And I have a feeling we’ll be talking about this much, much more as this election year goes on.

Bret: Let’s hope it’s not after the next school shooting. Though, considering what we saw over the weekend in Philadelphia or Chattanooga, it may not be long.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Commet:
Yes, thank you, And— I recommend that we either show the pictures of the slaughtered children, or pictures or videos of actors pretending to be slaughtered. We film a reenactment of the killing. Or, We line up 21 patty play pal dies in cute outfits, and show them being cut to pieces by an 18 year old with an AR 15. We do the same with life sized posters of either the real victims, or actors pretending to be them. Show the pictures getting cut to pieces by an assault rifle, so you would need a dna sample to id your loved one. We use these for ads to remove the obstacles to gun safety in our halls of government.
David Lindsay Jr is the author of “the Tay Son Rebellion,” historical fiction about war in18th century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.

Bret Stephens | On Taiwan, Biden Should Find His Inner Truman – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“The White House insists that President Biden did not break with longstanding policy when, at a news conference in Tokyo on Monday with the prime minister of Japan, he flatly answered “yes” to the question, “Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?”

Don’t believe the diplomatic spin that there’s nothing to see here. Don’t believe, either, that the president didn’t know what he was doing. What Biden said is dramatic — as well as prudent, necessary and strategically astute. He is demonstrating a sense of history, a sense of the moment and a sense that, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, new rules apply.

American policy toward Taiwan for the past 43 years has been chiefly governed by two core, if somewhat ambiguous, agreements. The first, the One China policy, which Biden reaffirmed in Tokyo, is the basis for Washington’s diplomatic recognition of Beijing as the sole legal government of China.

The second, the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, is the basis for our continued ties to Taiwan as a self-governing entity. But unlike the treaties the U.S. maintains with Japan and South Korea, the act does not oblige American forces to come to the island’s defense in the event of an attack — only that we will provide Taiwan with the weapons it needs to defend itself.

Former presidents, including Donald Trump, have hinted that the United States would fight for Taiwan but have otherwise remained studiedly vague on the question. That may have once served Washington’s strategic purposes, at least when relations with Beijing were warming or stable.

But Xi Jinping has changed the rules of the game.”

Opinion | Sometimes,  History Goes Backwards – The New York Times

Gail Collins and 

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are Opinion columnists. They converse every week.

“Bret Stephens: Hi, Gail. I don’t know if you remember the Lloyd Bridges character from the movie “Airplane,” the guy who keeps saying, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking/drinking/amphetamines/sniffing glue.” We were away last week and … stuff happened. Your thoughts on what appears to be the imminent demise of Roe v. Wade?

Gail Collins: Well, Bret, I have multitudinous thoughts, some of them philosophical and derived from my Catholic upbringing. Although I certainly don’t agree with it, I understand the philosophical conviction that life begins at conception.

Bret: As a Jew, I believe that life begins when the kids move out of the house.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
Great conversation, and some big laughs. Life really begins when the kids finally leave the house. But both Gail and Bret appear not to know that the Canadian oil slated for the XL pipeline is the dirtiest kind of shale oil there is, while the Saudi oil is mostly some of the cleanest. I now support the XL pipeline, but not for the reasons either of them mention. It is very bad for the environment, but it could in the short term, help the Democrats take more of the house and senate. The invasion by Russia into the Ukraine has created an emergency short term need for oil. There is a political reason for turning the XL pipeline back on, as long as we can turn it off when no longer needed.
David blogs at InconenientNews.net