Opinion | President Biden: What America Will and Will Not Do in Ukraine – The New York Times

Mr. Biden is president of the United States.

“The invasion Vladimir Putin thought would last days is now in its fourth month. The Ukrainian people surprised Russia and inspired the world with their sacrifice, grit and battlefield success. The free world and many other nations, led by the United States, rallied to Ukraine’s side with unprecedented military, humanitarian and financial support.

As the war goes on, I want to be clear about the aims of the United States in these efforts.

America’s goal is straightforward: We want to see a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression.

As President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has said, ultimately this war “will only definitively end through diplomacy.” Every negotiation reflects the facts on the ground. We have moved quickly to send Ukraine a significant amount of weaponry and ammunition so it can fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.

That’s why I’ve decided that we will provide the Ukrainians with more advanced rocket systems and munitions that will enable them to more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you Joe Biden, and bless you. I agreed to recommend many of the top accolade comments. But I want more. I would have preferred a sentence about how important our NATO allies are, and how they were not all reluctant partners. I would like to see NATO and the US lift the blockade of Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Asimov, even if that means removing the Russian navy from those bodies of water. While most of us agree, we want Ukraine to be able to win this war, some of us also want to do it soon enough, so there is something left of the Ukraine when they do finally expel the Russians.
David Lindsay Jr is the author of “the Tay Son Rebellion,” historical fiction about war in18th century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.

Paul Krugman | Putin, Ukraine and the Illusion That Trade Brings Peace – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/11/opinion/germany-russia-ukraine-trade-gas.html

Opinion Columnist

“On April 12, 1861, rebel artillery opened fire on Fort Sumter, beginning the U.S. Civil War. The war eventually became a catastrophe for the South, which lost more than a fifth of its young men. But why did the secessionists believe they could pull it off?

One reason was they believed themselves to be in possession of a powerful economic weapon. The economy of Britain, the world’s leading power at the time, was deeply dependent on Southern cotton, and they thought a cutoff of that supply would force Britain to intervene on the side of the Confederacy. Indeed, the Civil War initially created a “cotton famine” that threw thousands of Britons out of work.

In the end, of course, Britain stayed neutral — in part because British workers saw the Civil War as a moral crusade against slavery and rallied to the Union cause despite their suffering.

Why recount this old history? Because it has obvious relevance to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It seems fairly clear that Vladimir Putin saw the reliance of Europe, and Germany in particular, on Russian natural gas the same way slave owners saw Britain’s reliance on King Cotton: a form of economic dependence that would coerce these nations into enabling his military ambitions.”

Ukrainian Parents Are Writing IDs on Their Children’s Bodies – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/12/world/ukraine-war-children-parents.html

(David Lindsay: I am not active on Instagram, but today I was glad to have an account there.)

“I thought that if my husband and I died, Vira could find who she is,” the mother, Oleksandra Makoviy, recalled.

For Vira, standing in a diaper in their house in Kyiv, the writing on her back was a game. She didn’t know that the bombing had begun.

Ms. Makoviy’s desperate attempt to prepare her daughter for the possibility of being orphaned as the family attempted to escape the Ukrainian capital during the Russian invasion has become a wrenching symbol of the anguish of a nation of parents.

A photo of Vira’s back that Ms. Makoviy shared on Instagram has been seen hundreds of thousands of times, after it was amplified by Ukrainian journalists and government officials. Messages of support poured in from people all over the world — many Ukrainian parents said they had taken similar action, and others turned the image into art honoring the country’s innocent on social media.”

Bret Stephens | Ukraine and a Post-Pax Americana World – The New York Times

“Who knows, at this writing, what Vladimir Putin will decide to do with the forces he’s massed along Ukraine’s borders?

If Putin backs down, maybe thanks to some face-saving diplomatic formula, the Biden administration will deserve full credit for masterly crisis management: whipping into line our European allies, particularly Germany; thwarting Russian covert operations by leaking details to the media; expanding America’s military presence in frontline NATO states; working on ways to supply Europe with liquefied natural gas; refusing to negotiate at Ukraine’s expense; threatening sanctions against Moscow that, for once, have real teeth.”

From the NYT comments, I addressed the following.
Roarke
Times Pick

Stop trying to treat our military presence and our social welfare as mutually exclusive. Tax the rich, and let them pay for our Pax Americana. Their taxes have been cut in half or more in the last half-century. Every time we went to war in history, taxes rose to fund it. Bush Jr. created the exception, and we have never recovered. By all means, let us police the world. But first, let’s police the rich.

45 Replies552 Recommend

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment
@Roarke
You wrote: “Every time we went to war in history, taxes rose to fund it. Bush Jr. created the exception, and we have never recovered. ” Sounds good, but not true. LBJ and then Nixon put the humongously expensive Vietnam war on the US credit card, which contributed to inflation going up to 13 percent and higher. WW II I believe I learned in college, was funded on credit. Presidents after FDR, especially Eisenhower, raised taxes, till they reached over 91% for the highest bracket.
David blogs at InvonvenientNews.net, and is the author of The Tay Son Rebellion.

Ukraine Gave Up Nuclear Weapons 30 Years Ago. Today There Are Regrets. – The New York Times

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“At the end of the Cold War, the third largest nuclear power on earth was not Britain, France or China. It was Ukraine. The Soviet collapse, a slow-motion downfall that culminated in December 1991, resulted in the newly independent Ukraine inheriting roughly 5,000 nuclear arms that Moscow had stationed on its soil. Underground silos on its military bases held long-range missiles that carried up to 10 thermonuclear warheads, each far stronger than the bomb that leveled Hiroshima. Only Russia and the United States had more weapons.

The removal of this arsenal often gets hailed as a triumph of arms control. Diplomats and peace activists cast Ukraine as a model citizen in a world of would-be nuclear powers.

But history shows the denuclearization to have been a chaotic upheaval that shook with infighting, reversals and discord among the country’s government and military. At the time, both Ukrainian and American experts questioned the wisdom of atomic disarmament. The deadly weapons, some argued, were the only reliable means of deterring Russian aggression.”

Opinion | Fiona Hill: For Russia’s President Putin, It’s Not Just About Ukraine – The New York Times

“We knew this was coming.

“George, you have to understand that Ukraine is not even a country. Part of its territory is in Eastern Europe and the greater part was given to us.” These were the ominous words of President Vladimir Putin of Russia to President George W. Bush in Bucharest, Romania, at a NATO summit in April 2008.

Mr. Putin was furious: NATO had just announced that Ukraine and Georgia would eventually join the alliance. This was a compromise formula to allay concerns of our European allies — an explicit promise to join the bloc, but no specific timeline for membership.

At the time, I was the national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia, part of a team briefing Mr. Bush. We warned him that Mr. Putin would view steps to bring Ukraine and Georgia closer to NATO as a provocative move that would likely provoke pre-emptive Russian military action. But ultimately, our warnings weren’t heeded.”

David Lindsay:  I am running out of patience with Putin, which is a bad reaction, perhaps. Here are two comments I recommended.

Izzy
Danbury CT5h ago

A wonderfully written and thoughtful assessment of the untenable and dangerous situation facing the U.S. and NATO in Eastern Europe. Ms. Hill is to be commended for her years of service and unparalleled expertise in Russian relations. An asset to treasure.

3 Replies338 Recommended
Thor Dievel
Scandinavia4h ago

Thank you Dr. Hill for your solidly knowledge-based opinion. You explain vry well how Mr. Putin is masterfully exploiting any fissures in our Western stance against his endless thuggery. What I cannot understand myself is why we expect him to behave the way we want without facing any serious consequences. But, at the same time, I suspect that playing the military game is totally playing into his hands. It’s fairly predictable, and it will provide his regime with an external threat that will be used for all it’s worth internally, to further strengthen the authoritarian grip on Russia’s people. I would prefer “asymmetric warfare”, on the level where Putin himself would be hurt: Go after Russian oligarchs and their ill-gotten fortunes. Seize their vast property in London, New York and other Western havens. Kick their spoilt kids out of American and British universities. Further, stop all business deals with Russian entities and get all Western businesses out of Russia. Seize all Russian assets in Western banks. And yes, it would be hurtful also to us. But not so much as being dragged into military misfortunes on the Eastern front. And, of course, this approach would mean that Germany would have to fire up their nuclear electricity plants again, but so they should anyhow.

6 Replies233 Recommended