Biden, Ukraine, and Al Capone’s vault

If Biden looks weak regarding Ukraine (and, boy, does he), he did it to himself, plus a few other thoughts.

(Note: This site is going to look funny and function badly for a day or two as I go through the plugins trying to find which is the one messing with the site. Things will return to normal very soon, I hope.)

When Putin first parked himself on Ukraine’s border, it was a European and NATO problem. The messages and negotiation should have come from that quarter. Biden, however, chose to thrust himself front and center in the matter. He put out daily, quite specific predictions about the imminence of Putin’s attack. His predictions were consistently wrong. Yes, Putin did eventually attack but, by then, Biden’s predictions were irrelevant and ignored.

The other thing Biden did was waffle on about sanctions and how he was going to stop Putin. Except, of course, he didn’t stop Putin at all. He didn’t sanction Russia’s energy exports (he still hasn’t), he didn’t negotiate about Ukraine’s status so that it remained outside NATO, and he proved incapable of working with European leaders. And so Putin went in, quite literally, with guns blazing.

The whole thing made me think of Al Capone’s vault. That was back in 1986 when Geraldo Rivera breathlessly informed America that Al Capone’s forgotten vault would be opened on live TV. The run-up to the show was amazing but when the vault was finally opened, there was nothing there. Presiding over one of the greatest letdowns in American entertainment, Geraldo looked like an idiot.

In a way, Biden now looks like Geraldo. Had Biden kept his mouth shut and Putin attacked, we would have made sneering remarks about our intelligence agencies’ being useless. “They’ve missed everything from the fall of the Soviet Union to 9/11 and, now, Putin attacking Ukraine.” Biden, however, would not have put his reputation on the line.

It’s not good if the leader of what has long been considered the most powerful nation in the world looks like a moron — or, worse, even more of a moron than after Afghanistan. Knowing that America is a beached whale encourages every tyrant in the world to start planning attacks on surrounding countries.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Ukraine and my thoughts about what’s happening there, and believe I’ve finally figured out where I stand.

As a country, I still don’t particularly care about Ukraine. In the ordinary course of things, America and Ukraine are not tied together. It’s a country that often functions as a money-laundering operation, especially for Democrats, which sours me on it.

What I just wrote above is entirely separate from the fact that my heart bleeds for the civilians who have suddenly found themselves in the middle of a war zone. In that way, I do feel I am witnessing Belgium in 1914 or Poland in 1939 (or any other country the Germans overran) or the Malayan Peninsula in 1941.

An out-of-the-blue powerplay against a civilian population is always going to shake us emotionally, both because we have ordinary human decency and because, when the west is involved, there’s very much a “there but for the grace of God go I” feeling. Most of us, try as we will, have a harder time mustering empathy for people whose lives are so different from ours that it takes a real stretch of the imagination to put ourselves in their shoes.

We can feel terribly sorry for African tribespeople or the Yazidis, but few of us are moved as we are watching what happens in another Western-style nation. That’s human nature and I’m not going to feel too bad about it. We should always try to be better than our simian ancestors but some things are very wired into us and, at a national level, are hard to fight.

But back to my point about Ukraine as a general matter. As between Ukraine and Russia, Ukraine is absolutely the lesser of two evils. Russia has nuclear weapons, a huge military, control over Europe’s energy supplies (as well as a huge chunk of our energy supplies), and is ruled over by a stone-cold dictator with a decades’ long penchant for murdering his political opponents and economically destroying his citizens. He’s a bad man with too much power and a Hitlerian yen to spread that power beyond his borders.

Having said all that, I’m fully aware that we are on the receiving end of massive amounts of propaganda. From the moment the Daily Mail first ran the story about the 13 Ukrainians who refused to surrender and ended up, instead, being murdered, I instantly thought “Belgian nuns and bayoneted babies.” In 1914, when Germany invaded France and Belgium, the British media immediately went into propaganda overdrive.

What was happening on the ground was real and bad, but it had the clinical feel of a war report. The media needed things that grabbed people emotionally. And so the British instantly learned that the Germans had raped Belgian nuns and bayoneted Belgian babies. I don’t believe any of those stories were ever proven to be true, but they didn’t need to be. They stirred up the British population, making them ready for war.

As we are inundated with heroic stories about Ukrainians, including President Zelensky, it feels like the same script from more than 100 years ago. And again, I’m not saying that Putin isn’t evil, the attack isn’t evil, the Ukrainians aren’t brave, or anything like that. I’m just saying that we’re being manipulated. The only other person I see making the same point is Sundance:

The propaganda pouring out of Ukraine from the U.S. State Department and the taxpayer funded Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) is, in a modern scale, historic.

In their collective effort to make #Ukraine the modern image of The Alamo (where the last stand to defend all mankind is taking place), the corporate media, state dept and NGO’s are utilizing their Hollywood directed #BringBackOurGirls and #KonySurrender techniques in the extreme.

Pay no attention to the absence of any war fighting actually taking place, meaning the lack of actual fighting shooting and stuff in a modern era where everyone has cell phone cameras, and instead focus your attention to the ‘story telling.’

After all, the White House was very clear that the winner of this contest to defend all humanity from the Russian villain Vladimir Putin, would depend on who could tell a “better story.”

Thus, you do not need to see shooting or actual war type stuff.  Instead, the contest to save the planet is boiled down to who can take a better selfie.

I never like being manipulated, even in a good cause.

Still, at this point, I feel it’s imperative that Putin gets pushed back and, possibly, destroyed (perhaps by his own people who are bravely protesting). Unless the world unites against him, we can anticipate that he will go on further rampages in his region (having already threatened Sweden and Finland). We also know with near certainty that China will swallow Taiwan; Iran will hasten that bomb and start looking at Saudi Arabia and Israel as potential targets; and North Korea might be tempted to threaten South Korea or even Japan.

Put another way, if Putin’s not put back in the Pandora’s box of dictators, expect more of them to break free, completely destabilizing the world. Nations that are currently free or that are free enough will vanish under a sea of totalitarian darkness.

As we try to plug this dike and prevent the end of the world as we know it, America is being led by a man who’s never made a smart foreign policy decision in his life, who seems to be suffering from dementia, who has always been as dumb as a rock, and who is being advised by leftists whose ideological blinkers leave them as stupid as he is.

I won’t leave you on a completely downhearted note. Here are three things to cheer you up:

1. Putin may have overreached himself because he did not expect Ukraine’s vigorous response. In other words, he may lose and that’s the end of it. (And if he loses, the Russian people may oust him, finally.)

2. The world is rapidly aligning itself against Russia which may be enough pressure to end all this.

3. Seinfeld understood Ukrainian strength and resolve: