Ukraine, Putin, and Geopolitics

New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:

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Great podcast. If you can do a few more, please do so.

Rev. Dr. Von Hagen makes no connection to the Refugee influx during his lament in this episode on Socialism’s impact on the German economy. In the prior episode on immigration, he gushes about how the 2015 Refugee wave was great for the German economy and that “Germans should be happy” to have “low skilled workers” enter the country. Sorry, but as Milton Friedman famously said, “It’s just obvious you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state”. Is Rev. Dr. Von Hagen really so blind to this?

As for the Ukraine, Rev. Dr. Von Hagen warns that Russia has the similar global ambitions as did the Third Reich, and should therefore be stopped. I would ask in response, at what cost? And was WWII really worth it? Read Churchill, Hitler and “The Unnecessary War” by Pat Buchannan.

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Dr. Von Hagen said one thing that I had not heard pointed out before. He says if President Putin takes Ukraine whole, that he will not be satisfied and he will strike elsewhere. As evidence for his view, he cites the lack of funds for weapons that the Europeans have to send to Ukraine, and that Putin is counting on wearing out the opposition, so that he will meet little resistance when he makes his next move.

I hope Dr. Von Hagen is wrong, but it seems to me there’s a good chance he is right. So it does make sense why the major European leaders are advocating for Ukraine as urgently as they are. I have to believe they have expressed their fears to President Biden. Plus there is classified info out there that none of us would know.

It’s good in these sorts of crises to try to put yourself in the shoes of someone with responsibility. POTUS is an office with incredible and weighty global power and responsibility. President Biden could pull the plug on Ukraine and tell the Europeans to handle it. If he does that, that tells those long term allies the U.S. can’t be trusted to help when things go wrong. That leads to all kinds of unforeseeable bad consequences.

President Biden can decide to keep funding Ukraine as he’s been doing and stay the course. This option involves the U.S. in a proxy war with a nuclear armed adversary who growing more bellicose in its threats. Nobody knows how the war will end. The human suffering on both sides is awful. It’s hard to persuade people that it’s worth it to keep going.

Out of all the available options, keeping up the funding for Ukraine is the least bad one, from the president’s perspective.

If Former President Trump gets back in, his options will be the same. And if I were to bet, I’d bet on Mr. Trump continuing what Mr. Biden is already doing. It’s a scary situation, regardless of which man is elected.

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This strikes me as having been vaguely plausible in March of 2022 but ridiculously implausible in April of 2024. Does the Russian army strike anyone at this point as being capable of reaching the Rhine, never mind the Atlantic coast? They haven’t even gotten to the easternmost corner of the Danube yet, which is inside Ukraine!

Anyway, if Europe is worried about this, perhaps it could boost its own defense spending just a tad?

So very kind of them to advocate on behalf of Ukraine courtesy of America’s credit card.

Yes, I’m sure that Iraqi nuclear program is going to turn up any day now. I assume it’s right there with the evidence of Trump/Russia collusion.

Can you remind me what treaty we signed with Ukraine, and what the terms were?

The option you don’t mention is that of a negotiated settlement. (Which is what Mr. Trump has advocated, if not quite using those words. No idea if he can pull it off, but it is an option.) We can keep funding the war all we want (some terms and restrictions to the US dollar’s status as the global reserve currency may apply), but so far Ukraine is working on its second generation of men going in the meat grinder. Ukraine could likely negotiate for a neutral state inside reduced borders. That is likely the best outcome they can hope for at this point. Money isn’t going to hold back the Russian army indefinitely: They need men and seem to be running out. It’s long since time to negotiate.

America is broke. Ukraine is ruined. It’s time to start putting pieces back together, not keep disassembling them.

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Russia’s performance since the beginning of this war should disabuse anyone of the notion that Russia is even remotely capable of invading any modern country.

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All due respect, Aaron, but are you forgetting ICBMs and nuclear warheads? We should be trembling at Putin’s rhetoric keeping that in mind, I think. Love,

You’re right about that…I should have mentioned I was referring to Russia’s incapacity for a conventional war. And the rhetoric - from both Russia and the US - does make me tremble. When a Russian missile landed in (near?) Poland at the start of the war it was painfully clear how quickly it could escalate.

That said, I think I’m with Solzhenitsyn in that I don’t think any war will go nuclear, at least not in the normal scenarios put forward. Not that I’d gamble on it….

Putin’s mania also seems to indicate he knows he has men in high position who would rather get rid of him than risk such mutually assured destruction.

well said, dear brother

That was a Ukrainian air defense missile, not a Russian missile, though the wildest-eyed of the war hawks tried to frame Russia for it anyway to try to draw NATO into the war. It killed two people in Poland.

I guess I take Putin at his word that he views Ukraine is an existential issue for Russia. We wouldn’t be very happy if Russia were putting troops in Canada, mere hundreds of miles from our capital. And forget the counterfactuals, we very nearly started World War III over Russian missiles in Cuba!

Even with the lunatics running this asylum, I have a hard time imagining the West going nuclear over Ukraine. I can very easily imagine Russia going nuclear over Ukraine. The idea that Ukraine or anyone is going to drive the Russians out of the Crimean peninsula strikes me as the height of insanity. I care very little which corrupt Eastern European kleptocracy rules the Donbas, but I have a pretty strong interest in keeping all the nukes in their silos. Can we go ahead and negotiate peace now?

Maybe I’m not understanding your point here, but I see no evidence that Putin is a hardliner among the set of people that could reasonably rule Russia. I think it’s much more likely that the next President of Russia will be more inclined to escalate the war rather than less likely. There is heat on Putin for allowing the West to escalate the war without retaliation. Can you imagine how Americans would have felt if Russia boasted about providing Iraq with targeting data that got multiple American generals killed in the early days of our Iraq war?

While I agree with this point, I do want to point out that wars don’t always make armies worse, they sometimes make them better. Soviet performance in the early days of WWII and immediately prior (Winter War against Finland, e.g.) was terrible. It was hard to imagine as the Wehrmacht was rolling up the Red Army in 1941 that the Red Army was going to roll into Berlin in 1945. But they did. Russia, then as now, has vast resources and are a resourceful people. Perhaps we should negotiate now before things get out of our control?

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I suggest you watch the interview Tucker Carlson conducted with Putin. He’s almost the exact opposite of manic. As far as I can see, the steps he has taken, whether you like them or not, seem rational.

I’ve read the comments. I’m not going to respond directly to any of them, as time is limited, but will make a general observation that occurred to me, thinking through Dr. Von Hagen’s helpful comments.

Putin is a man of an older world. He isn’t motivated by the same things Western men are motivated by, or what we all think men should be motivated by: abstract liberal “norms”, economic growth, etc. Putin wants glory. He wants territory. He wants a new Russian empire. He’s out to conquer.

Westerners are rich, decadent and gay. As a result, we are glib about war and fighting and dying in a way only men with no lived experience of real hardship and real fighting can be. The most dangerous and least controlled man in a fight is the man who’s never fought, or the man who thinks he’s above fighting.

Obviously I’m pro-Ukraine and Ukraine funding. Others are skeptics. My bigger point is that for both sides, we’re glib. And glibness with a man like Putin with nukes at his disposal is dangerous.

People will make fun of Putin, or accuse conservatives of being Putin-lovers to score some partisan political points. Ought we to speak this way of a man waging a land war in Europe, with the power to destroy our cities? I ask the question and I’m not sure of the answer because this is all new for me in a way it isn’t for men Dr. Von Hagen’s age.

Example: I overheard a young hothead online say it was time for the U.S. to just get involved in a war with Russia, when this whole crisis began. He was my age, and so obviously had never had to do duck and cover drills in school, or known anything except American hegemony, prosperity and safety. Yet he was being quite glib about something very destructive and dangerous.

Gents, we all lived through a destructive pandemic. Will God visit on us more terrible things?

I was struck by Dr. Von Hagen’s sobriety. It seems to me there are a lot of ways for this Ukraine situation to get out of hand, and we live by God’s mercy alone. The West, being the way we are, isn’t really taking it very seriously, on either political side of it. Instead we are glib, and assume the world owes us the same peace and unbelievable wealth we have enjoyed thus far in perpetuity.

It’s certainly true of me. I don’t presume to say it is true of any of the others commenting here. But I we would do well to watch ourselves for glibness and pray for our leaders who have to make incredibly difficult decisions on our behalf.

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Putin instigating an unprovoked, unprepared, and incompetently executed invasion on a sovereign nation, whatever the historical ties between Russia and Ukraine, is lunacy. Russia was the other superpower, and they couldn’t take half of Ukraine…Ukraine! And for what benefit, even if they had won or still do win? Especially when you consider the cost that’s come to Russia and Russians through sanctions, loss of troops, loss of leadership (how many generals has Putin lost in less than two years?), loss of equipment (tanks, aircraft, significant naval resources), to say nothing of Russia’s current position on the global stage.

Putin can grandstand and spin all he wants, but the only reason he’s even able to speak to the West is his nuclear arsenal. No other (non-American) leader would have been able to get away with this madness.

As for his mania, maybe I’m reading too much into earlier press photos, but he certainly looked like a man who wanted to keep his distance from his own advisors for threat of assassination. Didn’t exactly scream sanity and rationality. Anyone can look good for an interview, but the rest of his actions seem little short of unhinged.

Please look into the events that led up this invasion. To say it was unprovoked is just simply ignoring what has been going on in that region for the past two decades. NATO expansion, CIA sponsored Color Revolutions, election meddling, are just the tip of the iceberg. Watch this video of a lecture from 8(!) years ago by John Mearsheimer at the University of Chicago predicting exactly the disaster that would unfold if the West kept meddling in Russia’s geological sphere of influence: https://youtu.be/JrMiSQAGOS4?si=grPK-gAH20S3kMrs.

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I was led to understand that this was for reasons of Covidophobia. Though it’s pretty likely that’s just another lie or half-truth in an enormous thicket of them.

Exactly how harmful the recent sanctions have been on Russia remains to be seen. It’s very possible to kick countries like Iran, North Korea and Cuba out of the US-led global economic system at great cost to those countries. But a country the size and wealth of Russia is going to form its own force of gravity around it. Our leaders laugh at Russia because Russians don’t get rich from loaning each other money or building dopamine hit mobile apps, but people want the resources that Russia provides and they are willing to pay for them, in USD or otherwise.

Building a parallel global economy to threaten the USD’s hegemony may prove to have been a catastrophic error. Time will tell.

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Finally finished the podcast. Really helpful. Thank you both.

Was definitely persuaded that helping Ukraine financially (in some measure) is important for protecting the US’s position globally, especially as there are a number of other nations that are strategic for American interests in a similar position. I don’t like it, and it reeks of influence peddling, given the current administration’s personal interests in Ukraine, but I see it’s also much much more than that.

Still not convinced that Russia is capable of Third Reich ambitions or European domination, however similar the rhetoric may be. And, if the UK/EU were serious about stopping Russian ambition, they could reinvest in fossil fuels (to counter chronic dependence on Russia), but of course that won’t happen. Within six months of Russia invading Ukraine, our energy prices in the UK tripled (at least mine did, others’ doubled), due in part, to the disruption/stopping of gas from Russia to Europe - which was Putin’s doing not the EU’s!!! - gas which then got switched back on, albeit at a lesser level. But that still makes me wonder how concerned the Germans (and others) actually are about Russia’s rhetoric. Which is really the greater threat, Putin or Thunberg?

I’m not in the slightest excusing Russia’s invasions - please take this with that in mind - but Russia’s ‘annexations,’ whether parts of Georgia, the Crimea, or the Donbas (which seems to have been the Russian pretext for the invasion), have been small compared with what Russia itself lost in historic Russian lands after the breakup of the Soviet Union. I’m not arguing whether or not any of the above lands were historically Russian, nor am I justifying Russia seizing them now. But I can understand why Putin would see these lands as legitimately his. Again, that’s not justifying the war. Just to say, if Putin is genuinely pursuing ambitious expansion, there are much easier targets that have much greater historical justification and won’t risk nuclear war with the West. Those seem to be the ones he has been going for thus far.

The EU flirting with Ukraine aside - which I’m not convinced that was ever well intentioned on the part of the EU - that seems, to me at least, to be a very long road from Russia attacking a NATO or EU ally

Great questions. If you asked Juergen, I think he’d chuckle and say, “I don’t know.” Love,

Please see:

Two points:

  • Britain is not doing well out of Brexit - it’s been a disaster for us.
  • You’re forgetting the European concern about Russia; given its history, were Ukraine to fall, there are several European Union countries (and US allies, for that matter) who are worried that they would be next.
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Yes, although is anyone mentioning Russian cybercrime when speaking of the terrible costs to US of supporting Ukraine?