By Jeff Childers
Good morning, C&C, and Happy Monday! Let’s get the week started with your morning roundup: Biden’s Russia sanctions really working well as Russia’s economy moves up into the top five in the world; more Proxy War narrative shifting continues to show trouble for Ukraine; financial analyst predicts Russia will crush Ukraine and that will end the American era; Russia and China patrol Alaska; Elon Musk blows up the Internet offering free legal support; climate agency head downplays risk from climate change; rowing association says only ladies on the girls’ boat; and the U.S. ironically condemns Russian prosecution of political opposition leader.
🗞💬 WORLD NEWS AND COMMENTARY 💬🗞
📈 You won’t see this story in corporate media. After two years of Biden Sanctions, Russia’s economy has continued growing and is now larger than any other European country. Here is Friday’s headline from Russia Today:
Since I couldn’t source the story to any Western media, I checked the IMF’s website for myself. Russia Today’s story is accurate. Not only that, despite two years of “brutal” U.S.-led sanctions, Russia now ranks among the world’s top five largest economies, and the largest in Europe in terms of ‘purchasing power parity’ (PPP) as of the end of 2022.
Presumably, halfway through 2023, Russia’s numbers are up even more.
Instead of sanctioning Russia for invading Ukraine, if Joe Biden had set out to deliberately expand Russia’s economy, he could not possibly have done it any better. Does that seem weird to you? Meanwhile, here in the U.S., we are either in a recession or headed straight towards one, depending on who you believe. Here’s Bloomberg, from Friday:
Thanks Joe! If he sanctions Russia much harder, maybe it will help the former Soviet Union’s economy surpass America. Wouldn’t that be something.
🚀 To tidy up the economy in preparation for the 2024 election cycle, Team Biden needs to somehow extract the U.S. from its expensive Eastern European quagmire, or Proxy War. Biden needs a narrative shift, stat.
Oh wait! What’s this? From Newsweek, yesterday:
It’s spreading. After the New York Times story this weekend, multiple corporate media outlets have echoed the same cynical sentiment. Keep in mind that, until last week, it was expressly verboten to criticize the Proxy War. So it’s starting to look a lot like the beginning of some kind of an end. But if so, who will take the blame? They need to blame someone besides the mental midgets running the Proxy War.
Citing the weekend’s New York Times article, Newsweek blamed two things: First, the Ukrainians didn’t get enough advanced aircraft to dominate their skies, which apparently is now realized to have been a necessary precondition for dominating the ground.
I guess nobody thought of that a trillion dollars ago.
Second, the Ukrainians just aren’t, well, getting the idea. They need better education or something:
There is a “massive shortage of experienced personnel,” and those gaining experience often have not undergone the extensive tactical training that Western forces do, explained Nick Reynolds, research fellow for land warfare at the U.K.’s Royal United Services Institute defense think tank.
Apparently they can’t substitute four years of military college followed by actual combat experience with a six-week NATO training program held in a Berlin hotel conference room. Strange. But the important thing is, now we know.
You with me so far? Now read this Friday NBC headline:
They’re even saying it explicitly now: It’s about the narrative. Just talking about the fact that there is a narrative itself changes the narrative. And note who NBC says is worried about the failing, old narrative: Kiev and its supporters.
In other words, not NBC. NBC’s not worried. And not the U.S. State Department. Why would they care, after all?
Again we see the outlines of the new replacement narrative: Ukraine never really used U.S. or NATO strategy. In fact, the Ukrainians couldn’t have tried the U.S. strategy, not really, even if they wanted to. From the NBC article:
U.S. military doctrine places a heavy emphasis on coordinated air and ground attack, or “joint fire support.” Such an approach increases the “chances of successful maneuver,” according to a 2019 report from the military services to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Without air support, Polyakov said, the Ukrainian armed forces must improvise and operate with greater caution. That means they cannot follow the fundamentals of U.S. military doctrine, he said.
Oh. Ukraine “cannot” follow U.S. military doctrine. Now they tell us. And, as NBC admitted in the article, fixing that problem is not as simple as just shipping the Ukrainians a bunch of fighter jets, no matter how often Zelenskyy demands them.
I’ve often wondered about this logic. Remember “Top Gun?” It takes years to qualify for and complete fighter jet training. Only the very best pilots make it to “Top Gun” fighter jet school. How many Ukrainian “Top Gun” pilots do you think are wandering around Kiev? You can’t just give some random Ukrainians a few weeks of fighter training and hand them a bunch of billion-dollar aircraft. They will immediately go down in flames, of course, a billion bucks a pop. And that’s if they could even get the planes in the air in the first place.
And how would it look if twenty-four billion-dollar F-16s were shot down on their first mission? That is why we haven’t given the Ukrainians any F-16s. It would be useless and politically disastrous.
Anyway. The days of glowing predictions of imminent Ukrainian victory are over (except in rare spots in the C&C comments). Here’s how NBC ended its “losing the narrative” article:
The U.S. should start preparing for an inconclusive outcome and explore options for an eventual diplomatic settlement, he said. “It’s an indication of where things are going. There’s not going to be a decisive military outcome,” Charap said.
Oh. Now they tell us. After a trillion dollars in donated war material, there’s “not going to be a decisive military outcome,” which translated into plain English means: “we don’t think the Ukrainians can win.”
Welcome to the new narrative.
🚀 Why are they trying to protect U.S. military strategy? The experts cited by corporate media are understating the case. What they call “no decisive military outcome,” other un-cited experts are calling “humiliating failure.”
Some analysts have noticed the evolution of the new narrative and the shrinking predictions of victory, and are now making some pretty dire predictions. This weekend, former IMF and Bank of America strategist David Woo starkly predicted that “Russia is going to crush Ukraine” and darkly warned that, “if Russia crushes Ukraine, it will be the end of American hegemony as we know” it. It’s a short clip (2 min), watch the whole thing.
Woo’s sentiment explains why corporate media is working so overtime to blame poor Ukrainian training and insist that the U.S. (NATO’s) military strategy requires coordinated ground and air tactics, which Ukraine doesn’t — and can’t — achieve. In other words, Russia’s military isn’t superior to the U.S., we just never really had a chance to show what we could do.
At this point, if Ukraine loses, the U.S. loses. That’s a problem.
Anyway. There’s some good news if you know where to look. Despite Russia clearly winning the economic sanctions war, and despite there being no chance of a decisive military outcome for Ukraine, just within the last 30 days, Joe Biden assured everybody that Russia has already lost the war. From the Hill, dated July 13th:
So. Life comes at you fast. War comes even faster. If you don’t pay attention, you might miss something.
🚀 The Wall Street Journal ran a story yesterday headlined, “Russia and China Sent Large Naval Patrol Near Alaska.”
In what is being called a “historic first,” last week Russian and Chinese naval vessels patrolled international waters together just off the coast of Alaska. They were shadowed by four U.S. destroyers and Poseidon aircraft until they left the area.
On Friday, Russia’s Defense Ministry explained that Russian and Chinese vessels had carried out drills involving communications training, helicopter landings and takeoffs from the decks of each other’s ships, and a joint anti-submarine exercise in the southwestern part of the Bering Sea where a mock target was detected and destroyed.
According to the Journal, Russian and Chinese exercises have increased significantly over the last year, but last week’s operation was historic in that it included the largest such group to ever approach American shores.
I suppose improved Russia-China relations is another success story for which we can thank Joe Biden.
🔥 The New York Sun ran an intriguing story yesterday headlined, “Elon Musk Pledges to Pay Legal Bills of Twitter Users Mistreated for Posting on the Site.”
The Sun’s article referred to a Saturday tweet (or is it “X” now?) by Elon Musk, where he promised to pay the legal bills of anyone mistreated by their employer on account of posting or liking something on Twitter, I mean X:
As you can see, Musk’s tweet garnered over 735,000 “likes” as of this morning. The response has been strong. Nobody yet knows what the rules or criteria are, and no one’s legal bills have been funded so far. But enthusiasm is running high.
What might unfair treatment look like? Here’s one recent example:
According to the related article from Inside Higher Ed, Mark Tykocinski resigned as president of Thomas Jefferson University and as dean of the university’s medical school, after being outed for “liking” tweets critical of coronavirus vaccines, gender-affirmation surgery and college diversity, equity and inclusion offices.
Sounds like my kind of guy. I’d have made him king for life, but apparently the Board of Governors didn’t agree. If he were pressured into resigning, it seems to me that Mr. Tykocinski would be a terrific candidate for some legal assistance from Twitter, sorry, I mean X.
I have no idea what Musk’s goals are, since he didn’t say. But first, even if it was inadvertent, it was a masterful marketing strategy. Even the lack of details is helping as tens of thousands speculate what it could mean. Politico even wrote a hopeful article wondering whether Musk’s offer could drive Twitter out of business. Second, the announcement might make some employers think twice about disciplining employees over their social media activity. And third, it could encourage more people to be bolder in their posts, increasing the amount and interest level of the content.
Who knows? But it’s interesting.
🔥 Last week, German news magazine Der Speigel ran an interview with the brand new head of the UN’s climate change agency, physicist Jim Skea. As the headline indicates, Skea admitted the world will not, in fact, end after a little warming, and warming “is not an existential threat to humanity.”
How about that? In fairness, Skea did ominously warn that the world will be more “dangerous” after warming. But still. Skea’s comments don’t seem like something that will make splenetic teenage activist Greta Thunberg very happy. Could it be a new narrative?
Finally, remember that increased worldwide atmospheric water vapor caused by the historic Hunga Tonga eruption is expected to raise Earth’s temperatures by at least 1.5 degrees all by itself. Which just shows you how little they really understand about the world’s climate.
🔥 In a bit of welcome news of sanity returning to the World, albeit slowly, the Epoch Times ran an encouraging story Friday headlined, “British Rowing Bans Transgender Women From Female Competitions.”
Under the British Rowing Association’s new rules, beginning in September only biological female rowers may compete in the women’s category. It seems ridiculous that this could be a newsworthy item, but, well, you know.
According to Epoch, the Association announced rowing is a “gender-affected sport,” and the advantages male rowers have, “in terms of both performance outcomes and physiology/biology,” can be “easily and reliably” observed when both sexes train alongside each other.
How many years did it take for them to figure out what is painfully obvious to grade school kids?
A growing number of British sports associations are tightening the rules for trans women (men) participating in female sports. At least two, British Triathlon and Swim England, have created new “open” categories allowing men and women (of whatever self-designation) to compete against each other if they want to.
I’m guessing the new category won’t be too popular. But we’ll see.
🔥 On Friday, ABC ran an ironic story headlined, “Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny gets 19 more years in prison.”
Navalny, 47, is a lawyer-turned-politician who has languished in Russian jail since 2021, after recovering in Germany from nerve agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. In 2022, a Russian judge added another nine years to Navalny’s previous sentence of two and a half years for embezzlement and other miscellaneous charges.
Needless to say, Navalny is a vocal and strident Putin critic, and has often been accused of being a U.S. agent. His current sentence of 19 years is for promoting an insurrection, sorry, I mean “promoting extremism.” My bad.
Secretary of State Antony Blinking, I mean Blinken, expressed official U.S. outrage over Russia criminally targeting one of the CIA’s top agents, sorry!, I mean one of Putin’s political opponents.
Unsurprisingly, Blinken said nothing, however, about Joe Biden’s criminal prosecution of President Trump for promoting extremism, I mean promoting insurrection. Dang it, I don’t know why I keep doing that. I get it, the two situations are totally different, there’s no comparison whatsoever.
You really can’t make this stuff up! Stay tuned for more.
Have a marvelous Monday, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow for another roundup.
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© 2022, Jeff Childers, all rights reserved
The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal Florida