The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age

    Catching up

    I am trying to catch up on world events because ... Ukraine and will use this thread to stash some interesting (to me)  things I happen upon. There may be some duplication of things already posted here. Sorry about that but they will be easier for me to find again. I've never mastered navigating here. 




    The Russian Grab: A short video from 2017 about Russia's geography and demography and why they want Ukraine and more and why they will have to make their move within a few years (now).



    Yeah, i noticed some with Russia at 70mill in 2100, and a "republic" 19x Texas but fewer than 3mill people. But good lecture - not sure if they didn't wait too long. Crimea is half Russian pensioners. In 20 years most those are gone, Russian longevity being what it is.

    not sure if they didn't wait too long

    We should know soon -- ish. 

    Putin is really the wild card in every forecast I have read so far. He is really Russian-old and not looking well. How much are his own health concerns affecting his decisions and his timing. He has been all about making Russia great again since he first showed up on the world stage with a barely contained cold rage about what happened to the Soviet Union. He has been trying to save a dying people. What is he trying to put in place to preserve all he has done to revive them and their culture if he dies before he can complete his plans? 


    We definitely are living in interesting times.


    Franklin-Graham-style conservative Christianity takes a strong side that surprises some:

    The surprised includes me, got to think on this some more.

    iirc, after Karina, they were in New Orleans before FEMA. Remember Franklin is Billy Graham's son and heir to his ministries. 

    you might get something out of Masha Gessen talking with Ezra Klein on topic, it's his NYTimes podcast for March 11 but a transcript is also available 

    Putin Is 'Profoundly Anti-Modern". Masha Gessen Explains What That Means for The World. The Russian American journalist on how Putin's war in Ukraine is playing out inside Russia's highly controlled media environment

    ... This is a conversation that starts in Moscow, as Gessen describes what it was like to be there during the first days of the invasion. We talk about the eerie sense of normalcy in the city as the ruble crashed and the odd sense of calm in Pushkin Square as policemen in combat gear dragged protesters into a police bus. We then take a wider view on how Russians responded to economic sanctions in the past, how totalitarian societies make it impossible for people to form opinions, where Putin sees himself in a lineage of “brutal, expansionist dictators” like Ivan the Terrible and Joseph Stalin, why Putin governs Russia as if it were a 19th-century empire, what we learn when we listen closely to Putin’s speeches and how this latest act of aggression is likely to play out....

    [Godwin's Law warning] - this is an interesting point about Putin theory, he's really not going for a genetically ethnic state, it's more than that simple, as you've got to want to be his ideal of what being Russian is or you are expendable

    I don't know why people are overthinking this. Franco waged war against Catalonians. Serbs & Croats have been at each others' throats numerous times despite almost identical language (but different religion). Italy and Germany consolidated their independent warring states in the 1800s, France a bit earlier. Habsburgs just united anyone. Even different religions didn't matter that much in the end.As the guy from Kenya said, if they'd stayed in ethnic-alignment stage they'd still be fighting today - meaning it's how the world has frequently worked. "Slavs" is a malleable class, and after WWII Poland was shifted 100km west - has it's repercussions (like for those stuck in Belarus), but it overall doesn't matter - especially with a benign umbrella like the EU - not with a more sinister CIS amalgam of former Soviet states. Somehow Central Asian states are Russia's "brothers" despite being mostly Turkic.

    I am such a big fan of Kenya's ambassador at the UN now...they say "it" incredibly well...

    Oh this is a good one. I bet that Putin would love to entice an entity like the Romanian Orthodox Church to be part of his concept of the great Russian empire, but guess what, doesn't look like they want anything to do with him!

    I dunno why they even felt research was necessary as just with the U.S. alone, you have examples like Vietnam and the American Revolution, but here's Rand

    FUCKING AMAZING. No partisan gap. None.

    while the tiny nutwing Qanon party passionately soldiers on:


    just read most of this new interview by David Remnick of historian of Russia & Stalin biographer, Stephen Kotnick; highly recommend it (there's also a video, I didn't watch and an 18 min. voice recording, I didn't use)

    going to continue reading it....

    you might especially like the first paragraph of this excerpt which refers to something you mentioned on another thread; I think it's spot on:

    [...] With Ukraine, we have the assumption that it could be a successful version of Afghanistan, and it wasn’t. It turned out that the Ukrainian people are brave; they are willing to resist and die for their country. Evidently, Putin didn’t believe that. But it turned out that “the television President,” Zelensky, who had a twenty-five-per-cent approval rating before the war—which was fully deserved, because he couldn’t govern—now it turns out that he has a ninety-one-per-cent approval rating. It turned out that he’s got cojones. He’s unbelievably brave. Moreover, having a TV-production company run a country is not a good idea in peacetime, but in wartime, when information war is one of your goals, it’s a fabulous thing to have in place.

    The biggest surprise for Putin, of course, was the West. All the nonsense about how the West is decadent, the West is over, the West is in decline, how it’s a multipolar world and the rise of China, et cetera: all of that turned out to be bunk. The courage of the Ukrainian people and the bravery and smarts of the Ukrainian government, and its President, Zelensky, galvanized the West to remember who it was. And that shocked Putin! That’s the miscalculation.

    How do you define “the West”?

    The West is a series of institutions and values. The West is not a geographical place. Russia is European, but not Western. Japan is Western, but not European. “Western” means rule of law, democracy, private property, open markets, respect for the individual, diversity, pluralism of opinion, and all the other freedoms that we enjoy, which we sometimes take for granted. We sometimes forget where they came from. But that’s what the West is. And that West, which we expanded in the nineties, in my view properly, through the expansion of the European Union and nato, is revived now, and it has stood up to Vladimir Putin in a way that neither he nor Xi Jinping expected.

    If you assumed that the West was just going to fold, because it was in decline and ran from Afghanistan; if you assumed that the Ukrainian people were not for real, were not a nation; if you assumed that Zelensky was just a TV actor, a comedian, a Russian-speaking Jew from Eastern Ukraine—if you assumed all of that, then maybe you thought you could take Kyiv in two days or four days. But those assumptions were wrong.

    Let’s discuss the nature of the Russian regime  [....]

    Thanks for the links. I've added them to my reading list which is getting really, really long. Just so you know, if these are things you have already posted in other threads, they show up in my Feedly news feed so you can just @ me to them there if you want.



    Logistics Rule--look at the map. You might be wondering why the Russian invasion of Ukraine looks like a group of almost equidistant road-linked thrusts stretching from Russian and Belarus into Ukraine. (thanks to @Nrg8000 for this)

    — Phillips P. OBrien (@PhillipsPOBrien) March 12, 2022


    Not sure about the above analysis. To my admitted amateur eyes, it looks like a siege. If Russia controls sea and ground supply routes to eastern Ukraine and can enforce a no-fly zone over it, why hurry troops to the middle and west. 


    Tablet Magazine - No Quiet Place Left On Earth - March 10, 2022


    The fury of the Ukrainians has also hardened as it becomes clear that the West has categorically ruled out the no-fly zone for which President Volodymyr Zelensky has been pleading. The West has decided that the escalatory danger of direct confrontations between Russian and NATO planes in Ukrainian skies is simply too great. ...

    ...As for Zelensky, his rhetoric has become noticeably more intense and much more bitter over the last week. In the opening days of the war, he had taken pains to appear positive and was very careful to speak of “the enemy” without personally attacking the Russians. He is now no longer pulling his punches or employing euphemisms. Zelensky has already twice accused the West of abandonment in the most furious register possible: “If you will not give us the aircraft that we need to be able to protect ourselves, there can be only one conclusion: You want us to be slowly killed. That is also the responsibility of the world’s politicians, and of Western leaders. Today and forever.”...

    ...While Ukrainian air defenses have held up so far—mostly a testament to Russian military incompetence—the Russians have been able to dominate the air, and the Ukrainians have ceased flying what is left of their air force because those planes have often been knocked out of the sky. ...

    ... Moscow now needs to take the Black Sea coastline in order to push the Ukrainian economy underwater, as well as the major roads and power stations that will leave Ukraine with no practical means of importing weapons or ammunition from the Europeans and Americans, and no light or heat in the middle of winter.




    So we heard a lot about "#BiolabsinUkraine" and an alleged biological weapons program carried out in them funded by the US. A thread about which this is nuts and a look back in history.

    — Marc-Michael Blum (@blumscientific) March 15, 2022


    Mega super thread of analysis by international relations guy Kamil Galeev, Galina Starovoitova Fellow at The Wilson Center (with lots of photo illustrations yet),

    starts here, use the "read the full conversation on Twitter" link to get it all on one page

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