How Kremlin Dictators Keep NATO Alive
Plus, the Supreme Court Summarily Smacks Down Wisconsin Electoral Maps.
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SHAY KHATIRI: How Kremlin Dictators Keep NATO Alive.
NATO’s first crisis began almost as soon as the North Atlantic Treaty was signed. The alliance, formed in 1949, was as much a product of the Europeans’ distrust of each other as of Cold War tensions, hence the unprecedented decision to entrust the United States with maintaining security in Western Europe. NATO’s first secretary general, the British soldier-statesman Lord Hastings “Pug” Ismay, remarked that the alliance’s purpose was to “keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” But less than a decade after the war, some European governments had come to believe that another European war was unlikely. According to historian Timothy Sayle, the primary danger for NATO at the time was not the Soviet Union, but “the great challenge to NATO’s survival in the mid-1950s was the absence of an imminent Soviet threat to Western Europe.”
Joseph Stalin’s death in 1953 had eased Western fears, and some hoped that the new Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, would be easier to reason with. At the 20th Communist Party Congress in February 1956, Khrushchev even denounced his predecessor, reassuring nervous NATO members that war was unlikely, and thereby diminishing NATO’s urgency.
Eric and Eliot consider the first month of Russia-Ukraine War and Eliot’s Atlantic article on why it has been so hard for some observers to admit that Ukraine is winning. They also talk about how the Russian military’s failures to achieve its objectives might lead to stalemate, and how we should think about the risks of escalation and what is a theory of victory.
Not only is China a co-conspirator in the Russian scheme to blame the war in Ukraine on the US and the West, it’s also underwriting it economically. The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin joins Charlie Sykes on today’s podcast.
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MONA CHAREN: Trans Politics Needs to Slow Down and Wait for Trans Science.
Progressives have cultural power and yearn for more political power. Conservatives have political power and long for more cultural power. The left uses its cultural power to affect mores, and the right responds with laws. In the battles that ensue, there is no room for nuance or mutual understanding. Transgender controversies are where these clashes become particularly ruthless.
Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas recently used his executive authority to declare that puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries for those under 18 meet the legal standard for child abuse in Texas, a ruling that authorized the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate parents who had sought such treatment for their children. (A court has issued a stay.) That kind of click-baity use of government power is a gross overreach, and it’s also counter-productive. There are many reasons that our society needs to reconsider its wholesale embrace of the “affirmation” model in treating kids with gender dysphoria, and malice from Republicans makes it that much harder.
KIMBERLY WEHLE: Supreme Court Summarily Smacks Down Wisconsin Electoral Maps.
In a twelve-page per curiam opinion (meaning no justice claimed authorship), a divided Court granted an emergency application for a stay of a Wisconsin state court’s decision regarding that state’s electoral maps. Last November, following the 2020 census results, the Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature drew new electoral maps for both the seats in the state legislature and for congressional districts. Democratic Governor Terry Evers promptly vetoed the maps, describing them as “gerrymandering 2.0.” With the process stalled and the 2022 election drawing near, the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed to step in, explicitly noting that its involvement would be limited because redistricting is usually supposed to be a matter for the political branches of government. The court invited the legislature and the governor, as well as other parties to the litigation, to submit their preferred electoral maps. On March 3, in a ruling that meticulously laid out its reasoning, the court selected the maps that Governor Evers proposed.
Wisconsin Republican lawmakers petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for an emergency injunction of the state supreme court decision regarding the state legislature maps—and in yesterday’s decision, the Court granted that injunction, ruling that the Wisconsin Supreme Court “committed legal error” by accepting the governor’s maps. The governor’s proposed map of state assembly seats, which the state supreme court had accepted, revised the existing districts to enhance participation by people of color, increasing the number of majority-black districts in the state assembly from 6 to 7 (out of 99 total districts). In its ruling yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the petitioners that the Wisconsin court had “selected race-based maps without sufficient justification, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.” In other words, the petitioners argued that enhancing the voting power of black voters actually violated the Constitution.
Happy Thursday! We’re excited to see you tonight for our Mailbag TNB. Be sure to tune in.
Bad days for Jimmy Haslam. There is apparently another grand jury looking into Deshaun Watson’s alleged crimes.
Reminder: The Browns offered him $230 million. And there are 20+ civil cases against him. Hopefully, those who are seeking justice and were wronged will get it. Haslam should sell the team.
The metaverse is weird! Human cloned organs?! WHAT?
What broke America? And how do we fix her? Share your answer and get a response from the great Matt Labash.
Can Russian aviation survive? Without the west?
The split within the US conservative movement over Ukraine/Putin… Watch David Frum.
My elite eight… I love a Philly Cheesesteak. They are one of God’s great creations. (My ranking: Jim’s > Geno’s > Pat’s.) But the good folks at Blackstone, a manufacturer of a popular gas-powered griddle, put together a cookbook from each of the states other than Pennsylvania. Here are my top eight choices: Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio (biased!), New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Wyoming? What are your favorites? And please send me your favorite recipe, too.
More silly lawsuits…
But he’s pro-life*! (now)…
More contempt recommendations…
How a Ukrainian painting ended up in America… Stolen by the Nazis, it ended up in a house owned by a former Swiss border guard, sold to a Holocaust survivor and her husband. Selling the house, they tried to see what the painting was worth, and the painting was repatriated back to Ukraine. Here’s hoping that Ukraine’s artworks and treasures survive Russia’s illegal invasion.
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