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Year One of the Ukraine War: The Big Lessons and Questions
Plus: A Catalogue of the GOP’s Paranoid Preoccupations
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A year after the start of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, it is often difficult to remember what the early days were like. It wasn’t just the Kremlin thug and his propagandists at home and cheerleaders in the West who expected Ukraine to fold in a matter of days. Even among those horrified by the invasion, a common, perhaps dominant mood was encapsulated in the instantly mythologized encounter between a Russian warship and Ukrainian Navy sailors on Snake Island off the Ukrainian coast: the audio in which a dispatcher from the warship told the guards to surrender and one of the guards replied, “Russian warship, go fuck yourself.” The initial story was that all thirteen Ukrainian soldiers at the post were killed by the warship’s guns—a story, in other words, of heroic and tragically doomed resistance.
As it turned out, the Snake Island episode was emblematic of the war’s course in an entirely different way. The Ukrainian soldiers lived, and while they were captured they were freed in a prisoner exchange on March 24, exactly a month after the invasion. What’s more, less than a month after that, one of the two Russian warships that had attacked Snake Island, the guided missile cruiser Moskva, sank after being hit by two Ukrainian missiles. Whether or not it was the same vessel that had transmitted the message to the sailors and received the defiant response, the symbolism was striking. Russia initially tried to deny the sinking and then claimed that damage to the vessel was caused by the detonation of munitions due to a fire of unspecified cause, even as some Russian propagandists simultaneously raged about an “act of war” and called for retaliation. In a postscript that was perhaps equally emblematic, in November a missing sailor who had presumably died in Moskva’s sinking received a draft notice threatening him with prosecution if he did not report for mobilization.
With abortion and election integrity on the line, Democrats got the opponent they wanted for the most consequential election of 2023. Plus, Joe Biden at 80 is coming into his own presidency. The view from Wisconsin: Bill Lueders joins Charlie Sykes today.
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BILL LUEDERS: A Catalogue of the GOP’s Paranoid Preoccupations.
The world, according to MAGA Republicans, is a dark and dangerous place. There are constant existential threats. There’s vaccination. There’s critical race theory. Illegal immigrants are flooding across the country’s open borders, fentanyl in hand. Woke culture is remaking America into a dystopian leftist bootcamp.
Here’s some of what’s keeping the far right up at night…
MONA CHAREN: Jimmy Carter’s Legacy.
In 2015, at the age of 90, former president Jimmy Carter released a statement saying that he had metastatic melanoma and that the cancer had spread to his brain. “It’s in the hands of God,” he calmly explained, “whom I worship.” News organizations dusted off obituaries and tributes poured in, including from George H. W. Bush, who tweeted “I spoke with President Carter to wish him well, and he sounded strong. Bar and I are wishing him the very best as he fights the good fight.”
The words melanoma, metastatic, and brain are never comforting. But then something unexpected happened. Carter was treated and improved. Six months later he held a press conference to announce that he was cancer free. That is one tough hombre.
Now, at 98, Carter has elected to cease traditional medical intervention and receive hospice care at his home. People assume he is dying. I wouldn’t bet on it.
Solving the mystery… Of the Ken Griffey, Jr. baseball game, its players, and its music.
You didn’t try hard enough, Mark. Last year during his failed Senate primary bid, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said, with regard to the election fraud lies: “Most of it’s horses**t, and I’ve been trying to scrape it off my shoes for the last year.” Fast forward to today, when it’s revealed he concealed records that would debunk those claims.
Nutso in Idaho… Yesterday, Joe Perticone brought you the details of the secessionists in Idaho and Washington, but it gets better (read: worse) with two Republicans trying to make mRNA vaccines a crime.
The Sam Brinton saga takes a turn… The mentally unwell former Biden DOE appointee who has a penchant for stealing luggage, well, just got called out by a fashion designer who brought the receipts.
The Fringe Frontier… At Vanity Fair, James Pogue explains how the dissident right is trying to conquer the west.
Just what East Palestine, Ohio needs… “Trump Water” and “much lesser quality water” from the guy who gutted the regulations that could have made a difference.
Meanwhile, in Saint Louis… The business community is growing tired of a progressive prosecutor, Kim Gardner, who rarely prosecutes after a visiting volleyball player had to get her legs amputated because of a criminal that, elsewhere, would have been locked up. Mayor Tishaura Jones, a fellow Democrat, says that Gardner has “lost the trust of the people” and “needs to do some soul searching.” It’s getting nuts.
And in Florida… A veritable Atticus Finch is pushing for a pregnant woman accused of killing another woman to be released, as the unborn child is being held against its will. Could the unborn child be charged with trespassing, one wonders?
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