Wars, Rumors Of Wars, The Usual
The Munich Security Conference has produced bad news. From a Politico analysis:
Even as Western leaders congratulate themselves for their generosity toward Ukraine, the country’s armed forces are running low on ammunition, equipment and even men. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who opened the conference from Kyiv on Friday, urged the free world to send more help — and fast. “We need speed,” he said.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris turned the heat up on Russia on another front, accusing the country of “crimes against humanity.” “Let us all agree. On behalf of all the victims, both known and unknown: justice must be served,” she said.
In other words, Russian leaders could be looking at Nuremberg 2.0. That’s bound to make a few people in Moscow nervous, especially those old enough to remember what happened to Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milošević and his entourage.
The outlook in Asia is no less fraught. Taiwan remains on edge, as the country tries to guess China’s next move. Here too, the news from Munich wasn’t reassuring.
“What is happening in Europe today could happen in Asia tomorrow,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi did nothing to contradict that narrative. “Let me assure the audience that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory,” Wang told the conference when asked about Beijing’s designs on the self-governed island. Taiwan “has never been a country and it will never be a country in the future.”
For some attendees, the vibe in the crowded Bayerischer Hof hotel where the gathering takes place carried echoes of 1938. That year, the Bavarian capital hosted a conference that resulted in the infamous Munich Agreement, in which European powers ceded the Sudetenland to Germany in a misguided effort they believed could preserve peace.
Great. I have no doubt that Russian soldiers are committing war crimes in Ukraine. But if the Vice President of the United States is now saying that Russian leaders will be hauled before a Nuremberg-style tribunal if Russia loses, what incentive does Russia have to reach a negotiated settlement? I don't understand the diplomatic game here, unless it's to ramp up our willingness to start World War III.
This seems right to me:
Look here: Europe can't even muster majorities to defend their own countries in case of invasion.
Yet they're preparing to throw more money and weapons at Ukraine, increasing the likelihood that war will spread? Do they expect that American troops will be the ones doing the fighting in case of a wider war? Do the American people understand what's being done here?
Maybe not: "Top House Republicans Call On Biden To Increase Support For Ukraine". Excerpt:
But as the one-year anniversary of the war approaches, McCaul warned that hedging support for Ukraine could prolong the conflict, which could play into Russia’s advantages and allow anti-Ukraine dissent to build.
“The longer (Biden administration officials) drag this out, they play into (Russian leader Vladimir) Putin’s hands. He wants this to be a long, protracted war because he knows that potentially, he will lose – we could lose the will of the American people and therefore the Congress,” the Texas Republican told CNN, speaking from the Munich Security Conference in Germany.
The US and its allies have already sent nearly $50 billion in aid and equipment to Ukraine’s military over the past year. To keep that up, and to rebuild its own stockpiles, the Pentagon is racing to re-arm, embarking on the biggest increase in ammunition production in decades and putting portions of the US defense industry on a war-footing despite America technically not being at war.
Asked by Brown if he believes the US is considering sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, McCaul replied, “I hope so,” and reiterated his concern over a drawn-out conflict between Russia and Ukraine while noting, “I think the momentum is building for this to happen.”
“The fact is, the longer they wait, the longer this conflict will prevail,” McCaul said.
US Sen. Lindsey Graham echoed that message, telling ABC in an interview that aired Sunday that US lawmakers attending the Munich Security Conference were in “virtually unanimous belief” that the US should begin training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.
“I believe a decision will be imminent when we get back to Washington, that the administration will start training Ukrainian pilots on the F-16. They need the weapons system,” Graham said.
So now the very stable geniuses of the party that led America into the Iraq and Afghanistan debacles are saying we have to send fighter jets to Ukraine. Do you see where this is going?! Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban does. Take a look at this long segment from his State of the Nation address from Saturday. I've highlighted certain parts in boldface:
If 2022 was the hardest year, 2023 will be the most dangerous year since the fall of communism. Alongside migration, which is gradually becoming a permanent feature, two new enemies and two new dangers are lurking: one is war, and the other is inflation. If we want to return to the upward trajectory from which the COVID pandemic pushed us, we must fend off these two threats: we must overcome them, we must fight our way through them. But how? Today this is what I will talk about.
How do we overcome the danger of war? We want to simply put an end to it, but we do not have the power to do so – we are not in that league. Therefore, if we want to protect Hungary, if we want a peaceful life for ourselves, we have only one choice: we must stay out of the Russo-Ukrainian war. So far this has not been easy, and it will not be easy in the future, because we are part of the Western world, we are members of NATO and the European Union, and everyone there is on the side of war – or at least acts as if they are. Can Hungary afford to remain on the side of peace in such circumstances, in a way that is directly opposed to that of our allies? Of course we can, because Hungary is an independent, free and sovereign state, and we recognise no one but God above us.
But is it right – morally right – for us to stay out of the war? I am convinced that it is the right thing – and indeed the only right thing. Russia has attacked Ukraine, so we must let Ukrainian refugees into our country, and we have done well in supporting them with the largest humanitarian aid operation in our country’s history. This is the imperative of basic humanity, and we are complying with it. But we also see that the war in Ukraine is not a war between the armies of good and evil, but a war between the troops of two Slavic countries: a war limited in time and – for the time being – in space. It is their war, not ours. Hungary recognises Ukraine’s right to self defence, to fight against external aggression; but it would not be right from any point of view – including any moral point of view – to put the interests of Ukraine before those of Hungary.
The Left in Hungary is also on the side of war: it would supply arms, take on the financial burden of war and sever relations with Russia. We are not doing this. We are not supplying arms. We are also being careful with money, because in the end the money due to us will be given by Brussels to Ukraine. For us, humanitarian support for Ukraine does not mean severing our ties with Russia, because that would run counter to our national interests, which we have the right to define for ourselves. Therefore we shall not agree to gas, oil or nuclear sanctions that would ruin Hungary. From the national consultation we know that there is national unity on this. This is why we are maintaining our economic relations with Russia; and indeed we are advising the whole Western world to do the same, because without relations there will be neither a ceasefire nor peace negotiations. This is why we do not agree with priests and church leaders being placed on sanctions lists; it is bad enough that this could happen to artists and athletes.
And it is also important not to narrow our vision, and not to be provincial. Let us look beyond Brussels. Every country outside Europe is aware of the limited significance of the war in Ukraine and the primacy of its own national interest. Let us not isolate ourselves from the level-headed part of the world. The Hungarian viewpoint is an exception only in Europe – across the world it is the norm. The Hungarian government does not consider it realistic to assume that Russia is a threat to the security of Hungary or of Europe. Such an assumption is valid at most in relation to nuclear weapons; but the war in Ukraine is increasing the risk of their use, rather than reducing it. As far as conventional warfare is concerned, the Ukraine war has shown that Russia would not stand a chance against NATO. We understand that the Ukrainians are trying to convince Europe that the Russians will not stop until they reach the Atlantic, but the Hungarians are not buying that threat. The whole world has seen that Russian forces are not in a position to attack NATO, and will not be in such a position for a long time. I recall that a decade ago Hungary proposed the creation of a joint European force, and today we can see how unfortunate it was that this proposal fell on deaf ears.
While our pro-peace position and the pro-war position of others accentuate differences between us, they also obscure the fact that we are in full agreement on strategic objectives. We want Russia not to be a threat to Europe, and we want there to be a sufficiently broad and deep area between Russia and Hungary: a sovereign Ukraine. The difference between us is in our view of the means to achieve this: those who support the war think that this can be achieved by defeating Russia; and we think that it can be achieved by an immediate ceasefire and negotiations. There is another strong argument in favour of our proposal: the only thing that can save lives is a ceasefire. Loss of life is already being expressed in the hundreds of thousands. The pain, widowhood, growing numbers of orphans and oceanic waves of suffering can only be calmed by a ceasefire.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The war has also revealed some instructive and weighty truths. Let us not pass them by without speaking of them. First of all, there is the question of our membership of NATO. Let us make it clear that for Hungary NATO membership is vital. We are too far to the east – on the eastern edge of the western world – to renounce it. It would of course be easier if we were further in: following the example of Austria and Switzerland, we too could play with the idea of neutrality. But history has not given us that luxury. NATO is a defence alliance. It is a military defence alliance which was formed so that we can defend one another. This is why we joined, and this is why – thinking back to 45 years of Soviet occupation – I experienced the historic satisfaction of signing the Treaty of Accession. It is at least as important to clearly understand what NATO is not. NATO is not a war alliance. NATO is not a war coalition. Membership of NATO does not imply any obligation beyond joint defence, nor can member countries expect any other member to jointly attack a third country for some joint military objective. If some NATO members, or a group of them, want to carry out acts of war outside the territory of the member countries, they must do so outside the framework of NATO: those who want to will participate; those who do not want to will not.
No matter how strong and powerful, anyone who thinks they can supervise, manage and gradually calibrate the conduct of war is overestimating their own power and underestimating the risky nature of war. Those who make such mistakes are usually far removed from the devastating realities of frontline warfare. But we live here, and the war is on the soil of a neighbouring country. Brusselites have not yet sacrificed their lives in this war, but Hungarians have. While Hungarian symbols are being taken down in Munkács/Mukachevo, while Hungarian principals are being dismissed from our schools, many are dying heroes’ deaths on the front. The Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia does not deserve this. More respect for Hungarians from Munkács/Mukachevo, Kyiv/Kiev, Brussels and Washington!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Europe is drifting towards war. It is balancing on a narrow plank. Indeed its countries are already indirectly at war with Russia. If you supply weapons, if you provide the satellite information for military action, if you train the soldiers of one of the belligerents, if you finance the entire state apparatus of one of the belligerents and impose sanctions on the other, then, no matter what you say, you are at war – indirectly for the time being. The risk of being drawn in is now chronic. It started with helmets, it has continued with the delivery of non-lethal equipment, we are now seeing tanks being sent, fighter planes are on the agenda, and soon we will hear about so-called “peacekeeping troops”. It reminds one of sleepwalkers on a roof. We also need to understand how the pro-war people succumbed to somnambulism and how they ended up on the rooftops. Despite all our differences of opinion, we understand our Polish and Baltic friends: their history explains a great deal. But the others?
It is astounding to me that we are being sleepwalked by our leaders into World War III. Orban is right: NATO is a defensive alliance, not an offensive one. It is engaging in offensive actions in Ukraine. "Soon we will hear about so-called 'peacekeeping troops'" -- he's right. Are you prepared to see American soldiers firing on Russian ones, for the sake of Ukraine? You had better be. This is where we are going. Almost 20 years to the day since its infamous "Unpatriotic Conservatives" cover story denouncing those on the Right who opposed the Iraq War, National Review has published a piece denouncing the "Putin Republicans" -- those who question the wisdom of current war policy.
We have learned nothing. Success or failure in the mission has nothing to do with advancement. Who cares about Iraq, Afghanistan, or Libya? Who cares that the Pentagon lied for years to Congress about Afghanistan -- and the evidence is in the government's own documents ("The Afghanistan Papers"). Children, don't dwell on the past -- think about the future! Congress doesn't care. The Pentagon doesn't care. Let's march on Moscow! What could possibly go wrong?
Do you remember what a bunch of idiots so many of us were -- mea maxima culpa -- to believe that Iraq has a big WMD arsenal, and that Saddam was an international terrorism mastermind? That we had to make sure that "the smoking gun was not a mushroom cloud"? Et cetera? Who paid a price for that deception? They took advantage of the trust we had in our leaders, especially after the 9/11 attacks. They betrayed us. And because they have never had to answer for it, they're at it again. From March 19, 2003:
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made the following statement on hostilities between the United States and the regime of Saddam Hussein. "Now that hostilities have begun, it is time for the nation to come together and support our men and women in uniform. Any disagreements Americans may have had in the past should give way to our shared commitment to see this effort through. Our thoughts and prayers are with our soldiers, sailors and Marines in the field. "I fully understand why President Bush had to resort to the use of force to disarm Saddam Hussein. It has been readily apparent for many months that Saddam would not voluntarily part with his weapons of mass destruction. "It’s long past time for Saddam Hussein to be replaced. President Bush used the only reasonable option available to him and our nation."
Now he wants to send F-16s to Ukraine. Why not? Sen. Graham has learned that there is never a price to pay for being wrong about war.
Meanwhile, as Gov. DeSantis dismantles the evil DEI regime within state institutions in Florida, its full steam ahead for the Pentagon:
Yep, we can't defend America unless we are DIVERSE, EQUITABLE, AND INCLUSIVE (including flabby fatties). How on earth did we win World War II? A mystery for the ages!
Look, is it not clear that the people who run Western institutions think of people who disagree with them as crackpot fanatics and haters who need to be driven out of the professions and marginalized until we die off? In Europe, the leadership is all about democratic values, until a European people votes the way Brussels doesn't like. We have had periods of Republican dominance in Washington over the past twenty years, but little or nothing was done to protect the interests of conservatives who don't share the elite class's values. If over the past two decades Republican politicians had cared half as much about the culture war elites have waged on the American people as they do about what Russia is doing to Ukraine, we would be a very different country today. It's easier to support the faraway Ukrainians than it is to stand by the Deplorables in their own country. (And the Democrats who lionize the Ukrainians would die a thousand deaths before they would want to share a neighborhood with those people, who are religiously and socially conservative.) So, you GOP-voting Deplorable, youant illegal immigration stopped? Can't do it, sorry. Want to stop objectively racist anti-white policies, and the racial and sexual radicalization of public schools? Hey, say the normie Republicans, THAT'S BIG GOVERNMENT TALKING! No, seriously, listen to this:
I have zero love for Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Putin is a thug who runs a thugocracy. But Saddam Hussein was one of the world's most evil men, yet the US war waged on Iraq opened the door to worse evils, despite what our leaders, from the president on down, told us. So as horrible as Putin is, I have zero desire to start World War III over this Russia-Ukraine conflict. And I have zero trust that most of the elected leadership in Washington, of both parties, or within the US military brass, will likely act in the best national interest of the United States of America -- or will tell the truth about what they're doing, have done, and will do. The last twenty years has taught me that.