Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Trump, DeSantis, MAGA… same crap, different day but all one story

Steven Beschloss/Substack:

We Can’t Let the Bullies Win

From Russia and Ukraine to America, we can see the consequence of electing bullies and letting them act with impunity

Maybe you saw the video clip. In the scheme of things, it might seem like a minor event. Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, had come to the University of South Florida to give a speech about cybersecurity education funding.

But before he spoke, he looked at the row of high school students spread out behind him and wearing masks. He didn”;t say hi. He didn”;t thank them for coming. “;You do not have to wear those masks,”; he said, obviously aggravated. “;I mean, please take them off.”; Jabbing his finger at them, he went on, “;Honestly, it”;s not doing anything. We”;ve got to stop with this Covid theater. So, if you want to wear it, fine. But this is–;this is ridiculous.”; Most of the students sheepishly took off their masks.

Then DeSantis turned around toward the podium with a huff, shook his head and began: “;Alright, well, it”;s good to be at USF.”;

.@GovRonDeSantis is like Trump, but less polished, possibly more cruel (both seem to enjoy the suffering of others, but Trump does it for money & power, while DeSantis may just like to see people suffer)?

–; David Rothschild 🇺🇦 (@DavMicRot) March 7, 2022

NY Times:

How the West Marshaled a Stunning Show of Unity Against Russia

In a few frantic days, the West threw out the playbook it used for decades against the Kremlin and isolated Russia with unparalleled sanctions and penalties.

The day after Russian tanks and troops poured across the Ukrainian border on Feb. 24, NATO leaders received a deeply frightening message. The alliance”;s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, opened an emergency video summit by warning that President Vladimir V. Putin had “;shattered peace in Europe”; and that from now on, he would openly contest the continent”;s security order.

However unlikely, Mr. Stoltenberg told the leaders, it was no longer unthinkable that Mr. Putin would attack a NATO member. Such a move would trigger the collective defense clause in the North Atlantic Treaty, opening the door to the ultimate nightmare scenario: a direct military conflict with Russia.

President Biden, who had dialed in from the White House Situation Room, spoke up swiftly. Article 5 was “;sacrosanct,”; he said, referring to the “;one for all, all for one”; principle that has anchored NATO since its founding after World War II. Mr. Biden urged allied leaders to step up and send reinforcements to Europe”;s eastern flank, according to multiple officials briefed on the call.

Biden”;s role in this is key.

If there”;s any silver lining to the horrible situation in Ukraine it is that we”;re seeing a global response unlike any before in history –; driven in part by the collective outrage of ordinary citizens over Russia”;s actions

–; Michael Cohen (@speechboy71) March 5, 2022

Amy Zegart/Atlantic:

The Weapon the West Used Against Putin

The way in which the U.S. disclosed intelligence ahead of Russia”;s invasion of Ukraine could drastically change geopolitics in the future.

Russia”;s invasion of Ukraine looks like a horrific Cold War throwback. Once again, a strongman rules in Moscow, Russian tanks are rolling across borders, and a democratic nation is fighting for its survival, street by street, day by day, armed with little more than Molotov cocktails and a fierce belief in freedom. For all the talk of emerging technologies and new threats, the violence in Ukraine feels raw and low-tech, and the world suddenly looks old again.

And yet, amid all these echoes of the past, Russia”;s invasion has ushered in one development that is altogether new and could dramatically change geopolitics in the future: the real-time public disclosure of highly classified intelligence.

That makes him dangerous. We have to help Ukraine. But let’s not let him turn this into the war he wants. A war with NATO is the only thing – the very last thing – that can save his regime from eventual collapse. /6

–; Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) March 5, 2022

Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage/Foreign Affairs:

What If Russia Loses?

A Defeat for Moscow Won”;t Be a Clear Victory for the West

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a strategic blunder by invading Ukraine. He has misjudged the political tenor of the country, which was not waiting to be liberated by Russian soldiers. He has misjudged the United States, the European Union, and a number of countries–;including Australia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea–;all of which were capable of collective action before the war and all of which are now bent on Russia”;s defeat in Ukraine. The United States and its allies and partners are imposing harsh costs on Moscow. Every war is a battle for public opinion, and Putin”;s war in Ukraine has–;in an age of mass-media imagery–;associated Russia with an unprovoked attack on a peaceful neighbor, with mass humanitarian suffering, and with manifold war crimes. At every turn, the ensuing outrage will be an obstacle to Russian foreign policy in the future.

No less significant than Putin”;s strategic error have been the Russian army”;s tactical blunders. Bearing in mind the challenges of assessment in the early stages of a war, one can surely say that Russian planning and logistics were inadequate and that the lack of information given to soldiers and even to officers in the higher echelons was devastating to morale. The war was supposed to end quickly, with a lightning strike that would decapitate the Ukrainian government or cow it into surrender, after which Moscow would impose neutrality on Ukraine or establish a Russian suzerainty over the country. Minimal violence might have equaled minimal sanctions. Had the government fallen quickly, Putin could have claimed that he was right all along: because Ukraine had not been willing or able to defend itself, it was not a real country–;just like he had said.

But Putin will be unable to win this war on his preferred terms. Indeed, there are several ways in which he could ultimately lose.

Vladimir Putin deep into the “finding out” stage after he fucked around.

–; Thomas Lecaque (@tlecaque) March 5, 2022


Judge rejects Eastman effort to slow down Jan. 6 committee

“Dr. Eastman”;s liberty is not at issue–;only his emails,” Judge David Carter rules.

A federal judge has rejected an attempt by attorney John Eastman –; the architect of Donald Trump”;s legal strategy to overturn the 2020 election –; to slow down the Jan. 6 select committee”;s push to obtain documents they say could show the former president criminally conspired with Eastman to subvert the democratic process.

In a late Friday order, Judge David Carter said Eastman”;s demand to postpone a March 8 hearing and force the select committee to provide him “;exculpatory”; evidence was unwarranted and legally misguided .

The Ukrainian Ambassador very intentionally asked each of us on the zoom to NOT share anything on social media during the meeting to protect the security of President Zelenskyy. Appalling and reckless ignorance by two US Senators.

–; Rep. Dean Phillips 🇺🇸 (@RepDeanPhillips) March 5, 2022

Thomas Zimmer/ Guardian:

America”;s culture war is spilling into actual war-war

America is divided. That”;s not news. But the authoritarian ruler in the Kremlin deciding to invade a democratic neighbor -; that”;s the type of international crisis that traditionally might have inspired some closing of the ranks: set differences aside, let domestic quarrels rest. But conservatives are evidently out on the idea of patriotic unity. The right”;s reactions to Russia”;s attack on Ukraine have ranged from blatant admiration for Putin to anti-Russian saber-rattling combined with a shrill critique of President Joe Biden. Donald Trump initially called the invasion “;genius”;; he then defended his position at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) over the weekend, adding that Nato was “;not so smart”; and “;our leaders are dumb.”; Meanwhile, America”;s most successful cable news host Tucker Carlson ridiculed American solidarity with Ukraine, a country he derided as “;a tyranny”;, led by “;the people who paid off Joe Biden”;s family”;.

What happens when you don’t stop a dictator on the road to madness? We saw it with Putin, and we’ll see it again with Trump if the AG rejects the House roadmap to a criminal indictment Can Merrick Garland find the courage of a Zelensky? My new column

–; Will Bunch (@Will_Bunch) March 6, 2022


Pence says there”;s no room in the GOP for “;apologists for Putin”; in veiled swipe at Trump

While Pence did not explicitly refer to the former president by name, Trump has been among the loudest, and only, Republican voices supporting Putin. Trump recently described Putin as “;smart,”; “;savvy”; and “;a genius,”; while insisting the attack on Ukraine never would have happened on his watch.

“;The problem is not that Putin is smart –; which of course he”;s smart,”; Trump said last week, “;but the real problem is that our leaders are dumb. Dumb. So dumb.”;

LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) – Russia said on Sunday that sovereign bond payments will depend on sanctions imposed by the West over the invasion of Ukraine, raising the spectre of its first major default on foreign bonds since the years following the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.

–; Guy Faulconbridge (@GuyReuters) March 6, 2022

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