Vlad All Over, Or The Fog of War

The Soviet Union, as formidable as it once appeared, has been a dead letter for over 30 years. While Vladimir Putin may have one reliable client state in Belarus, the rest of the former Soviet republics and the entirety of the Eastern Bloc have little interest in getting the band back together, so while the endgame remains in doubt, it’s highly unlikely Putin’s latest gambit will redound to his benefit. 

If your day is gone, and you want to ride on, Ukraine
Don’t forget this fact, you can’t get it back, Ukraine

Apologies to J. J. Cale. But have you noticed the near lockstep unanimity on social media about Ukraine? Something about it seems, I dunno, off. Victor Davis Hanson offers a few thoughts about the narrative:

On cue, an embarrassed Left now offers some surreal takes on why Putin went into Crimea and eastern Ukraine in 2014 and again into all of Ukraine in 2022—while mysteriously bookending the four invasion-free Trump years. We are told that hiatus was because Putin got all he wanted from Trump and rewarded him by not invading any of his neighbors.


And Hanson is just getting started:

Were Vladimir Putin and his advisors more or less delighted that their poodle Trump thankfully flooded the world with price-crashing oil? They were thankful Trump at least had killed Russian mercenaries in Syria?

Putin himself was content that the United States got out of his own advantageous missile deal? Was he thrilled that Trump sold once-taboo U.S. offensive weapons to Ukraine? Did the Kremlin grow ecstatic when Trump upped the U.S. defense budget? And was Russia especially thankful that Trump jawboned NATO into spending another $100 billion on defense? Did Putin clap when Trump killed Soleimani and Baghdadi, and bombed ISIS out of existence?

About that oil. . . 

It’s not a coincidence that Russia, an oil-producing country, was pretty flush in 2014, which made Putin’s adventurism at that time cost-effective. Things changed after the Light Bringer left office; while the price of oil fluctuated in the first two years of the Bad Orange Man administration, prices dropped thereafter, before the huge drop in 2020 which was entirely related to the world economy grinding to a halt. Since 2021, the trajectory has been back toward the price levels of the Obama years. We all see the impact at the pump and energy costs are a huge factor in inflation generally, even beyond the Fed making the money printers go brrrrrr. So if the money is flowing into Russia and the current administration has shut down the pipelines and the frackers, are we particularly surprised that ol’ Putin has gauged this moment as the time to make a move?

There’s more, of course. Back to Hanson:

Joe threatened the toughest sanctions in history that on Wednesday would deter an invasion and by Saturday were never meant to at all. But Biden promises someday a “conversation” to decide whether at some time he still will issue the toughest sanctions in history. Until then, he invites Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy safe passage out of Kyiv—the quickest way to destroy the dogged Ukrainian resistance.

Left unsaid are the years of rapacious Biden family profiteering in Ukraine, a decade of leftist passive-aggressive love and hate of Russia, from obsequious reset to greedy Uranium One to pathetic “tell Vladimir . . .” to unhinged vetoing of sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Oh, there’s more to be said, a lot more. But for this moment one thing seems to be clear — the fog of war is less from the battlefield and more from the fog machines all around us.

48 thoughts on “Vlad All Over, Or The Fog of War

  1. Waittaminute, what about how we all have to give up our differences and pull together like a team with Joe?

  2. Can I post a conspiracy theory, or is this not the right thread?

    Suppose Ukraine has been used as a Democrat money-laundering operation for ages (US gives foreign aid, Ukraine gives business subsidy to corporation, corporation hires Vice President’s son for no-show job, cycle repeats). Suppose the Ukrainians demand money for silence but Lesko Brandon can’t get Build Back Better passed.

    Suppose Democrats are nervous about plunging polls and fearful more bad news could sink them. Suppose they decide to tie up loose ends overseas to prevent bad news from leaking out. Lesko Brandon’s agents meet with Chinese agents to warn them US will sponsor Ukraine for admission into NATO, knowing China will tell Russia, which is passionately against NATO expansion in Ukraine.

    Russia launches a war on Ukraine to keep it out of NATO, incidentally destroying all records of money-laundering (or at the very least, putting the evidence under Russian control so Democrats can dismiss the evidence as Russian fakes). Democrats huff and puff but don’t send troops or weapons because they don’t want a shooting war (bad for polls), they just want Russia to do their clean-up.

    Nobody expects plucky Ukraine to put up so much resistance, nor to inspire Germany and others to begin a serious national security review. Lesko Brandon threatens to bounce Russia’s checks which Putin knows will collapse his economy and therefore poses a threat to his nation’s existence; Putin responds in kind with a threat to US existence in the form of nuclear weapons.

    It’s far fetched and there’s no proof. But so was using the excuse of a bad flu to terrify the public into voting by mail so Democrats could steal the election from Bad Orange Man, crashing our own economy before igniting massive inflation. We’ve often demonstrated that Democrats don’t think about Second or Third Order effects. Is Ukraine another example?

  3. The bear was poking around western stables for so long, he finally provoked a hunting squad. An external enemy just amazing for creating unity.

    We need now to form unity in a boycott of Russian energy. It is more painful for Europe than the sanctions so far (the EU gets 40% of its gas from Russia), but necessary. We can’t hope to starve his war machine if we continue to feed it through daily payments for energy.

    Oil is now around $100 per barrel — that makes Russia’s energy industry incredibly profitable. The cost to the producer (including transportation) is about $5 per barrel. Russia exports about 5m barrels a day.. That’s nearly $0.5bn a day. And that’s just oil – there’s gas too (I don’t have the figures). Overall in Russia oil and gas provided 39% of the federal budget revenue in 2021.

    Canada announced a boycott yesterday. Other countries need to follow suit.

    If Putin takes Ukraine he will have taken the world’s number 1 producer of sunflower oil, the 2nd largest producer of barley and the 4th largest producer of potatoes. He is diversifying and we will need to respond to this too. Unity and helping each other is going to be increasingly important.

  4. Long, long ago, military strategists didn’t worry about taking cities within so many hours. They took the countryside and sealed off the cities, leaving the residents inside to consume their food supplies and use up their ammo until they eventually surrendered. It was called “seige” and it’s amazingly effective if you’re patient enough, assuming no outside resupply (and really, can we expect another Berlin Airlift in this day and age?)

    Is Putin patient enough? Sunflowers are not grown in cities. Barley is not grown in cities. Potatoes are not grown in cities. They are grown in the countryside and Putin already controls all that. Hold the seige until the cities capitulate? Minimizes casualties, denies the West photos of battles for propaganda purposes, gives his reinforcements time to catch up, allows him to replace local officials with loyal Quislings . . . maybe Putin’s not incompetent, maybe he’s canny?

  5. A Hungarian tour guide told me in 2015 – noting that the Russian border was only about an hour away from Budapest – “Are the Russians our brothers? Of course! Are the Russians our friends? No, you get to pick your friends.”

    (Ahh, Budapest – on a later visit there I rendezvoused with justplainangry at the Reagan statue in Freedom Square.)

  6. I trust we are witnessing the demise of the alt-Right theory that Russia is an unstoppable geopolitical force because they hire male underwear models to star in their military recruitment videos. One indication of how the war is going is watching formerly pro-Putin, anti-Ukraine voices in this country’s politics and media suddenly commence their pivots.

  7. JD, the difference between conspiracy theory and truth is 6 months, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

    But regarding siege strategy – we are living in a different era and time for everything had compressed to a blink of an eye. Vlad does not have the time to lay “proper” siege. I am afraid things will escalate much quicker, they have to with winter almost over and warm weather does not favor Vlad.

  8. I trust we are witnessing the demise of the alt-Right theory that Russia is an unstoppable geopolitical force because they hire male underwear models to star in their military recruitment videos.

    Who holds that theory? Give us some examples.

  9. ^ Homoerotic social media engagement meets political reality.

    So you got nothin’. Duly noted.

  10. We need now to form unity in a boycott of Russian energy.

    Russia exports about 5m barrels a day.

    220,XXX of which are to the US. So we need to make up that capacity elsewhere. I wonder where we could have done that? Maybe if he hadn’t shut down the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office, and cancelled exploratory leases within his first month, this wouldn’t be such a problem. It only takes 1 day to shut things down, but it will take months, if not years, to get them back up and running again. But when your ideology is more important than serving/protecting the public……..here we are. Enjoy the $5/gal in MN and $7-8/gal in CA gas prices.


    maybe Putin’s not incompetent, maybe he’s canny?

    Careful, JD. Pretty soon you’ll be accused of being a Putin supporter just like someone else who said exactly the same thing.

  11. All these folks who think that the US military is weak and flabby now because it’s too interested in diversity or inclusion or wokeness should definitely go to a bar in San Clemente or Carlsbad tonight and tell some Marines from Pendleton that they’re a bunch of pussies.

  12. If I wanted to conquer Minnesota on the cheap, I’d block the highways to isolate the Twin Cities and station a couple of antiaircraft batteries somewere under the landing patterns. No food coming by truck or airlift.

    In about two weeks, the stores would be empty and the civilian population would be rioting. If I wanted to hurry things up, I’d shut off the electricity by dropping the power lines coming into town.

    If I was really mad at them, I’d send soldiers to every farmer’s coop to seize the agricultural diesel, seed and fertilizer. No crops this year.

    There’s historical precedent, in Ukraine, no less. It’s not over, yet.

  13. The most fearsome soldiers and special forces in the world don’t mean a thing if their leadership is focused on DEI and not killing the enemy. Milley is systematically dismantling on an HR level, this country’s ability to defend itself.

  14. Breaking! From America’s Foremost Newspaper.

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—With Russia poised to tear through Eastern Europe with terrifying military power, Biden warned Putin that if he doesn’t stop advancing his army, he will be forced to deploy his deadly trans admiral.

    “You think I’m joking, Vlad! I ain’t messin’ around here! You don’t want me to use this!” said Biden to Putin in a Zoom call, motioning to a portrait of transgender admiral and Assistant HHS Secretary Admiral Rachel Levine. “This is the deadliest weapon the United States has ever produced, and I won’t hesitate to use it on you! Watch out!”

    Diversity and inclusion experts speculate the firepower in just one trans admiral is capable of leveling 3 Russian cities to the ground using the incredible destructive power of intersectional identity politics. Foreign policy experts believe Russia is outmatched by America’s stunning diversity and inclusion capabilities and will soon be forced to surrender.

    Sources say Ukrainian citizens will certainly sleep better tonight knowing the power of diversity is on their side.

  15. troll loves him some putin porn, uh huh

    the marine quip is a straw man, no one has said the marines are pussies

    but the gender/equity/pronouns/alphabet soup crap training is real, or do you deny reality? (dumb question, of course he does)

  16. Kinlaw—make yourself useful and write a glossary of Russian and Ukrainian swear words.

  17. The reverberations from a stronger German policy will be felt across the entire archipelago of the democratic alliance. A stronger Europe makes the Far East democracies stronger and balances out leadership responsibilities across all the democracies. Stronger security relationships now are necessary to have better and more effective global environmental policies later in the decade. Effective leadership is only going to come in the first instance from the advanced economy democracies. So stronger German security policy today magnifies the potential for Europe’s voice in future international economic and environmental affairs.

    If Germany had only modestly improved its defense commitment, then it would be seen to just be falling in behind traditional US primacy in leadership. By taking a much more significant step forward, Germany is signaling a redistribution of weight among the top tiers of the democratic alliance, an improvement much needed to magnify the overall effectiveness of global democratic governance. That this speech was delivered in front of the Bundestag, a great and democratic parliament, is also in sharp contrast to the televised travesty put on by Putin with his stooges last week.

    Europe is realizing that a stronger Europe is vital to a stronger and improved world order —it has a sovereign vitality that will be much appreciated.

  18. Maybe waking up Europe will be Puddin’ Cup’s lasting legacy? Could do worse.

    Still have to do something about the southern border, and inflation, but hey, one problem at a time, right?

  19. Even if Putin eventually achieves some sort of military conquest in Ukraine it will be a pyrrhic victory. He presumably calculated that his latest aggression would be shrugged off like Syria, Libya or his previous actions in Ukraine.

    But his actions were so terrifying and alarming that it has even jolted countries like Germany into action. Putin’s Russia is now seen as the number one threat to Western Europe. He has set Russia back decades. Russia needs to experience a decisive military defeat.

  20. JD, Euros are funny. They neglect to perform their NATO duties for years, 30, 40… and instead assume the US will pull their chestnuts outta the fire and they spend that defense money money on sabotaging their populations and cultures (among other commie BS).

    So, Trump comes and tells them in no uncertain terms that they have to step up and do their part – what they agreed to do by treaty. And Trump gets yelled at, blamed for ruining the organization, and the fuckers continue to neglect to do their part.

    But Biden… jeezus… they’re thinking business is back to normal. But the Imbecile in Chief’s so incompetent and empty-headed – but also largely against having US troops overseas (‘member Libya? Biden was ag’n it. Biden was right). Now even the Euros can see they’re gonna be getting no help and even if they did, it would be wrong like sending ammo they don’t use or tanks they don’t like, whatever. So, suddenly, Euro gets that old-tyme military religion with borders and defense and… I’m just sitting here laughing.

  21. Russia needs to experience a decisive military defeat

    Well, look at General Keyboard Warrior workin’ up a sweat.

  22. ^ I’m starting to think the only person Trump ever hired who was actually qualified to do their job was Stormy Daniels.

  23. Germany rearming? Switzerland abandoning its neutrality? Puddin’ Cup has accomplished in a week of drooling in the basement what Trump could not do in four years of pleading, cajoling, and threatening. Amazing.

  24. The problem Biden has is that he is a bad president. He is just shitty at the job he was elected to do. No surprise there, he had been rejected in the D presidential since the 1980s. He just ain’t got what it takes.
    Here are a few of the things that a normal vetting process by a competent media would have let us know:
    -His law school plagiarism wasn’t just a few uncited references. He was found to have copied FIVE PAGES of a law review article without attribution. And it was in a technical LS class, one of the classes where you have to demonstrate that you can cite references correctly.
    -The Neil Kinnock speech Biden was guilty of plagiarizing included a long passage with Biden claiming to giving a voice to his Pennsylvania coal mining ancestors.
    None of Biden’s ancestors worked in a coal mine. His father was a middle class used car salesman.

  25. The West is powerful for exactly the reasons its enemies criticize it. Democracies are in a constant state of intaking information, processing, and making decisions. This is done at multiple layers: governmental and societal. Due to this, often times we can look back at our actions and see some horror (From an American lens: Iraq, Japanese Internment, Jim Crow, etc.). Our strength is we acknowledge it, learn from it, and strive to be better. However, we also see great triumphs (WW2, Rights, Freedom).

    Consensus building takes time leading to delayed or diluted action, but once it is reached, Democracy is effective and decisive. Autocracy has no consensus building apparatus, so when a bad course is set, changing is incredibly difficult to achieve leading to disfunction, misery, and eventually its downfall.

    I believe Putin has learned that lesson.

  26. Anyone interested in Emery’s observations on the current crisis?
    Me neither. Fer God’s sake the guy believes that women can have a penis and rape other women and get them pregnant. He also believes that Trump colluded with Putin to steal the 2016 election from Hillary.
    Emery is a crackpot.

  27. Praying that Putin gets pushed out of Ukraine, and when that happens, I hope the U.S. augments those Javelins and Stingers with some F-16s and A-10s to prevent a recurrence. The only thing that seems more beautiful to me than the thought of those planes shooting up the Russian column approaching Kyiv is…..those planes shooting up a Russian column with Putin as the Warthog’s first target.

  28. The vaunted Russian military may not amount to much. It has a third-world army. Its size is inflated by mass conscription of low-motivated, low-education soldiers. If you are drafted into the Russian army, you may spend your deployment doing grunt work building some oligarch’s mansion.
    Any Russian with any wealth or influence at all moves mountains to keep his own child out of the military.
    I honestly don’t know how effective the Russian nuclear force is these days. Nuclear weapons and delivery systems are very expensive to build and maintain. Corruption is rife through the Russian government.

  29. ^ You do know, MP, that what you write has been SOP for the Russian military since… well, the following came from Instapundit this morning:

    “I believe that at the heart of Russian military thinking is how Marshall Zhukov marched across Eastern Europe to Berlin,” a former high-level CIA official told Newsweek in an interview. Zhukov’s orders were to “line up the artillery and … flatten everything ahead of you,” he says. “‘Then send in the peasant Army to kill or rape anyone left alive.’ Subtle the Russians are not.”

  30. The question is whether Ukraine can be supplied and financed to outlast the aggressor.

  31. If the entire world jumps on the Virtue Signaling bandwagon to show their symbolic support for Ukraine, is that a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

    Example: All flights to/from Russia are canceled, to punish them. Which means Russian tourists aren’t going to Borneo (or wherever Russian oligarchs go to spend their money). Hundreds of Borneo families who formerly depended on tourism for a living, go bankrupt and become homeless. The Borneo government requests more foreign aid from the US, the UN, the IMF, anybody with deep pockets and caring heart.

    Is Borneo bankruptcy an intended consequence of the Virtue Signaling? An unintended and unforeseen consequence? An invisible problem nobody cares about because it doesn’t affect us directly, it’s only a blip in the budget and we’ll never know if the foreign aid money ever got past the sticky fingers of the government officers?

    Is it an inevitable and acceptable consequence of a morally justified policy, like all the people who lost their jobs and businesses during the Covid lockdown?

    I can think of dozens of other Second Order effects to be unleashed by Virtue Signaling, some of which might have world-wide consequences far worse than letting the Russians have Ukraine. Does anybody else care about the possibility?

  32. jdm, that description of Zhukov is not entirely correct. He lined up the artillery, sent the peasant army ahead and only then flattened everything in front before sending the rest of the peasants in to rape and pillage.

  33. JD, those cancelled flights could have been carrying Russians out of the country who want nothing to do with the “incursion” greenlighted by Jughead. So, these Russians unable to escape will be rounded up and send to the Gulag and will end up yet another victim of virtue signaling. Maybe we should rework a famous quote into “the road to hell is paved with virtue signaling”, no?

  34. JPA is right about Zhukov. When the U.S. and Soviet armies met at the end of WWII, the Soviet officers marveled at U.S. mine clearing equipment. Apparently the mine clearing equipment of the Soviet army was peasant soldiers. Stalin was far more deadly to Soviet soldiers than was Hitler.

  35. Wouldn’t it be great to juxtapose the Ukraine hawks, D & R, with their remarks on last summer’s Afghan debacle? Biden thought that was great success, everything went according to plan.

  36. that description of Zhukov is not entirely correct

    jpa, I accept that correction and will note that person quoted is “a former high-level CIA official”. The org that together with all the other spooks and their agencies hasn’t gotten jack shit correct in 80 years. 😉

  37. This round of international outrage is likely meant as pour encourager les autres. Let’s say President Trump II wants to invade Canada to remove a hostile communist government from our border. Instead of his Head of the Joint Chiefs notify the Canadians in advance (as Vindman said he’d do with China), you’d get all assets frozen internationally. Not a bad deterrent for war, in general, I suppose. It’s just that it would only be applied if the wrong people are doing the warring.

  38. When you’re as popular as I am, you get a lot of texts and email piled up when you go off grid for a few days.

    Here’s something that came across that might explain why Putin wants to clean up his neighboring state; Zelinsky has some very unwholesome pastimes…

    Ukraine is becoming as debauched and degenerate as the West. Who wants that nasty shit sitting right across the border? Not Putin.


  39. If Putin has achieved one thing above all else it is the realization in Europe that they take responsibility for their security without automatically looking to the US to take a disproportionate share of the burden. Too late, but nonetheless hugely important. Hopefully a watershed moment.

  40. If Puddin’ cup’s stolen election has achieved one thing above all else it is the realization in Europe that they take responsibility for their security without automatically looking to the US to take a disproportionate share of the burden.

    FTFY, nitwit.

    Puddin’ cup’s performance has proved that there are enough nitwits in the USA to undermine global security if necessary, to keep the side show going for awhile longer. It’s everyone for themselves.

  41. Trump calls Putins move “Genius” before calling it a “Holocaust”

    I’d like to think even Trump could see which way the wind was blowing on this one.

  42. Any word on what Jimmy Carter called it? Because everyone wants to know what former Presidents think.

  43. EI, evil people can be geniuses. Certainly Schicklgruber was, as was Zhugashvili, as was Capone, as was his fellow Chicago resident Barack. Putin is as well.

    Nice attempt at a “gotcha”, but totally without merit.

  44. I’m glad Europe is waking up to the fact America is not a reliable ally but Lesko Brandon really shouldn’t get all that much credit for it. He’s merely the latest in a long line of Democrats to prove it.

    In 1975, Democrats proved to Southeast Asia that America was not a reliable ally. We pulled out leaving them to die by the thousands in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia.

    In 1979, Democrats proved to Iran that America was not a reliable ally, for 444 days of hostages after the Shah was abandoned.

    Last Fall, Democrats proved to Afghanis that America was not a reliable ally, leaving friends and even our own citizens behind as we bugged out.

    Lesko Brandon is following the Democrat tradition. Expected no less from him.

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