The “Putin Wing” of the Republican Party
“March 5, 2022,” Letters from an American, Professor Heather Cox – Richardson
Whenever something good is going down, there are nut jobs popping up making demeaning statements about what is occurring. Here is one of Trump’s acolytes taking a shot at Ukraine’s Zelensky’s courage.
“Yesterday, Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) referred to the “Putin wing” of the Republican Party when she shared a video clip of Douglas Macgregor. Macgregor was Trump’s nomination ambassador to Germany and then appointed as senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense. He was telling a Fox News Channel host that Russian forces have been “too gentle” and “I don’t see anything heroic” about Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky.”
(AB) I do not see much heroic coming from a privileged senior officer directing a battle and letting the “grunts” fight the war. Many of us carried out the dirty work as directed by field-grade officers. Not anything heroic Douglas Macgregor? A civilian in charge of the resistance against a global nation’s military? Zelensky stayed behind. Yor president, “Trump,” would have been the first one out the door. Go to hell Macgregor.
Professor Heather Cox – Richardson
Russia’s war on Ukraine continues.
If the broader patterns of war apply, Russian president Vladimir Putin is making the war as senselessly brutal as possible, likely hoping to force Ukraine to give in quickly before global sanctions completely crush Russia and the return of warm weather eases Europe’s need for Russian oil and gas.
Russian shelling has created a humanitarian crisis in urban areas, and last night, a brief ceasefire designed to let residents of Mariupol and Volnovakha escape the cities through “humanitarian corridors” broke down as Russian troops resumed firing, forcing the people back to shelter. This morning, Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to more than 280 members of the U.S. Congress to describe Ukraine’s “urgent need” for more support, both military and humanitarian.
Today, Putin said that the continued resistance of President Zelensky and his government threatens Ukraine’s existence. He also said that the sanctions imposed against Russia, Russian companies, Russian oligarchs and their families, and himself by the global alliance arrayed against him are “akin to a declaration of war.” (Remember, saying things doesn’t make them so; words are often a posture.)
The global economic pressure on Russia and the Russian oligarchs is already crushing the Russian economy—today Mastercard and Visa suspended operations in the country—while other countries’ refusal to sell airplane parts, for example, will soon render Russian planes useless, a major crisis for a country the size of Russia. Meanwhile, support is pouring into Ukraine: aside from the military support coming, yesterday the World Bank said it was preparing ways to transfer immediate financial support.
There are suggestions, too, among those who study military strategy that the Russian invasion has been far weaker than they expected. The Russian forces on paper are significantly stronger than those of Ukraine, and by now they should have established control of the airspace. Ground forces are also not moving as efficiently as it seems they should be.
Today, Phillips P. O’Brien, Professor of Strategic Studies at University of St Andrews, outlined how the Russian military, so impressive on paper, might in fact have continued the terrible logistics problems of the Soviet Union. On the ground, they appear to have too few trucks, too little tire maintenance, out-of-date food, and too little fuel. In the air, they are showing signs that they cannot plan or execute complicated maneuvers, in which they have had little practice.
Russia expert Tom Nichols appeared to agree, tweeting: “Ukrainian resistance has been amazing, but I am astonished—despite already low expectations—at how utter Russian military incompetence has made a giant clusterf**k out of an invasion against a much weaker neighbor.”
Meanwhile, Russians are now aware that they are at war—something that Putin had apparently hidden at first—and a number are protesting. The government has cracked down on critics, and rumors are flying that Putin is about to declare martial law. It appears he is already turning to mercenaries to fight his war. The U.S. government has urged all Americans to leave Russia.
And so, time is a key factor in this war: will Russian forces pound Ukraine into submission before their own country can no longer support a war effort?
Closer to home, the Russian war on Ukraine has created a crisis for the Republican Party here in the U.S.
Aaron Blake of the Washington Post reported on Thursday that after Trump won the 2016 election and we learned that Russia had interfered to help him, Republicans’ approval of Putin jumped from about 14% to 37%.
In the Des Moines Register today, columnist Rekha Basu explained how the American right then swung behind Putin because they saw him as a moral crusader, defending religion and “traditional values,” from modern secularism and “decadence,” using a strong hand to silence those who would, for example, defend LGBTQ rights.
Now, popular support has swung strongly against the Russian leader—even among Republicans, 61% of whom now strongly dislike the man. This is widening the split in the Republican Party between Trump supporters and those who would like to move the party away from the former president.
In a tweet today, Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) referred to the “Putin wing” of the Republican Party when she shared a video clip of Douglas Macgregor, whom Trump nominated for ambassador to Germany and then appointed as senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense, telling a Fox News Channel host that Russian forces have been “too gentle” and “I don’t see anything heroic” about Zelensky.
Possibly eager to show their participation in Ukraine’s defense, when Zelensky spoke to Congress this morning, two Republican senators—Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Steve Daines (R-MT)—shared screenshots of his Zoom call while it was going on, despite the explicit request of Ukraine’s ambassador not to share details of the meeting until it was over, out of concern for Zelensky’s safety.
In an appearance on Newsmax, Trump’s secretary of state John Bolton pushed back when the host suggested that the Trump administration was “pretty tough on Russia, in a lot of ways.” Bolton said that Trump “barely knew where Ukraine was” and repeatedly complained about Russian sanctions. Bolton said Trump should have sanctioned the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany, rather than letting it proceed, and concluded: “It’s just not accurate to say that Trump’s behavior somehow deterred the Russians.”
Still, the sudden attempt of the Republicans to rewrite history cannot erase the fact that every Republican in the House of Representatives voted against impeaching Trump when he withheld $391 million in aid for Ukraine that Congress had appropriated, offering to release it only on the condition that President Zelensky announced an investigation into Hunter Biden. That is, they were willing to look the other way as Trump weakened Ukraine in an attempt to rig the 2020 election by creating a scandal he hoped would sink his chief opponent.
Democrats supported impeachment, though, and the case went to the Senate to be tried. And there, every single Republican senator except Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), who voted to convict him for abuse of power, acquitted Trump of the charges stemming from his attempt to hamstring Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.
We can argue about exact ways of expressing ideas, but Macgregor seems to be putting forward a defensible opinion that personal courage can accompany cowardice of statesmanship. This is imperfectly similar to the late Senator McCain, who in the final stages of his fatal cancer voted on ACA repeal in a way that some saw as courageous and others as strangely egoistic and politically cowardly for a man on the cusp of death.
Macgregor would have better said that Zelensky shows great personal courage, but that even more courage of a different kind is needed to save his country continued and increasing agony.
McCain was getting even with a “dick” by the name of Trump who never served a day in his life, weaseled out of any responsibility he could, scammed the process of admission, was a self-made coward, etc. Trump was nothing.
Although I did not care for the rich boy son of an Admiral, he did endure with honor which neither trump, Putin, or for that matter Macgregor earned. I served with assholes like Macgregor as a Sergeant, tough guys as long as it wasn’t them. Our blood and his guts.
Zelensky is not military, has no experience from the past, and not even a politician. He is just another man off the street who is leading a country and doing a damn good job.
Do you have some specific actions in mind? At this point, I doubt that even surrender would keep the genocide from continuing. Expecting Putin and the Russians under his command to suddenly start respecting civilians and honoring truces seems unlikely, regardless of the concessions made, as does expecting the Ukrainians to stand down.
I have some thoughts.
Stinger or manpad-missiles (stingers, etc.) are great for helicopters and low flyers. You need some bigger, faster, which can go beyond 3-4 miles missiles. Load Ukraine up with missiles to fend the Russians off or plant their planes in the ground. Missiles which can exceed 20,000 feet. shoot a few Russians down with these and they will back off. There is no reason the US and Nato can not supply Ukraine with these till they decide the replacement jet program.
Start flying food and water into the cities. Build up the supply base so they can hunker down. Russia does not have a whole lot of time. Once Ukraine gets those jets, all hell is going to break loose.
It seems the call with congress wasn’t wasted, the deal for Polish MIGs is apparently back on.
I liked her interview with President Biden:
Where we are at these days does not seem to bode well for November 2024, Trump wise.
Forgive me for feeling anxious. Here in Massachusetts, bastion of blue, a moderate challenger to the Trumper seeking our guvnahship does not really stand a chance, and that should facilitate a win for the otherwise unlikely Dem atty general who otherwise would not stand much of a chance, but regardless there are practically no GOP members of our legislature, so all this nay be good, but what about the rest of the country.
Specifically, the 4, 5 or 6 pivotal states that the GOP will do their utmost to conquer.
There will be very dire consequences should this happen, it would seem.
The foot dragging since January 6th in reaching some type of conclusion has to end. Garland is starting to remind me of Barr, purposely dragging this out. We can’t go into November 2022 with nothing accomplished.
The economy is doing well in spite of everything. More people are employed and swapping jobs. The population is still flush with cash. Biden has released the mask mandate. Read your NDd report.
The negs? Gasoline prices are higher and will go higher yet. Food prices are up. Supply chain is still being manipulated by companies. I do not see many companies failing today, you? Orders are high.
This was in my mailbox today.
And the Fed is getting ready to whack the peasants again just like they have done since Volcker. That will certainly fix the supply chain, a manipulated supply chain.
And then there is Russia and the Ukraine.
Did you ever watch the movie “My Cousin Vinny? There is a scene in the movie where the pretty (although gaudy in this film) Marisa Tomei starts to complain to Vinny about her biological clock is running, the daughter of her sister is getting married, etc. and when is Vinny and her going to move on to marriage.
Vinny (Joe Pesci) answers her about trying to save two kids from going to prison, a judge trying to jail him, not sleeping, etc. And asks her; Is there anything else?
Why do I get the feeling we are at a pivotal point for this administration? Something has to break loose here soon.
And we do not have any magical grits either.
You should have a look at this.
A Trump-appointed former senior advisor to the secretary of defense called Zelensky a ‘puppet’
(Sometimes even a ‘former Trump advisor’ could be right, as much as this goes against overwhelming popular opinion.)
But, ‘Wag the Dog’ was only a movie, I guess.
You should read the post. Already covered.
I should explain that the ‘the Trumper seeking our guvnahship’ would be the GOP candidate for that office, and he will presumably have a moderate GOP primary opponent. It is widely presumed that the Trumper will get the GOP nom, because a plurality of the relatively few GOP voters here are Trump supporters. It is most unlikely that the a Trump supporter will become our next guvnah.
No one thought trump would be elected either. It was the anyone but trump or Clinton who put trump in office. Here we are in 2022 and we still are suffering from the ignorance of a few during that election. Clinton’s election apparatus made apparent mistakes in Michigan. Michigan was Clintons for the taking if they had paid attention to the issues Michigan faced. Michigan, like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania had gone Democrat in nation elections since 2000. The state is turning Dem. 🙂
I am sure MA is different than Michigan or the other two states. They should put the hammer down on the Repubs. Never underestimate.
Presumably, arranging for Ukraine to obtain old but serviceable Migs from Poland (in exchange for F16s from us) will infuriate the Russians, and give them an excuse to include Poland in their expansion plans. Biden must realize this. Just as us providing Patriot high-altitude anti-aircraft weapons will be entirely unacceptable to Putin. It has been said that the Russian airforce has not been a factor in the conflict so far. Lets keep it that way?
It would be ‘best for the West’ if Ukraine were to achieve neutral status that would be acceptable to Russia, if that is still on the table. It would be ‘best for Russia’ to roll over Ukraine and move on to whatever their next target will be.
If a neutral Ukraine will not contain Russian ambitions at least for a decade or two, then we may just as well get this over with, yes? Go all out, eh? Had to happen eventually, no?
Best hope? Get Trump back in office, let him make peace with Putin. Let oligarchs rule!
Sure glad you were able to answer . . .
Staying inside the bastion of blue that is Massachusetts will have to be enuf for Mrs Fred & me, and our kids are in their own blue bastions out West.
In other news…
US assures nervous Baltics of NATO protection against Russia
Boston Globe – March 7
Planes from Poland and a new lend-lease program can also aid the war effort.
Boston Globe editorial – March 7
(FWIW, World War 2 was already well under way – while the US was still neutral – when FDR instituted the ‘Lend-Lease’ program that provided naval vessels to UK to use against Nazi Germany. What suggested here would most likely bring about WW3.)
Poland offers MiG fighters to the U.S. as Ukraine asks for help
Politico – March 8
The announcement Tuesday came after a week of back-and-forth negotiations about the transfer.
(This way, Russia won’t hold Poland to blame, if we turn those MiGs over to Ukraine. Hopefully.)