Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Swiss summit kick-starts Ukraine peace process

I have following the SWI for a period of time. When I get a newspaper, it makes for some interesting read. This particular article discusses a potential meeting of ninety countries. The peace process was initiated by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asking the Swiss to initiate such a conference. I can not imagine what he […]

Ukraine, Israel, and Biden:  lessons and questions

Some thoughts on recent developments . . . Elite persuasion and its limits News reports suggest that President Biden got Speaker Mike Johnson to put a Ukraine aid bill on the floor of the House through good, old-fashioned persuasion:  Biden and his team convinced Johnson it was the right thing to do by sharing intelligence […]

At least today, things are looking up for the Democrats

Haley  Nikki Haley is staying in the race for the Republican nomination, at least for now.    Why?  If she only cares about becoming president, this year could be her best shot even with Trump way ahead of her in the polls.  Trump may be convicted or become incapacitated, and she could win the nomination as […]

Ukraine update

The Yale historian Timothy Snyder first came to my attention in a footnote of an article in The New York Review of Books. The footnote gave a link to a series of 23 online lectures on the history of Ukraine, which I binge-watched over a period of about five days. I also read his books […]

War and Punishment

I just finished “War and Punishment: The story of Russian oppression and Ukranian resistance” by Mikhail Zygar. I’ve read several books on Russian and Ukranian history written by historians. Zygar isn’t a historian, and the style of this book is more of a reporter, albeit one describing history. The writing here is vivid, if somewhat […]

The making of modern Ukraine

For most of my adult life, I’ve learned history almost exclusively by reading books. I took American and World history in high school and two quarters of American history in college, but after that, I became a history autodidact. I’ve written several book reviews (and published three of them), but this is the first course […]

Democratic politics and the multiple audience problem:  the case of Ukraine

One reason politics is so hard is that our words are often heard by different audiences, and a message that is well-calibrated for one type of listener may work poorly for listeners with different roles, values, or interests. To illustrate:  Phillips O’Brien has a piece in the Atlantic with the headline “Time is on Ukraine’s […]

Are North Korean Workers Going To Annexed Portions Of Ukraine?

Are North Korean Workers Going To Annexed Portions Of Ukraine?  Maybe. An October 21 report in NK Daily says so, with further speculation on this matter on blogs that cover North Korea. Supposedly Kim Jong Un agreed to this with V.V. Putin in their most recent meeting. The number supposedly to be around 800-1,000, with […]

How does the war in Ukraine end?

Thinking about the election is depressing and anxiety provoking, so let’s focus on situation in Ukraine. Progressive Democrats ask Biden to negotiate with Putin This letter to Biden from some members of the progressive caucus is a big mistake, assuming the progressives want to save lives and prevent a genocidal Russian takeover of Ukraine.  Putin […]

Managing escalation risk and arming Ukraine

The desire to manage escalation risk – especially the risk of a nuclear attack – has clearly led the United States to withhold weapons from Ukraine.  We may also be slow-walking delivery of weapons or limiting quantities to reduce escalation risk, although perceived delays could be due to training and logistics issues or our own […]