I'd like to see more attention paid to the idea that US policy towards Russia is an extension of the old British strategy. The one thing that could never be allowed was Germany with its industrial and technological prowess aligning with Russia with its vast resources. This was the real long term threat to their liberal order. Once you see that, everything from the first world war onward starts to make a lot more sense.

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Yes, the snakehandler's goal is to make sure no-one gets bit, but this analogy is wrong because we're not the snake-handler of the planet; we're another one of the snakes.

Yes, in the grand scheme of things it was probably unwise for the U.S. to expand NATO east of Germany. It was also probably unwise to not slowly cede security leadership in European affairs over to the Europeans after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

But neither of those mistakes is sufficient to justify, or even explain, Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Nations, even great ones, often put up with insults to their national honor and security out of necessity, or ideology, or just plain cost-benefit analysis. The U.S. tolerates the presence of massive quasi-governmental, quasi-criminal business-enterprises on its southern border directly degrading its own rule of law and killing thousands of its people with smuggled fentanyl. We haven't invaded Mexico or attempted to purge Sonora and Chihuahua.

So given that Putin is a snake, given that we can influence, but not control his behavior, and given that he has reached out and bitten another fellow-creature, what do we do? I would submit that *giving the bite-victim tools to make it hard to swallow* is hardly the worst response here. Sure, the bite victim is still getting bitten, and that sucks. We used to recognize that war was an unfortunate, but legitimate tool of national diplomacy - the *ultima ratio regum*, or last argument of kings. But helping the defender in a war does not mean you are in favor of every casualty that gets inflicted - it means you sympathize with the defender's struggle not the get conquered.

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>I come back to the astonishing failure of military prediction in the present war. It is, I think, true to say that the intelligentsia have been more wrong about the progress of the war than the common people, and that they were more swayed by partisan feelings. The average intellectual of the Left believed, for instance, that the war was lost in 1940, that the Germans were bound to overrun Egypt in 1942, that the Japanese would never be driven out of the lands they had conquered, and that the Anglo-American bombing offensive was making no impression on Germany. He could believe these things because his hatred for the British ruling class forbade him to admit that British plans could succeed. There is no limit to the follies that can be swallowed if one is under the influence of feelings of this kind.

What Orwell said of the Left then is only too true of the Right today.

I've been following your work for nearly a decade, but reading your writings on Ukraine has been a disenchanting experience. Sailer got it right from the start, Hanania and Karlin were eventually disabused of their Russia Stronk illusions, but like much of the Right, you're pretty late to the party. You've long been warning against the temptations of the oppositional reflex, but when it comes to the war, your epistemic competence has been impaired by spite-driven cognition. It's not only the libs who've succumbed to the deranging effects of wartime partisanship, who see in foreign surrogates the avatars of their desires. I get it, you want based Putin to humiliate your enemies by crushing their fake and gay colony and ushering in a multipolar world, to succeed where Germany twice failed. Alas, calling Putin a snake, a cunning and able predator, is too generous.

>As of mid-February 2023, it is really starting to feel like the Ukrainians are crumbling a little on the battlefield. The best indicator of this is the Pentagon itself, which may not have won a lot of wars lately, but which is neither blind nor stupid—and whose desperation to get more and better gear to the front is palpable.

When has this ever not been true? Ukraine has always been "crumbling" since day one—so has Russia. Such is the nature of a knife fight. Then they bandage their wounds and go for another round. Where you see a trend, I see a cycle. If you want to honestly convey the state of a war, you have to describe the state of all the belligerents, not just the problems of one side. The attempts of Russia's nominally elite units to storm Vuhledar give some idea as to the extent of their force degradation. As for artillery, Phillipe Lemoine—not a Russophobe—ran the numbers, opaque and speculative though they are, and found that Russia's munitions advantage is real but doesn't appear to be overwhelming or bottomless.

It's nice to see that you've started to acknowledge that the eventual outcome is uncertain in place of your usual strident predictions of Ukraine's inevitable defeat, though what changed your mind you don't say.

>Therefore, if I was playing China and my goal was to make the world a peaceful happy place to buy my cheap plastic junk, I would not send a fuckton of weapons to Canada.

The last time you made this analogy, you said that China was provoking the United States by arming Canada with "advanced nanotech Chinese weapons"—what are the real-world analogues of these weapon systems even supposed to be? The reality is that the West was hardly "flooding Ukraine with weapons" until the invasion—Obama declined to provide lethal aid and Trump did so reluctantly under the condition that the Javelins could only be stored in western Ukraine where they would presumably deter a Polish invasion. The initial defense was largely fought with the same Soviet junk the Russians use. Don't take it from me, here's Anatoly Karlin, a Russian nationalist.

>The reality (for Putin) is actually sadder; there was no major or concerted Western effort to built up Ukrainian power from 2014-22 (this is just very clear from the numbers). But it's actually more profitable for both Putin and Merkel to pretend there was.

Another one of your questionable notions is that Ukraine is an object of leftist enthusiasm, or as you put it, "the heirs of Pete Seeger […] baying for guns and tanks and blood in some Dnieper meatgrinder, as eagerly as they once sang for peace and love and flowers". It's strange you persist in this claim despite your debate with Ben Burgis, during which you both discovered common ground on this issue. The party line among Jacobin and The Nation, Chomsky and Pilger, Chapo Trap House and Radio War Nerd was unanimous in insisting that Russia would never invade. Once Russia invaded, they pivoted to the realist shtick, preaching that the strong do what they can the weak suffer what they must, that Ukraine must submit to Russia's demands, that weapons only prolong the conflict, etc. Basically, they see Ukraine as another South Vietnam, a corrupt reactionary American client state whose defeat would serve to embarrass the empire and get their rocks off. Russia for its part retains some lingering goodwill thanks to its Soviet inheritance, which is especially apparent in the careers of Russia hands like Stephen Cohen who went from admiring the Soviet Union to lobbying on behalf of its successor. Seymour Hersh just came out with some hallucinatory claim that Russia has an unscathed army of 350,000 regulars waiting to finish off Ukraine—any day now. And their suspicion of Ukrainian nationhood goes as far back as 1848, when Engels had already identified the Ruthenians as a nation of inveterate reactionaries fated for extinction and employed by Metternich to intrigue against the revolutions of progressive peoples, a prejudice confirmed in their minds because of all the stuff about the Holodomor, collaborators, decommunization, etc.

I'm also not sure how you reconcile your castigation of liberal nationalism with your veneration of Atatürk, the liberal nationalist par excellence. Turkish nationalism good, Ukrainian nationalism bad—how does that work? Wouldn't a Ukrainian Atatürk be doing exactly what Zelensky is doing—waging a war of national unification, imposing a unitary national identity, standardizing the language, westernizing his country, etc.? Turkish identity was also synthetic until Atatürk made it real, after all, nor was Atatürk without his foreign backers. You say liberal nationalism succeeds in combining "the mass appeal of nationalism with the highbrow pull of leftism"—that sounds a lot like your Caesarian alliance of democracy and monarchy, of orcs and elves, a formula for installing a ruling class of competent elites by popular assent. I mean, if it worked for Turkey… And if linguistic nationalism is a menace by which countries generate conflict in the realms of their enemies, one can understand why nations in Russia's periphery might resent their nosy neighbor for claiming an interest in protecting Russophone populations abroad and why they seek the protective embrace of daddy America.

It's all well and good to rant against the lib, but if Putin's conduct makes even the lib look photogenic by comparison—basically doing what Trump did but on the international stage—what does that say about the alternatives? It turns out that being ruled by our gang or their gang—boring Eurocrats or magical multipolar grifters—has profound implications for state competence. Probably the most bearish indicator for Russia is that the only people who will openly defend its cause are the same glue-huffing grifters and perverts who are magnetically attracted to every losing cause—and worse, Russian propaganda makes a point of pandering to low-IQ populist dissent. Haven't we seen this show before?

If Russia is ever going to pose a competent challenge to the liberal world order, maybe it needs its own Atatürk first. Alas, Putin seems intent on denying the benefits of liberal nationalism not only to his own country but to others as well.

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I detest when someone about to say something not entirely bullish about the Ukrainians, the West and the war begins with ritual disparagement of Mr. Putin. It matters not what is actually said or to what extent it is true—what matters is that the not entirely bullish figure bends the creaky knee to conventional opinion, and in so doing earns permission to utter a seldom heard disparaging word. The knee agreeably creaks and the dissident bleats: “I may be about to say unpalatable things, but recognize first of all I am no fan of the Snake nor of the Muscovites—no pawn of either am I”.

The creaker/bleater has taken the vax, tatted his chest, reaffirmed his incrowdhood, signaled solid reliability and hirsute obedience even as he ventures to talk bad boy dirty.

“Did I mention that I do not like and do not value the reptile Putin, the universally hated by everyone in the Bay Area not a dirtbag Putin, the argument-slaughtering Putin who must be disposed of before the plastic knives come out…and I carve”

I could not read the article after this craven, quisling, petitioning start.

I suggest a rewrite…

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Yeah I think the recycled chompsyian rhetoric I’ve seen from right wingers, who taste something bad in the milk, that Ukraine policy is all about weapon contracts and Hunter Biden’s paltry payoffs, are missing the mark. Theres many better ways to make money such as engaging in straight forward colonialism yet that is considered completely out of bounds

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There is the possibility that they are just massively incompetent.

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"Russia is never as strong as she wishes to appear, but never as weak as she looks." - Churchill in 1939 (paraphrased, maybe apocryphal)

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Curtis, the great question that you have yet to address properly is the performance of the Cathedral in diplomacy and war. You acknowledge in passing that you "almost wonder if we need better snake guys". Yet you do not elaborate.

I for one would love your take on what better snake guys would look like given the nature of the Cathedral as well as your ideas on the implications of the war for the Cathedral's future at home and abroad.

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To use a casual phone conversation, carried out with a prankster trying to coerce a silly statement out of a public official, to strawman our foreign policy position is a really duplicitous tactic on your part.

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Russians in Africa is real. Soon A restored Russian and Ethiopian alliance will emerge. Fatal blow to the GAE.

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Okay... I agree with this article's main argument - that this war in Ukraine is going on mainly because of the US State Department's crusade to make the rest of the world More Like US.

That said, now that combat has been joined, I'm actually worried about the consequences of letting Ukraine crumple too quickly, and I'm glad the Ukrainians have held out as long as they did. The reason: nuclear proliferation. People who criticize America's role in this war from the Right generally don't seem aware that if it ends in an abject defeat for Ukraine, then pretty-much every medium-sized country with a large neighbor - from Japan and Vietnam all the way to Turkey and Poland - is going to start developing nuclear weapons so as not to be the target in the next round of predatory war.

Here is an article by someone who understands this:


He isn't a liberal internationalist - in fact he blames the US for provoking the war - but he also explains why, once the war started, supporting Ukraine was the least bad option.

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Interesting tidbits from a document I found from the Federation of American Scientists a few years ago: “...descriptions of the traditional US role in the world since WWII...can be described in general terms of consisting of four key elements: global leadership; defense and promotion of the liberal international order; defense and promotion of freedom, democracy and human rights, *and prevention of the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia*

(Apologies for this getting lengthy, but here’s more on point four):

“A fourth element of the traditional US role in the world since WWII - *one that US policymakers do not often cite explicitly in public* - has been to oppose the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia...it incorporates two key judgments: (point 1 is that US interests would be threaded) ...point 2: “that Eurasia is not dependably self-regulating (at) preventing the emergence of regional hegemons, meaning that the countries of Eurasia cannot be counted on being able to prevent, through their own actions, the emergence of regional hegemons and may need assistance from one or more countries outside Eurasia to be able to do this dependably.”

Again, sorry for the length but damn, I think we’re obviously seeing this policy/ strategy currently playing out.

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They are certainly incompetent, because that is the outcome begat by the “selective advantage of dominant ideas.” That is the distortion field that afflicts all and any polity. That is the nature of our fall. That is the poison fruit of our intelligence. That is the intersection of our intelligence with our ambition and the practical considerations of a career.

There is no solution, but what Curtis has done is concretely demonstrated the distortion it causes . With that knowledge maybe we can move forward. Maybe.

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(hope you don't mind a late post! I meant to reply back in Feb)

Solid analysis as always. The strategy seems to be to cloak imperialism in the guise of democracy & egalitarianism, which is subtle indeed. That seems similar to what the French did, with their colonial "civilizing mission", although with some differences too. Your comments on the manufactured consent of democracy were also accurate. A quote:

[quote]In his famous 1928 book “Propaganda”, Edward Bernays explained: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”[/quote]

But it seems that our erstwhile masters are getting high on their own supply, and as military aid & sanctions are insufficient to stop the Russian bear, they're trying to *meme* a Ukrainian victory into reality. They've succeeded in convincing many credulous people into believing the near opposite of what's actually happening in Ukraine, all for the hamster race you describe at the end. As I said in my other comment, I look forward to Russian victory, particularly because of the imploding delusions, and the mass cognitive dissonance which should exceed 2016. It will also be the greatest defeat of Liberal Nationalism in its history, as far as I'm aware.

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Here also is what has happened in terms of results.



I do not support our Ukraine policy or still being in NATO, I’d love to see the 🇺🇸 Republic rise from ruins, but none of these things happened or are likely.


Our host never tires of reminding us politics is Power, and it’s goal is more power and to stay in power.

In the last 3 years the 🇺🇸American Empire has;

1. Crushed Domestic Populism Left and Right at home and in the core of the Empire; NATO via COVID and direct measures such as the bullet to Babbit’s throat, Jan 6 imprisonments, Trudeau having the Mounties ride down the Truckers, etc.

2. The people crushed in the American core and populism abroad a controlled farce, there remains our idiot regional managers in France and Germany who were being bought out by China and worse (France, Macron you oaf) talking openly of 3d ways for Europe and oh dear a sort of resurrection of the Russian Franco alliance that worked so well in the past.

---UKRAINE WAR and consolidating 🇺🇸 Empire. ---

3. China; 🇨🇳 It should be mentioned and not in passing that the Anglo way is indirect, and China’s Diplomacy globally for a decade isn’t just a daily shoe banging and pronouncements of world power but treating other nations in public as Drunken businessmen in Vegas talking to prostitutes.

Indirectly this along with the known grown ties to Russia 🇷🇺 required a most reluctant response (we had the entire rest of the Pacific on chasing us for strength and we’ve shown it).

The main checking of China of course was pulling our 🇺🇸 trained chip fab engineers and producers out of 🇨🇳 last fall by threatening their 🇺🇸 passports and of course interests. For those not following the story closer than comments allow 🇨🇳 has been trying to get advanced Chip fabs going for a decade, no amount of money helped because, well, they can’t keep a team together, of course now we know it was our team, or rather team 💵. Meanwhile Oaf Macron had to get his paws burnt fiddling round core Anglosphere statelet Australia 🇦🇺, and did.

4. PACRIM now in hand, and of course we’re reshoring into 🇺🇸 even dear friends from - Taiwan.

5. This leads us to the Atlantic Rim, or NATO; that’s now firmly under Uncle Sam’s tender boot, and soon we’ll be sending food aid to Germany and England again at this rate. 🇺🇸 EMPIRE secure. No more indiscreet Infidelity from core satellites.

6. In a wise move, Japan rearms, while she still can. She’s also very close to the Liberals in the floating Chip Fab of Taiwan 🇹🇼 BTW who have fond memories.

The KMT most will be surprised to learn would prefer reunification with China.

7. Most important results for 🇺🇸 Americans is we’ve just rediscovered Industrial War and are reshoring to American shores (and when not, away from China) and the biggest problem for American manufacturers is too small and old a labor base, but that will change. > at last something for we MAGA types (it is wise to grant concessions after crushing dissent).

8. Reshoring is already a Tidal Wave, here;


9. Again important to us MAGA types isn’t just jobs, but you know ah well we’re going to need resources and secure supply chains; which means PROFITABLE wars Mr. Yarvin, in the Southern Hemisphere of course, which means need WiPipo.

10. Good news is there’s an excellent chance the entire effort will get pushed into an infinitely safe direction- the Infinite.



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I’m very interested to see the comments on for this matter, 🤔

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