No fly, no oil, no kidding

By Christopher Harper

Americans may disagree on many things, but it’s clear they take the war in Ukraine seriously.

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows an overwhelming majority of Americans (74%) support establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, banning U.S. imports of Russian oil (80%), and imposing further penalties on the Russian economy (81%).

It’s time for Brandon to realize he’s leading from behind. Again.

The Russian invasion poses a significant threat to various countries, including Poland, a NATO member and key American ally.

If Russia had invaded Ukraine 20 years ago, there is little question that the United States would be helping as much as possible. But the disasters in Afghanistan and Iraq have made U.S. leaders reluctant to engage in the world.

It feels a lot like America in the late 1970s and early 1980s after Vietnam when the United States was reluctant to engage in world affairs. America was tentative and fearful; Ronald Reagan changed that.

Although I support Donald Trump and DaTechGuy on most issues, I think they’re wrong about keeping out of this battle. I firmly believe that despite the troubles Putin and his military have faced in Ukraine, they’re likely to keep pushing their weight around.

As a result, here’s what I think we should do:

–Remind Americans that the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances of 1994 pledged that the United States, Russia, and others not to invade Ukraine, in exchange for that country giving up its vast nuclear arsenal. Putin has violated that promise. While America did not commit to defending Ukraine, the United States is morally obligated to do so.

–Impose sanctions on Russia’s oil and gas industry. Even though oil exports have dropped because of nervous shippers and insurers, Putin is still getting the product through to European and U.S. consumers. This move would likely push up gasoline and heating prices, but it will also have Brandon and his minions reconsider the need for American energy independence.

–Help to create a no-fly zone with NATO over Ukraine to allow an acceleration of weapons deliveries and humanitarian supplies. Some analysts and government leaders are concerned that such a move would result in battles with Russian aircraft. That is certainly a possibility, but Russians have steered clear of Western fighter jets in places like Syria and the former Yugoslavia.

Audentes fortuna iuvat. Fortune favors the bold.

Attacking Democrats on high gasoline prices is the best way to kick them in the gas this fall

By John Ruberry

By dodging a question on this weekend’s edition of Flannery Fired Up of Fox Chicago, US Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) offered up, unintentionally, perhaps the most vulnerable issue, and there are many or them, that Democrats face this fall.

That issue is soaring gasoline prices. 

After explaining to host Mike Flannery how Russia supplies a large amount of natural gas to western Europe, Quigley said, without proof, “That is going to be shut off.”

Then Flannery serves up a fastball query to Quigley. “So, if we end up with four-dollar, five-dollar or more a-gallon gasoline, that’s going to hurt Democrats this fall. What should President Biden do about that? What can he do about it? Because we have American oil producers holding back, they’re saying that your Democrats in Congress and President Biden are hostile to energy.”

“You know I don’t buy that at all,” was Quigley’s flaccid response, then the Democrat retreated to a classic fallback, the appeal to sympathy fallacy, when he discussed how he met with residents of Chicago’s Ukranian Village neighborhood, and then pivoted to another logic fallacy, appeal to ridicule, by attacking former President Trump, stating, in a great exaggeration, how Trump recently praised Vladimir Putin. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price of gasoline in the Chicago area, where Quigley and I live, was $2.47-a-gallon in January 2021, the month when Trump left office and was succeeded by Joe Biden. In January this year it was $3.56-a-gallon, more than a dollar more. I live in Cook County, where gas taxes are higher, I’m seeing $3.91-a-gallon now in Morton Grove, Illinois. Amazingly, again according to the BLS, the national average was only slightly higher than Chicago area prices, probably because the figures are skewed by California’s extortion-level overtaxing of gasoline. 

Apologists for Biden and the Democrats claim a post-lockdown economic turnaround is responsible for the gas price hikes. That’s a lie, the worst of the lockdowns were over in the autumn of 2020, when Trump was still president. Among Biden’s first acts as president was cancelling the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The Biden administration is halting or delaying new leases to drill on federal land. Less petroleum means less gasoline which means higher prices. 

Now, using the January 2021-2022 gas prices hike numbers, assuming you fill up your 15-gallon gas tank for your automobile once a week, you are now paying $16 -a-week additional for fuel. Spread that expense over a year and you are over $800 poorer now. And I was using the January 2002 price. And gas prices have gone up since then and they are headed higher, even Biden admits that, because of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Let’s Go Brandon!

Drill here, drill now, pay less, vote Republican!

Stop the Green New Deal!

“Fact-checkers,” the Ministry of Truth wing of the media and the Democratic Party, have produced numerous reports that such energy analyses as mine are “inconclusive” or “missing context.”  These “fact-checkers” are keyboard propagandist tricksters of the three-card Monte variety. Luckily more people are laughing at them, or worse, since leftists crave attention of all kinds, even negative, they’re now ignoring the “fact-checkers.”

So, Quigley, when he avoided Flannery’s question, admitted his party’s biggest political vulnerability, high gasoline prices. If Biden reverses his anti-energy policies, it can be a potent weapon, a non-violent one, against Vladimir Putin and Russia, by driving down petroleum and natural gas prices. Western Europe of course is a major consumer of Russian natural gas, as Quigley explained.

If Biden stays the course on failure–high energy prices will deliver an electoral wipeout for the Dems.

They’ll deserve it.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Ukraine and Korea, more of the same

In January 1950, Secretary of State Dean Acheson gave a speech discussing, among other things, where he thought US interests around the world sat. The United States had been supporting the South Korean government with training and arms to quell a communist uprising in their country, and had been so successful that it seemed they would be able to withdraw from the peninsula entirely later that year. Unfortunately for Mr. Acheson, his speech was likely one of several indicators that the Soviet Union used to ultimately decide that the US would not intervene in a Korean Conflict. Josef Stalin authorized Kim Il-Sung later that spring to begin his invasion, which kicked off in June of 1950.

The Soviet Union, People’s Republic of China and North Korea all counted on the United States not intervening in Korea. That turned into a miscalculation that ultimately cost over one million lives between the two sides and countless scars that are still visible in the landscape and culture today. It was a worthy sacrifice, as South Korea has remained a strong and independent country that demonstrates what a real democratic government can look like in Asia.

The Ukrainian invasion came as a surprise to nobody. Russia’s interest in Ukraine has been stated from the very beginning, and it has been calculating the time and place of an invasion for some time. Perhaps the most important reason it launched now, verses in the past, was the assurance that it could invade without interference from the US and NATO. Similar to Korea, the invasion is designed to be quick, precise and achieve victory in a matter of days. Whether it does or not remains to be seen.

Authoritarian governments bent on invasion will never back down from their intentions, but they also aren’t stupid. They all perform the cold calculations of cost when they consider actions, and those costs skyrocket if a country like the US, France, Japan, UK, or other nations intervene. The Russians and Chinese militaries aren’t without faults, and they know those faults well, and they do in fact fear legitimate military intervention by Western democracies. But as shown in Korea, when we telegraph weakness or even indifference, it pushes these calculations in a direction we don’t want.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Biden and Western weakness will hand Ukraine over to Russia

Bumper sticker that reads, in Ukranian, “Putin is a d*ckhead.”

By John Ruberry

“History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.” Ronald Reagan.

Contrary to the lessons that are almost certainly taught in American universities by leftist professors, large military budgets are not a precursor to war. In reality history teaches us something different.

As the Ottoman Empire declined in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Turks were faced with numerous rebellions and wars. They were on the losing side in nearly all of them, as ethnic groups and nations saw their opportunities, and for the most part, took them. One of those opportunistic states was the Austro-Hungarian Empire, itself in decline. Its annexation of Bosnia, nominally still part of the Ottoman Empire, in 1908 nearly caused a war in the Balkans. But a few years later there were two conflicts, the First Balkan War and the Second Balkan War, which, along with the assassination of the heir apparent of Austria-Hungary in Bosnia in 1914, and to be fair some other European disputes, set the table for World War I. 

The First World War brought us World War II, arguably the same conflict with a two-decade intermission, which led to the Cold War, then the collapse of communism, with eventually, former KGB agent Vladimir Putin becoming the de facto president-for-life of Russia.

Do you see where weakness leads us?

Last year, with the inauguration of Joe Biden, an emphasis on wokeness and diversity was pushed by our military leaders, instead of more important things, such as defending America and confronting enemies. Far worse for the appearance of American military strength was the rapid fall of Afghanistan. As bad as the fall of Saigon was for the image of the USA, the South Vietnamese were able to hold off the communists for two years after the departure of American combat troops. Afghanistan fell before Joe Biden’s pullout date. 

Which brings us back to Putin. 

Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. As soon as this week, Russian troops, including some in Putin’s client-state of Belarus, could invade the rest of Ukraine. While I am not an advocate of sending troops to Ukraine, now that is, if Biden had sent a tripwire contingent of American and NATO ally troops to Ukraine last summer, that very well may have been enough to scare off Putin. We have troops in South Korea that aren’t sizable enough to defeat the North Koreans, but an invasion from the north would almost certainly lead to a national outrage and call for a swift response to avenge American casualties and to protect South Korea. There are NATO troops in the Baltic States, and yes, Estonia, Lativa, and Lithuania are members of NATO, which are serving a similar role

For those calling for an economic boycott of Russia. Good luck with that. The best way to punish Russia in the pocketbook is to stop buying Russian oil and natural gas, the latter is a crucial energy source for western Europe. That will not happen. 

Biden projected weakness early in his presidency by waiving sanctions against the Russian company building the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 originate in Vyborg, Russia. It’s important to remember that between the world wars, Vyborg was part of Finland, but the Soviet Union seized it in the Winter War of 1939-1940

As for fossil fuels in America, Biden is instead hitching his shaky wagon to Green New Deal follies. 

Humiliating defeats don’t necessarily lead to more debacles. The first major World War II battle between American forces and the Nazis was the Battle of Kasserine Pass in North Africa, it was a fiasco for the Allies. 

What happened next?

The American commander, General Lloyd Fredendall, was sent stateside and was replaced by General George S. Patton.

After the Afghanistan rout, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, still has his job. 

Was anyone fired after the fall of Kabul? I don’t believe so. 

Worse, Putin likely sees Biden as not only weak, but as someone suffering from cognitive decline. At the very least, Biden and his top aides, were indecisive as Afghanistan collapsed, according to recently declassified documents.

Which brings us back to that Reagan quote. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.