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Mar 18, 2022·edited Mar 18, 2022

Here's the kind of peace that NATO should be pushing for:

1. Withdrawal of all Russian troops, including Donbas "rebels", from Ukraine, Crimea and Donbas.

2. EU peacekeepers replacing Ukrainian and Russian troops in Crimea and Donbas

3. UN supervised plebiscites in Crimea and Donbas (Donbas divided into four plebiscite zones) to determine sovereignty. Both Donbas exiles now in Russia and Crimean exiles now in Ukraine and elsewhere can return to vote, without arms, under UN and EU protection. All election results to be final and enforced by the international community.

4. Russia agrees to transfer a substantial portion of currently frozen assets to Ukraine for rebuilding. With the first transfer, lifting of sanctions begins, to be completed when Ukrainian rebuilding is complete.

5. No limits on Ukrainian rearmament, or ability to join the EU. Ten year moratorium on NATO membership, lapsing immediately in the event of any Russian attack on Ukraine or movement of Russian or Belarusian troops within 50 miles of any Ukrainian border.

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Jonathon, I own two military style rifles, a Ruger .223 cal. semi-automatic (Mini-14) and a Ruger Mini-30 (7.62x39mm), the latter equipped with a scope. I would like to donate these weapons to the Ukraine forces. Both are in excellent condition (I bought the Mini-30 new; stainless steel barrel and breach); fewer than 40 rounds have been fired through it). I have not fired either of these rifles in over 5 years; I have no use for them. I would also include several hundred rounds of both calibers. Is there any absolutely trustworthy agency I can donate these to and be 100% assured they will reach the folks in Ukraine who need them?

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I meant "breech" in the context of a firearm. In addition. I am prepared to donate a 4-figure amount of cash support to Ukraine, and I have to be absolutely certain every shekel reaches the innocent victims in Ukraine. Who can I trust?

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Shay Katiri recently pointed out that severe sanctions unaccompanied by clear signals that military retaliation will be met militarily (not just with more sanctions) tend to invite military retaliation. Assuming the Biden administration continues to shy away from even the appearance of militarily responding to Putin, what should we do about this dilemma?

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Answer to the headline question: The same way Ho Chi Minh negotiated with Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon, or the way Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan negotiated with George W. Bush...

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Damn you for making me cry at work, JVL. Definitely save the video for after the article. It makes for a decent emotional handkerchief.

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If you haven't already focused on it in the discussion, could you please explain the role of Western oligarchs (sorry, I can't think of a better word) in their Governments' actions? Like all the $$ invested in real estate in NYC, London, etc. etc....I'm an artist and have watched the auction and fair and art advisor scene from afar in horror - it is a money launderer's playground.

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We also told the Ukrainians we’d defend their borders. So much for our word, too.

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We didn't tell them that at at all. In the 1994 Budapest Memorandum the only thing we actually promised to do was to complain to the UN if Ukraine's territory was violated. Which we did. Also, Ukraine didn't have the codes to the Soviet nuclear weapons on Ukrainian soil, so the "but they gave up their nukes as part of the deal" doesn't mean nearly as much as it seems to on first glance.

What we need to do now is pour money, arms, and humanitarian supplies into Ukraine and feed them lots and lots of intelligence. For all the reasons Tom Nichols has ably laid out many times in the past couple of weeks we and NATO need to stay out of this war other than to "lend-lease" support Ukraine to the hilt.

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And of course we need to work hard behind the scenes to hold the sanctions, etc. together. I'm desperately worried about the immoral "realists" (like Mearscheimer and his ilk) in the West getting the upper hand in a few months when the West gets bored.

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Can anyone comment on Arnold's tenure as California's governor? What was the consensus of his performance there? This video, his post January 6th video, and his general positioning the last few years have done a lot to elevate him in my eyes.

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Arnold began with a lot of bravado and gusto - recall the ads riffing off Hanz and Franz talking about "political girly men" - and got a sobering smackdown as his initial push of his legislative agenda fell on its face.

But he learned from that, and afterward became a much more even-handed and capable political figure. He was already pretty liberal for a Republican (he was pro-choice and pro-environment, for example), so being the reasonable moderate certainly wasn't a stretch. He performed well enough to win re-election. And yes, his favorability ratings were low by the time he ultimately left office - but this isn't exactly an uncommon thing for politicians finishing out their second term, especially if politically, they have nowhere else to go from there (Schwarzenegger isn't eligible for the Presidency since he's foreign born).

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founding

As far as the day to day job of being an executive to manage the state government he did a remarkably good job considering his lack of prior experience. He was good at communicating his ideas to the public, much better at that than anybody since Regan. His agenda was very good I thought, improving the state's balance sheet, building up a rainy-day fund, improving the state's water infrastructure. But the state Republican party had been grown out of touch with the majority of California residents and was unable to win statewide office except for the very special circumstances that got Arnold elected. So he governed with the opposition party in power in the legislature. And he very publicly chose to take on the states two largest public employee unions (the source of many of the state's financial woes), and the teachers union in particular just hammered him in all the elections.

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I don't think his performance as Governor is especially memorable--- he left office with a 27% favorable 63% unfavorable rating. But the way he ascended to office through the INSANE California recall process damaged his chances of being a unifying leader. This is a fairly good assessment of his terms as governor.

https://www.npr.org/2011/01/03/132445643/no-hollywood-ending-to-schwarzeneggers-term

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I liked him, but he was a moderate with a liberal supermajority legislature so he was stymied in a lot he wanted to do. Who knows how things would have worked out with a freer hand. Ultimately the fact that he had a child with his maid and subsequent divorce kinda tarnished his reputation. All in all California has had much worse governors and at least he was never married to Kimberly Guilfoyle unlike our current.

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I know--- she is a kind of incurable venereal disease isn't she... I can't look at him without seeing her!

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Thank you for making me read that. I'm a crying hot mess, but it's something we all need to read, absorb and do something about.

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founding

Maybe I'm not remembering correctly, but during the years of the cold war our cold war defense policy seemed to be predicated on the idea of the USSR as a rational actor, and trying to avoid an accidental engagement or provocation that would be misinterpreted as preparations fora first strike. Putin's actions don't seem "rational" to the same degree as the USSR of old, particularly since his plans for a lightning takeover of Ukraine failed and global sanctions took place. If the rest of the world simply holds their present course, Russia collapses into the same state it was before the fall of the Berlin wall. This does not seem like a rational leadership approach.

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founding

Jonathan Last - Thank you for your writing and the work you are doing. I read the AP dispatch and cried. This is all so senseless.

I very much appreciate the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger and agree with his assessment of the Russian people. As in all wars it is the people who are lied to and lead to disaster - they are the ones who will suffer for Putin's idiocy.

I believe that the western democracies will have the resolve to see this through and we should all work in any way possible to support the people of Ukraine. I hope that we can avoid a nuclear conflict but I am afraid that is, unfortunately, in the hands of Vladimir Putin and his military leaders. I suspect that he may escalate this conflict with weapons of mass destruction (maybe even nukes) and if that happens the conflict will expand - we will have no other choice. Perhaps WWIII has already begun.

My final comment is for folks to read Timothy Snyder's book, Bloodlands, which documents the period between Hitler and Stalin in Eastern Europe. The book provides some good background, particularly about Ukraine's historical relationship with Russia and the old Soviet Union. Over 4 million people were intentionally starved to death by Stalin before WWII. With that background it is easier to understand the suspicion that Ukraine will have in any negotiations with the Russian government.

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WRT Negotiations:

My first thought is that we are not the ones that should be negotiating. We (and our children) are not the ones facing death or dying. These are decisions and things that can only REALLY be done by the Russians and the Ukrainians.

We cannot decide for them. We cannot force them to settle for one thing or another thing. It would be wrong for us to do so for the Ukrainians and I do not think it is possible for us to force (more than we are already trying to do) Putin.

Do you negotiate with war criminals? The reality is that you have to. It may not be nice or feel good or even necessarily be effective--but who else are you going to talk to? Who holds the power of decision?

Our jib here is to support the Ukrainians. But we have to let them decide.

Does that mean we change what WE do (reduce or remove sanctions)? Only if we then become part of the negotiations in concert with the Ukrainians--and only if we actually agree as part of that larger thing.

I would hope... will hope that both we and the Ukrainian people have the strength and dedication to oppose this evil and not reward it.

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founding

Putin has not attempted to rally the Russian people to support his war, instead he's lied about the cause and used his power to prevent the Russian people from knowing the truth of what's happening. His actions suggest that he believes his power and security would be endangered if the Russian people knew the truth. Eventually between the effects of sanctions and returning soldiers the Russian people are likely to learn the truth. What is his long term plan with regard to that truth? Let's say we could bring the truth to the Russian people sooner, much sooner (like through some combination of hacking and social media), might it change the course of the war?

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Well, now we know his weakness. How do you put poison in botox?

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Ha ha Botox is poison.

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Mar 17, 2022·edited Mar 17, 2022

I wish some of our US politicians had to witness and literally had to walk the Mariupol trench before tweeting support for Russia. Everyone should read the AP article and at least understand what happens when everyday citizens really have to defend democracy and freedom. Excellent post.

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The current Republicans wouldn't care. They have been brainwashed. Putin is good. Trump is good. Liz Cheney bad. Biden bad. Dead children good. Covid vaccine bad.

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It's hard to separate emotion from intellect. My brain sees the killing of civilians, the bombing of children, and starts to game out scenarios. What could escalate? What could retaliation look like? How do we properly structure sanctions to strangle military logistics?

Then I scroll past the hundredth picture of a dead toddler and my heart screams, "I don't care if the Russian soldiers are conscripts or not anymore. Kill 'em all."

We are living through a catastrophe. It could spiral out of control at any moment. We live in interesting times.

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