The Kremlin-Putin War on Humans: The Last Five Months in Washington’s War-Family
The possibility that Putin could be signalling a new twist in the war that has lasted through multiple strategic phases in the last five months was worrying military and political leaders in Washington Monday. They reacted with revulsion that Putin has once again unleashed callous warfare against their friends and family.
Russian missiles destroyed a popular tourist site in the city and wreaked havoc on rush hour and a children’s playground on Monday. The terror wreaked on civilians in the initial days of the invasion had largely subsided in recent months, as power outages rolled across the country in places cutting off water supplies and transport.
The attacks snatched away the semblance of normality that city dwellers, who spent months earlier in the war in subways turned into air raid shelters, have managed to restore to their lives and raised fears of new strikes.
The message was obvious for the world to see. Putin isn’t going to be humiliated. He will not admit defeat. And he is quite prepared to inflict civilian carnage and indiscriminate terror in response to his string of battlefield reversals.
The new targets on Monday had little military value, and were designed to reflect Putin’s desire to find new targets because of his inability to defeat Ukrainian forces on the battlefield.
The bombing of power installations appeared to be a sign of the misery the Russian President could cause as winter sets in, even as his forces retreat in the face of Ukrainian troops.
The attacks on civilians, which killed at least 14 people, also drove new attention to what next steps the US and its allies must take to respond, after already sending billions of dollars of arms and kits to Ukraine in an effective proxy war with Moscow.
The lesson of Kiev is that anything Putin has done to destroy a nation that has the right to exist has only strengthened and unified it: John Kirby, the French President, and the Minister of State
The White House did not specify exactly what kind of advanced air systems were offered by President Biden, but said they would help defend against Russian air attacks.
John Kirby suggested that Washington was in touch with the government in Kyiv almost daily, and that they were looking favorably on Ukraine’s requests. He told Kate that they do the best they can in subsequent packages.
Kirby was also unable to say whether Putin was definitively shifting his strategy from a losing battlefield war to a campaign to pummel civilian morale and inflict devastating damage on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure, though he suggested it was a trend developing in recent days and had already been in the works.
It was something they had been working on for a long time. Now that’s not to say that the explosion on the Crimea bridge might have accelerated some of their planning,” Kirby said.
The rain of fire against Ukrainian civilians on Monday was also chilling, given that it occurred following Putin’s latest nuclear threats and days of debate over whether he might use a tactical nuclear weapon. If he does not, it seems unlikely – given his obliviousness to civilian pain – that any such decision would be motivated by a desire to spare innocents from such a horrific weapon. Still, Kirby said that there was no indication that Russia was activating nuclear arms or that the US needed to change its own nuclear posture.
The French President underscored that Monday’s rush-hour attacks in Ukraine could be a sign of another pivot in the conflict.
He told us where he was going to go in the winter. He is going to try to force the Ukrainian population to compromise and give up territory by going after infrastructure, Vindman said on CNN.
The chief diplomatic adviser to Zelensky said on CNN thatUkraine shot down 56 of the missiles and drones that were fired by Russia in a revenge attack for the explosion on the bridge that led to the annexation of Crimea.
“So imagine if we had modern equipment, we probably could raise the number of those drones and missiles downed and not kill innocent civilians or wound and injure Ukrainians,” Zhovkva said.
The lesson of this horrible war is that everything Putin has done to fracture a nation he doesn’t believe has the right to exist has only strengthened and unified it.
Olena Gnes, a mother of three and a war videographer, said in an interview that she was angry at the return of fear and violence to the lives of Ukrainians from the new round of Russian terrorism.
She said that he is still a bloody tyrant and that he is still powerful, so that it is possible to show to his people that he is still alive.
“We do not feel desperate … we are more sure even than before that Ukraine will win and we need it as fast as possible because … only after we win in this war and only after Russia is defeated, we will have our peace back here.”
The Trump-Bogoliubov Road Trip Taking Guts: From the Presidency to Post-Trump Health
One substantive — a train derailment and subsequent chemical burn-off that has potentially jeopardized the health of understandably angered residents of the town.
In the conservative National Review, Mark Antonio Wright observed, “This trip took guts…The moment reminds me not so much of Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump flying unannounced to Iraq or Afghanistan, but of President Roosevelt’s wartime travels across the Atlantic. There was risk associated with the trip. Traveling to the capital of a nation fighting a shooting war with a great power, the U.S. had no way to choreograph with exactitude the circumstances of his travel or arrival. The US and Ukranian have some control over the airspace. Neither the U.S. or Ukraine could guarantee Biden’s safety on the ground.
Seeing a political opportunity, former President Donald Trump and a cadre of other conservatives descended on the small town of fewer than 5,000 residents. Trump gave out campaign hats, “Trump”- branded water, and attacks against the Biden administration. Then, under political pressure, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg made his way there, too, met with local leaders and offered his own rejoinders for the former president.
But while political leaders are mired in short-term politics, people in town are concerned about the long-term effects of the air they breathe and the water they drink.
The Message of the Midwestern Governor: “We’re Standing in America” After the Devastation of the September 11, 2016 Missing Flight
“You are not forgotten,” Trump said. We will be with you. We are praying for you. And we will stand with you and your fight to help ensure the accountability that you deserve.”
Conservatives hold East Palestine as a representation of sorts of people the political parties value, because the community is in a county that voted overwhelmingly for Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
“The community has shown the tough and resilient heart of America,” Trump said, “and that’s what it is — this is really America right here. We’re standing in America.”
At a time when the country is in the midst of a political realignment that focuses on education and geography, there have been battles fought over what “real America” is.
Trump’s visit was an attempt to highlight that and put Biden on notice that his handling of the situation was not going to go over well with the GOP electorate and that he was going to have a hard time winning back the White House.
Under political pressure, Secretary Buttigieg, himself a former Midwestern mayor, made the trip to East Palestine this week, three weeks after the disaster happened.
The message that the administration is sending to the community is “leaders show up”, according to Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio.
Biden said Friday that he had no immediate plans to visit, but pointed out that administration officials were on the ground within “two hours” of the derailment. The White House has previously noted that included teams from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who were coordinating with local agencies and first responders and that the president was in communication with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and neighboring Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro.
“I have spoken with every single major figure in both Pennsylvania and Ohio, so the idea that we’re not engaged is simply not there,” Biden said, noting that he was “keeping close tabs on it.”
Reply to Regan, Trump, and the NJL Transportation Safety Board during the East Palestine Rail Disaster: Why he didn’t show up
EPA administrator Michael Regan, who traveled to East Palestine earlier this month, was sharply critical of Norfolk Southern, the rail company whose train derailed, for not showing up.
“They have to show up, and they have to make amends with this community,” Regan told NPR’s All Things Considered this week. They messed it up. They have to clean it up. They have to prove their legitimacy to the community and to us by taking the time to do so. Showing up to meetings isn’t a great way to start.
When asked if there was a lack of trust in the federal government in the aftermath of the disaster, Regan mentioned the importance of being transparent with residents and also being there.
While in town, Buttigieg called for stronger rail-safety rules, fielded questions from reporters and swatted back at Trump, while trying to stay focused on the substance.
The Obama-era rule required trains carrying hazardous materials to have electronic controlled braking systems, but Trump reversed the rule.
The former president didn’t mention his administration’s efforts to deregulate, but experts said it wouldn’t have applied to the train crash. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who went to East Palestine Thursday, said he regretted not speaking out sooner on the derailment.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s chair said that if the rule hadn’t prevented it other safety measures could have been used.
News from Homendy: The Left or Right? – Reflections on what CNN has to offer in the fight against the Left and the Right
But conservatives, who have descended on the town or called out Biden from afar for not being there in person yet, haven’t offered much in the way of real solutions to prevent these kinds of disasters in the future — like any regulations they might support, which the industry has lobbied against.
Homendy said, “Enough with the politics.” “I don’t understand why this has gotten so political. This community is suffering a lot. This is not about politics. Addressing their needs and concerns are what this is about. This should be about that.
To get this weekly column, sign up for a newsletter. We’re looking back at the strongest, smartest opinion takes of the week from CNN and other outlets.
Vladimir Lenin and the War of 1918: A Secret Rail Journey to Kyiv Sends Message Galant to the U.S.
In April 1917, an impatient revolutionary leader stepped onto a train in Zurich, beginning an 8-day journey home to St. Petersburg. Vladimir Lenin couldn’t wait to intervene in the turmoil that followed the abdication of Russia’s Tsar Nicholas II.
German authorities were happy to let the train carry the revolutionaries through their nation, hoping they would cause more problems for the government of their wartime enemy. And they did.
“Who could have imagined in 2022, when Ukraine’s situation looked so hopeless that the United States offered to evacuate Zelensky – and he famously refused – that a year later the Ukrainian people would have put up such a strong resistance, and the West would have given so much support for their efforts? That is, instead of Russian President Vladimir. Biden would arrive at the Mariinsky Palace, the official residence of the Ukrainian President, after attending a military parade in Kyiv.
As Frida Ghitis wrote, “The risky trip on Monday to an active war zone was not just a powerful symbol of American support, it was a shot in the arm to a population that has endured Russia’s devastating attacks on civilian apartment blocks, hospitals, schools and the power stations that provide heat and electricity.”
Jill Filipovic observed that “a year into Putin’s war, it’s clear that he is willing to sacrifice untold lives to cement his power and Russia’s imperial interests.” She pointed out the Russian president’s effort to ally with culture warriors by attacking the west’s openness to same-sex marriage, among other progressive values.
At home and abroad, Americans have a choice to stand with autocrats or against them. Or do we agree with those who don’t share our views, but we have to live with them?
Environmental Concerns after the Derailment of a Semiclassical Frequency-Frequency Railroad on Feb. 3 in East Palestine, Ohio
Biden’s critics cited another train – the one that derailed Feb. 3 in East Palestine, Ohio – to try to take the shine off his historic trip. The residents of the area were worried that their health and community were at risk because of the train wreck.
The residents of East Palestine were still waiting for answers three weeks after a freight train carrying hazardous chemical derailed, sparking a days-long fire in their town. The environmental group’s main concern is the ongoing impact on the East Palestine community where people are still reporting odors and health issues, chemical waste remains on surfaces and soils, and clean up and soil removal is ongoing.
A federal regulator called the derailment “100% preventable.” On Wednesday, the site was visited by former President Donald Trump, who said that people in Ohio were in desperate need of help.
Zelizer wrote that the president needs to reassured the residents of East Palestine and make sure that the town has all the funding it needs for a comprehensive clean-up while calling for the establishment of safety regulations that can diminish the chances of this kind of accident happening again.
Still, he noted, the president “has plenty to work with to dispute the kind of claims being leveled by a Republican Party that has focused much more on supply side tax cuts, deregulation, and culture wars than on addressing the kind of crucial issues to emerge through the situation in East Palestine.”
When Kara Alaimo and her husband traveled with their three-year-old on a quick trip to Florida last month, they left their one-year-old child home with extended family. “Travel is such a nightmare that we thought she’d be happier not coming along,” Alaimo wrote.
So Alaimo was pleased to hear that United Airlines will now allow families booking basic economy tickets to snag adjacent seats without additional fees for traveling together.
The burning question: Social media platforms should not be sued for the content of their websites, or why Nohemi Gonzalez’s family was killed by a terrorist group
The American living in Germany says that when someone blows by him on the left and then disappears over the horizon as if he were driving a lawnmower, it is absolutely frightening.
The “burning question in Germany at the moment is whether tens of billions of euros earmarked for new and broader autobahn wouldn’t do more good building out cycling highways, like in the Netherlands, or an improved high-speed, densely networked rail service.”
Cars and trucks are often found to be the cause of the nation’s transportation sector’s carbon emissions.
The Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), which has bipartisan support, “would require social media sites to default minors into the strongest possible privacy protections and give parents new tools to monitor harmful content. Social media platforms would be required to remove or restrict content related to suicides, eating disorders, and self-destructive behavior. It would require an annual audit of the risks to kids and make it easier to get access to research on how social media affects development.
Supreme Court justices admitted their confusion about some aspects of the online world. “I mean, we’re a court,” said Justice Elena Kagan. There are things we don’t know about. You know, these aren’t like the best experts on the internet.
They were looking at the legal status of Section 230, which protects platforms from being sued for the content of their websites. The family of Nohemi Gonzalez, who was killed by a group of terrorists in Paris in 2015, argues that online video sharing siteYouTube should be held legally responsible for promoting terrorist videos.
Social media companies must be held accountable for failing to quickly deploy their resources and technology to prevent extremists from inciting violence despite earning a financial bonanza across their platforms. Section 230 has allowed them to not make the investment.
The horrors of the Ukraine war: the humanitarian story of what happened to Oleksandra Matviichuk and her husband, Alexander Kohrs, told the media
“The DA may now seek indictments from a regular grand jury that may have read or seen Kohrs’ remarks – but those grand jurors almost certainly have her actual report, so whatever hints Kohrs has dropped are hardly news to them. Any potential targets might argue the statements will influence the trial jurors, but that can be dealt with during jury selection by asking prospective jurors if they heard the statements and were affected by them.”
Oleksandra Matviichuk documents the horrors of the Ukraine war in her role as head of the Center for Civil Liberties, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize last year. She said that the first weeks of the war were the time when she was most angry. “Anger that these Russians with their tanks and artillery and planes should decide they had the right to take away our freedom; anger that they should decide we Ukrainians can’t have a democratic future.”
“Together with other organizations, we have recorded over 31,000 cases of war crimes and abuse of civilians in cities, towns and tiny villages across our country up to the end of 2022. Yes, this is part of a wider effort, collecting evidence towards that goal of holding to account the perpetrators. We are also telling the human story of what happened, of the pain inflicted on individual, families and communities, to bring back some semblance of order.
Roald Dahl’s bestselling children’s books “Charlie, the Chocolate Factory, and Crimea,” by Fareed Zakaria
They would “read from their talking points and would not engage in a real dialogue. Minders from the Russian security services monitored every meeting and phone call. Putin had already decided to launch an invasion, and the Russians were going through a diplomatic process to lay the groundwork. The only question was when…The Russians did not negotiate in good faith before the war, and they will not do so now. There isn’t a off ramp until Putin is able to achieve his goals.
As distant as the goal may be, there’s a path to ending the war, wrote Fareed Zakaria. It is possible to imagine a cease-fire that allows the return of lands captured during the conflict. Those taken earlier, like Crimea in 2014, would be subject to international arbitration, including local referendums that would be conducted by international groups, not the Russian government. In addition, Ukraine would get security guarantees from NATO, though they would not apply to those disputed territories.”
The tradeoff that could be made to allow Ukraine to become part of the Western world is that it would allow them to achieve their long-cherished goal of becoming part of the West. It could be accepted by Russia if it were to claim to have protected some Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine.
Roald Dahl’s publisher decided it was time to revise some of the language in his classic children’s books, including “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” to make sure it doesn’t offend readers in 2023. The Daily Telegraph reported that the words “fat” and “ugly” were dropped, along with a host of other changes.
“In one paragraph describing the witches’ dedication to hunting children no matter what they’re up to, a sentence has been changed from ‘Even if she is working as a cashier in a supermarket or typing letters for a businessman’ to ‘Even if she is working as a top scientist or running a business.”’
“In Dahl’s day, women were less likely to do certain jobs than they are now, and we can accept in good faith that things have changed for the better. Here is to the people typing their own emails. cashiers are very respectable and many people still work there. The upgrade to top scientist is intended as an upgrade, but it also bears a trace of snobbery.
The original editions of the books will still be published by Penguin Random House despite the fact that some of the books have been changed for sensitivity readers.
In the Washington Post, book critic Ron Charles noted that the author revised some of his own work: “remember that Dahl himself later changed the original Oompa Loompas from Black pygmies to people with ‘rosy-white’ skin. As racist, sexist and ableist elements in beloved stories grow more indefensible, who is to say that they should not also be adjusted for children?
Do not cry when you are surrounded by a crowd. A warning on the need to be careful about what you’re doing, or what you might do
Don’t move very much, even reluctantly, not as a social warrior out to cleanse the world but as an editor working under the burden of a Hippocratic oath to do no harm.