Society - March 3
Editor's take on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the State of the Union
Editor’s Note: on Day 8 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine
..parsing a dictator’s words to help make sense of a murky and devastating conflict
Any news site we go to features Russia's invasion of Ukraine with the latest destruction, battles, timeline of events and whatever other details have been reported across the world. Each news site is trying to understand how the conflict will play out and have presented theories as to why now and what is Putin’s aim. It’s impossible to take a dictator at his word - or more specifically to trust he is being forthright with his reasoning. But if what he said provides any clues as to the pretense he may use to extend the conflict, here are some thoughts from the editor with what we know today:
Punishment and mercy - how the West is battling Russia and helping Ukraine
..and who is eerily just watching..
The United Nations voted overwhelmingly (141-5) yesterday to reprimand Russia for it’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. Now labeled a pariah state, the only nations to vote with Russia were Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea and Syria. If you didn’t know how many economic sanctions were levied, that vote alone symbolizes a nation that officially has lost its world power status. North Korea and Syria are pariah states themselves; Belarus was one of the launch pads for the illegal invasion; and Eritrea is barely mentioned in world affairs.
Before the UN vote on February 26, the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States united to declare:
In a convergence of crises, President Biden addresses the nation
Highlights and suggestions for the next State of the Union..
To describe this moment in history, you have to ask yourself what do you prioritize? On the global stage, Ukraine is top of mind and it would have been shocking if it did not lead the President’s speech. Yet in a post-speech poll conducted by CNN, 64% of speech watchers thought the economy was more important than what is happening in Ukraine. In this moment, America is simultaneously grappling with an authoritarian attempting to forge his place in history with thousands of nuclear weapons at his disposal, a prominent economic trade partner that prefers we never speak of ongoing genocide in its nation, the aftermath of withdrawing from the longest war in American history, the dire plight of the Yemeni who suffered dearly from billions of American arms sold to Saudi Arabia, a startingly low COVID vaccination rate in developing nations due to vaccine shortages..and that’s just some of the pressing issues in foreign policy.
Framed against the moment, there is no perfect speech but the speech could have varied from a calamitous harbinger of nuclear war to the President laying out his vision for a global democracy renewal (via the Summit for Democracy). This speech did neither and given it was watched by less than 1 in 10 Americans (the lowest number of viewers since Obama left office), here is a collection of highlights categorized as: Bravo Joe!, What? and Are you saving this for the next State of the Union?