I’m going to be taking a bit of a vacation for the next few weeks and remaining blissfully unplugged from the news. Then again, when I’ve taken a vacation in the past, I’ve found that the world has a tendency to fall apart when I am not there to personally hold it together: a presidential candidate blows a 15-point lead in the polls, somebody starts a new war in the Middle East, there is a global financial crisis. So if something really big happens, I might be dragged back in for a comment.
In the hope that this will not be necessary, I’ll provide one last news roundup below, then over the next few weeks a couple of articles and interviews that I’ve already put in the bank will come out at Discourse, at Symposium, and in The Tracinski Letter.
“Catastrophically Short of Artillery Barrels”
In Ukraine, the battle for Sverodonetsk still rages, but one Ukrainian commander sums up the situation.
“There is no problem here that we have bad positions or we maneuver badly or choose a good position,” Petro Kuzyk, commander of the Svoboda battalion, said. “The problem is that we are catastrophically short of artillery barrels.”
It’s that simple. In the battle for the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine, the Russians have been able to use their one big advantage: their ability to deploy massive amounts of concentrated artillery and subject their enemies to hellish bombardment. Heavy weapons and artillery provided to the Ukrainians by America and the Europeans are not making their way onto the battlefield fast enough or in large enough quantities—not yet.
My concern is that too many Western countries are approaching this the way bureaucrats tend to do: Their goal is not to achieve a result, but just to show that they are doing something in order to mollify their political critics. So we may be missing the opportunity to destroy the Russian army now, while it is in the field and in range of an ally with a proven willingness and ability to fight.
This is the battle for the Donbas, not the battle for Kyiv. But the worry is that if Russia can solidify its hold over Eastern Ukraine, it will declare a cease-fire and then wait for Western resolve to fade, as it usually has in the past, then use the time rebuild for a new assault on Ukraine a year from now.
I am still optimistic about the outcome of this war, but it is far from a foregone conclusion, and our dreams of breaking up the Russian empire should wait until we’ve actually destroyed Putin’s army.
I have become somewhat disillusioned with anti-woke conservatives, who increasingly seem to want to fight wokeness by embodying all of its worst caricatures. Instead, I’m holding out hope for the anti-woke liberals, like the ones who voted out the school board in San Francisco earlier this year because rather than keep the schools open, the board was more interested in making sure the empty buildings had Politically Correct names.
What we need is what helped pull us back from the brink in the 1980s: The proverbial liberal who has been mugged. That might be very literally the case in San Francisco, where people just headed to the polls again and voted to recall their District Attorney, Chesa Boudin.
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