Zelenskyy, the man, the machine

Analysis and Opinion

By Joe America

Somewhere between hero and puppet lies the truth about Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. I’ve read both opinions here at the blog and on social media. He’s a courageous hero. He’s a puppet of oligarchs, a corrupt bum.

My view? Today’s incessant simplification of complex situations into one-liners that define a man or woman is a nasty virus infesting our thinking, injecting conversations with fallacious arguments and misinformation.

If you read through Zelenskyy’s Wikepedia profile you can see that simplification does a disservice to the man. He and his context are complex. You can pull out any number of one-off events and say he is either hero or bum, shading the data to fit your bias.

Down about 80% through the Wikipedia article, you find that Zelenskyy proposed and got passed a law requiring the registry of oligarchs and a ban on their political engagements. Which narrative does this fit? Hero or puppet?

How many non-Ukrainian Zelenskyy critics or hero worshippers have actually lived in Ukraine and understand its politics and social dimensions? What percent of Europeans and Americans understand Philippine politics and social dimensions do you figure? I’d guess that 1% is high.

So these simplistic judgments are a waste of intellectual energy in my book. You are certainly free to operate as a tabloid reader or producer of simplistic nonsense, a conspiracy theorist on the move, no problem. Of course, of it reaches ridiculous proportions, I’ll see that my blog is not a forum for the dissemination of dirt. It’s my job, my moral obligation and contribution to wholesome discourse.

Here’s what I think of Zelenskyy. He’s smart, he’s courageous, his world is complex and high-pressure. I don’t have complete insights about him, but the free world is hitching a ride on his shoulders, and I wish him success. Victory, even, and the rise of Ukraine as a vibrant democracy and rich nation, bigger, bolder, and stronger for her trials.

He’s man, not machine. He’s got a job to do. We in the free world should figure out ways to help him do it.


Photograph: BBC News


267 Responses to “Zelenskyy, the man, the machine”
  1. “the free world is hitching a ride on his shoulders, and I wish him success.”

    Free ridership. Beautifully written. Thanks, Joe.

    Thought this cartoon relevant.

  2. Karl Garcia says:

    Chanelling Churchill

  3. Just leaving this history of the Ukraine here. 887 pages. Prof. Xiao Chua posted it on his page and kinda refused to further comment on the Ukraine as it is a complex topic. Same with Zelensky. Quick judgements don’t quite capture the many dimensions of reality. The measure of a person, man or woman, however is how he or she deals with crisis. Do I cancel one of my favorite boxers, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, because he has some pictures with the right-wing Azov Battalion? I see him standing his ground in Kyiv, a hilly riverside town in a country that is mostly flat, and say he is doing what needs to be done.

    Click to access file.pdf

    • JoeAm says:

      Thanks. Rather proves my point. Taking 887 pages and reducing it to a one sentence conclusion is simply not going to work in terms of objectivity, accuracy, or fairness.

      • Add to that this thread by Kamil Galeev on Russian and Ukrainian history.


        For me it is kinda like reading MLQ3 and Xiao Chua – their takes on Philippine history are both right but at first glance it is hard to reconcile a bigger picture, one feels like a judge listening to two witnesses telling a story about the same matter from different angles. With Xiao and MLQ3 I get a rough idea of the big picture as I have some background, with the book on Russia and Galeev’s thread it is harder, so I take both with a grain of salt.

  4. Micha says:

    The invasion was over real estate and territory Joe. Don’t get lost in the fog of war over personalities.

    Zelensky is both a hero and a corrupt puppet depending on whose side you’re standing.

    • “The invasion was over real estate and territory Joe. “

      I’m pretty sure that’s what all wars are about , Micha.

      The question is if Ukraine is the antagonist, and no matter how you cut it, NO… it’s Russia. Russia’s the one that invaded. Puppet or not, its Putin that decided it was a great idea to invade. And now people are unnecessarily dying.

      Please keep that in mind, before you get lost in the same hole chempo fell into. Its ironic for sure, that you and chempo are now in the same boat happily rowing nowhere, gobbling up conspiracy theories without basis, i’ve already shot down every idea you’ve presented, remember chempo’s flying surveillance plane up in Phoenix for that recount? LOL!

      Present evidence, Micha. Don’t become mentally retarded.

      • Micha says:

        What evidence do you want dickhead? This is a war over territory.

        The war in Afghanistan and Iraq was about defeating so-called Islamic terrorism, not about land dispute, so yes, there are wars that are not necessarily over real estate.

        • In every war, you hold ground, Micha!!! Thus every war is about real estate/territory!!!

          Are you now espousing that Putin is correct in waging this war because Ukraine is his? You’re obviously pro-Putin and have parroted all his propaganda, so put some skin in the game here forcrissakes! Don’t just parrot propaganda about real estate,

          is comrade Putin justified in waging this war? and whose territory is it?

          Put some skin in the game!

          • Micha says:

            The US already left Afghanistan dickhead, we are not interested in their land. We were supposed to only defeat Osama’s guerrillas and we got the motherfucker buried in the deep blue sea so we left and gave the stupid country back to the Taliban. That war was not about coveting their land, understand?

            As I previously stated, America raised hell when the Russians planted missiles in Cuba and attempted several times to overthrow Castro.

            And again, why is it okey to have NATO nuclear missiles in Turkey, Germany, and Poland and NOT okey to have Russian missiles in Cuba, Venezuela, and Mexico?

            So yes, to answer your question, the Russians has every reason to wage war over Ukraine because they perceived its intention to become a NATO member as existential threat to their national security.


            • “the Russians has every reason to wage war over Ukraine because they perceived its intention to become a NATO member as existential threat to their national security.”

              Now we’re cooking, Micha!!!

              And provide evidence please of the clear & present danger that justified said invasion!!!

              None. right?

              “That war was not about coveting their land, understand?”

              You think we were there just notionally , like up in the clouds??? No. Pieces of real estate was fought for. War.

              “As I previously stated, America raised hell when the Russians planted missiles in Cuba and attempted several times to overthrow Castro.”

              And when exactly in this little fairy tale you’re spinning, did we invade Cuba, and used missiles and sieged cities? War was averted due to talking, right? Remember your history?

              Again, wrong on all counts, Micha. All counts.

              • Micha says:

                You’re not paying attention, dickhead. NATO is a military alliance during the cold war. The cold war already ended in 1991 and Russia has since then been a capitalist country maintaining economic and diplomatic relations with the west. That was a golden opportunity to finally bring humanity, east and west, together. NATO should have already been disbanded. It’s raison d’être as a shield from the arch enemy is no more. There ought to have been a peace dividend with the fall of the Soviet Union. But no, NATO not only was maintained, it even expanded membership to former soviet bloc nations and is now set to also hook Ukraine into the club.

                That’s the existential threat to Russia that has the cold war now metamorphosed into a hot shooting war.


              • That’s history, we are talking now!!! Micha, NOW.

                Wheres the evidence of clear & present danger that Putin had to invade Ukraine? Where?!!!

                Stop playing coy, if you think Putin’s invasion was justified present your evidence, not a history lesson, that’s exactly what Putin did!!! LOL!

                People are dying and for what, for history lessons, Micha?

              • Micha says:

                What? You have not been appraised yet of the fact that Ukraine intends to become both a NATO and EU member?

              • JoeAm says:

                @Micha, Zelensky has said recently the Ukraine will not seek NATO membership.

                For me, the pro-Putin argument that has the most relevance is Putin’s belief that Ukraine is to Russia as Taiwan is to China, historically and ethnically attached. His taking the Crimea was a test case of the world’s reaction to taking control of Ukrainian territory and the world shrugged. It also shrugged at the downing of a passenger jet. So he went for the whole enchilada and the world did not shrug. The world did not shrug because the UK found out about the invasion and unraveled Putin’s lies, and because Ukraine has a strongman leader who actually led.

                If Putin wins militarily, he will be an occupier of a nation that does not want Russia there, and a world that does not. How this benefits Russia is lost to me. I think Putin miscalculated, corruption undermined competence of his military, and Russia is and will be a belligerant banana republic with nukes.

                Turnaround will have to come from within Russia to avoid an expanded war.

                Editorial note. Kindly stop namecalling and swearing.

              • JoeAm says:

                @Micha, I’ve removed your last comment for violating editorial standards of the blog.

                Make that the last two comments.

              • That’s your evidence of clear and present danger?!!!

              • Micha says:

                Yeah corporal dickhead, why don’t you go ask the Russians themselves just so you could be sure?

              • You’re defending Putin, I’m asking what is the basis of this defense? So “none” is your answer, Micha?

              • JoeAm says:

                According to his response, which I’ve deleted, he has already explained. Further provocation goes nowhere.

    • JoeAm says:

      Exactly, which is why your standing squarely on one side of the fence is misleading, or erroneous.

      • Micha says:

        Correct Joe. And me standing on the other side meant that I see your side as misleading and erroneous too – so better to leave it at that for now and we’ll see who will be vindicated later as the events unfold.

        • JoeAm says:

          @Micha, My side is anchored to principles of law, compassion, civility, and truth. Yours is attached to violence and power. So if we agree on the moral values, there is only one side and you aren’t on it. If we don’t agree to them, you are just one more zealot pushing an agenda.

  5. One of the weirdest photos ever related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict:

    Soyeon Schröder-Kim is the 5th wife of pro-Putin ex-Chancellor Schröder.

    • kasambahay says:

      that’s weird, madam is praying without joss sticks? ah, no need for joss sticks pala, she has got nord stream 2, lol!

      • She is probably a South Korean Christian so no joss sticks.

        Many of the Koreans who came as nurses to Germany in the late 1960s and early 1970s together with Filipinas were Catholics BTW, even as nowadays the number of Protestant (mostly born again) South Koreans outnumbers the Catholics who have been a substantial minority in Korea since the 19th century, especially in coastal cities like Incheon and Busan. Mrs. Schröder-Kim BTW pioneered in helping Sokor firms enter Germany for business, before she met Schröder because she was the one who translated his autobiography into Korean language. But Schröder who was with his 4th wife when he was Chancellor, our equivalent to Erap over here, chixboy popular especially with those from the working class and migrants, made her his Number 5. Schröder was also the one who signed the agreements for Nordstream at the end of his Chancellorship and then immediately got a post at Gazprom after his term, I only can say uy, uy, uy to that. But he is trying to talk some sense into his friend Putin now, this is the latest news I read – seems Putin might indeed see him as a friend, both grew up as poor outcasts, and Putin as they sarcastically say in Russia (never publicly of course) “only talks to God” nowadays, his wife left him years ago, married an oligarch, lives in France..

        • kasambahay says:

          upsy, daisy, schroeder talking sense to putin? beggin’ you pardon po, but I’m seeing schroeder as not making any sense as well, lol! and woefully stalling big time. shcroeder so unwilling to sanction his dearest and bestest putin, scared to have his fave nord stream 2 pet project iced and mothballed! better for schroeder to have his conveniences around, his german mansion warmed at 24 degree celscius; warmer than the chilling 18 degrees.

          true, putin only talks to the god present in his head, and that god’s name is not schroeder!

          putin got the better of schroder is what I think.

  6. Hmm.. the analogy between USA and Mexico isn’t the right one.

    Actually I am reminded now of the absurd US-Canada war in South Park.


  7. Micha says:


    Sorry for having been carried by the octogenarian corporal’s provocation. Promise to behave from here on out.

    I haven’t came across a news item on Zelensky’s turnaround about NATO. But if true, that is definitely a positive development which might finally bring Putin to the negotiating table.

    Is he justified in claiming Ukraine part of Russia? Maybe the southeast region including Crimea but not the Ukrainian speaking northwest region. So one compromise solution might be to divvy up Ukraine.

    Another is for Ukraine to declare full neutrality and free to engage in commerce and trade with both Russia and western Europe.

    NATO and the US should also stop provoking the ire of Mr. Putin by imposing more sanctions and providing military hardware to Zelensky. That just make Putin lash out even more violently.

    The UN could broker a peace settlement.

    • JoeAm says:

      You seem to think Putin wants to operate as a normal, peace-loving participant in the global order, and would respond nicely to niceness. I’m pretty sure that’s not the way tyrants work.

      • JoeAm says:

        Curious. Are you of Russian heritage? I’m having a hard time reconciling your positions.

        • Micha says:

          Just aspiring to become a global citizen Joe – not Russian or Filipino or American, just a citizen of the world trying to find our common humanity.

          I am NOT cheering the destruction of Ukraine. I say, understand what motivates the Russians.

          • JoeAm says:

            I agree with that position. But you can’t unwind done deeds, and if those deeds are offensive, understanding why and doing something about it disconnect. Is Ukraine, with its current borders, a legal part of Russia? By what law? Start there.

            • JoeAm says:

              From the UN Charter.

              1. The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.

              2. All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.

              3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

              4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

              5. All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.

              • JoeAm says:

                I googled several times to try to find what Russian laws Putin is operating under but failed. His arguments center around self-defense and human rights (alleged Ukraine abuses of Russians in several Eastern Ukrainian regions). There is a lot of commentary about the international laws being broken by Russia. I don’t see a path to a negotiated settlement. There is no foundation for it. Ukrainians are setting up for a long, nasty “Battle for Kyiv”. There is some complaint from within Russia but Putin is apparently not listening. Estimates are that some 5,000 to 6,000 Russian troops have been killed and about 10% of the invading army knocked out. Ukrainian troops are well-trained and have some effective tools (anti-tank weapons, night vision capability, anti-aircraft missiles), but Russia has a lot of power and keeps shooting and bombing civilian areas.

                What a ridiculous waste.

              • It was Stalin himself who asked for Ukraine and Belarus to become founding UN members, as they had a major role in resisting Nazi Germany.

                The only other not fully sovereign from the start UN founding member was the Philippines under Quezon. Anyhow Ukraine already had a UN seat when the Soviet Union collapsed.

                Putin is going by the ultranationalist Russian position that Lenin’s granting the Ukraine status as a Soviet Republic was never valid back in 1921, that Ukraine was “always part of Russia” (not true, even as the Kievan Rus was the first common state, there are Ukrainian memes comparing Moscow around 1000 – woods – and Kiev back then – churches with golden domes.. and Ukraine only became part of Russia when Catherine the Great conquered most of what once was ruled by proud Cossack warriors, that legacy is probably what Putin forgot, believing in his own propaganda of Ukrainians as soft, Westernized consumerists) and as Lance posted he is even going by the ethnic propaganda of Pan-Slavism which came about as a counter to ideas of Germanic and Nordic supremacy in the 19th century.. the thing about Europe is that historical claims can be made for nearly anything.. Bavaria reached all the way to Venice in the time of Duke Tassilo, hey why not go over the Italian border in Lederhosen, with flintlocks?

                European ultranationalists of every color have their own respective Greater Hungary, Greater Bulgaria, Greater Serbia.. so many 9 dash lines so there are also European treaties that Russia is part of that respect present borders, for peace’s sake..

                The Donezk and Luhansk Russians were settled there late, in Stalin’s time, a bit like Visayans came to Mindanao at some point.. the Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the middle of the Ukraine, even in the East like Kharkiv, don’t like Putin’s imperial plans.

                Anyhow Putin is in the wrong by both UN and Helsinki treaty rules (I think that is the correct name for the Pan-European treaties East and West once signed) and legalistic means are indeed the best way to keep all those old tribal and ethnic claims in check.

              • JoeAm says:

                Thanks for that great historical profile, Irineo. Answers my question perfectly.

      • Micha says:

        He’s a KGB colonel during the cold war, he’s got Russian pride and sentiment flowing through his gut and bloodstream, so to speak. He seethes at the humiliation and break-up of Russia.

        How will the west treat him?

        Show good faith and disband NATO might be a good start.

    • “The views of the critics on show ‘An Evening with Vladimir Solovyov’ clearly reflect an unease in the country yet despite this backing for Putin remains high, and many blame the West, and not him, for the pain of the sanctions.

      And the vast majority of the output on state TV is slavish in its pro-Putin, anti-West rhetoric, highlighting at length conspiracy theories relating, for example, to US bio-warfare laboratories in Ukraine. ( <—- this one's coming soon. )

      In another broadcast this week, Channel 1 launched a character assassination on Volodymyr Zelensky, a clear sign of Moscow’s concern that he is cutting through and has united the West in support of Ukraine.

      It deployed pro-Moscow Ukrainian MP Ilya Kyva who alleged Zenensky was an MI6 puppet who had secretly fled his country and was a cocaine addict, a favourite theme of Putin’s channels.

      The deranged attack accused the West of plotting the “total destruction of the Slavic world”, in a new phase of a campaign begun in the Second World War.

      It appeared so extreme as to betray a touch of desperation.

      TV anchorman Dmitry Kiselyov – aka Putin’s propagandist-in-chief – recently accused Zelensky of appearing “sluggish and insane”, also accusing him of being on alcohol or drugs.

      In another state TV broadcast encapsulating Moscow’s alternative reality, viewers were assured that “the service personnel of the Ukrainian army are laying down their weapons and saying that we are one people”.


      LOL! thanks for this article, Ireneo. How many puppet masters does Zelensky have?!!! this is worst than Sesame Street. LOL!

  8. Micha and Joe, whatever your positions are, Ukraine is owning the information/psy-op realm, hands down… respect.

    • JoeAm says:

      That is one aspect of the battlefield. It does not hold true within Russia, but it has unified the ‘free’ world against Russia. A second aspect is military. The third is economic. Military is unresolved. Russia is taking an economic beat-down, so is Biden at the pump, and my stocks have gone to hell big time.

    • I don’t think the US ever owned this realm ever, maybe in the early years of the Cold War like when Louis Armstrong went around the world to play jazz, but since then the US never had this advantage. too much hypocrisy, nothing unifying.

      But this is what…


      “John Boyd called this targeted information strategy a “unifying vision,” and it’s worth quoting his full explanation of it:

      For success over the long haul and under the most difficult conditions, one needs some unifying vision that can be used to attract the uncommitted as well as pump-up friendly resolve and drive and drain-away or subvert adversary resolve and drive. In other words, what is needed is a vision rooted in human nature so noble, so attractive that it not only attracts the uncommitted and magnifies the spirit and strength of its adherents, but also undermines the dedication and determination of any competitors or adversaries. Moreover, such unifying vision should be so compelling that it acts as a catalyst or beacon around which to evolve those qualities that permit a collective entity or organic whole to improve its stature in the scheme of things.

      To counterweight the negative objectives of moral conflict – menace, uncertainty, mistrust, and discord – you need to offer clarity, integrity, adaptability, and harmony. And therein lies the importance of information: you must be seen to offer these things. And not just in the offering, but in the delivery. “

  9. Turkish-German comedian Serdar Somuncu makes a statement about Putin.

    • The biggest unfortunate consequence of the COVID lock-downs is probably Putin.

      Dude’s like JD Salinger, but violent and with nukes!!! I take it back, Salinger at least was still human, no no … this is Rasputin level madness.

      “I come in peace, Micha.”

    • “Although you might have your plausible reasons, which seems worthless when you kill innocent people, nobody believes you anymore. If you want to kill yourself do it. But stop killing these families, children, old and young people.”

      My sentiments exactly, Ireneo!!! thanks!

  10. Micha says:

    The criminals who flattened Baghdad and hanged Hussein are roaming free and unrepentant. The US has zero moral ground to stand on in Ukraine.

    It’s only the merchants and profiteers of war who will stand to gain hugely in both Iraq and Ukraine. $200 million of arms shipment to Ukraine from Uncle Joe coming any time now. The stupids don’t realize this will only provoke the Russians to fire indiscriminately on both civilian and military targets.

    Or maybe that’s the point of the shipment in the first place – not so much to defeat the Russians or protect civilian population but to ensure maximum damage of the place and keep the merchants of war happy.

    • “Only primitives and barbarians lack knowledge of houses turned to face the Winter sun” – Aeschylus

      But remember, every war the US has fought since WWI they always sought to not only justify it, but also convinced other democratic nations of the clear and present dangers posed. Thus theres a process of buy-in.


      No, no, Micha… stupids don’t realize that Putin is not playing by the rules set post WWII, Putin is acting like a 3rd world despot even worst cuz he’s got nukes , going in and invading as he pleases. that’s 1800s stuff!!!

      So you are playing false equivalency, when its Putin and only Putin making these decisions himself. From all accounts of Russia , Putin has been isolating himself. So this is a one man war, Micha. Wrong again.

      • Micha says:

        Riddle me this corporal, what was the clear and present danger posed by Iraq to the US?

          • It’s a one man war, Micha.

          • Micha says:

            Blimey corporal, you’re also a sick joker. That’s the man who manufactured false evidence for Iraq WMD and sent of thousands Iraqi civilians to their deaths.

            Once again, answer the question yourself corporal, don’t outsource it to the war criminals, what was the clear and present danger posed by Iraq to the US?

            • The point was that Powell had to go to the U.N. sure it was manufactured, but W. Bush didn’t go into Iraq on his own, he had to get everyone on board.

              In the case of Ukraine, Putin just said de-Nazification and something about Ukraine isn’t a real country, didn’t even try to make something up. thus no clear and present danger.

              Ever since Powell lied, the West and NATO diminished in the eyes of itself, and to rest of the world. Arguably, you can see Powell getting smaller during that UN speech. No one listened to Biden about Putin invading Ukraine precisely because of it,

              I myself thought Biden was gonna invade and attack Russia first, all that skepticism and cynicism can be traced back to that Powell lie. essentially all wars post-9/11 (sure post WWII too) done by the US were manufactured , i’ve said that on here again and again.

              And why karl thought I was anti-war.

              But once Putin invaded Ukraine, and for what “de-Nazification”?!!! all bets are off. Putin was ascendant, every time he fucked with NATO he won, but he crossed a line with this invasion, and created a mess, that only he himself made.

              A one man war!!!

              See, the difference , Micha??? If you can’t see the different between Powell and Putin’s lies then you will never get it. And you’ll just keep yapping conspiracy theory crap like Mr. Lira. You have to be able to discern how its different.

              Again, your false equivalency is what’s bogging you down.

              • JoeAm says:

                If we accept that the point is that any cross border fighting is bad business, the equivalency is not false. I’d use Vietnam, not Iraq, a tragedy I’ve been to. 58,000 American lives lost over a mistaken premise that Viet Nam couldn’t handle its own business with China. But the US being brutal and breaking international laws by getting technical backing from others is not the issue here. Putin’s war is. And the idea we should give legitimacy to one man’s brutality because another man was brutal is bad reasoning.

              • Micha says:

                In short corporal, you acknowledge there was no clear and present danger to the US posed by Iraq. That much is clear. Now to the next question :

                Why are you bitching about Putin’s motives or justification for invading Ukraine?

              • “Why are you bitching about Putin’s motives or justification for invading Ukraine?”

                Because “de-Nazification” is false, only 2% of Ukrainians voted for them.

                And No such thing as Ukraine is also false, read Ireneo’s link above.

                Those are the two justifications used by Putin.

                Clear and present danger is necessary , though false in Iraq, the buy-in was there because of Powell’s “evidence”. In Vietnam (from French, to anti-communist, to who knows what), that was more like Afghanistan slow involvement, like a trickle of missions that kept on changing (first it was UBL then it was nation building), so I won’t classify it as an invasion per se. Iraq was a sovereign country, Afghanistan in 2001 was tribal.

                So apples and apples comparison here is Ukraine and Iraq. Not Vietnam.

                Powell gave a clear and present reason (nukes) though found to be false; Putin gave a history lesson. therein lies the difference. I’m bitching about Putin’s justification because he didn’t even bother to make one up!!!

                Essentially Putin didn’t give a reason, he just invaded a country because he wanted to! My issue with Putin is that he didn’t even veneer anything.

              • “But the US being brutal and breaking international laws by getting technical backing from others is not the issue here. “

                I hope you allow this discussion on Iraq and Ukraine to continue , Joe, because there’s a distinction here that’s very important , and that

                we must explore sufficiently.

              • JoeAm says:

                Sure, explore away.

              • JoeAm says:

                Some fundamentals.

                False equivalence is a logical fallacy in which an equivalence is drawn between two subjects based on flawed or false reasoning. This fallacy is categorized as a fallacy of inconsistency. Colloquially, a false equivalence is often called “comparing apples and oranges.”

                A straw man (sometimes written as strawman) is a form of argument and an informal fallacy of having the impression of refuting an argument, whereas the real subject of the argument was not addressed or refuted, but instead replaced with a false one.

                The Burden of Proof Fallacy. If a person claims that X is true, it is their responsibility to provide evidence in support of that assertion. It is invalid to claim that X is true until someone else can prove that X is not true. Similarly, it is also invalid to claim that X is true because it’s impossible to prove that X is false.

                The Personal Incredulity Fallacy. If you have difficulty understanding how or why something is true, that doesn’t automatically mean the thing in question is false. A personal or collective lack of understanding isn’t enough to render a claim invalid.

              • Micha says:

                Essentially Putin didn’t give a reason, he just invaded a country because he wanted to!

                That’s as naive a statement as anyone can make in this crisis. You think he didn’t weigh all the cost and the risks of invasion with nothing but pure whim?

                He made it clear after the 2008 Bucharest Declaration that they (the Russians) are drawing the redline when it comes to Georgia and Ukraine becoming a NATO member. They already swallowed the first and second tranche of NATO expansion (Poland, Czech Republic, Baltic states, and others) but they categorically stated Georgia and Ukraine is a no no. Totally unacceptable. They consider it an existential threat to what remains of Russia.

                After Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in 2014, Poroshenko revived the prospect of joining NATO and so was Zelensky.

                That Putin made the strike at this point is a strategy that is only known to him and his ministers. But it’s all about preventing Ukraine from becoming a NATO member.

                The de-militarization and de-Nazification aspect of it is what you might consider a garnishing of the main dish.

              • JoeAm says:

                Other than the ad hominem, that’s a good argument.

              • Except that Putin did miscalculate based on information available so far.

                Didn’t think that Ukrainians would fight back that heavily, in fact possibly believed Eastern Ukraine would welcome Russians which they didn’t.

                In fact the shelling of places like Mariupol and Kharkiv, not always that much in harmony with Western Ukraine, might have permanently alienated people there.

                Also support inside Russia might crumble as what was sold as a short military operation “not a war” drags on, which is why Russia is banking on fierce artillery and missiles.

                Even though it seems the “Z” movement best described as ultranationalist has the support of maybe 2/3 of Russians based on some analysts, the question remains whether they will manage to get Kyiv that quickly and after that manage to hold it.

              • JoeAm says:

                Right, but that’s a different point.

              • Well, I did mention in my talk I posted recently what the former US Ambassador to the Soviet Union George Kennan said: “Russia can have on its borders only vassals or enemies”. And also explained that paranoid tradition by what is said in the book “Prisoners of Geography” that Russia is basically plains, always subjected to attack from both Asian and European sides. And yes I even mentioned the geographical aspect that anyone who is East of Carpathian mountains can drive their tanks straight to Moscow. Therefore I don’t even disagree with the analysis that Putin feels threatened by NATO. What I disagree with is seeing what he is doing now as right in any sense of the word.

                And I do disagree with Putin having been purely calculating. Looks like he’s losing it.

              • “They consider it an existential threat to what remains of Russia.”

                Putin can consider anything they want, but w/out the clear & present danger it becomes pre-crime. And pre-crime is not a thing, Micha. that’s why a real justification is needed. Which the US always attempts to do, even though there are forces that do so subversively (eg. Powell’s speech to the US).

                This is where these two differ. Iraq and Ukraine.

                Right makes Might.


                Might makes Right.

                The first always attempt to do everything right (even when wrong), because Right makes Might.

                The second, don’t really care about right or people’s rights or any right at all. because Might makes Right.

                Civilization is built on Right makes Might. otherwise all other wars would’ve been like WWI and WWII, of individuals just imposing their Might.

                Look at Iraq, when Americans and other allied countries killed innocent civilians there was a long court procedure that examined their actions and motivations (I would love the ICC to do the same for W. Bush and Cheney, but we’ve not veneered civilization as much yet).

                Do you think, Putin back in Russia will deliberate similarly on human rights and rule of law, of his soldiers committing crimes? No! Its almost a given, we don’t expect this from Putin or Russia.

                Because they are Might makes Right.

                though the West can look like Might makes Right, the fact it always attempts to check itself even if just going thru the motions, means they are Rigth makes Might.

                “The de-militarization and de-Nazification aspect of it is what you might consider a garnishing of the main dish.”

                So what was the “main dish” that they felt threatened, Micha?

                “existential threat”?!!! if there was such a threat they could’ve pointed it out specifically, not in theory but what was it , was Ukraine amassing troops? did Ukraine have a nuclear program pointed at Moscow? were Ukrainianb assassins about to kill Putin?

                Even your “main dish” is a big nothing.

                its a strategic threat that could’ve been resolved thru negotiations. Not in war.

                See the difference?

              • JoeAm says:

                Well, the point is he broke international law. So the core issue is whether laws matter. They don’t to Putin or to Xi, so the response to these criminal acts (murder) do matter.

            • “They don’t to Putin or to Xi, so the response to these criminal acts (murder) do matter.”

              I get that.

              But just like you really can’t sue W. Bush (and Cheney) to me is neither here nor there,

              Putin ‘s act is so serious that he needs to be treated like Qaddafi, no courts for him for sure. Though I understand the West cannot do this, all the West can do is encourage Russians that Putin is no good for them. And IMHO the only way to do so is thru Ukraine.

              As you guys know from my EJK debates here, I’m not much a fan of veneer (rule of law/human rights), is arbritrary to me, i’m cynical and skeptical of American values too. But all I know is that men that give no fucks at all are dangerous. that’s Putin. Xi for me is still playing by the rules, the guy respects rules decorum.

              My point the response still has to come from Russians. But this coming bio-chem attacks though , we’ll see…

              • p.s.— I’m not a fan of the Arab Spring policy of deposing dictators, I’m just using Qaddafi here as example of people going after Qaddafi and doing heinous things to his body afterwards. but I would’ve rather that Qaddafi stayed to keep Libya still intact, so the fact that I’m pro-Putin being depose means Putin is so much worst, I’m thinking Russia will come up better leaders than Putin; in the ME it was almost guaranteed that everyone that would come up after was gonna worst.

                Subtract Putin, Russia’s better off.

              • JoeAm says:

                From john Scott-Railton on Twitter.

                Now, some progressive voices are minimizing #Putin’s atrocities.

                I get it. He’s inconvenient for certain cartoon version of anti-imperialism.

                Thing is, this dismisses the actual wishes, humanity & suffering of the people of #Ukraine.

                If you see yourself as a defender of the vulnerable, but your ideology leads you to deny #Putin’s documented atrocities…something has gone very wrong.

                Mental exercise: imagine explaining your position to a #Ukranian…between air raids.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                Here’s looking at you @Micha

                You mentioned Iraq. NO wmds found does not erase this.
                I do not sympathise with a mass murderer of own people.


    • Karl Garcia says:

      Saddam was innocent? That is bullshit he used chemicals on his own people!

  11. A comprehensive analysis of Russian army and politics as well as Ukraine situation.


    • The latest status on the siege of Kyiv:

      For comparison, Kyiv’s land area is slightly bigger than that of Metro Manila. It had over 3 million population but “only” 2 million stayed. In a land of plains that Ukraine is, Kyiv is rolling hills along the huge Dnjepr River. Probably the reason why the Rus, actually Viking rulers, built a fortress there, more like the wood fortresses of the Wild West but still formidable for those times, a joke for the Mongols who burnt the city down later. Lots of tunnels especially the underground built as a shelter against atomic attack in Soviet times. Allegedly the tunnel network under the hills of Kyiv is huge, meaning they have an advantage Manila didn’t have at the end of WW2 – lots of places for Ukrainians to hide and do hit and run attacks vs Russians. Sun Tzu might apply if Kyiv is occupied – “those skilled in attack strike from the heights of the sky, while those skilled in defense hide in the bowels of the earth”. This might explain the confidence of Zelensky and Klitschkos.

    • kasambahay says:

      salamat kaayo sa link. methink, thieves targetting the russian military, likewise the mafia that make ordinary russians’ lives miserable, the untouchable russian drug lords and barons preying on russian and world populace, the illegal arms dealers, etc. all owe their almighty presence to putin! he is their all time high priest padrino, just ask navalny! putin has spies everywhere, and knows everything. and all things that flourish in russia has putin’s blessing. he is master manipulator and center of corruption. putin is rumored to be the richest man in the world, those russians oligarchs are presumably his dummies, lol!

      and as angela merkel once told ex president obama, putin is mad and not in his right mind.

  12. Karl Garcia says:

    Russia defending its self????
    From what, lack of territories, real estate, people to harass???

  13. France 24 English with an update on the siege of Kyiv:


  14. Here’s a good video of what the West aspires to be (Right makes Might). Wittgenstein ‘s word games; and Heidegger’s advice of spending more time in graveyards to understand life. both posit to use philosophy to gain freedom.

    p.s. —Heidegger also started out a pro-Nazi. Putin wants to de-Nazify. word games and grave yards. anti- Freedom.

      • here’s another good video.

        from the link:

        “Solitude has the peculiar and original power of not isolating us but projecting our whole existence out into the vast nearness of the presence of all things”.

        In 1927 he published “Being and Time”, the work that launched him as one of the 20th century’s most important philosophers. His personal legacy was marred by his involvement with the Nazi party, but his philosophy inspired many of the 20th century’s great thinkers.

        Today his hut has its own hiking trail. On a near-freezing late October morning, faircompanies’ Nicolás Boullosa set off on a rurex adventure to discover the place that inspired this sage who the New York Times eulogized as able to “rethink the entire history of Western philosophy” at a time, not unlike our own, “when Western thought was torn between excessive idealism on the one hand and nihilism on the other” who they wrote was able “to restore confidence in man’s ability to ask the big questions”.


        Something went wrong with Putin’s isolation ritual. Drastically wrong.

  15. Micha says:

    At night, Bruce L. Jackson is president of the U.S. Committee to Expand NATO, giving intimate dinners for Senators and foreign officials. By day, he is director of strategic planning for Lockheed Martin Corporation, the world’s biggest weapons maker.

    Mr. Jackson says he keeps his two identities separate, but his company and his lobbying group are fighting the same battle. Defense contractors are acting like globe-hopping diplomats to encourage the expansion of NATO, which will create a huge market for their wares.

    Billions of dollars are at stake in the next global arms bazaar: weapons sales to Central European nations invited to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Admission to the Western fraternity will bring political prestige, but at a price: playing by NATO rules, which require Western weapons and equipment.

    The potential market for fighter jets alone is $10 billion, he said. Those jets will require flight simulators, spare parts, electronics and engine improvements. ”Then there’s transport aircraft, utility helicopters, attack helicopters,” Mr. Johnson said — not to mention military communications systems, computers, radar, radios and the other tools of a modern fighting force.

    ”Add them together, and we’re talking real money,” he said.”

    And if there’s war there’s even more money.

    • JoeAm says:

      That may be true, but my stocks are down 25% since Putin invaded, so something is getting lost in the translation.

      • Micha says:

        Buy Lockheed Martin, Boeing, or Raytheon stocks.

      • Micha says:

        More than the value of your stocks, what this news article reveals is that all this NATO kibbutz and clustering which irked, threatened, and provoked the Russians was the result of intense lobbying efforts and the desire of these merchants of war to gain more profits – endorsed and encouraged by some of the country’s most “wholesome” and “peace-loving” politicians.

        • JoeAm says:

          Arms are a big industry, no doubt, and the US has the capacity to produce them. Russia is also a peddler. The PH is buying weapons there. Poland, a NATO member, flys MIGs. Russia invests in missiles and nukes, probably more than the US proportionate to size. I don’t know what offensive missiles NATO has near Russia. The Cuba uproar over soviet missiles in Cuba was that they were offensive weapons. Russia objects to NATO defensive shields I know. It is not black and white, devil and angel I think. Ukraine did not get nukes because they did not want to irritate Russia. Didn’t help much.

          • sonny says:

            The Cuban case seems to me to have been the opposite & “equal” reaction to the fact that the US had icbm’s and USSR then was lagging behind. IMO.

            • JoeAm says:

              On that basis, Micha’s comparison is accurate. Defense of one’s superior position. Russia’s has eroded and Putin wants it back.

              • sonny says:

                From another angle of paranoia, Joe.

                Putin was not old enough to witness the Russian run over Hungary but old enough to experience the youthful ascendancy of the USSR as a young communist ideologue and then the bubble burst in 1989 thru 1992 during the implosion under the leadership of Gorbachev & Yeltsin. One of the images of that downhill slide included an ad showing Gorbachev as hawking a popular western product brand/franchise. Thus promising himself he won’t be a part of that humiliation.

              • Putin will be 70 this year, so he was 14 when Russia sent tanks to Budapest. But it might not have been on his priorities as he grew up in the tough part of Petersburg where Dostoevsky novels play. A small man in a country of huge men, probably often bullied.

                At the age of 47 he witnessed how East Germans ousted Communism. As a KGB officer in Dresden, he threatened demonstrators (in perfect German) that they were armed and that there would be consequences if they stormed their building. He was bluffing.

                What mystifies me is how a man born during the 900 day Nazi German siege of Petersburg, who lost his father to that siege, visits such misery on others. Grozny, Aleppo, and now several Ukrainian cities. Misery loves company might apply there.

                It seems he did once say something that one principle he learned in his early life was to hit first. As he is extremely secretive I wonder if he really said it. The Dresden incident did show street smart instincts, coupled with KGB-trained cold bloodedness.

                Not sure really if aspects of what Cha wrote about Enrile in this article apply to Putin:
                https://joeam.com/2012/11/05/johnny-and-the-drama-triangle/ – a man who will rather be the perpetrator than ever be the victim once more. Similar coldness though.

              • JoeAm says:

                Ah, yes. I wish he’d just written a book instead of trying to re-imagine Stalin.

              • Worse, I have the impression he is trying to re-imagine Ivan the Terrible.

                The following intriguing thread by Kamil Galeev (who I take with a grain of salt on some things but he seems spot on mostly) suggests he is trying to centralize the Russian Federation intensely by strengthening “courtiers” at the expense of “barons” (regional rulers) – which is exactly what Ivan the Terrible did to the boyars, the Russian barons of old. Though coddling the Chechen warlord Kadyrov is something Putin may yet regret.

                Galeev does suggest Putin might purge officials (like Stalin did) to have culprits.

                If the Philippines has its specific pathology when it comes to power dynamics, the kind of stuff MLQ3 is expert about, Russia has its somewhat different form of pathology and Kamil Galeev looks at it as forensically as MLQ3 looks at the Philippines.

                One similarity between the Philippines and Russia though is that both have extremely high power distance, one of the cultural metrics defined by Geert Hofstede. Bossmen are really bossmen in both countries.

              • JoeAm says:

                I like that concept of power distance. So very easy to see here.

      • “which irked, threatened, and provoked the Russians was the result of intense lobbying efforts and the desire of these merchants of war to gain more profits – “

        Great late-1990s NATO article, pre-Putin too, Micha,

        but what you are failing to account is that as of early this year, this year! Putin actually had EU thus NATO by the balls. if you noticed Germany just wanted to supply Ukraine with helmets. And NATO/EU even Ukraine were incredulous of the intel that Putin was gonna invade, i’m sure this is connected to what Powell (W. and Cheney) squandered 2 decades ago. I myself did not believe Biden (thought he was really gonna be the antagonist).

        But Putin from these pipelines had EU and NATO by the balls already. to the point where like good little ostriches just did not wanna anger Putin. Putin had ’em by the balls. So no one was irked, no one was threatened, no one was provoked, geopolitics wise Putin was on top of everyone in EU/NATO. And he made the US look like the aggressor country. but he invaded. When he really did not have to. Again because of them pipelines Putin had power over Europe.

        So your conclusion is again wrong. Wrong!

        • JoeAm says:

          Kindly scale back the ad hominem provocation and just discuss the issue. Thanks.

          • Sorry, Joe. The polemics is designed to smoke out Micha’s thinking on Russia and Putin, but the claim that all Micha’s conclusions have been wrong is a proven verifiable pattern , eg. Micha’s “main dish”. its true that it is provocation; but it is not ad hominem. Since the issue are exactly Micha’s wrong conclusions here.

            • JoeAm says:

              The issue is whether or not Putin had justification for invading Ukraine. It’s an imperfect world. It’s good to have Micha’s counter view and it’s good to have your argument. If the issue has moved to how propaganda works or how liberal and conservative groups have met ideologically to challenge America’s motives and moral platform on Ukraine, fine. But the seeming need for personal victory on the issue is overmuch. The discussion devolves and I have to try to moderate content like I’m a baby sitter.

              • “If the issue has moved to how propaganda works or how liberal and conservative groups have met ideologically to challenge America’s motives and moral platform on Ukraine, fine. “

                Joe, for me it didn’t “move” to this issue, it was always this. Like when chempo was selling us QAnon stuff, now we’re getting Kremlin crap from Micha. Putin gaslit Micha, and Micha attempts it with us. just like chempo.

                Maybe it s personal victory, but I just don’t like weak arguments posing as authority, Joe.

                I’m a Bernie guy, Joe, so I too am cynical and skeptical of American penchant for war. But in this case the US didn’t do anything.

                If anything the West/EU/NATO were complicit in always bending over backwards for Putin, now we’re seeing that China will get involved (preliminary news right now). When that happens we should just go straight into Ukraine all of NATO and everyone else fight for Ukraine; then stage in Taiwan too (everyone ).

                Because although I agree with Biden that he doesn’t want WWIII, saying it outloud IMHO is emboldening both Putin and Xi (not sure yet if China’s gonna support). So Biden should be more like Trump now, kinda unhinged and say hey you fuckers want WWIII let’s have WWIII.

                Call it a real bluff.

              • Kamil Galeev says something similar to your post in this thread:


                What is interesting is the application of game theory to hawks vs doves.

              • NHerrera says:


                If one relabels the standard Prisoner’s Dilemma matrix in Game Theory so that

                Cooperate = Dove and Defect = Hawk,

                and the values running horizontally as in the link is still

                3,3 and 0,5 for the first row of the matrix and 5,0 and 1,1 for the second row,

                then analysis shows that the so-called Nash Equilibrium is (Hawk, Hawk) that is each player thinking he will outgain the other player will rationally tend to be both Hawkish a (1,1) or equal value where the first item in the parenthesis is Player 1 value, the second item, Player 2 value.

                This is in contrast to the (Dove, Hawk) choice where Player 1 is Dove, Player 2 is Hawk. One can see the values (0,5) corresponding to this — Player 1 gets 0 value, the suckers value, against the big gain 5 of Player 2. [A similar statement for the (Hawk, Dove) case where Player 2 plays the sucker.]

                Of course, if both are Doves (Dove, Dove) the values (3,3) are equal for both and better than the (Hawk, Hawk) case of (1,1).

                So, on the basis of Game Theory rationality, don’t play the sucker being Dove against someone you know for certain is a Hawk. If you have a Hawk as an opponent, play Hawk too, or you end up being a sucker. Only when both are Doves will each get a higher equal value of 3 in the (3,3) element of the matrix.

                Sorry, guys, Irineo led me into this academic exercise, being a student still of Game Theory.

              • NHerrera says:

                Although not quite a Dove in the Ukraine-Russia conflict, the Hawkish Dove of the US/ Nato countries is quite careful of the Russian Hawk because of the nuances and complexity of the real situation. This link provides a view of that nuance:


            • “If they thought there’s even 20% risk you’ll escalate quickly brutally and very hawkishly it would greatly diminish chance they’d do anything risky. In a sense, your unpredictability is a shield against a malevolent will that is actively trying to hack you.

              Deescalation is insane because it shows you are super predictable dovy dove. And even if he had some concerns about playing hawkish before, now you eliminated them and showed it’s safe. So next time he’ll play even hawkier hawk – and that’s rational. You just showed him it’s safe.

              That’s exactly how WWII started.”

              Thanks, Ireneo. in policing and the military, there’s this concept of violence of action, where when you see its going down the toilet and side ways and over, you go all in just to ensure it ends quickly and decisively (in your favor).

              When it comes to violence when incremental, and the timing ‘s off , you’ll end up making things worst. So timing’s everything, but ensuring you don’t jump the gun or be late to the party is kinda difficult. hindsight is 20/20, but when in the middle of it all, less visible.

              China seems to be siding with the West now just getting some concessions from the US, but mostly like Xi’s gonna dump Putin likelier, unless Putin seals the deal soon. We’ll see. Biden needs to feign crazy. Unpredictable is good.

              thanks, good read.

              • NHerrera says:


                Your comment corresponds almost exactly to the rationality in Game Theory’s Prisoner’s Dilemma with the relabeling I described above.

                However, the internal politics of the US and EU have to contend with realities and nuances that change the “values” in the simple Prisoner’s Dilemma for the respective Western countries.

                The economist link in a way expresses these other considerations.

                Even, say, Rand Corp which is versed in Game-Theoretic analysis has to contend with these nuances.

                Thanks for your comment.

        • Pretty good reading…


          “After he thought the missile attack was over, Hieu ran back into his tent, donned the gear that he had bought for Ukraine, including a helmet, plate carrier with ballistic plates, and an E-Tool. Then rushed towards one of the burning buildings at the training center to see if he could help anyone, he said. Then another missile struck in the distance, so he ran into the woods and began loading ammunition into his magazines to keep himself busy.

          “I survived because the missiles struck the hard structures instead of the tents where I was,” Hieu said. “The Ukrainians offered to take anyone who didn’t want to keep fighting after the missile strike back to the border.”

          Of the 23 volunteers that had been staying in his tent, only seven decided to remain, Hieu said, adding he chose to stay because he still believes in the Ukrainians and wants to help.

          Hieu served as an M1 Abrams tank armor crewman from 2010 to 2017, during which he deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. After he separated from the Army, he worked as a defense contractor in Afghanistan for several more years until he decided to open a Vietnamese restaurant in Medellín, Colombia.


          “He noticed that only a few of the Ukrainians he has interacted with at his current location are older than 25. Most are young Ukrainian soldiers, likely because the more experienced troops are already at the front.

          Adding to the chaos and confusion, Hieu said that he and others are a little paranoid because Russians are believed to have infiltrated camps for the volunteers, and “leaks are everywhere.”

          “He was issued an FNC F3 assault rifle with foldable stock when he arrived in Ukraine.”


            • kasambahay says:

              apparently, volunteers who turned back reckoned the war in ukraine is suicide mission! there are volunteers who rarely get to see the front line though: the engineers, welders, metal workers, etc who are holed up in garages and repurposing the hulking remains of abandoned russian tanks. busy hives of activities those garages are, making semblance but effective weapons from drafts and drawings; testing, updating and upgrading the weapons to make them deadlier strike force.

    • Now info like this I’m a fan of, Micha! thanks! we’ve definitely come a long way from sticks and stones (i gotta feeling it’ll again come to that). like that recent Ukrainian tank ambush, at most by 2 squads of infantry vs. a column of tanks. The first sentence of Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina is: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

      its basically Anathem.


      Erasmus casually observes: “But even during a nuclear winter, when it can be cloudy for a hundred years, the clock doesn’t get too far out of whack.”

      The concent’s residents organize their lives according to a time scheme in which not just seasons, but nuclear winters, come and go. Outside the concent’s walls, the rest of humanity goes about its business like so many fast-food- and video-game-obsessed mayflies. Sometimes the “avout” — as the mathematicians and philosophers call themselves — look out their windows and see skyscrapers looming over them, but a few centuries (or millenniums) later, there’s nothing to see but ruins mined for their scrap steel. All the while, the avout tend to their knitting, which involves nothing less than understanding the most intimate secrets of space, time and the universe. They also dress like monks, copy manuscripts by hand and sing together at every opportunity.

      Dating back to his breakthrough 1992 novel “Snow Crash,” Neal Stephenson has made a name for himself as a writer whose imagination knows no limits, who mixes adventure with lavish doses of science and speculation and humor. 1999’s “Cryptonomicon” is the single greatest novel to emerge from the cultural nexus where computers, hackers and science fiction meet. “The Baroque Cycle” — a three-volume, nearly 3,000-page rampage that took as its subject nothing less than the Enlightenment and the birth of the modern world — was likely the most entertaining historical novel ever to feature Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz as key characters. For his many devoted readers, a new Stephenson novel is a major event. But the stakes are high. When you look back at his most recent work, you have to wonder, how in the heck can you top that?

      One way is to tackle, head-on, some of the most complicated and difficult questions that humans have ever posed for themselves. A vast and tangled web of fantastic history seethes through “Anathem” — 7,000 or so years of holy wars, rising and falling empires, global catastrophes and technological miracles. But there’s also all the philosophy and mathematics and theology that seven millenniums’ worth of smart people can pump out. To call “Anathem” a novel of ideas is to sell it absurdly short. Ideas are the pulsing lifeblood of “Anathem”; they undergird every plot twist, they dominate every dinner party, every road trip, every conversation.


  16. NHerrera says:

    Thanks for the good and timely read, Joe. Without the comments and counter-comments, we would have missed figuratively the full satisfaction of a meal — like a Chinese Lauriat?

    Regarding the latter, I would really prefer to seat in a 7-seater a night Sushi Bar prepared by a Japanese Master Chief along with the ambiance of the meal. But one has to spend an arm-and-a-leg to get seated in that sushi bar. And what a month to get scheduled!

    • JoeAm says:

      Ah, one of the most elegant meals I’ve ever had was served by such a master sushi artist in West LA. Older guy. We asked him to make us something special, his choice. My gosh, one delight after another, masterpieces of design and flavor. My first ever eel, two different types. Fortunately, my bold gf, who had the idea, was reasonably rich, so I didn’t have to re-mortgage the house. 🙂

  17. Karl Garcia says:

    Alleged provocation of Ukraine
    Intention to join Nato.
    Ukraine allegedly have a grudge for annexing Crimea from them. Of course who would want that?

    Now you say that Russia have to defend its interest?
    Micha please help me understand, what am I missing?
    Have the merchants of death sold them too much arms and those merchants have no right to sell their merchandise?

    Ano pang mga hugot ang kilangan hugutin sa balong malalim?

    • JoeAm says:

      One has to have a great dislike or anger of the West to be sympathetic to a ruthless dictator in an authoritarian state whose aspirations find killing innocents to be acceptable as a mainstream strategy to winning a military conquest. Micha is consistent in criticizing US warmongering and poor income distribution, making the US an easy villain in the picture, and making Russian talking points as easy to grab as Fox News finds them. I have no idea why Micha lives in the US. Some things I consign to ignorance and let it go.

      • JoeAm says:

        I would add that I think history is instructional, but it is not the present. The present has its own set of forces that are different. So if US aggressions are true, they are in history, and using them to shade the current circumstances is a giant time-based fallacy. To agree on the war we have to agree on the rules. The laws. Putin is breaking them. If one holds that he is justified in doing so it means the observer is setting himself up as superior to decades of ardently negotiated rules. One cannot win the argument because it’s just opinions unhinged from any real basis.

        US hypocrisy or historical errors are not a legitimate basis for authorizing the breaking of laws, today. Murder is murder. It is not legal because someone else got away with it.

        • sonny says:

          I like very much, Joe – powerful insight!

          “I would add that I think history is instructional, but it is not the present. The present has its own set of forces that are different. So if US aggressions are true, they are in history, and using them to shade the current circumstances is a giant time-based fallacy. …”

          There is history and there is journalism and there is real-time! We should resist the temptation
          to make everything or anything as paradigmatic.

        • Karl Garcia says:

          One more thing I understand that Micha is a Dual citizen or Fil-Am residing inthe US and how can he and the like use their free speech to rant like that against the West.

          • JoeAm says:

            Probably the same reason I rant against Badoy. Hoping to inspire a better nation. I dunno. I wondered if Micha was Russian, looking for some basis. Haha. Well, mysteries are mysterious.

            • Karl Garcia says:

              most of Micha’s postings are for the betterment of the world we live in, but some mysterious mysteries, I fail to grasp

  18. Karl Garcia says:

    Once China helps Russia that would be a sign that Taiwan is next.

    They already “sanctioned” US defense contractors as if they did not benefit from them.
    They are changing their tune on being neutral and is now deciding to help Russia. Oh boy I thought 2020 was the worst year ever because of Covid.

  19. Karl Garcia says:

    If Zelensky channeled Churchill in one of his speeches this time he channeled MLK in I have a dream but I have my needs speech to the US congress.

    • JoeAm says:

      Ah, yes! Guy’s a communicator. There seem to be a lot of Americans wanting direct conflict. Of course they bear no accountability for what actually occurs.

      • kasambahay says:

        the guy spoke his heart out! and still nato is not closing ukraine’s air zone. russia is still free to come and go and drop bombs from the sky.

        what zelensky’s impassionate speech got him is more aids for ukraine, food, military, medicines, safe passage for its refugees, etc.

        no war! likewise, nato is not closing ukraine’s air zone for that would highly probably trigger world war 3 and all nations of the world would be involved.

        nato is listening to ‘no war!’ – but. ukraine would just to be very imaginative, utterly creative and deploy all it can to thwart putin’s ambition of bringing ukraine on its knees.

        • kasambahay says:

          at the moment, the armed conflict is between ukraine and russia. and methink, nato would like to keep it that way: no spillover.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            The NATO head had many justifications and explanations when Zelensky blamed them for allowing the invasion to happen.

  20. madlanglupa says:

    A comedian who also happens to have a backbone.

    Nothing more is infuriating than an adversary with nuclear blackmail.

  21. Karl Garcia says:

    Russia is recruiting Syrian militia.If we recall Syria was bombed terribly. Survors of the Aleppo bombing speak


  22. Karl Garcia says:

    So there was a plan of a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan.


    Xi considered invading Taiwan this fall: FSB whistleblower
    Document believed to be leaked from Russian FSB claims Xi considered invading Taiwan in fall for ‘little victory to get re-elected’

  23. Joe the Kano says:

    We should also remember those self-styled human rights crusaders who shamelessly sucked up to war criminal Putin:


  24. Micha says:

    Western powers and the institutions they dominate appear to have different standards for conflicts close to home. While the World Bank has been slow to address the concerns of other war-torn nations, it has put together a $700 million package for Ukraine in record time. Some economists say the International Monetary Fund may be skirting its norms to send $1.4 billion in emergency funding to Ukraine.

    Meanwhile, those same Western nations are proving themselves poor stewards of the global commons. Take the cutoff of several Russian banks from the SWIFT financial messaging system. We have grown accustomed to thinking of interbank communications as a global utility; they’ve now been turned into a tool of Western foreign policy.

    Little thought was given to how countries such as India, which rely on SWIFT to pay for oil and fertilizers from Russia, would manage the fallout. It should come as no surprise that India’s reaction has been to look for a way around the sanctions by settling trade with Russia in rupees and rubles.


    • JoeAm says:

      I’m not sure proximity is the issue as much as affinity to white male nations. Ethnicity. Brothers. Russia is even okay as a totalitarian state because Republicans can attach to Putin with no dragging resentment. Indeed, they prefer him to democrats, whom they see as part brown and black.

      • Micha says:

        It talks about western powers in general Joe and the conflicts the author refers to are those in, I would suppose, Syria, Iraq, Libya. Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan.

          • “Moreover, in the long-term, Indians fear that sanctions will push Russia ever closer to China and expand Beijing’s control over the global economy. If some in the West worry that India is not lining up on their side, just as many Indians worry that the West’s notion of “their side” does not include India.

            Both are being short-sighted. Whether the guardians of muscular Indian nationalism like it or not, India benefits from Western patience right now as it struggles through social turmoil and economic underperformance. It needs European capital, Japanese investment and U.S. technology to modernize its economy — not to mention weapons and diplomatic support in order to stand up to rival China. Its media and ruling establishment should also remember that Russia caused this crisis with an unprovoked invasion of a smaller neighbor — and India can hardly be on the side of the aggressor.

            That is the point of the article.

            • JoeAm says:

              Thanks. Makes a lot of sense to me. Now as to Nestle, Microsoft, and other American companies that have not curtailed Russian operations . . .

            • Micha says:

              The article is an India-centric perspective, criticizing all concerned parties, in and out, so that India’s interests are protected.

              • Yeah, and balance positive then balance negative, the author concluded that America and the West are in the right here, and Putin’s in the wrong. Thus calibrate accordingly.

              • Micha says:

                In the complex interwoven world of geopolitics, right and wrong should be viewed in a broad lense of time and space.

              • “right and wrong” You can’t be “and” forever , Micha. You have to pick a side, as the writer of the article you’ve just share has done, he thinks Putin’s wrong. thus the West is right, and to act accordingly for India’s interests.

              • Micha says:

                The invasion was NOT unprovoked, that’s the one thing you need to wean yourself from in order to see things in broader perspective. NATO expansion surrounding Russia’s border was the provocation and they are drawing the redline when it comes to Ukraine. The never-ending expansion of NATO cheek by jowl to Russian borders provoked the invasion.

              • But what was the clear and present danger, that Putin had to invade, Micha?

                Remember you don’t have an answer to this question!!!

              • Micha says:

                If you’ve been paying attention, the clear and present danger for Russia are the NATO missiles right at their doorstep pointed in their direction in the same way the US viewed Russian missiles in Cuba as clear and present danger.

              • JoeAm says:

                This article discusses the missile situation. The West considers the missiles defensive but they can in fact launch cruise missiles. The US says ‘trust us’ and moves the missiles closer. Putin says “enough”. Something like that.


              • JoeAm says:

                Here is a detailed update on battle conditions as of March 18. https://twitter.com/thestudyofwar/status/1504950017542533131?s=21

              • Where were the missiles in Ukraine, that Putin had to invade to get to them?!!!

              • Micha says:

                It’s a preempted strike before fact. If Ukraine already is a NATO member as what Poroshenko and Zelensky intend to do, deploying missiles is as sure as night follows day as what they’ve already done in Turkey, Poland, and others.

                Plus, invading Ukraine after it has become a NATO member would allow for a great nuke power confrontation. So better do it now using just the conventional method unless otherwise necessitating the unconventional one.

  25. Micha says:

    John Mearsheimer is a professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago making the case in this video that Ukraine is the west’s fault.

    • That’s from 2015, Micha!!! Putin invading the whole of Ukraine 3 weeks ago, I’m sure would recalibrate Mr. Mearsheimer’s opinion!

      • At time stamp 30:50 (question/answer) the dude didn’t even think Putin would invade Ukraine! that’s his latest assessment, nothing more recent yet that i’ve Googled. But I’m confident he’d be against Putin for sure, Micha. given his answer.

        • Micha says:

          This is him March 3, 2022:

          • Around the end of that video, he says he’s against the Ukrainian war launched by Putin, Micha.

            • Micha says:

              John Mearsheimer is a good man who we could perhaps say detest violence of any kind. That’s why he’s saying the west should stop poking a stick to the bear’s face or it would growl and attack.

              • Putin thinks the West is poking a stick to his face, but as now made clear actually Russia benefited from the West rather than vice versa. Subtract Russia and the rest of the world continues, kinda like Cuba and Iran. So Russia needs the West more than the other way around.

                If anything its an example of biting the hand that feeds you. What happens to a dog that bites the masters’ hand? the dog runs to a different master, and the Chinese hate dogs!

              • Micha says:

                Get a grip Corporal D, the west is addicted to Russian oil among other things.

              • The West can just as easily divest, Micha. Look at the Scandanavian countries, and its so much colder there.

      • Micha says:

        He made that talk after the first bloody confrontation in 2014 between Russia and Ukraine over the Crimea and Viktor Yanukovych expulsion in a coup. The circumstances hasn’t changed significantly. 2022 is a continuation of the conflict from 2014.

        • I agree. The history and the strategic nuances at play is still the same. But Putin invading for no good reason is the new variable , and he says this in the video above that you just shared, that Putin’s invasion makes him sick to his stomach.

          • Micha says:

            For all intents and purposes, we could say at this point that Putin is the state. Ergo, his action in defense of the state is justified.

            • The idea that the state is allowed to do anything in its own defense is so very much what the likes of Carl Schmitt would agree with. Not surprised though.


              • Micha says:

                So how is the state supposed to defend itself, Irineo?

              • Carl Schmitt puts NO bounds whatsoever. The concept of state that the West has is that the state is constrained by human rights and international law.

                Sometimes that is screwed around with but it still civilizes the Leviathan a bit.

              • Micha says:

                What’s the international law that justifies NATO expansion after the cold war ended?

              • Where is the international law that prohibits it?

                Besides, Putin is the one regularly breaking the 1975 Helsinki accords.


                Russia also continued to be a threat after the Cold War ended.

                Transnistria, the Caucasus conflicts and finally Ukraine.

                Many who were once under the Russian yoke wanted to be in NATO.

              • Micha says:

                There you go, it’s an arbitrary expansion with no international jurisprudence to back it up. Conversely, there’s no constraining international law on Russian attempt to prevent that expansion right in its doorsteps.

                The Helsinki Accords had non-binding non-treaty status.

              • https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Ukraine-war/Japan-Turkey-say-invasion-of-Ukraine-breaches-international-law

                “Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Saturday condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as violating international law that bans the use of force and undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Eastern European country.

                The ministers agreed to closely cooperate in maintaining the international order, Hayashi said at a joint press conference with Cavusoglu after their talks in Antalya, southwestern Turkey, demanding that Russian President Vladimir Putin halt the illegal acts in Ukraine.

                They also affirmed coordination in reforming the United Nations, given that veto power by Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, has made the top U.N. decision-making body ineffective in addressing the war in Ukraine, according to Cavusoglu.”

                There are even Central Asian states condemning what Putin is doing now. International law is often fluid, an evolving construct and at times applied in major conflicts as Philippine law is to a fight in a remote island barangay, meaning fluidly or even hardly.

                In the global barangay, it does matter who you have on your side and Putin doesn’t even have much of an ally in Xi Jinping who plays safe. There is a certain fear of rogue types, those running amok, in island barangays and in the global one. Rules are there to hold in the beasts that humans can be. Like Lance said, there would have been other ways to reach a consensus, a binding treaty. Helsinki is seen as a gentleman’s agreement but one could argue that gentlemen of the old school count for little in a world full of thugs.

              • Micha says:

                Where were those ministers when it comes to Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan? Are the civilian and military casualties of those wars unworthy?

                War is basically primal Irineo. Countries and leaders decide every now and then to engage when they feel existential necessity for it. The Romans, the Mongols, the French, the Brits, the Germans and others have shown aggressive hostility toward their enemies all through the ages. Invoking law and civility is moot.

                Best thing you could do is minimize circumstances and factors that might led to it.

              • The one who might have answers or might be able to help us find answers to those questions isn’t with us anymore.

                Edgar Lores might say we are still far from being a community of mankind.

                The examples of India and Turkey as new regional powers in the present multipolar world, playing their own game in this matter, show that things maybe were somehow simpler before 1989.

              • Micha says:

                Exactly. Korek ka dyan.

                This current war could have been prevented if there was no aggressive NATO expansion and the peace dividend from Gorbachev’s glasnost and perestroika was taken by the west as a good faith gesture for inclusion. Russia could have instead been an ally for the west.

                China is the natural geopolitical enemy of the west but with the policy of expansion, the west drove the Russians into the arms of the Chinese.

              • Micha says:

                I don’t want to bring this conversation down to your level Corporal Dickhead because I don’t want to offend our generous host.

                But if your only input is to kill Putin, what will you do if he survives, Dickhead?

              • Ensure he doesn’t, Micha!!!

                Just like Qaddafi.

              • JoeAm says:

                I’ve removed two of your posts on Putin that could be read as threats upon a person. Why don’t you constrain yourself, stop harassing Micha, and move on. It’s the kind of argument that is tedious. It builds nothing. Not everyone has to conform to tour take on things. Thank you.

              • Micha says:

                Hilary’s Khaddaffi is not exactly like Putin, Corporal D.

                But if that’s your only prescription, I don’t think we still have much to talk about. Just beep us up if you already have zeroed in on your target, okay?

              • Micha,

                Russia has a long tradition of assassinating its rulers. And assassination in general amongst it citizenry (ie. novachok poisonings) is par for the course.

                That Russians will assassinate another leader is not outside of the realm of possibility.

                But if Biden’s rhetoric change drastically and he starts channeling h is inner Hillary, maybe just maybe Putin will adjust his course of action, and or the Russians will.

                I’m banking on the Russians following their pattern of behaviour when it comes to its leaders, Micha.

                Joe, that one was no threat. its history.

              • JoeAm says:

                The matter is how the editor of the blog reads it, not how you want it.

    • “For all intents and purposes, we could say at this point that Putin is the state. Ergo, his action in defense of the state is justified.

      So better do it now using just the conventional method unless otherwise necessitating the unconventional one.”


      Micha, you were against DU30’s EJKs (and Marcos and Trump) but you’ve just rationalized invasion of Ukraine using DU30’s justifications, eg. something wicked this way comes, and i’m the only one that can stop it.

      You’re now a pretzel, congratz!

      • Micha says:

        It does seem you’ve been marinated in the mainstream media narrative unable to see broader perspective beyond Putin and the provocations of the west after the cold war ended which made the invasion inevitable.

        Get a grip, Corporal D.

        • The invasion was not inevitable. As there were no clear and present dangers involved, except for the manufactured ones, eg. Nazis and bioweapons labs and nukes. if nukes were such clear & present danger, then Putin should’ve already invaded the Baltic states.

          Thus this is all Stockholm syndrome reasoing, Micha. Appeasement.

          • JoeAm says:

            I found the following article informative. It reviews the long history of Biden and Putin. For me it is a situation where I concede that Biden has better data than I could ever have, or you, or Secretary Locsin, or Micha, and it is time to let a leader lead without concocting some ridiculous claim of a higher insight.


            • “Since the beginning of his time as President, Biden has relied on his sense of the Russian leader to guide his own response. It’s even guided the way Biden deals with Putin in their conversations, repeatedly interrupting what he and aides see as the Russian President’s strategy of going off on tangents meant to muddle and undermine.

              According to a dozen interviews with White House officials, members of Congress and others involved in the effort, Biden has deliberately worked with allies abroad to deny the Russian leader the one-on-one, Washington vs. Moscow dynamic that the President and his aides think Putin wants. Publicly and privately talking about the war as a fight for freedom and democracy, Biden has left other leaders to speak with Putin.”

              thanks , Joe.

              That article makes me happy to know there’s some sort of gamesmanship happening at least.

              At least it s not this…

            • NHerrera says:

              @Joe, your link in

              JoeAm says:
              March 20, 2022 at 7:53 am

              Very good read/ informative indeed. Thanks.

              I like these two paragraphs, among others:

              “Joe Biden,” a senior administration official said, “has known Vladimir Putin for decades and knows exactly who he’s dealing with.”

              “President Putin can’t use a lot of his common tricks with President Biden, like trying to confuse people by going down long historical tangents or meandering into the minutiae of policies because President Biden sees those tactics coming a mile away and doesn’t take the bait. He’ll try to get President Biden off topic by citing an obscure section of the Minsk agreements or a speech someone gave in the late 1990s,” a senior administration official said, adding that Biden “is going to always steer the conversation directly back to what he’s come to talk about.”

  26. Karl Garcia says:

    What does Russia want?
    An end to NATO military activity in eastern Europe, including Ukraine, the Caucasus and Central Asia
    No expansion of NATO membership, particularly to Ukraine
    No intermediate or shorter-range missiles deployed close enough to hit the territory of the other side
    No military exercises of more than one military brigade in an agreed border zone
    An agreement that parties do not consider each other as adversaries and will resolve disputes peacefully
    Neither Russia nor the United States can deploy nuclear weapons outside their national territories


  27. madlanglupa says:

    As an aside — The Kingmaker is now on Youtube.

  28. On the question whether a promise not to expand NATO East was broken.

    A historical and IMO balanced take by Voice of Germany.


  29. NHerrera says:


    Business-minded people are the same everywhere. With McDonald’s getting out of Russia because of the invasion of Ukraine, a trademark for a series of hamburger food shops was filed in Russia with this logo of Uncle Vanya’s Burger:

    “B” in the Cyrillic alphabet corresponds to the “V” in “Vanya.”

    Order online, Lance, you may just like it. And have Micha to thank for it. 🤣

    • Yuck, NH!!!

      it’s probably gonn a be made of horse meat, and /or human Russian dissidents.

      I’ll stick with American cancer burgers with lots of antibiotics and other preservatives, to ensure my cells don’t age in perpetuity.

      • NH, this just in… I guess we don’t have to worry, McDonald’s will be reinstated soon. No Russian gulag for Putin, i hope.

    • kasambahay says:

      ano ba yan? sobrang pangungulila ng mcdonald’s, russians miss their mcdonalds and are resorting to copying mcdonald’s copyrights, lol! uncle vanya, uncle sam, pati yang uncle vanya logo is ‘true to color’ of mcdonald’s; the mcdonal’s sign turn on its side.

  30. On the Ukrainian Cossack heritage as the root of their warrior mindset:


    • NHerrera says:

      Informative, Irineo. Maybe embellished, but if I were a Ukrainian kid, I would love to hear Cossacks stories featuring those attributes.

      • NHerrera says:

        The current blog and comments and the atmosphere associated with it brings to me, Charles Dickens —

        “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

    • kasambahay says:

      taras bulba, my favorite cossak.

  31. Good documentary,


    “The word hypernormalization was coined by Alexei Yurchak, a professor of anthropology who was born in Leningrad and later went to teach in the United States. He introduced the word in his book Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation (2006), which describes paradoxes of Soviet life during the 1970s and 1980s. He says that everyone in the Soviet Union knew the system was failing, but no one could imagine an alternative to the status quo, and politicians and citizens alike were resigned to maintaining the pretense of a functioning society. Over time, this delusion became a self-fulfilling prophecy and the fakeness was accepted by everyone as real, an effect that Yurchak termed hypernormalisation.”

  32. Juan Luna says:

    The clear and present danger for Russia are the NATO missiles right at their doorstep pointed in their direction in the same way the US viewed Russian missiles in Cuba as clear and present danger.
    The Cuban missile crisis is a different animal than what is taking place in Ukraine right now.

    Cuba requested the then Soviet Union to place nuclear missiles to the island to deter future invasion. Ukraine never requested Russia to come in and invade so she will be protected. She was violated, in fact, which was not the case in Cuba.

    The US, in the Cuban crisis, has its national security threatened when the Soviets tried to install missiles in the island. In Ukraine, there was no such thing. She was just invaded because Putin wants to do so. Russia has already eaten parts of her (Crimea and two provinces), so why not take the whole part when she can and then plan for the rest of her neighbors in the future. On many occasions, Putin has expressed his desire to bring back the lost Soviet empire.

    That’s the main story and purpose of why Ukraine was invaded. The security concerns of Russia was just a smokescreen to justify the invasion.

    NATO is not the principal problem of Russia. What her main goal was how to get back the lost empires of the Soviet Union to be able to exert more muscles in the region. Even if she gets Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO, she gets nothing in terms of protection because the NATO is already complete and established deterrence against Russia’s expansion ambition.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: