On cranks with a nuclear arsenal – The Economist:
‘It cannot have taken long for Tucker Carlson to grasp that his interview with Vladimir Putin might not go to plan. His first question was about the threat posed to Russia by nato and America; President Putin’s response was a lengthy disquisition on Rurik, a Varangian chieftain of the ninth century, the medieval reign of Yaroslav the Wise and the depredations of the Mongol horde. To some on America’s right, he is an enviably ruthless pragmatist, a warrior-prince of white Christian nationalism. He came across as one of those cranks who fixate on an arcane bit of history, except that his obsession—Russia’s historical claim to Ukraine—is backed by a nuclear arsenal.
The interview, taped in the Kremlin on February 6th and released online two days later, was the first Mr Putin has given to a Westerner since the invasion of 2022. It comes at a pivotal moment in more than one way and country. A shortage of kit and munitions is hobbling Ukraine’s resistance. In America congressional Republicans have held up further support for Kyiv, mindful of the presidential election this November and Donald Trump’s candidacy in it.’
‘He denied any interest in invading Poland or Latvia (though he previously said the same about Ukraine). And he was asked about the hypothetical deployment of American troops to the Ukrainian front; shorn of the question, his answer is bound to be clipped and replayed. “Don’t you have anything better to do?” he scoffed, mentioning America’s border and national debt.’
‘Another lesson lay in his sneering hauteur. He faced a hand-picked interviewer who lobbed softball questions. Even so, Mr Putin’s answers showed no regard for the patience or interests of viewers.’
Read the article here.
Can we have dictators and tyrants who are entertaining?
Putin knows that the West is losing interest in Ukraine, he is ready for a deal, as many noticed, the question is, what kind of deal.
In the meantime Zelensky replaced the top of the Ukrainian military and according to NYT, the army ix exhausted and so are the air defense systems.
Numbers of casualties are still a state secret. Two hundred thousand corpses? More?
NYT: ‘Western officials and military experts have warned that without U.S. assistance, a cascading collapse along the front is a real possibility later this year.’
If Ukraine collapses, or important parts of it, the West might pay attention, but only briefly. Remember Afghanistan.
And Putin said: ‘Parts of Ukraine will do for the moment.’