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Tag: vladimir putin

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Russian Soldiers Reported To Sabotage Putin’s War On Ukraine

Members of the Russian's armed forces have reportedly been mulling over ideas to deliberately sabotage their own military operations in an effort to impede Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war efforts to continue his invasion of Ukraine.

According to The Daily Beast, the latest developments reportedly stem from "recordings of alleged Russian troops’ phone calls that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) intercepted."

During one conversation, an alleged Russian soldier claimed they'd been funneling sand into their tankers' fuel systems to create clogging issues.

“I don't follow stupid orders, I simply refuse,” one fighter was reportedly heard telling a fellow comrade-in-arms. “The motherf*cker sent me to tanks, motherf*cking piece of shit. I f*cked it up and that's it.”

Another Russian soldier also admitted that he and multiple of his fellow comrades had intentionally "damaged their tank—the last one left in their regiment—to interfere with an attack plan," per another document shared by the SBU. “We have one tank left in the regiment,” he said. “In short, we broke our tank ourselves in the morning so as not to go.”


However, the Beast reports that these aren't the only efforts being made to obstruct Putin's war. Per the news outlet: "The Russian war effort isn’t only being hampered from the inside. Inspired by the Russians’ intercepted phone calls, Ukraine’s government encouraged other Russian troops to disobey orders and refuse to attack, echoing earlier calls to surrender and abandon the war path."

In a statement released on Friday, May 6, 2022, the SBU said it "welcomes this practice. But even it can be improved—just ‘give up’ and leave the war in Ukraine!”

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby also released a statement addressing the latest intel. While Kirby admitted that he is aware of the intelligence-sharing effort, he confirmed the United States has no involvement in it.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Shilling For Putin, Republicans Like Rand Paul Undermine The West

Russian President Vladimir Putin is an autocrat with a near unilateral control of his country and what little freedom of expression its people have. Yet, his popularity in the Republican Party has grown unimpeded for years.

Russia’s sudden invasion of Ukraine and the mounting allegations of war crimes leveled against it — including accusations of repeated rape, unprovoked executions, and looting, among other crimes — have not dampened support for Russian amongst GOP leaders and lawmakers, including former President Trump..

Trump — as a candidate for president, president, and twice-impeached former president — has heaped praise on Putin, calling him, amongst other things, “savvy,” “strong,” and a “genius.”

“[Putin] is taking over a country for two dollars worth of sanctions. I’d say that’s pretty smart,” Trump said in February at a Mar-a-Lago event. “Now they laugh at us. That’s why you have Ukraine, that’s why you’re going to have China. Taiwan is next, and you’re going to see the same thing,” Trump later added.

Taking a cue from Trump, some Republican voters now view Putin more positively than they do President Biden, Vice President Harris, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to a January YouGov poll.

But it doesn’t end there. In early April, 63 GOP lawmakers voted against a resolution to express support for NATO. A subsequent vote simply asking President Biden to collect evidence of Russian war crimes was, shockingly, rejected by six House Republicans: Reps Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Warren Davidson (R-OH), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Scott Perry (R-PA), and, to no one’s surprise, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

Greene, who played a prominent role in inciting the January 6 riot, has publicly voiced her support for Russia’s invasion. “You see, Ukraine just kept poking the bear, and poking the bear, which is Russia, and Russia invaded,” Greene said on a far-right radio show. “There is no win for Ukraine here. Russia is being successful in their invasion.”

The Georgian congresswoman isn’t the only Republican lawmaker to make controversial statements about Ukraine. After Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed both chambers of Congress in March, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), who arrived late and missed a large portion of the speech, called Zelensky a “thug.” He added, “Remember that the Ukrainian government is incredibly corrupt and it is incredibly evil and has been pushing woke ideologies.”

But that’s still not all the Putin-loving GOP members of Congress. In a heated exchange with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at a congressional hearing Tuesday, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) blamed Russia’s invasion on the United States’s support for Ukraine to join NATO.

Paul said the United States has for many years, and under Democratic and Republican leadership, been calling for Ukraine to join NATO, a move Moscow has long since labeled a “red line.”

““You could also argue that the countries that [Russia] has attacked were … part of the Soviet Union,” Paul said to Blinken during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, according to the Washington Post.

Blinken rejected Paul’s argument, noting that the United States had tried to assuage Russia’s national security concerns, but the country had invaded Ukraine, anyway. Blinken said that Putin had invaded because he believed “Ukraine does not deserve to be a sovereign nation,” per the Post.

Blinken also defended the United States’s continued support for Ukraine, saying, “We, senators, are not going to be more Ukrainian than the Ukrainians. Our purpose is to make sure that they have within their hands the ability to repel the Russian aggression and indeed to strengthen their hand at an eventual negotiating table.”

Paul, a self-proclaimed libertarian, has been shilling for authoritarian Russia for years. In 2018, disregarding evidence that Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Paul headed a delegation of Americans to meet in Moscow with the Federation Council, Russia's Senate. Before that he was accused of "working for Putin" by the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) after :Paul blocked a vote on a treaty ratifying Montenegro's accession to NATO.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has called described the Putin supporters in his party as “lonely voices,” according to the Guardian. But McConnell has repeatedly dodged invitations to say if such Republicans should be booted from the party or, in the absence of party leadership spine, face disciplinary measures.


Ukraine Is Our War -- And Joe Biden Is Our Wartime President

We and our allies are in a war to save civilization. Fortunately for us, Ukrainians are doing the fighting.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's barbaric assault on Ukraine has awakened Europe to the reality that he is truly evil and could continue his march westward. It is no coincidence that Sweden and Finland — once fiercely neutral countries — now show serious interest in joining NATO. Ukraine is not in NATO, which is why members of the military alliance have held back in sending in their forces.

It is also the West's good fortune that Joe Biden is president and not Donald Trump. Overseeing a flood of arms to Ukraine as it fights alone, Biden is playing Franklin Roosevelt to Ukraine's Winston Churchill, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. And he's doing it carefully, working with allies to squeeze Russia financially and giving Ukraine the means to defend itself, all the while carefully trying to avoid a wider conflict.

This is a full-time job whose consequences are not politically helpful. Confronting Putin has raised the cost of gasoline. It's making food more expensive. The resulting inflation has hiked the cost of borrowing to buy a home.

This, plus the carnage in Ukraine, is making Americans feel bad. The tendency in such circumstances is to blame the president, even when the president is doing the best job possible managing crises that aren't his fault. (The one exception for Biden would be his fuzzy messages about easing immigration restrictions at a time of a surge at the border.)

Those worried about climate change must hold their tongues as Biden releases 1 million barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Same goes for his plan to open some public lands to new drilling.

It's hard to calculate the threat to national security had Trump won reelection — or succeeded in pulling off a coup after he lost. Trump was God's gift to Putin and his maniacal plans. Russians have owned him for decades.

In 1987, Trump took out full-page newspaper ads urging Americans to stop paying to defend others, the big subtext being to leave NATO. (George W. Bush and Barack Obama also called for other countries to raise defense spending but didn't dream of using that as an excuse to compromise U.S. security.)

These were Russian talking points parroted by a real estate investor whom the Russians were bailing out of bankruptcies. Trump in return laundered Russian oligarch/mob money through sales of U.S. property in all-cash, anonymous transactions. One example is the deluxe Trump Towers in Miami's Sunny Isles Beach, now known as "Little Russia."

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russians interfered with the 2016 presidential election to help elect comrade Trump. He came through for the Russians three years later when he blocked nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine.

Trump claims that Putin would never have invaded Ukraine had he still been president. This is the opposite of true. Trump's advisers reportedly warned him that blowing up NATO would be unpopular and could cost him reelection.

"Yeah, the second term," Trump is said to have responded. "We'll do it in the second term."

Had Trump succeeded, Putin would now have free rein to rampage through Eastern Europe and who knows where else.

After calling Putin "a genius" for invading Ukraine, Trump added, "I know him very well. Very, very well."

Apparently not nearly as well as Putin knows Trump.

As a wartime president, Biden has one mission: to stop the aggressor. He doesn't have the luxury to obsess over rough poll numbers related to inflation. And the culture wars can wait. Right now, the only war that matters is the one directed at defeating Putin.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: jorono at Pixabay


Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

When Biden Smacked Putin, He Was Playing Bad Cop

In Michael Kinsley’s immortal definition, "a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth—some obvious truth he isn't supposed to say." By that standard, the term would definitely apply to Joe Biden’s recent condemnation of Vladimir Putin.

“For God’s sake,” Biden blurted out “this man cannot remain in power.”

An international coalition of Nervous Nellies and lunchroom monitors pronounced themselves aghast. You’d think the president had purposely broken wind at a state dinner, or proclaimed a Supreme Court justice’s wife to be as crazy as an outhouse rat.

No sooner had he made the remark at the end of a powerful speech expressing the West’s determination to resist Russian aggression—Biden warned Putin not to advance “on one single inch” of NATO territory—than White House staff began walking it back. “Regime change” in Russia, they emphasized, is not American policy.

A hand-wringing Washington Post headline read: “Biden’s Putin remark pushes U.S.-Russia relations closer to collapse.”

Not Putin’s manifest crimes against humanity, mind you, but Biden’s outburst. Might it not push Putin’s imagined paranoia over the edge?

On the Sunday talk shows, Republican politicians competed with Kremlin spokesmen to express their shock. On NBC’s Meet the Press, GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio worried that Biden’s indignation “plays into the hands of Russian propagandists and plays into the hands of Vladimir Putin.”

Kremlin mouthpiece Dmitri Peskov said it wasn’t up to Biden to decide who the Russian president should be. Somewhat laughably, he insisted that was up to the “Russian people,” whose say-so is entirely theoretical, given Putin’s practice of having political rivals jailed or murdered. Indeed, the Little Tsar’s reign resembles nothing so much as a series of footnotes to Dostoyevsky’s prophetic 1872 novel The Possessed. Suffice it to say that Russia has never experienced democracy—lurching periodically from one form of dictatorship to another.

Even so, America’s imaginary determination to conquer Russia is a major feature of the Putin regime’s propaganda, despite the U.S. having restrained itself from trying since 1945. Anybody familiar with Russian suffering in World War II can understand a degree of national paranoia, although Biden was surely correct to say that Putin’s pledge to “de-Nazify” Ukraine is both “cynical” and “obscene.”

Nevertheless, to many Russians, it plays,

That said, and much to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s dismay, everything about President Biden’s strong, but measured approach to Ukraine’s agony has demonstrated extreme U.S. reluctance to go to war in Russia’s backyard. First Napoleon and then Adolf Hitler long ago proved the futility of doing so.

And that was before Russia acquired nuclear weapons.

Even so, God forbid that the Russian dictator should get his little feelings hurt. Why he might do something crazy, such as bomb Ukrainian apartment buildings, hospitals and orphanages.

War crimes all.

Even French President Emanuel Macron of France, a stalwart NATO ally, expressed a degree of concern with Biden’s outburst. “I wouldn’t use this kind of words,” Macron of France said in a television interview. He said that he hoped to broker a cease-fire and a Russian withdrawal by diplomatic means. “If we want to do this,” Macron added, “we mustn’t escalate,” he said, “neither with words nor with actions.”

Down at the police station, this tactic is known as the Good Cop/Bad Cop approach to dealing with recalcitrant suspects. And cops use it because it works. Do you want to cut a deal with the very angry American president, or the more understanding French one?

Italy’s foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio, put it another way. President Biden, he said, had used words “that must make Putin clearly understand that he has to stop.” The American president,” he added, made “a very clear speech, he used resolute words…But let’s remember that on the other side, Putin uses bombs.”

Was Ronald Reagan wrong to call the Soviet Union an “Evil Empire?” Was it a terrible gaffe by a doddering old man to personalize the Cold War, when Reagan urged “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall?” Many thought so at the time, but few would say so now.

In his Warsaw speech, Biden cast the Ukraine crisis as a new Cold War, a generational conflict: “a new great battle for freedom: a battle between democracy and autocracy, between liberty and repression, between rules-based order and one governed by brute force.”

Like blogger Kevin Drum, I doubt Biden’s spontaneous remark will send Putin over the edge. “Quite the opposite: the fact that Biden is obviously very sincere in his loathing of Putin makes it clear that the US and NATO are unlikely to back down in Ukraine.” He’d be well advised to find a pathway to retreat from a disaster of his own creation.

Good cop/Bad cop.

Biden himself now says he never meant to endorse a policy of “regime change,” but had an emotional reaction to meeting with Ukrainian refugees in Poland.

That’s good enough for me.