CSotD: O Sanctions! Where are thy stings?

Michael de Adder declares sanctions a failure within hours of the announcement of the first full rounds, mocking Biden’s response as silly and futile.

There’s a real temptation to ask “What do you think we should do, then?”

Tucker Carlson would, of course, offer a way of dealing with Putin that involves soft lighting and scented oils, but the question is more interesting posed to people who haven’t made their loyalties and affections quite so clear.

The alternatives to sanctions are (A) military counterstrikes or (B) nothing. We tried (B) in 1939 and it didn’t turn out so well.

(A) is more problematic. We tried stopping North Vietnam from surging into the South, and we attempted to overthrow the Taliban, and found true disaster in ratcheting our control of Iraq from embargoes and no-fly zones to full invasion.

So we have models for how well both warfare and appeasement work.

I’ve heard a few people — mostly chickenhawks — suggest that we should have trainers in Ukraine, assisting their army with training and tactics. I assume these folks are too young to know how we got into Vietnam.

Still, it may not be a fair question. Abbie Hoffman was often asked what his proposal was, and he’d usually push it aside with a joke, because he protested through comedy, not reason.


It’s a matter of approach. Matt Pritchett’s commentary on the international response is clearly not looking to open some kind of debate, though it might inspire a few people to warn that woman about a fellow named “Hilter.”

But it’s topical comedy, not political humor, a distinction that allows him to be foolish without requiring countervailing wisdom.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(RJ Matson)


(Bob Gorrell – Creators)

Matson and Gorrell challenge the efficacy of sanctions, but in a complex and open-ended matter more likely to inspire conversation than debate.

Both propose the same thesis: While sanctions sting, they don’t sting enough to deter a hungry bear, and they’re basing it on comic bears — Matson’s original, Gorrell’s a traced homage — but backing it with the well-known fact that real bears will tear apart a hive despite the best efforts of its tiny defenders.

Matson’s anonymous bear is more potentially fierce than Gorrell’s classic Pooh, but, in both cases, the cartoons focus on the bear. It’s not that bees can’t sting and protect their hives. It’s just that what works in general may not work against this very determined bear.

And that’s a conversation worth having, once we see what else NATO, the EU and Biden have prepared for ol’ Bruno.


Steve Sack makes his point without so much whimsy: This is Putin’s war, and if he is not an actual narcissist like Trump, he is still a very vain, egotistical man.

We’d be wrong to write him off as a madman, but we’d also be wrong to underestimate the degree to which he acts on his own impetus rather than as the responsible head of a major nation.


Adam Zyglis takes a pessimistic view in which Putin’s actions have left the rest of the world spectators, a dismissal of sanctions even more absolute than de Adder’s.

Granted, it’s possible he drew the panel before Biden’s announcements, but there was little surprise in anything Biden said, except that he didn’t lay down a carpet-bombing of sanctions, choosing instead to drop a couple of large pieces with a promise of more to come.


Greg Kearney may touch upon the biggest issue in the Western response: Energy dependence.

War is good business, and Kearney is right that the oil fields will have more orders, somewhat to fill our needs but especially to help Europe and others dependent on Russian gas and oil. (We import Russian oil, but they’re #22 on our list of foreign sources and we’ll survive that loss.)

Oil patch jobs pay well, but they won’t pay everybody, and Biden warned both his fellow citizens and our allies overseas that there’s going to be some pain in our attempt to deal with Russia’s imperialist aggression.


The last time around, we had enough national unity and patriotism that it wasn’t hard for cartoonists like Dr. Seuss to shame the cheaters and whiners.


But even at the height of America’s willingness to pitch in against the Axis, Interior Secretary Harold Ickes felt, according to this Clifford Berryman cartoon, compelled to seek, and to promise, new sources for a restive population.

Bugs Bunny might have jokingly repeated the promotional phrase, “Is this trip really necessary?” but if Berryman’s taxpayer, even with an A card, only got a gallon and a half a week, it was one helluvan important question.

FDR’s calls for sacrifice had an advantage: Lindbergh and the American Firsters and the Bunders all stopped praising Hitler when Germany invaded Poland.

Today? Well, Tuckyo Rose has his own set of questions

Is this guy part of the Fourth Estate, the Fifth Column or the Three Stooges?


Shame and Scandal on the Funny Pages

DD Degg’s coverage of the Snoopy article, and the comments that followed, sent me off to see why on earth this chap thought Woodstock had appeared March 4, 1956.

Which was a Sunday with a good gag but no Snoopy.

Not March 5, 1956, either, and Linus didn’t even start patting birds on the head until 1962.

However, while I was poking around for that …

I stumbled across something a lot more fun, and then hit it again,


and again, and again.


Seems our Annie, who spent most of her life on the wrong side of the tracks, had fallen in with some juvenile delinquents — including “Sally Forth” — whose bad behavior seemed a response to hard lives. The storyline outraged editors and readers, who couldn’t abide such a fall from grace.

According to Wikipedia,

In 1956, a sequence about juvenile delinquency, drug addiction, switchblades, prostitutes, crooked cops, and the ties between teens and adult gangsters unleashed a firestorm of criticism from unions, the clergy and intellectuals with 30 newspapers cancelling the strip. The syndicate ordered Gray to drop the sequence and develop another adventure.

It wasn’t all Cancel Culture, though. I ran into this bit of positive funny page feedback:

A year later, Bernstein and Sondheim reconciled it all:


3 thoughts on “CSotD: O Sanctions! Where are thy stings?

  1. RE: Woodstock. Wikipedia writes: Woodstock is a fictional character in Charles M. Schulz’s comic strip Peanuts. He is best known for being Snoopy’s best friend. The character first appeared in the April 4, 1967 strip, though he was not officially named until June 22, 1970.

  2. According to Wikipedia: “ In the Peanuts daily comic strip on March 3, 1966, a mother bird flew in while Snoopy was lying on top of his doghouse, nested on top of his stomach and flew away. Soon afterward two chicks hatched in the nest, one of which hung around Snoopy throughout the spring, and returned the following spring on April 4, 1967. ”


    Here is a link to the March 1966 sequence of strips.


  3. For over two decades since GWB Republican administrations have accommodated and curried favor with Putin.

    “…To believe this (Biden is weak) is to suffer from temporary amnesia about how Donald Trump actually acted toward Putin while he was in office. Who can forget Trump’s kowtow to Putin at Helsinki in 2018? The U.S. president rejected the findings of the United States’ own intelligence community about the hacking of the 2016 election and said: “President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.” Or who can forget Trump’s use of U.S. military aid to extort the government of Ukraine into helping him politically? Or all of Trump’s anti-NATO animus? Trump mused about pulling out of the alliance, questioned its Article 5 security guarantees and ordered a withdrawal of 12,000 troops from Germany.”


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