CSotD: How do you solve a problem like Volod’ka?

Patrick Blower’s analysis of Russian forces gets a particular laugh because it fits so well with a Bulwark podcast Charlie Sykes did with Gen. Mark Hertling, former commanding general of United States Army Europe and the Seventh Army, in which Hertling said that, while the Russian forces may look good polished up for the May 1 parade, they aren’t nearly so impressive in the field.

His well-informed analysis is worth listening to. It’s grim but encouraging, which is better than “optimistic but delusional” or “pessimistic and defeatist.”

Hertling predicts that Putin cannot win, that he already has too great a portion of Russia’s mismanaged, poorly trained, poorly supplied troops invested in the invasion.

Which doesn’t mean that a desperate egotist won’t do something exceptionally horrific. As Hertling notes, Hitler — had he been acting on the best interests of his country — could have surrendered in 1943 when it was clear he couldn’t win.

He wasn’t acting in his country’s best interests, however, but out of ego, which makes predictions problematic.

Then and now.


Christian Adams offers a portrait of that desperate, half-starved, bloodied, vicious little dog, and it is a good response to all the “painted into a corner” cartoons we’ve seen of Putin, because he is not simply stuck: He’s actively cornered.

And Adams hangs that nuclear missile around his neck, to remind us of why this pathetic animal has to be approached with extreme caution.


Juxtaposition of the Day


(Matt Davies)


(Marty Two Bulls)

Putin has had his nose bloodied by Ukraine’s better-trained, better-motivated military, but Davies and Two Bulls point out that he isn’t cornered simply by them.

When he defied Western warnings and greenlighted the invasion, Putin, as Davies portrays it, dropped a nuclear bomb on his own economy.

He may be able to fool a substantial number of his own people into blaming shortages on Ukraine’s aggression, though he’s clearly not fooling all the people all the time.

Still, he doesn’t have to fool them all. We have people here who believe ridiculous things about the coronavirus, presidential elections and infanticidal pizza parlors. Gullible people can provide plenty of support for those who lead them around by their noses, and so lying to the mob can be a very effective technique.

Howsoever, as Two Bulls suggests, there’s a difference between lying to the mob and lying to the Mob.

When overseas bank accounts are being shut down and yachts are being seized, Putin had better keep his head on a swivel.


Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Michael Ramirez – Creators)


(Matt Wuerker – Politico)

Ramirez points out the contradiction between wanting to choke off Russia’s economy and needing Russian oil.

Other conservatives have shifted from criticizing US use of Russian oil to criticizing the US for approaching other nations to replace it, but Ramirez points out a valid and unpleasant reality.

Wuerker then takes it from an implied accusation to a simple statement of a troublesome situation:

In an increasingly interrelated global economy, Putin has extended Russia in a way that makes it hard to completely severe ties, and Russia’s abundant oil is the key to much of it.


Kal Kallaugher makes a point about this, though he walks a tightrope in doing so.

There is an element of “you never miss the water ’til the well runs dry,” which is fair commentary: People want guilt-free energy, but they’ve long turned down both offers and warnings.

And that’s a fair response to the leap in the price of oil. We were warned and we did nothing.

But it’s not much of a response, when the price increase can be traced to a desire to keep someone from shelling cities and slaughtering civilians.

Kal very narrowly avoids “I told you so.” Others aren’t even trying.

Fine, but remind us again, after the bombs have stopped falling.


Juxtaposition of the Day #3

(Tom Stiglich – Creators)


(Michael Ramirez – Creators)

A bit of synchronicity from the right side of the aisle, not only graphically but in terms of conservatives suddenly opening up attacks on Putin.

It’s not universal: Tuckyo Rose is still finding ways to boost his buddy, and Madison Cawthorn, that bastion of honest integrity, explains why Ukraine is at fault for punching Russia in the fist with its nose.

But, despite the best efforts of the GOP’s Q-Anon Branch, the majority of Americans are on Ukraine’s side, and Putin isn’t making it hard to dislike him, even using Standard Issue Atrocity Accusations.

It’s a familiar device: In World War I, there were accusations of German women chained to machine guns.

In Vietnam, the accusations went back-and-forth: Hanoi would accuse the US of bombing a hospital and the US would accuse Hanoi of placing anti-aircraft guns on its roof.


Nor should we forget dear little Nayirah, the 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl who testified before Congress about Iraqi soldiers snatching babies from incubators in the hospital where she worked.

Or might have worked, if she’d lived in Kuwait. She turned out to be the daughter of a Washington-based diplomat, her fictional account a product of Hill & Knowlton, a PR firm working to swing opinion against Iraq.

And I’ve never heard a definitive explanation of the “baby milk factory” that was blown up in the second Iraq War, but that one was launched with so many lies that it hardly matters anymore.

This time around, Putin gives the stories credibility: However thick the fog of war in Ukraine, Russia has long ago set a precedent for attacking civilian targets as a terror tactic in Chechnya as well as in Syria, and it is not hard to believe they would shell a maternity hospital in Ukraine, whether they picked it out on purpose or were simply trying to destroy the whole neighborhood.

At this stage, only Carlson, Cawthorn and dear sweet Maria Butina — three peas in a pod — are willing to defend Putin.


By welcome contrast, Matt Golding reminds us of the cartoonist’s duty to yank down the pants of pompous tyrants, depicting Putin the Clown, who has disproven that thing about how two countries with McDonalds’ would never go to war against each other.

Hell, if the price is right, McDonald’s would go to war with itself.