“Ukraine Needs More Security Guarantees”

That’s the position of The Wall Street Journal‘s headline writer and of Andriy Yermak and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who opined as much in their Thursday op-ed. They were actually serious, too. The position is, though, to use the technical term, a bunch of bull.

They demonstrate the foolishness of their position in their lede:

When Ukraine’s army is given the weapons it needs, it defeats Russia on the battlefield. That is the lesson the world learned as it watched Ukrainian forces quickly retake the Kharkiv region this month. Since the beginning of September, Ukrainian forces have liberated more than 2,300 square miles of territory in the south and east of the country.

European Union Sanctions on Russia

Another round is in the offing, possibly this week or next. And there’s this hopeful claim of the EU:

EU officials say privately and publicly that the sanctions are inflicting serious damage on Russia’s economy and military….

No doubt sanctions are an important part of a necessary “all of the above” suite of moves to support Ukraine in its defense against the barbarian. But are they strong enough themselves? Will the new round be materially stronger?

After all: how many battalions have the sanctions forced Putin to withdraw from Ukraine? How many battalions have the sanctions in concert with other moves forced the barbarian to withdraw?

What, Exactly, Are You Doing?

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, through his Press Secretary Ned Price, is insisting two things.

One is that the (not so) dearly departed JCPOA

is [sic!] the most effective means by which to permanently and verifiably ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon.

This has been shown to be a straight up lie almost since its parameters became public. All the JCPOA did was permit limited inspections—but not of Iranian military facilities where most of the nuclear weapons development and uranium enrichment process were occurring—and the JCPOA had an expiration date, upon which all sanctions would be lifted and all limits on Iran’s nuclear weapons program would expire.

Who’s in Charge of our Defense Policy?

And why have these obstructionists not been fired?

In a pre-taped interview shown Sunday, the interviewer asked President Joe Biden (D) whether the US would defend the Republic of China (the politically correct interviewer referred to “Taiwan”), and Biden said, “Yes.”

Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack[.]

The interviewer pressed Biden.

Interviewer: So unlike Ukraine, to be clear, sir, US Forces, US men and women would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?
Biden: Yes.

When the interview aired, CBS

On Aid to Ukraine

Even in Reluctant Germany, the government’s loyal opposition and a number of incumbent officials are calling for Germany to get out of the way and send tanks to Ukraine so that nation can further, and more rapidly, exploit their current battlefield gains and continue driving the barbarian back out.

But. But, but, but.

“We are simply not going to be the first to send Western-made tanks…” a senior German government official said.

I’m reminded of two lines. One is by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, as he channels Sallah: Russians. Very dangerous. You go first.

Russia is Not a State Sponsor of Terror

Or at least President Joe Biden (D) is too timid to say so out loud, or officially, which would bring a round of additional sanctions against Russia.

Biden, asked by a reporter on Monday if he would blacklist Russia as a terrorist state, said simply, “no,” after months of non-committal answers from senior officials.

Biden expanded on that the next day, through his Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre:

Will the West Proceed?

In the face of the Group of Seven Club’s moves to impose a price cap on Russian crude exports globally, Russian President Vladimir Putin now threatens

to curtail the export of grain from Ukraine and said Moscow was ready to extend its rationing of natural-gas exports and cut off oil and refined products if the West went ahead….

And

Mr Putin said Wednesday that Russia had contractual obligations on energy deliveries but would reconsider them if a price cap were imposed.
“We simply will not fulfill [our contracts]. In general, we will not deliver anything if it contradicts our interests,” he told an audience of officials and business leaders. “We will not deliver gas, nor oil, nor coal, nor heating fuel. We will not deliver anything.”

“Putin Will Adapt”

In Holman Jenkins’ opinion piece in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal concerning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s energy war against Europe (as a secondary front in his war against Ukraine), he offered this regarding Europe’s stick-to-it-iveness vs Putin’s:

Mr Putin will quickly adapt once it’s proven to him Europe’s governing parties can’t knuckle under to Russian blackmail and retain their democratic viability.

If Europe doesn’t surrender in the face of Putin’s energy war, it will be the Russian people who feel the resulting economic, and other, pain.

I Have Questions

It seems the US and the People’s Republic of China have reached a secret agreement regarding US audits of PRC companies as a prerequisite for those companies being listed on US stock exchanges. This putative agreement allows the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board inspectors to travel to Hong Kong or mainland China for inspections, and it’s officially signed by the PCAOB, the PRC’s Securities Regulatory Commission, and the PRC’s Ministry of Finance.

I also have an observation: inspecting audit papers is not the same as auditing the company.

My questions:

Logistics Matters…

…far beyond the process of getting soldiers and consumables to a battlefield and to the battlers.

In the aftermath of Germany’s—and much of Europe’s—considered decision to make themselves dependent on Russian natural gas and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s equally considered decision to limit and cut off natural gas supplies to Europe to try to coerce behaviors acceptable to Putin, Germany, et al., are (re)discovering the need for better logistics and logistical execution.  The lessons are available to the US, too, if the government is willing to learn.

Europe’s energy crisis has unleashed a global battle over natural-gas tankers….