Between Ukraine funding and Biden’s competence, Western leadership was already in the spotlight, before Tucker scored an interview with Vladimir Putin. This just made it worse.
The Ukraine conflict
Almost two years into this Ukraine fight and we are still no closer to knowing what we (the West) are hoping to accomplish there, we’re not clear on what success looks like, on what terms we will push for some kind of a ‘ceasefire now’ scenario we’re already seeking in Israel with the two year old conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
Bodies are piling up, we’re depleting our own military (and treasury) to keep the war going our leaders are desperate to keep it going, but the rest of us don’t quite know what the fighting is about in the first place — other than assurances that ‘Russia is bad’.
And maybe they are. But are they bad enough that we spend more on funding Ukraine’s war effort than we do on our own Marines?
What’s driving this conflict from the Russian point of view? Is there a desire for, or even willingness to negotiate a ceasefire?
The ‘scary’ interview with Putin
Leave aside whatever assumptions we might have gone into an interview like that with — and the internet was full of them — the one thing most people would NOT have expected was a long view of history with verifiable outside facts, figures, and third-party meetings where the journalist was free — encouraged even — to fact-check him on any of his claims.
Whatever you might think about Putin, it is clear that whoever is working opposite him is not dealing with a political or intellectual lightweight. Anyone wanting to quickly dismiss him as some kind of a meathead mafioso on a global scale is in for a nasty surprise.
He has a command of facts, figures, statistics, economics and politics at his fingertips that you would hope the person tasked with running your country would have.
How much of what he says is for bluster and propaganda versus how much is sincere is anybody’s guess. But at least some of the points he raises — like a historical document translated into Russian — were important enough for the case he was making that Putin produced hard copies. Others are going to get pushback — like how he describes Poland’s role in the beginning of WWII.
It was a long form interview — of course it was, the thing lasted two hours! And much of it was steered by Putin presenting a case he wanted to make.
This is explained in a brief introduction Tucker himself sets up the video with, as he explains the long and rambling history seemed to him like filibustering, but to Putin, he was building a toward a specific point he was trying to impress on Tucker.
He went deep into history
Putin started his story more than 1000 years ago. He presented his own condensed Russian version of Churchill’s History of the English Speaking Peoples with a special emphasis on the Ukraine region. Created here, converted to Orthodox Christianity here, interactions with Poland and other neighbors. Origins of etymology. All kinds of issues. It is clear he was trying to frame Ukraine as having a natural bond with Russia with a comparatively recent national identity forming in the 20th century.
He skipped over the Holodomor and took us through the fall of USSR. Agreements between Russians and Western neighbors/USA.
The moment he claims everything changed goes back to 2014 and a Ukrainian uprising/regime change he attributes to the CIA… that’s where the Neo-Nazis come in. But for this event, he claims we would never have arrived here.
He describes a number of times where he would talk with western/American counter parts. Terrorist uprisings in Chechnya, for instance — or an opportunity for a jointly-operated missile defense shield for Europe. He was rebuffed. So he looked for other ways to operate on the world stage.
When he invokes Neo-Nazis, he specifically mentioned the moment in Trudeau’s parliament where Trudeau, his deputy, and Zelensky stand there clapping with a guest of honor in their midst who ‘fought the Russians’ — ie: fought with the Germans — in WWII.
(Just this week, it was shown that Trudeau’s own office approved that guest.)
Besides history, Ukraine, and what an end to the war might look like, he covered issues like macroeconomic issue (including US overuse of sanctions harming the value of their own dollar), BRICS, the rise of AI, and even the possiblity of letting the American journalist go free.
It was interesting to know Putin hasn’t spoken to Biden directly since before the conflict began. So much for the bravado Joe showed on that debate stage with Trump.
You can like what he has to day, or dislike it. You can believe it to be factual or a carefully crafted series of lies. But whatever you make of it, he has built a mechanism that invites trust — a clear method of falsifying any lies. He named names in Western conversations and suggested Tucker follow up with them.
Maybe now we can press our own leaders for clarity on what our OWN criteria for peace would look like — or if we want some kind of a perpetual war for ideological reasons, like the critics have said all along. If we do want peace, will we be willing to negotiate in good faith to get there?
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