President Donald Trump makes it clearer every day that he respects authoritarian governments with strongman autocrats and has little regard for America's democratic and long-time allies.

 

“The Kremlin’s war against Ukraine violates the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, the declaration on the founding of the CIS, the Budapest memorandum, bilateral Russian-Ukrainian agreements, and the Russian criminal code show that Moscow’s actions fall under the definition of aggression given by the UN General Assembly.”

 

Photo: Nikolai Patrushev – viewing with alarm

 

I cannot help but think that Brian Whitmore’s job coming up with topics for the Daily Vertical is just too easy, an absolute definition of a “no brainer”. All he must do is wait for one of the top dogs in Putlandia to come up with the latest example of blatant hypocrisy and then proceed to call it just what it is. For example, today Whitmore called out National Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, one of the most powerful figures in Vladimir Putin's inner circle, who called for the international community to unite to "create a safe global information environment." You heard it right; one of those most guilty of assuring that the global information environment is utterly polluted wants to lead the clean-up. As Whitmore so often points out in his daily commentaries, “you just can’t make this stuff up.”

 

The ability to act as a spokesperson for the Russian government requires perhaps even more talent than required to make Donald Trump’s tweets sound sensible. However, as if to prove that Russians are just as good as Americans in all things – including twisted logic and linguistic skill - Maria Zakharova [in photo], the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman may have left Sean Spicer playing catch-up. Brian Whitmore provides analysis of this race to the bottom in this Daily Vertical commentary.

 

“…from the start of 2014,” Ikhlov [in photo] says, “anti-Ukrainianism became just the same consensus between the powers and the ‘left-nationalist’ opposition as anti-Semitism united in the 1970s and 1980s the [Soviet] authorities and the systemic ‘Russian nationalist’ opposition.” In short, “great power hysteria broke out over Ukraine 45 years later than over ‘Zionism.’” 

 

UBO Commentary: If you read nothing else today, we recommend this article by the New York Times’ Peter Baker. He points out succinctly and convincingly that Ukraine’s future to a disturbing degrees lies in the hands of Donald J. Trump, a man who ascended to the presidency with an abysmal ignorance of world political realities – and soon thereafter demonstrated a disturbing inability and/or lack of interest in learning. Today he is off on a world tour that seems much less concentrated on American interests and much more on saving his plummeting presidency. We recommend you make the Baker commentary today’s must read.

 

<Photo: Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk in Parliament in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2016. He says the Russian president’s “primary objective is to outplay President Trump.” 

 

At a time when many in Western capitals seem to have grown tired of the Ukrainian crisis brought on by the Russian Anschluss of Crimea and invasion of the Donbas and want to focus on Moscow alone, Vladislav Inozemtsev’s argument is critical: If the West really wants Russia to change in the ways it says it does, then the West must make sure Ukraine succeeds.


 

[The West] must recover its own self-confidence. The strength of the West is not as many, including Putin, imagine in its GDP and its missiles: it is in the ideas on which the West has been built.  Those ideas will ultimately like a blade of grass growing through concrete break [Putin-style authoritarianism] into pieces just as they did the USSR.

Kirillova: “…over the last three years, the military capacity of the Ukrainian military has improved dramatically and that “in the case of a non-nuclear conflict,” Kyiv’s forces on their own “would be capable of inflicting enormous damage on Russian ones.”

“The civilizational divorce of Ukraine and Russia,” Portnikov argues, “to a large extent is driven not by the fact that one country is striving to become part of present-day Europe while the other is returning to medieval Asiatic values and practices. Instead, it is drive by the fact that Ukrainians have turned away from Lenin while Russians are returning to Stalin.”

 

 

 

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