May 17Liked by Michael McFaul

Biden would be smart to have you as his Russian/Ukraine special advisor.

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You write, "To help Ukraine achieve these objectives, the democratic world must do more by first and foremost, providing more and better weapons to the Ukrainian Armed Forces."

Agree completely. The first step in doing what you wisely suggest would seem to be to understand why we aren't already doing that. Again, please help us understand why.

1) Ukraine's allies appear to be around 20 times richer than Russia. The EU alone is about 10 times richer than Russia.

2) Most American and European politicians endlessly repeat how important it is that Ukraine win this war.

3) So why doesn't Ukraine already have 10 to 20 times as many munitions as Russia??? What is the problem exactly? What is the problem?

Here in the United States we blame the bottleneck on MAGA Republicans, which seems accurate and fair. But why is Ukraine so dependent on America that the MAGA Republicans can threaten Ukraine's future? Again, for the 19th time everywhere I go...

1) The EU is ten times richer than Russia.

2) It's the EU which is put most at risk by a Putin victory.

3) What is the EU's problem? Why are they either unable, or unwilling, to defend Europe's eastern border?

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EU is not 10 times richer than Russia. 5 times at most. You need to compare not by nominal GDP, but by GDP PPP. Ruble was severely undervalued during the last 10 years, it is obvious by comparing hotel and restaurant prices in Moscow back in 2013 and 2019.

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According to the World Bank, the EU is about 5 times richer than Russia when measured by GDP PPP, so your analysis seems correct.


According to the World Bank, the EU and America together are about 10 times richer than Russia, as measured by GDP PPP.

QUESTION: And so the question remains, why after 2 years of war doesn't Ukraine have ten times as many artillery shells as Russia?

So far, I can think of only the following theories, none of which I like.

1) What if the real goal of Ukraine's allies is not to save Ukraine, but instead to keep the war going as long as possible so as to bleed Russia of money and men? This theory would explain why we keep giving Ukraine just enough weapons to survive, but never enough to win.

2) Another theory could be that the West is afraid of what Putin might do if he was forced out of Ukraine. That is, Putin's nuclear blackmail may be working.

3) Or, it could be that Ukraine's allies are simply incompetent. They want Ukraine to win, but are too dumb to figure out how to accomplish that.

4). Or, the EU is so used to being a dependent of America that in those instances when America can't lead (such as MAGA obstacles) the EU doesn't know what to do.

There could very well be other reasons which I haven't thought of.

Whatever the reason for this failure to defeat a clearly weaker enemy, the failure seems to raise serious questions about whether NATO has ever been capable of defending Europe. If the West is going to repeatedly declare that it's very important that Ukraine win, we had better make sure that happens, or our credibility is lost.

And the clock is ticking, because Western publics have a limited ability to sustain "forever wars" that don't seem to be going anywhere but to more of the same. If we don't win pretty soon, more and more people are going to start talking about washing our hands of Ukraine and accepting a Putin victory. Vietnam. Afghanistan. If the war goes on too long, we lose.

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I observe the same when it comes to winning, it never seems an all out effort to end anything in a definitive win. If an all out effort were made in any war we would be a bunch of gaping holes in the earth, perhaps. Finding the right measure of war seems on one hand, a fairer fight but also complete insanity in any situation one could convince by aggression that might equals right. I thinks also no one wants to really engage with Russia. They don’t have rules of war, I’ve only heard. I’m baffled as well.

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Sanctions are complicated, and Mike McFaul proves that point. Meanwhile, Russia is now seizing assets: https://www.dw.com/en/russian-court-orders-asset-seizures-for-2-major-german-banks/a-69121815

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May 18·edited May 18

I am surprised by the reference to CoCom as an example of alleged effectiveness. During the CoCom era the Soviets were able to acquire the following supposedly closely guarded marvels of technology:

1. From the US: Convex vector minisupercomputers - nice to simulate nuclear explosions and submarine hydraulics.

2. From the UK: Inmos Transputers - an advanced parallel architecture.

3. From Japan: Steppers and other semiconductor manufacturing equipment for their foundries in Zelenograd. For the very same Mikron and Angstem fabs which are under sanctions these days and cannot get anything from the West.

I am not even talking about the fact that the USSR was able to clone DEC PDP-8, PDP-11, VAX-11, HP-2000, Intel-8080, 8086, 8048, 8051, IBM 360/370, Cray-1 (Elektronika SS BIS), AMD 2900 et cetera. During CoCom in action.

And by the way, the Kiev School of Economics should know it because cloning of Intel 8080 and certain models of DEC PDP-11 and IBM 360 was done in Kiev. Those places are closed now thanks to the talentless Ukrainian government, not to the US sanctions.

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Why don’t you be President and Biden can be your advisor…

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