2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine (Part 2)


in which Isaac Chotiner makes John Mearsheimer squirm

Orbán tweeted, “The #liberals have got it all wrong - that’s the bottom-line of our great conversation with Prof Mearsheimer today. We–”

Look, I don’t want to talk about Orbán. You told me that we were going to talk about Ukraine.

We did talk about Ukraine.

Right, but I don’t want to talk about my visit to Hungary and my talk with Orbán. I really don’t. I mean, I answered that one question, yes, but I just don’t want to get into that. I really don’t want you quoting me on anything other than what I just said a minute ago. I mean, you should tell me what you want to talk about. Because you know that I’m in a very delicate position when I talk to you.


3h ago07.47 GMT

Negotiating with Russia would be ‘capitulation’, says key Ukrainian adviser

A key adviser to the Ukrainian presidency has told the AFP news agency that the west’s attempts to persuade Ukraine to negotiate with Moscow, after a series of major military victories by Kyiv, are “bizarre” and amount to asking for capitulation.

“When you have the initiative on the battlefield, it’s slightly bizarre to receive proposals like: ‘you will not be able to do everything by military means anyway, you need to negotiate,” said Mykhaylo Podolyak.

US media recently reported that some senior officials were beginning to encourage Ukraine to consider talks, which Zelenskiy has so far rejected without a prior withdrawal of Russian forces from all Ukrainian territory.

According to Podolyak, Moscow has not made “any direct proposal” to Kyiv for peace talks, preferring to transmit them through intermediaries and even raising the possibility of a ceasefire.

Kyiv sees such talk as mere manoeuvring by the Kremlin to win some respite on the ground and prepare a new offensive.





13m ago11.30 GMT

Zaporizhzhia attacks ‘playing with fire’, says UN nuclear watchdog director general

The UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has condemned an attack on the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Its director general said that those responsible for “powerful explosions” in the area on Saturday night and Sunday morning were “playing with fire”.

Managers told IAEA experts at the plant there had been damage to some buildings, systems and equipment, but “none of them so far” critical for safety and security.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the IAEA said: “The news from our team yesterday and this morning is extremely disturbing. Explosions occurred at the site of this major nuclear power plant, which is completely unacceptable.

“Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately. As I have said many times before, you’re playing with fire!”



I wonder if John Mearsheimer thinks that this is imperialism.


Arrogant and power-worshipping pricks like Mearsheimer always think they’re smart enough to avoid getting Chotinered, until suddenly there they are getting Chotinered.

The funniest part about that excerpt is that Mearsheimer starts out the interview by taking a small opening to show how important he is by bragging about meeting Orban. Did he think a pitbull like Chotiner was going to leave it there?

His job as a so-called foreign policy realist is to twist himself into knots and dynamically shift goalposts to “prove” that it isn’t imperialism. For him, everything is a great-powers conflict. Somehow all of the twisted historical interpretation by Putin’s dancing bear is really an expression of Russia’s centuries-long anxiety about NATO, or the U.S., or … (yeah, that’s better) the West.


If it helps, his background is that he went to West Point, and his entire career has been the history of war in the Middle East (from the viewpoint of the American military). He’s an academic – theory is king – but from a very different base than most academics.


True. That base has left him prone to being a Useful Idiot for right-wing autocrats.


I think the main problem is that a realist views idealism as akin to propaganda-- it makes rational, calculating decisions seem more palatable. Country A invaded country B not because it had a humanitarian interest, but because it wanted the oil.
Yet it is increasingly difficult to ascribe some of Russia’s actions to rational self interest. They’re high on their own propaganda supply.


That’s compounded when the realist applies that view selectively, as Mearsheimer often does when he switches his focus from international relations to a nation-state’s internal politics. What he sees as a vice on the international stage becomes – in select cases – a virtue on the domestic one.

If his activities were limited to academia I could easily shrug this off. But Mearsheimer is also a public intellectual with a lot of influence on government and military policymakers and has the capacity to do a lot of damage.


Someone pointed out that Mearsheimer’s brand of realism ignores public opinion as a factor that leaders (and analysts) must deal with. A realist view of the Russia-Ukraine war must take into account the desire of most Ukrainians to live in an independent democratic country outside the “Russian world” as well as their growing determination to recover all their sovereign territory.


Mearsheimer only accords agency to those established players who have the capacity to exert the most brute force. On the global scale that means that only the U.S., China, and Russia make choices – every other country is a pawn.

You can see why a thug like Orban would find that view appealing when applied to his regime’s domestic monopoly on violence.


Is there some sort of consistent metric for distinguishing between a agent-tier nation state and one of the higher end pawn states; or is great power status like obscenity in that you know it when you see it(as well as, arguably, in certain other respects)?


All those words, distilled down to three “might makes right”.

The things people get paid for nowadays.


How many nukes they have?


To quote the legend:


Hence, Qatar is not a country