Robert Hubbell is a blogger who is always informative and insightful. Today he digs into Putin’s aggression and its frightening implications for the other states that were once part of the Soviet Union. Be sure to open the link to Charlie Sykes’s review of the Republicans who are shilling for Putin, led by Tucker Carlson. For more on Putin’s useful idiots, see what Hubbell wrote yesterday.

He writes:

   In quick succession on Monday, Putin recognized two Ukrainian provinces as independent nations, endorsed a “mutual aid” treaty with the newly recognized states, and announced that Russia would send “peacekeeping troops” into territory that every other nation in the world recognizes as part of the sovereign nation of Ukraine. One European diplomat described Putin’s lies as follows:

          Putin just put Kafka and Orwell to shame: no limits to the dictator’s imagination, no lows too low, no lies too blatant, no red lines too red to cross. What we witnessed tonight might seem surreal for the democratic world. But the way we respond will define us for the generations to come.

          There is much to understand about what happened Monday on the ground in Ukraine, but the most consequential development occurred inside the Kremlin—a speech in which Putin effectively claimed dominion over former Soviet republics. Putin denied the legitimacy of Ukraine as a sovereign nation, saying, “modern Ukraine was entirely and completely created by Russia” and “Ukraine never had a tradition of genuine statehood.”

Putin’s theory of Russian dominion can be employed against every former Soviet republic and therefore poses a threat to the peace and stability of Europe. That is why the current crisis over Ukraine matters to the United States— and why the GOP’s embrace of Putin is so dangerous. Indeed, Putin is relying on political division in the U.S. to provide cover for a war against Ukraine that will kill thousands of innocent civilians, politicians, journalists, and people who do not conform to Putin’s view of what constitutes “normal” human behavior. Republicans are providing aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States—a scandal of historic proportions that defies explanation.

Russia’s gambit of “recognizing” regions of sovereign nations as independent states as a pretext for invasion is a recurring theme. Putin used similar strategies to invade parts of Georgia in 2008 and the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula in 2014. His strategy will not end with the Donbas region of Ukraine in 2022—and Republicans are fools to believe otherwise. The world must punish Russia severely for this latest invasion so that it will never resort to the same strategy again. If we fail to do so, we signal to Putin that his unfounded theory of Russian dominion justifies future expansion. Tonight, that is the message that Republicans are sending to Putin. Charlie Sykes, writing in The Bulwark, has cataloged the sorry list of Republican apologists for Putin. See Charlie Sykes, Putin’s Right-Wing Shills.

As Republicans fall over themselves to praise Putin, President Biden has handled the Ukrainian situation expertly. It is doubtful that any U.S. president could have avoided Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but few could have handled the situation as well. See Loren Thompson in Forbes, Whether Russia Invades Or Not, Biden Has Handled The Ukraine Crisis Well. Thompson writes,

Within the geopolitical and military constraints that limit Washington’s options, President Biden and his security team have exhibited a clear sense of purpose, a willingness to act decisively, and a good deal of imagination in addressing the Russian threat. . . . Meanwhile, the Biden administration has persevered in preparing the diplomatic battlefield for whatever comes next.

The road ahead with Ukraine will be difficult, and there will be plenty of opportunities for failure and disappointment. Every decision Biden makes will be second-guessed by armchair experts who will operate with the benefit of hindsight and an astonishing lack of humility. But everyone who hopes for a strong America on the global stage should support Biden as he tries to navigate a challenge that would test any American president. You can help Biden by knowing the facts about how he is succeeding and ensuring that others know, as well.

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Me: My concern is not how America is perceived on “the global stage.” I worry about Putin’s ambition to restore the USSR, which was a brutal dictatorship. I worry about the future of Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and all the other former puppet states that gained freedom from a repressive regime when the USSR collapsed. It’s been three decades since that happy moment, and most people under the age of 50 have no memory of the Gulags, the invasion of Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.