Leopards, Paper Tigers And Russian Bears, Oh My!

"Before we started sending them weapons they were killing Russians with things you could find around the house," Dave Chappelle joked, during a November monologue on Saturday Night Live. "That whole country, Ukraine, is littered with traps like Home Alone," he went on, to laughter. "Russians were steppin' on rakes and touchin' hot doorknobs." If you're old enough to remember Home Alone (and its sequel, which featured a cameo from Donald Trump), Chappelle's analogy was brilliant. There's nothin
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10 thoughts on “Leopards, Paper Tigers And Russian Bears, Oh My!

  1. I’d respond to your comment on corruption with this; if Americans care about corruption anywhere, they should demonstrate that by caring about corruption here, first. Corruption is growing and accountability decreasing as we speak in the US. Nobody should be judging corruption anywhere else in the world, from the purview of the United States, while that happens.

    I know that this will be a right wing “crises” because they are all crises actors representing the perpetually aggrieved while their preferred party is continually investigated and prosecuted for corrupt acts that are called corrupt because whomever’s favorite populist is the target. But that’s America, the land of truth is whatever you decide and, everyone else should just agree with you because you saw it on Tik Tok.

    1. For a few years after I retired from international banking, I would participate in Foreign Policy Association discussions at the local library. Occasionally, I would present on various Middle Eastern or East European countries. There would inevitably be a question on corruption , which I would try to answer as best I could. But I would always conclude my comments with “Thank God we don’t have to worry about that here in New Jersey!”

  2. So, if the question is whether it’s possible that some American tax dollars will disappear into the wild blue yonder, the answer is “Yes. Absolutely yes.” If the next question is whether it’s worth it, the answer is the same.

    This is always the best response when people complain about how ponderous and inefficient government services in the US are, too. Sure, democratic institutions are often painful to watch in operation… but is there a reasonable alternative? Do I want FDA food inspections outsourced to companies themselves, based on the honor system, because it’ll save some money? No way. Do I want Boeing to be able to self-certify its systems, because I trust that the invisible hand will guide them just as well as the FAA? Ha. Do I want to get rid of pork barrel spending by enabling a concentration of political power into fewer hands? No thanks!

    A little bit of inefficiency is the price you pay for the guardrails that enable political stability. Get rid of the guardrails and you get a race to the bottom — anyone who wants to see what capitalism without the guardrails looks like just needs to spend 5 minutes reading about the Triangle Trade.

  3. I wonder how much the Leopards will matter.

    On the one hand Javelins and NLAWs have seemingly shown in this war that the age of the tank’s dominance has passed. On the other hand the Russian answer, the Kornet, doesn’t seem to have gotten nearly as much press and there aren’t copious social media postings of Ukrainian tanks being destroyed by them.

    Leopards are supposed to be the best of the best, hopefully this plays out positively for Kiev.

  4. It seems evident that the so-called “domino theory” of the mid twentieth century may have some validity. First Crimea, next Ukraine, and then Taiwan.
    Corruption is as old as mankind. No one should be surprised. It’s not “right” but it’s merely a distraction.
    The only thing that truly matters is that Putin is not successful.

  5. The war has not been a very good advertisement for Russia’s arms export industry. “Come buy our tanks / planes / missiles, that are getting blown up right and left in Ukraine, we use only the finest semiconductors that looted washing machines can supply.”

  6. Does anyone remember the pallets of cash that were sent to Iraq during that war under George Bush? Literally pallets of it, tons of it. I think I remember videos showing some of the pallets of cash with parachutes being pushed out the back of helicopters. It’s fairly understood that when you run a cash business some goes missing.
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-usa-cash/u-s-sent-pallets-of-cash-to-baghdad-idUSN0631295120070207

    In the US we politely call corruption “campaign contributions”. That’s like saying “martini” to class up the idea you’re drinking straight alcohol.

    Yes there will be some “slippage” helping Ukraine, but H says it’ll be worth it. I agree.

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