Discover more from Hopium Chronicles By Simon Rosenberg
On Ukraine, DeSantis Sides With Putin Over the West
MAGA's rancid appeasement of Putin has been among the darkest chapters in our history
Putin apologist Tucker Carlson asked the GOP Presidential field to answer a set of questions about US policy towards Ukraine. He released the responses last night (on Elon’s Twitter). The response from Ron DeSantis was the most newsworthy, and it starts off like this (the key line is bolded):
While the U.S. has many vital national interests – securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party – becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them. The Biden administration’s virtual “blank check” funding of this conflict for “as long as it takes,” without any defined objectives or accountability, distracts from our country’s most pressing challenges. Without question, peace should be the objective.
Of all the elements of the GOP’s descent into extremism the embrace of Putin has been the hardest to understand, and arguably the most dangerous of all of MAGA’s views. Putin is a deeply corrupt genocidal maniac intent on destroying the West and dislodging America as the world’s central power. What about that is appealing to the leaders of the party of Lincoln and Reagan? It is that he is seen as an ally, like the Chamber of Commerce, the NRA, the oil and gas industry because he helped Trump get elected in 2016? Sort of an “he’s on the team” big donor kind of thing? Whatever the story really is that Putin has been able to repeatedly penetrate one of America’s two political parties is something our country has yet to come to terms with.
One of the things which drove me to launch Hopium Chronicles is that I believe we are struggling here in the US to understand the nature of the conflict we now find ourselves in with Russia, China and others who want to challenge the global order America imagined and built after WWII. At some point - Putin’s attack on the US in 2016, Trump’s bowing to Putin in Helsinki in 2018, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in 2021 - the post Cold War era ended and a new geopolitical age began. We have left a period which saw the extension of the American global order to the entire world, and are entering one which there are now serious challenges to that order. We are entering a period of conflict, not peace, I am afraid. And we have to update our understandings and strategies to ensure freedom and democracy prevail aganst these new challenges (this is the central narrative of my With Democrats Things Get Better presentation - hope you will check it out).
We are already in a sort of conflict/war with Russia and it needs to be understood that way. In Europe they refer to this new kind of conflict - geopolitical, actual war, information, cyber - as “hybrid war.” We don’t really have a term for it in American English, and it’s a problem. It’s keeping us blind to one of the most pernicious aspect of this “hybrid war” - Russia and China’s information operations here in the US, and their ability to to shape our discourse, often with the help of “useful idiots” or outright allies like Trump, Carlson and now DeSantis.
It’s one of the reasons I am so adamant about us learning how to get louder, and becoming far more intentional about contesting the information space every day. As I write in my welcome letter:
I am calling it Hopium Chronicles because I want this to be a journey guided by hope and optimism, of belief in ourselves, in love of country and a clear understanding of the nature of the conflict we are in. I have become convinced that part of Greater MAGA’s strategy is to intentionally poison our discourse with negative sentiment every day. They want us to feel bad about America, our democracy, our leaders, our institutions, our success, each other, ourselves. We cannot let them do that any more. While they talk American down every day, we need to talk it up. While they spread lies, we respond with truth and data. Hopium is a rejection of the darkness they are trying to spread. It is a way of standing up for our great country and its remarkable people. It is the key to how we win.
And winning is what we are about here at Hopium Chronicles.
My favorite part of Tucker’s long Elon-friendly Twitter thread last night: