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The Counter-offensive | The Atlantic - by Anne Applebaum and Jeffrey Goldberg |

Uniquely, the United States has the power to determine how, and how quickly, the war of attrition turns into something quite different. The Ukrainian defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, spoke with us about the "Ramstein Club," named after the American air base in Germany where the group, which consists of the defense officials of 54 countries, first convened. Still, his most important relationship is with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ("we communicate very, very often"), and everyone knows that this club is organized by Americans, led by Americans, galvanized by Americans. Andriy Yermak, Zelensky's chief of staff, told us that Ukrainians now feel they are "strategic partners and friends" with America, something that might not have felt so true a few years ago, when Donald Trump was impeached on charges of seeking to extort Zelensky.

In our interview with Zelensky, which we conducted with the chair of The Atlantic's board of directors, Laurene Powell Jobs, we asked him how he would justify this unusual relationship to a skeptical American: Why should Americans donate weapons to a distant war? He was clear in stating that the outcome of the war will determine the future of Europe. "If we will not have enough weapons," he said, "that means we will be weak. If we will be weak, they will occupy us. If they occupy us, they will be on the borders of Moldova, and they will occupy Moldova. When they have occupied Moldova, they will [travel through] Belarus, and they will occupy Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. That's three Baltic countries which are members of NATO. They will occupy them. Of course, [the Balts] are brave people, and they will fight. But they are small. And they don't have nuclear weapons. So they will be attacked by Russians because that is the policy of Russia, to take back all the countries which have been previously part of the Soviet Union." The fate of NATO, of America's position in Europe, indeed of America's position in the world are all at stake.

    This is a war over a fundamental definition of civilization, Zelensky
    says, a battle "to show everybody else, including Russia, to respect
    sovereignty, human rights, territorial integrity; and to respect people,
    not to kill people, not to rape women, not to kill animals."

If a Ukraine that believes in the rule of law and human rights can achieve victory against a much larger, much more autocratic society, and if it can do so while preserving its own freedoms, then similarly open societies and movements around the world can hope for success too. After the Russian invasion, the Venezuelan opposition movement hung a Ukrainian flag on the front of its country's embassy hall in Washington. The Taiwanese Parliament gave a rapturous welcome to Ukrainian activists last year. Not everyone in the world cares about this war, but for anyone trying to defeat a dictator, it has profound significance.

Both Jeffrey Goldberg, elevated a little over a year ago to managing editor of The Atlantic, and his predecessor and mentor, James Bennet, now the NY Times op-ed page editor, have embarked on a process of normalizing the alt-right, via hiring its devotés to grace their respective pages.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon May 1st, 2023 at 10:46:38 PM EST
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