Why reveal your intentions when you don’t have to? That’s exactly what the Biden Administration did with respect to the question of a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine, and it might as well apply to all future incursions backed by wild threats from aggressor states possessing WMDs. This was another unforced error by Biden’s team and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. John Cochrane writes that “strategic ambiguity” has real value in deterring an aggressor, but apparently our current leadership hasn’t thought that through. From Cochrane:
“Once again, the U.S. declares, publicly, ahead of time — ahead of the possible collapse of the Ukrainian government — what we will not do, and elevates it to a matter of principle.
Who else is listening? Well, Xi Jinping. And the Iranians. And the South Koreans, Japanese, Saudi Arabians, and more. …
We have just wrapped Taiwan up and delivered it to China.
Message to Iran: test one nuclear weapon. Invade Syria, Iraq, or whatever. The US will not respond. Message to others. Get nukes. Now.
This war isn’t just about Ukraine. It is about the kind of world we live in for the next generation.”
As Cochrane’s says, the U.S. and NATO calculated that supplying anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine would not trigger Putin to make good on his larger threats. At the same time, the thinking is a no-fly zone is too chancy. It’s probably true, but there was no reason to say so. It could have and should have waited. It might have given Putin some pause, any instance of which could be of great value to the Ukrainians as they marshal their defense.
This kind of up-front pusillanimity more broadly undermines the credibility of other options we might wish to have against aggressors in the future, such as trade embargoes, naval blockades, or even conventional weapons. Nor do the particulars in this case limit the range of actions a future aggressor might make threats against. We’ve more or less revealed that whatever a future aggressor chooses to forbid, under the menace of some drastic reprisal, is off the table. Acquiescence is adopted as doctrine, and that is a huge blunder.
The political motives behind the naming of the Covid Omicron variant might prove to be a huge irony. The Greek letter Xi was skipped by the World Health Organization (WHO), undoubtedly to avoid any symbolic association between Covid and the Chinese dictator Xi Jinping. After all, he’s probably determined to bury discussion of the leak at the Wuhan lab that was the probable cause of this whole mess. The WHO was happy to provide cover. The irony is that the Omicron variant might well bring on a more gentle phase of the pandemic if early indications can be trusted. But in that case, my guess is Chairman Xi wouldn’t have appreciated the twist even if WHO had called it the Xi variant.
The Omicron variant was identified in the Gauteng Province of South Africa and announced by national health authorities on November 24th. The earliest known sample was taken on November 9th. The variant was subsequently diagnosed in a number of other countries, including the U.S. It has a large number of mutations, and initial reports indicated that the variant was spreading extremely fast, having suddenly outcompeted other variants to account for the majority of new cases in South Africa. It is apparently highly contagious. Moreover, Omicron has been diagnosed among the vaccinated as well as those having immunity from prior infections, which is usually more effective and durable than vaccination. Thus, it is said to have “immune escape” properties. Scary indeed!
However, Omicron seems to have been around much longer than suggested by its initial diagnosis in late November (and see this link for an extreme view). Cases in a number of countries show that it is already global; the lags involved in diagnosis as well as earlier contacts with spreaders suggest that Omicron’s origin could have been as early as late September. That means the spread has not been quite as fast as the first alarming reports suggested.
The reported symptoms of the Omicron variant have been quite mild, with fatigue being the most noteworthy. Omicron appears to have taken one mutation from the common cold, which, like Covid-19, is a type of coronavirus. And while there has been a surge in hospitalized cases in South Africa, most of these are said to be “incidental”. That is, these patients were admitted for other problems but happened to test positive for the Omicron variant. As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, the data is not always reliable.
It’s too early to draw definite conclusions, and this variant might prove to be more dangerous with time. In fact, some say that South Africa’s experience might not be representative because of its young population and high natural immunity. It also happens to be early summer there, when higher vitamin D levels help to boost immunity. So, there is a great deal of uncertainty about Omicron (and see here). Nevertheless, I’ll risk a jinx by momentarily contemplating an outcome that’s not terribly far-fetched.
Viruses mutate in ways that help ensure their survival: they must not kill too many of their hosts, which means the usual progression is toward less lethal variants. They may become more contagious, and new variants must be contagious enough to outcompete their ancestors. Viral interference can sometimes prevent multiple viruses from having a broad coexistence. That’s the likely phenomenon we witnessed when the Covid pandemic coincided with the virtual disappearance of the flu and other respiratory viruses. More to the point, it’s the same phenomenon that occurred when the Spanish Flu was eventually outcompeted by less deadly variants.
So it’s possible that a mild Omicron will put the pandemic behind us. If it proves to be as contagious and as mild as it appears thus far, it would likely displace Delta and other variants as the first phase of a new, endemic malady. That might even cut into the severity of the current seasonal wave. The Ethical Skeptic tweets thusly:
“So was Omicron an ultra fast-mutating magic terminator variant? A gift from God, or aliens…? … Or natural virility/genetic profile derived from a previous variant conferring immunity …”
That would be a wonderful outcome, but Omicron’s arrival in the northern hemisphere just as winter gets underway contributes to the uncertainty. It’s severity during the northern winter could be far worse than what we’ve seen in South Africa. We can hope this variant isn’t one truly deserving of Chairman Xi’s name.
Now why would I say such a thing? Well, 1) the presidential election was rife with fraud, as many of us feared would be the case (and see here); 2) the supposed winner, Joe “The Plagiarist” Biden, is a figurehead, and he will remain in the White House only as long as he toes the line set down by the Left; and 3) the figurehead is badly compromised by Chinese and other foreign influence: Chairman Xi Jinping of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is undoubtedly pleased that such a pliant American president will be taking office.
Those who deny the fraud that took place in the election keep insisting “there’s no evidence!” In fact, there is ample evidence to convince any fair-minded person that massive fraud took place across a number of states (see here, here, here and here). We knew that massive adoption of mail-in ballots was an invitation to fraud. There are many hundreds of affidavits (yes, they constitute evidence) stating that Republican election officials and poll watchers were obstructed in their attempts to observe the counting process on and after Election Day, and worse. There is video evidence of activities coincident with late-night lockouts of Republican poll watchers and outrageous, instant jumps in Biden’s vote totals. There is definitive evidence of process “shortcuts” in several states that led to a large number of unverified ballots. These shortcuts were often taken in contravention of state law. There were failed chains of custody for thousands of ballots across several states. There were dead and out-of-state voters. There were irregularities associated with vote tabulations by Dominion machines. There are hand recounts in a few counties that demonstrate miscounting of ballots. And of course, there was a willful effort to suppress this information by the news media, and outright censorship of this information by social media platforms.
No matter what has or will happen in the courts, state legislatures, or Congress, a large share of the voting public believes there was fraud in this election. In fact, a significant share of democrats believe the election was stolen from President Trump! The fraud goes beyond the electoral process as well. Polls show a substantial number of Biden voters would not have voted for him had they known about the escapades of Hunter Biden and Joe’s role as the family cash cow. The mainstream media and social media platforms also deliberately suppressed the information about Hunter Biden’s pay-for-play scandal prior to the election. And that came after months of avoiding any real scrutiny of Biden’s policy agenda and his fitness as a candidate. Instead, the media asked Joe tough questions about his favorite ice cream.
Not your president? The Hunter Biden saga creates doubt about who Joe Biden is likely to serve as President. To whom is Joe beholden for “taking care” of “the big guy’s” family? How about Hunter’s deals in the Ukraine and Russia? How heavily was the CCP involved in Hunter’s business ventures? How much is Joe compromised by these unfortunate ties? What kind of compromises might it be worth to Joe to avoid further exposure? Should the Biden Administration overlook the plight of the Uhygers? Turn the cheek on Hong Kong? Sacrifice Taiwan? Allow Chinese technology to be embedded in U.S. communications hardware? Cede international rights in the South China Sea? Perhaps Joe will be Chairman Xi’s President. And perhaps others hold cards, such as the hostile Iranian regime. Not our president.
Finally, if you *think* you voted for Joe as president, be aware that he is, even now, a doddering figurehead, a puppet of the Left whose strings might well be clipped when he demonstrates even a hint of incapacity. It might not be long. Perhaps the Left will adopt Hunter’s imbroglio as an excuse to take Joe down. It seems more than a little suspicious that the media, post-election, has finally begun to talk about Hunter’s miscues and Joe’s “possible” involvement.
But even if Joe remains in the Oval Office through a first term, just who will be in charge? Joe? No, he is captive to the interests that helped put him there. We might just as well call him “Any-Way-the-Wind-Blows Joe”. Angela Davis, former VP of the Communist Party USA, said during the primaries that she supported Biden because he:
“… can be most effectively pressured into allowing more space for the evolving anti-racist movement.”
Well, Joe better not compromise with anyone or accept any policy that Angela Davis deems “racist”.
Let’s consider a few influences expected to be paramount in pulling Joe’s strings: Barack Obama, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Julian Castro, and Black Lives Matter. Bernie Sanders will also loom large, and of course Kamala Harris will be there to push the leftist agenda, and she’ll be waiting in the wings when Joe loses his tentative grip on the reins of the progressive machine. Joe better not resist these forces: he can be manipulated, and if he strays from the path, he and his presidency can be cancelled.
If you are a member of the Marxist wing of the coalition, you might have him just where you want him. If you are a member of the CCP, then he might be your president. But he is not the president of the disenfranchised voters whose majority was outstripped by the mailed ballot fraud. And if you are a centrist Democrat, you should awaken to the reality of the hard-left movement with which you’ve joined forces. Do not accept it as a legitimate governing force. No, Joe Biden will not be your president.
As I’ve noted in the past, apologists willing to look past Joe Biden’s domestic and foreign controllers and the fraudulent election are not to be trusted. Indeed, they have been willing to look past Biden’s personal status as a fraud, from his many lies about his family to his admitted plagiarism, to his denial of sexual aggression toward female staffers. In summary, I can’t put it any better than Newt Gingrich does here:
“… I have no interest in legitimizing the father of a son who Chinese Communist Party members boast about buying. Nor do I have any interest in pretending that the current result is legitimate or honorable. It is simply the final stroke of a four-year establishment-media power grab. It has been perpetrated by people who have broken the law, cheated the country of information, and smeared those of us who believe in America over China, history over revisionism, and the liberal ideal of free expression over cancel culture.”
In advanced civilizations the period loosely called Alexandrian is usually associated with flexible morals, perfunctory religion, populist standards and cosmopolitan tastes, feminism, exotic cults, and the rapid turnover of high and low fads---in short, a falling away (which is all that decadence means) from the strictness of traditional rules, embodied in character and inforced from within. -- Jacques Barzun