🇺🇸 Ukraine Escalation

The average cost of a wedding this year is... what?!

The Flag


Good morning, and happy Thursday. If you need a little pick-me-up read the heartwarming letters that started a friendship between a bone marrow donor and the little girl he saved.

Plus, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. ticked up this year. You almost don’t even want to look.

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Left: Kamala Harris Extols the Virtues of a Diverse Military Donna Brazile, The Grio

Right: Biden and the Politics of Inertia Roger Kimball, American Greatness

Right: Trump Has Never Faced a GOP Candidate Like DeSantis Michael Goodwin, NY Post

Right: Dodgers, Indeed: A Great Franchise Lost Its Way Mark Coppenger, American Spectator


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US: Bill Ackman urges Jamie Dimon to run for US president (Yahoo Finance)

World: Brazil's Indigenous people protest as lawmakers vote to limit their land rights (NPR)

Hollywood: Danny Masterson, ‘That ’70s Show’ actor, found guilty of rape (CNN)


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Ukraine Escalation

As the war in Ukraine slogs on, new reports of air strikes and aerial attacks have emerged recently — including this week’s claim drones attacked a residential area of Moscow. That came amid an apparent increase in attacks by Russia, including one that left a victim dead in Kyiv.

Reporting from The Left: Ukraine prepares for counteroffensive amid massive Russian aerial attack CNN

Reporting from The Right: Russia’s pre-dawn air raid on Kyiv kills at least 1 while Moscow claims city attacked by drones Landon Mion, Fox News

From the Flag: One of the most recent attacks hit Russia’s Belgorod region, leaving several injured per reports. Meanwhile, Moscow has accused the West of ramping up its weapons donations ahead of a planned Ukrainian counteroffensive. Here’s more from both sides.


Ukraine Can Win, But at What Cost?

  • Ukraine continues to utilize advanced Western weaponry effectively and the country’s population remains confident in victory.

  • This is the time to push for diplomacy and a negotiated settlement after Zelenskyy delayed the “spring offensive.”

  • Lines are becoming more blurry as the war drags on, with Ukraine apparently engaged in assassination attempts on Russian soil.

I was just in Kyiv under fire. I saw why Ukraine can win. Max Boot, Washington Post Opinion: "From afar, the war in Ukraine can look like a bloody stalemate with no winners and no choice but a negotiated solution. The Ukrainians’ confidence that they can expel the Russian invaders from all of their soil... can seem delusional. ... But after spending last week in Kyiv... I concluded that the Ukrainians’ determination to prevail against heavy odds was not only laudable but also eminently sensible. ... Kyiv does not feel like a city under siege. It is a bustling, vibrant metropolis with traffic jams and crowded bars and restaurants. ... Ukrainians don’t talk about what will happen 'after the war.' They talk about what will happen 'after the victory.' ... In the past, such talk may have contained a large element of bravado and wishful thinking, but now it is a product of hard-won experience."

Now U.S. national security experts call for peace talks in Ukraine: Is Biden listening? Medea Benjamin & Nicolas Davies, Salon: "On May 16, The New York Times published a full-page advertisement signed by 15 US national security experts... While condemning Russia's invasion... (the) statement calls the war an 'unmitigated disaster,' and urges President Biden and Congress 'to end the war speedily through diplomacy, especially given the dangers of military escalation that could spiral out of control.' This call for diplomacy by wise, experienced former insiders — US diplomats, military officers, and civilian officials... comes at an especially critical moment... On May 10, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that he would delay Ukraine's long-awaited 'spring offensive' to avoid 'unacceptable' losses to Ukrainian forces. ... (He) appears to be reaching a limit in terms of how many more of his people he is willing to sacrifice to satisfy Western demands for signs of military progress to hold together the Western alliance and maintain the flow of weapons and money to Ukraine."

One more opinion piece from the Left: The Line Between Support for Ukraine and War With Russia Just Gets Thinner James Bamford, The Nation


Either Push Ukraine to Actually Win, or Sue for Peace, There Is No in Between

  • Ukrainians are realistic about the situation they face, but in the long run, they will become a thriving US ally in Eastern Europe.

  • The White House is advancing a “good enough to not lose” strategy similar to what the US adopted during the Vietnam War.

  • Washington should pop Zelenskyy’s latest trial balloon and make peace the priority.

Putin's War Is America's Opportunity Walter Russell Mead, WSJ Opinion: "American policy conversations about Ukraine often assume that Ukraine is a problem. For some, it represents a distraction from China. Others fear Russian escalation and retaliation. Still, others worry about the financial cost of supporting Ukraine’s army and propping up its war-blighted economy. These concerns are real and have their place, but they miss the main point. Vladimir Putin’s ill-judged, ill-planned, and ill-prosecuted war has ignited a national awakening in Ukraine. The country emerging from Putin’s War will be a formidable new force in Europe whose interests and outlook place it firmly in alignment with the US. On a visit to Kyiv last week, I spoke with Ukrainians including business executives, software wizards, survivors of the Russian occupation in Bucha, and veterans of the bitter fighting in Mariupol. ... Ukrainians were clear-eyed about their situation. They expect a long war and a hard peace."

Biden’s indecisive Ukraine policy risks defeat and humiliation Steven Hayward, New York Post Opinion: "The practical effect of President Joe Biden’s halting and indecisive policy toward the conflict is to supply enough weaponry to keep Ukraine from losing but not enough to enable it to defeat Russia on the battlefield and drive the Kremlin completely out of Ukrainian territory, including Crimea. No doubt Biden and his team fear a wider war, and perhaps provoking Russia into using nuclear weapons, and hope that at some point both countries’ exhaustion will lead to an acceptable negotiated settlement. This is a reasonable fear, but the hesitant and incremental strategy Biden is using risks a Ukrainian defeat and humiliation for the NATO alliance. 'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,' runs Santayana’s old saying. Though the circumstances are different, the Biden administration seems intent on repeating the mistakes of our Vietnam strategy in the 1960s."

One more opinion piece from the Right: Ukraine Can’t Join NATO Doug Bandow, American Conservative


Most See Russia as Enemy, But Also Say We’re Too Focused Overseas

Polling conducted early last month found a majority of Americans hold “somewhat” or “very” favorable views toward Ukraine (64%) and NATO (62%).

Conversely, 9 in 10 Americans hold a “somewhat” or “very” unfavorable view of Russia.

Asked if Russia is an “enemy” or a “competitor,” 64% said enemy while 30% said competitor.

But 55% say the US should “pay less attention to problems overseas” and focus on issues here at home, including 71% of Republicans and 60% of Democrats (Pew Research).


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CNN Launches, No Such Thing as Junk Food, Read the Books You Buy

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