I find it interesting that one of the concerns and disagreements discussed was how Republicans seem to be "switching places" to a more typically Democrat stance and showing little interest or resolve to defend Ukraine. It was also pointed out that our current president has no leadership qualities or personal charisma to use his bully pulpit to help rally American sentiment. What we have been told as Republicans is that WE are the "greatest existential threat" to the US. Any message that Biden, Harris, any other current democratic leader, MSM - is that White Supremacists are the "biggest threat" to our nation. And that white supremacists are the Mega Republicans. So if you happen to have voted for Trump (ie, half the nation) you pose some "threat" to the US and that this is the MAIN THREAT to the US. This doesn't leave much room for other concerns does it. Should we just ignore that constant vitriol and pay attention to Ukraine? In truth, we cannot ignore it. Any time you see Biden televised or watch any main stream news show ALL you hear about is TRUMP and MAGA Republicans. When the administration and the country in general puts this as their focus, there is not much else left for foreign conflicts. And to suggest that "MAGA Republicans" now idealize Putin! No. No Republican thinks that. The bottom line remains, that the most left wing Democrat and the moderate Democrats and even the "free thinkers" of The Free Press still do not understand what the average Trump voter or the average Republican values, how they think or what they think. even Bari Weiss and many of the other Free Press moderators suggest that MAGA Republicans are delusional red necks. The Andrew Sullivan "realization" was ridiculous. If you can divert your focus OFF Trump for more than 5 minutes, if you can STOP insulting half the country, if you can make a case for anything other than the focus they continue to have, maybe you'd actually rally people to a cause. Otherwise, the apathetic reaction is what results.

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Russia's invasion of Ukraine is wrong.

Russia's actions in the invasion brings chaos into world affairs, where order is needed.

A fledgling democracy, one in which it's people are fighting like crazy to preserve it, is under attack by an autocracy that only recognizes that might makes right.

For a people who "hold these truths to be self evident...", you'd think this would be reason enough.

Or maybe we just feel that "these truths" hold for just us. Or just for them that can enact them by themselves. (I'm pretty sure the French gave us plenty of help.)

Or maybe we feel that NATO expansion incited Russia to barbarism.

If this is so, then we must feel a great deal of sympathy for the poor Japanese who had the snot beaten out of them just for being incited by American naval bases in the pacific, far from our shore (Hawaii was not a state until 1959).

Maybe we feel my 22 year old Grandfather, Lt Ken Kehoe (WWII Big Red One), was foolishly naïve for getting involved in world affairs that didn't really effect his life, and getting killed in North Africa before even meeting his daughter.

But I've read his letters, he knew what he was doing and knew the risk, and he thought it mattered, should be done, and was the right thing to do. Fortunately, a lot of Americans felt the same way.

And just because there might be a fire somewhere else, it doesn't mean we should let some houses burn.

It doesn't really matter which old man is President.

The right thing for Americans to do, is still the right thing for Americans to do.

Stop being tribal, be American.

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Or how about this for understanding some US folks' point of view"


But, on the other hand, Lincoln said:

[…] good men, men who love tranquility, who desire to abide by the laws, and enjoy their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense of their country; seeing their property destroyed; their families insulted, and their lives endangered; their persons injured; and seeing nothing in prospect that forebodes a change for the better; become tired of, and disgusted with, a Government that offers them no protection; and are not much averse to a change in which they imagine they have nothing to lose.

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Brett just repeated the domino theory used to justify the mistakes we made in Korea and Vietnam and every war since. If you take his theory to its logical conclusion which is the quick and severely defeat the Russian army so we can dictate the terms you have just agreed to have the United States declare a war on Russia. No one else has the resources to achieve this defeat of the Russian military. Ukraine isn’t capable no matter how many trillions we give them. Just as the French were incapable of defeating HO Chi Minh In Vietnam in the 1950’s. We bankrolled that whole disaster and guess what way more Americans died there than the French. There is zero reason for American treasure to be wasted in Ukraine let alone American blood. Extremely disappointed that not a soul mentioned our involvement in overthrowing the democratically elected government of Ukraine in 2014. Why did we do that? Two wrongs do not make a right. And the cheap shots by Stephenson towards someone not there shows you how much the establishment fears Tucker Carlson. The claims of Carlson being a useful idiot shows the world who is the true useful idiot and it’s not Tucker. Bari you took your cheap shot too. Man up and talk to Tucker. It would be your biggest listen too piece. Brett you need to study the why’s of WW 1 before you say or write another word on why we need to give a blank check to the corrupt Government in Ukraine that just suspend their elections. You do know that we held a presidential election during our civil war.

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Feb 23·edited Feb 23

Two things that really didn't get enough attention.

1. The $61 billion will not defeat Russia in the Ukraine, it will only maintain the status quo. To make Ukraine whole will take a great deal more money, and likely troops from outside the Ukraine.

2. If the Ukraine is such a vital interest to the security of Europe, why is their so little investment from the NATO countries of Europe? NATO support to date is 60% US-funded, whereas a threat to Europe should naturally involve a 10x investment from Europe in relation to the US. Brett argues that raising US defense spending is easy - well, certainly it is far easier for the Europeans, who've spent next-to-nothing. If Italy has a comparable economy to Russia, it can put it comparable dollars to defeat it. Not to mention the Germans, Dutch, French, Belgians, etc.

If you're serious about defeating Russia in Ukraine (and thus Europe), show you're serious - get the EU to take the lead, financially, militarily and politically. Otherwise, it really just looks like you want another Afghanistan. And we all saw how that turned out. It also shows you're unserious about the Pacific and Asia. Following the current strategy will result in losses across the board.

Stephens' arguments weren't well thought-out, including comparisons to the US Civil War. Much has changed since the Cold War, and he fails to recognize it. If Europe doesn't have the will to get behind Ukraine, the correct position is to work for a truce as quickly as possible, then to build up the defense for the remainder of Europe.

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I listened to this and then looked at my news feed... https://scrippsnews.com/stories/desperate-for-soldiers-ukraine-weighs-unpopular-plan-to-expand-draft/?utm_source=ground.news&utm_medium=referral

I think it's a lot more complex than either discussant knows

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Fabulous debate!! I’m reading the Guns of August to gain more knowledge about what causes regional conflicts to turn into world wars. I found various aspects of both men’s perspectives persuasive and I am pondering what I think is best vis-à-vis US handling of Ukraine. I thought it was interesting that both men largely agreed on everything- the debate seems to be how exactly to resolve the conflict in Ukraine in Ukraine’s favor as quickly as possible and without damaging our strength as a country. Proof that when you actually engage in debate- you find people agree on most things, ultimately.

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I have a question for Bret, how many times are we going to go down this worn path? —It’s short money and we will beat them into submission—!


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I'm in a quandary

Can you advise me. Should I save a drowning person if I can swim well, but the life of this person is not in my area of ​​vital interests?

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I found it strange that both sides focused on the monetary aspect of the conflict. They both seemed to agree that if Ukraine falls, China may go after Taiwan and Putin could be encouraged to go after a NATO country. Either scenario means we put boots on the ground or break our alliances and commitment. We can spend money now to convince the world we are not weak or we can pay in American blood down the road.

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This is a great debate and it has given me a better appreciation of what various sides are saying in it. However, both of the debaters are basically united in their outlook of "unipolarity": the idea that there must be a global hegemon to police the world order, and if it's not the US then someone else will play the role. Ergo, for the US and the "free world" to be safe, we must engage in a never-ending crusade to stop the "bad people" all over the world.

Who you really need to have on the next debate of this topic, or to write an article on the subject, is someone who supports genuine realism in foreign policy; that is, who accepts that the brief "unipolar, moment" of the US post-Cold War is over and we need to relearn how to deal with a highly multi-polar world that has been the norm throughout human history.

In lieu of an article on FP, I recommend this one from Compact: https://www.compactmag.com/article/the-false-religion-of-unipolarity/. This article describes exactly the ideas conveyed by both debaters. One debater is only slightly more realistic than the other, but both make out China to be someone we need to be preparing for war with. Why? Have we been so stupid in the past as to make this unavoidable? US foreign policy has been absolutely stupid for sure, but I hold out hope that an older tradition of thought might be revived in time to avoid what might still be avoided.

It would take real humility, however, to admit (1) that we've brought a lot of grief on ourselves and the world through bad foreign policy (i.e. who made China who it is today?); and (2) that we are no longer the hegemon and we need to learn how to work with others again. I'll just point out that the United Nations had been conspicuously absent in everything that's been happening in the last 5-10 years.

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As a historical correction, the final US helicopters leaving Saigon did not take off from the US Embassy-that part of Saigon had already fallen. The landing platform was the top of an elevator shaft in the building housing the USAID office and the CIA station chief.

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Maybe this Bret guy is some sort of genius military strategy analyst and I am completely wrong, I am just a knucklehead for sure, but it seems to me he has an extremely overblown view of what the Ukrainian military is really going to be able to accomplish against the Russian military. I feel like this guy is living in some sort of fantasy world that is the one he wants to live in rather than looking at what the real facts on the ground are. Ukraine is not in the position they are now after 2 years because we simply have not provided them enough money and weapons. They are in this situation because they are losing a war of attrition against an enemy that has historically shown their willingness to throw hundreds of thousands of bodies at wars of attrition. It is nice that Bret is willing to fight this thing to the last Ukrainian but if that is what he thinks should happen then perhaps he should pick up a rifle and go put his money where his mouth is instead of leaving the actual dirty work of his plan to others while he sits in the US pontificating on it. Maybe then I could at least respect his fantasy position.

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A fine and good debate. In my hearing it, Colby had the upper hand. His thoughts on this are the right nuance of not rewarding Russia for its invasion, and not being duped that Ukraine is some kind of democratic stronghold in Eastern Europe. Stephens, arguing (albeit well) the neocon, or elite right, simply is not persuasive that we "must do something." I also understand their read of China, but I think that read is at least missing information. China's economy is circling the drain, and its population has been literally decimated by its one child policy. Those things may lead it to declare war with its large military. But keeping it up in a sustained fashion? Probably not.

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My fear, brought to the front of my mind by this debate: How many Americans have to face death in a war with Russia and/or China before we put our trigger finger on the nuclear weapon and so do the foes? Flinch or be first. And then what?

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There is no doubt that Biden’s incompetence and senility has made the world a more dangerous place (e.g. Israel, Ukraine). I’d love to hear a group of Biden voters (Bari Weiss, Dan Henninger) review their reasons for choosing Biden over Trump in hindsight. What did they get right, what did they get wrong? What will they do in 2024 and why?

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