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Putin’s GOP Enablers

February 23, 2024
Notes
Transcript
AEI’s Kori Schake joins to discuss Ukraine funding, GOP’s moral and strategic collapse, Nikki Haley’s role, calls for a Gaza ceasefire, and more.

highlights / lowlights 

Damon: John Avlon: I’m running for Congress.

Linda: Something’s Fishy About the ‘Migrant Crisis’

A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes

Liberation Struggle

Kori: NATO Gives Ukraine the Go-Ahead to Cross Putin’s Red Line

Mona: What Losing My Two Children Taught Me About Grief

Bill:  For Gen Z, an Age-Old Question: Who Pays for Dates?

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:09

    Welcome to Beg to Differ, the Bulwark weekly roundtable discussion, featuring civil conversation across the political spectrum, We range from center left to center right. I’m Mona Charen, syndicated columnist and policy editor at the Bulwark, and I am joined by our regulars. Will Saletan of the Wall Street Journal and the Brookings institution. Damon Lincoln, who writes the sub stack newsletter notes from the middle ground, and Linda Chavez of the Nescannon Center. Our special guest this week is Corey Shockey, director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:49

    Welcome, one and all. We live in a crazy new world in which the death in prison of the chief rival of the, Russian. I almost said Soviet leader because there’s scarcely any difference these days. Was not commented upon by Donald Trump for the longest time. In fact, he does now have an unbroken record of never saying a harsh word about Putin.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:20

    And aid for Ukraine is hanging in the balance. Will Saletan had a piece this week describing all this. But Corey, I’m gonna start with you. If you can set the stage for us, about the battle over funding for Ukraine. There are lots of people now in the Republican Party who are not only unconvinced that this war is winnable or that it’s in our interest but actively rooting for Putin.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:52

    Yeah. It’s both a moral and a strategic collapse by my fellow Republicans. To believe that we should no longer assist people desperately fighting for their freedom and the sovereignty of their self determination. I think there are two lines of Republicans. One, as you’ve already mentioned, Mona, is Donald Trump, who clearly aspires to be a Putin like character, one, that inspires fear rather than ridicule and that has unconstrained ability to pursue vendettas despite constraints of law or morality.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:40

    And then I think there is the second, strain, which is represented by Senator Vance of Ohio, who are trying to dignify the Trump position with logic, right, saying that we should care so much about Ukrainian lives that we shouldn’t help them fight for their freedom. That we should consign them to Russian control despite the war crimes that the Russians have committed that somehow that’s good for Ukrainians and allows us to take the moral high ground while abandoning. Support for Ukraine. And I think both of those are terribly wrong and both of them, deserve condemnation by people of conscience.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:36

    Yeah. It’s interesting that JD Vance doesn’t take into account the wishes of the Ukrainian people. Who have expressed in the clearest possible terms that, they would rather fight than submit. So, you know, it’s nothing like somebody saying, they’re there. I’m doing this for your own good as they sell you out.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:56

    Exactly. I thought it was it was a hopeful sign. However, that the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal is continuing to prosecute the case that war for Ukraine is in American interests. And to criticize those Republicans who don’t support it and criticize Vance in particular who should know better than to take the morally bankrupt position he has taken.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:24

    Well, Vance is a hopeless case in my humble opinion, but Will Saletan, since, Corey mentioned the Wall Street Journal. You write a column for the Wall Street Journal. You’re not responsible for the editorial position, but, you had a piece this week about how this all falls into Mike Johnson’s lap. And you’re saying he has the opportunity to do the right thing. I have to tell you that I’ve been trained over the last eight years Not to put too much stock into Republicans doing the right thing, the thing that that that conscience demands.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:58

    What do you think?
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:59

    Well, he has the opportunity to do the right thing, whether he will seize that opportunity is a different question altogether And, you know, in my piece, I lay out a few scenarios as to how he could move aid to Ukraine, at least into the realm of possibility, Avaya Evote, without necessarily committing suicide politically. Because I think it’s very clear that if he simply did what the people on this show wanted to do, you know, a motion to vacate would be, you know, would be on the house floor within twenty four hours, and you wouldn’t survive it. And I’m not saying that Mike Johnson’s survival is a matter of urgent national interest, Ocum Traire, but I think that if there are pathways and I sketch out a couple of them that would allow a vote on Ukraine to come to the floor where it would pass with a minority of the majority and the overwhelming majority of the minority. It will violate the famous Hastert rule, which is not a rule, of course, in any formal sense, but just, you know, a maxim to protect the Republican Party and the House of Representatives from the consequences of its own folly.
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:22

    And I make one cynical proposal, which I actually think could have good consequences where Johnson goes to his pockets is in that, and says, look, We have the opportunity to drive a hard bargain in return for Ukraine aid, so we’re just gonna slap h r two on top of the senate bill and send it back to the senate. And at the very worst, this will generate the kind of cross chambered discussion about immigration policy that the Senate did not allow us to enjoy the first time around. I suspect that he won’t be able to get a majority for that because there isn’t a single Democrat who’d vote for h r two. I can think of a lot of, fair number of Republicans who don’t wanna vote for aid for Ukraine under any circumstances, but at least it would be worth a try. That failing Johnson could simply say, look.
  • Speaker 3
    0:07:16

    Proceed now is a matter of conscience, and that would open the door to some doubting Republicans to sign a discharge petition, which would enable some bill to get to the floor details to come. So there are ways of doing this. But it’s in the speaker’s power to open some of those doors or to keep them shut. And if they stay shut, I think it’s going to be not impossible, but very difficult, you know, to get aid for Ukraine passed to the house of representatives.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:49

    Linda, the, the gambit of saying we can’t give aid To defend Ukraine’s border when our own border is under attack, that was revealed as a pretext, right, in the last couple weeks. I mean, they once they had gotten a huge amount of concessions about what to do about our southern border They still tanked it. I mean, does this all come down to whether a few Republicans in the house are willing to risk their careers because of the nature of the GOP primary electorate, willing to risk their careers by teaming up with Democrats and voting for a discharge petition?
  • Speaker 4
    0:08:33

    Well, unfortunately, I don’t see any other way. I mean, I don’t think, you know, unless god tells him, Mike Johnson changes his mind. And since he has, you know, apparently a direct line, from god. Maybe god will intervene. You know, it it it’s I I don’t mean to make light of this.
  • Speaker 4
    0:08:54

    It is really tragic. I mean, there are two tragedies here. Clearly, the biggest tragedy is what is happening on the ground in Ukraine. They are literally running out of ammunition and you know, all of this folly about how well, you know, the Europeans could do it. I’m sorry.
  • Speaker 4
    0:09:14

    The Europeans do do it. And in fact, if you look at the aid that we’ve given and you compare it to the aid that many European countries have given as a proportion of their GDP because we’re not talking about very rich countries in some cases. We rank thirty first in terms of what we’ve given if you compare it to our GDP. So, absolutely Ukraine needs our money. They need, help from us.
  • Speaker 4
    0:09:45

    And we are not honoring our commitment and this is going to have such far reaching consequences for US foreign policy. How is it that we can claim to be the leader of the free world and yet when we make a promise to another country that has been invaded by one of our chief adversaries. We are not willing to honor those commitments. In terms of the immigration part of this, first of all, HR two is draconian. It, would restrict the president’s parole powers.
  • Speaker 4
    0:10:19

    It would change the way we treat children who are in detention which is now basically We have rules that were put in place because of a consent decree that was agreed to with the courts and it would simply vacate that. It would really change the asylum rules in ways far stricter than what the senate compromise is and it’s a really bad bill. It’s not a good faith effort. It is not. So I don’t think they would do that and it all is gonna come down whether or not a handful of Republicans.
  • Speaker 4
    0:11:00

    We’re talking about less than half a dozen people might have the gumption have the good, I don’t know, just honor to say that US foreign policy matters that our role in the world matters that supporting a country that has been invaded and our having made that commitment matters and therefore we’re gonna bring the bill to the fore, but I wouldn’t, bet the farm on it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:32

    We’ve discussed on this podcast in the past that Yeah. It’s a newsflash. Hunter Biden’s not a good guy. You know? He’s done some skeevy things.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:42

    He’s caused. He’s he’s he’s traded on the family name and so forth. But the Republicans, they’re not interested in, you know, saving people who are fighting for their lives against a a vicious invasion, but they’re very interested in, all aspects of Hunter Biden This week, the independent counsel who has brought serious indictments against Hunter Biden on tax and other Charlie Sykes prosecuted this character Alexander Smiernoff who is one of the witnesses that the Republicans have been trumpeting now for more than a year as proving that, Joe Biden and Hunter Biden both took bribes. And not only do we find out that he’s a liar and been indicted by the same David Weiss who is prosecuting Hunter Biden. But that he has ties to guess who?
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:40

    The Russians, the Russian intelligence services. Your comments.
  • Speaker 5
    0:12:46

    That’s absolutely shocking. How could this have been the case? I can’t believe it. You know, it’s interesting. As a centrist kind of center left leaning centrist.
  • Speaker 5
    0:12:56

    I have friends and acquaintances across the political spectrum. And yes, this includes Even some people in the trump y orbit, the kind of people who have been trying over the last seven, eight years to kind of make Trumpism a thing that makes sense that you could come up with public policies, advancing a kind of outlook and a sort of ideological configuration growing out of the Trump impulse that drives him in politics and attracts his many admirers on the right. And every time something related to Hunter Biden or even Joe Biden, circulates on the right and ends up filtering into the house on the right and and may it into, you know, the impeachment inquiry or some other thing, among Republicans in the house. They send me Twitter DM XDMs or or just, you know, text messages or emails like, look. And I remember a few months ago, Oh, look, this smirnoff guy, look what he’s saying, like, as if they want to say, gotcha.
  • Speaker 5
    0:14:04

    And my stop response to this is always very interesting. Let’s see how this works out because sheer empirical observation. Tells me that almost every time something like this happens, something blows up. The person gets arrested They’re accused of bribery. They’ve had lots of meetings with Russian intelligence officials that had not been disclosed.
  • Speaker 5
    0:14:31

    And so my sense in these cases is always yeah, let’s let’s see how this works out. Maybe this is it. Is the thing that’ll take down Joe Biden through his son or whatever the case. And so this week we had the latest example of this smear enough. Oh my.
  • Speaker 5
    0:14:48

    Well, he seems to not be such a reliable character and has a habit of, you know, meeting with Russian intelligence officers. It is really astonishing. And this is a a nice parallel discussion to the earlier one we’ve been having about Ukraine and the fact that the Republican Party has shifted now to be in effect, advancing Russian interests, which it then, like, uses to redefine American interests so that they’re aligned somehow. But let’s be serious here. I mean, The Putin government wants to stir the pot in, in, create chaos in our politics and just get us squabbling and fighting amongst ourselves to such a degree that basically we can’t get anything done.
  • Speaker 5
    0:15:38

    We can’t get a bill passed. As far as Putin is concerned, he probably doesn’t care that much whether you actually have Trump in the White House or Biden in the White House as long as we can’t even pass a bill to fund Ukraine. As long as we’re so twisted up in knots and unable to actually formulate a coherent policy over four years of one administration that we come in and we have this strong stand in defense of Ukraine. And now we can’t even continue and follow through on the funding less than two years after the war started after we made these guarantees, rhetorically, and in terms of material and strategic sharing and, intelligent sharing, and so forth rallying Western Europe to to do this as well as much of the rest of the world And as long as he can lead us to end up in that position tripping over our own feet so we can’t get anything done, he’s probably willing to say, it’s a good day’s work. And it is truly revolting that the Republicans have decided that, well, If it helps us make some hay in our internal domestic political squabbles, then sure we’ll play along.
  • Speaker 5
    0:16:57

    It’s useful to us. And that that is, like, for me, really where the the moral collapse of the Republican Party shows most boldly.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:06

    Yeah. And, in a classic little piece of misdirection, apropos of a former KGB agent. Putin allowed us how, you know, he would prefer to see Biden reelected rather than Trump, which is, of course, exact opposite of the
  • Speaker 5
    0:17:24

    of Putin would never law.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:26

    No. No. Never.
  • Speaker 5
    0:17:26

    You know, just I also heard circulating this week, like, like, oh, there’s evidence that’s been that actually he preferred Hillary Clinton in twenty sixteen.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:35

    Oh, gosh. Sure. Yeah. Right.
  • Speaker 5
    0:17:37

    I mean, sure. Whatever he says, he’s a very admirable person who only speaks. Very trustworthy. Especially if he’s speaking to Tucker Carlson.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:46

    Right. So, Bill, did you wanna ask Corey question?
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:51

    Yes, I do, Mona, because it concerns our Ukraine policy in the broadest sense, namely the aims of our policy. And I think that the Biden administration to some extent has been weakened by its failure to state, a really clear set of objectives. I think I understand why. And here is my question. Eric Edelman and David Kramer.
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:17

    Have just published a piece, you know, criticizing what they call four myths. And myth number one that they criticize is the idea that Ukraine can’t achieve its maximalist objectives of driving the Republicans out of every square kilometer of Ukraine.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:38

    Rush, I think you meant to say.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:42

    What a freudian
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:43

    slip? Look at me. You said Republicans.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:46

    Let’s drive the Republicans out of every square.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:51

    Oh, yeah. Understandable. That’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:54

    no. We absolutely knew what
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:56

    you mentioned.
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:56

    That’s my new name. But unmasked Okay. And, you know, they are quite dismissive of people who argue that even if we deliver all of the aid that we have promised Ukraine, that aim is simply unachievable. I have come to the conscientious conclusion that it is not achievable. What do you think?
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:23

    Well, I have been too optimistic on this in the past as you know. I do.
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:28

    Yes. You still owe me a lunch, by the way.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:34

    But I I do think it’s achievable provided two conditions prevail. One is that you get continued American military equipment to Ukraine. And the second is that the Biden administration relax its restriction on Ukraine using American provided weapons to strike Russian territory. The the constraint has prevented us Ukraine, there’s my Freudian slip, has prevented Ukraine from being able to push the Russian military back far enough from where it’s fighting to complicate Russian logistics. And so I think if those two conditions are relaxed, Ukraine can grind its way through the minefields and be able to retake its territory.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:33

    What it looks to me like Ukraine is attempting to do is to leapfrog past the Russian defenses and put Russian forces behind the line and Russian forces in Russia, at risk. And that would significantly change the dynamic on the battlefield and the Dom bus and in the Ukrainian East. The second thing that makes me reasonably optimistic that they can is that Ukraine now controls the Bulwark sea for most intents and purposes. And that will permit. I think in the court, if we relax the constraint on ranges, at which weapons can be used, that will allow Ukraine To cut the Kerch Bridge.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:23

    We have been hesitant to relax the range restriction because the Biden administration is in my judgment, too much concerned about the potential for Russia expanding the war to NATO countries. That is they’re so concerned about Russia losing that they are permitting the war to drag on inconclusively. And relaxing the range and getting the weapons. I do think would make a significant difference to the course of the war. Which otherwise is gonna be a slow unsatisfying grind to repeal Russian control.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:03

    On that point, Corey, I mean, obviously, Biden has been pretty good on on Ukraine, certainly compared to the Republican Party as it now exists. Absolutely, Brian. He’s been, yeah, he’s been great, except here’s my question. And this may be impossible to answer, but I’d like to hear what you think anyway. Throughout the first two years of the war, especially in the first year, There was a pattern, which was Ukraine would ask for a weapon system.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:32

    We would say, oh, we can’t give you that. And then eventually, we would give it to them, but it’d be way later than initially the request came in for whether it was long range artillery or planes or any And so my question is, do you think the war would have gone differently if we hadn’t been so dilatory about getting Ukraine the weapons it asked for?
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:54

    I do. So if doing a net assessment of Ukrainian and Russian military forces, the Ukrainians are incredibly adaptive They struggle to scale their success across their forces. The Russians are almost the the reverse. Which is they are plotting unimaginative and persevere in unsuccessful approaches. But once they take a lesson, they scale it effectively across their forces.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:26

    So time is a really consequential variable. There’s a great piece in the Washington Post, an interactive visual piece done by my AI colleague Brady Africk a couple of months ago. That shows using satellite photography of the battlefield. The way that the six months of Western hand wringing about providing tanks to Ukraine, permitted the Russians to build these deep three tier in-depth defenses in territory that they hold. So I think it’s absolutely true.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:05

    That while we have been worrying about what may happen if we provide the weapons, Russia has taken effective advantage of that time.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:16

    Okay. One other question on this, and it is regarding the role of Nikki Haley. For the longest time, she sort of was very careful about not taking Trump on directly. It was all sort of passive voice you know, she would say things like, well, chaos seems to follow him rather than directly confronting him in the Chris fifty fashion, but now that she’s the only one left, that has changed, and she is going after him directly So, for example, regarding Navalny, where, Putin murdered Navalny, she’s been very clear that it’s outrageous for, to do this and for any Republican not to condemn it. Linda said a few weeks ago that she thinks the continuation of Nikki, this Nikki in the race is a really good thing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:09

    First of all, because it triggers Trump and that’s good. And second, because it reminds that perhaps saving remnant of Republicans in the party of of how unacceptable Trump is. What do you think about Haley and her role?
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:27

    I think the same that She is unquestionably better for America’s national security than Donald Trump. Is for American National Security. She is unquestionably a sounder, strategic, and moral voice than Donald Trump is. And I’m really glad that she is planting her flag for the positions on foreign and defense policy that she is.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:58

    Okay. Thank you. Now I’d like to turn to another topic, which is the Israel Gaza war which is grinding on. And I wanna get into some areas that that we haven’t touched on before. So there are calls throughout the world for ceasefire, the US, just vetoed, a UN resolution, on that matter.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:31

    There are demonstrations all over the world. Linda, I’m going to start with you on this calling for a ceasefire. And, there’s no question that there’s terrible appalling suffering being endured by both sides, but more by the people of Gaza? But doesn’t it strike you as a bit odd that There are no demonstrations or demands that Hamas released the hostages or stop firing missiles into Israel. I mean, we all want peace, but
  • Speaker 4
    0:27:02

    Yeah. That I mean, that’s exactly the point, Mona. In order to have a viable ceasefire. In order to have viable negotiations, you have to have both parties coming to the table. Will Saletan negotiate.
  • Speaker 4
    0:27:19

    And with the with Hamas, all they want is a pause in the fighting. Why do they want that pause in the fighting? Do you really think it is to get humanitarian aid to civilians and Raffa and elsewhere? In Gaza? No, it’s it’s for them to be able to try to regroup, and to be able to conduct their war on Israel more effectively.
  • Speaker 4
    0:27:46

    And I think that’s the problem here. There really is no good faith on the part of Hamas. The war could end tomorrow. If you know, those Hamas leaders who were responsible for October seventh would simply put up their arms come out of their tunnels and holes and oh, by the way, also hiding in hospitals, and other humanitarian sites. If they would do that, it would end, but they’re not willing to.
  • Speaker 4
    0:28:18

    And there is simply no pressure, on It is all on the west. It is all on Israel and the United States for providing Israel. The problem is it is now spilling over into American politics and you know Michigan we, you know, are gonna have a primary there and there is a organized move a foot to have people vote no preference to not Democrats vote no preference rather than to vote for Biden. You have representatives
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:54

    read by Rashida to leave.
  • Speaker 4
    0:28:55

    I was gonna in her name because she did to leave, who is organizing this effort. But it, you know, it’s joined by others and You know, I’m afraid that that people within the party, particularly those who are more progressive and would like to see this all go away are going to begin to apply pressure. We’ve already seen it that, you know, the United States, what we have veetowed ceasefire resolutions at the UN. We’ve also come up with our own ceasefire resolution. And who knows how long this will last?
  • Speaker 4
    0:29:33

    President Biden was part of the Obama administration. The Obama administration was not the best friend of Israel, and I really do fear. About how long this lasts and whether or not we’re going to see an erosion of that. We’ve already seen an erosion. In support, of Israel.
  • Speaker 4
    0:29:51

    And I worry about that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:53

    Corey, what do you make of the argument that Israel is creating another generation of people who will hate Israelis with a burning passion. They will have lost brothers, they will have lost babies, mothers, etcetera, and that this war, which Natteno says is to destroy Hamas Will Saletan, it won’t destroy Hamas and it will just be igniting another generation of this hatred.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:23

    I do think it will ignite another generation of hatred. There is no military that is good at urban fighting. We’re not good at it. You’ve seen the way the Russians prosecute urban fighting in Ukraine. So so no military is good at urban warfare.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:44

    The second thing is most of the Israeli military are reservists. That is they’re not full time soldiers. They don’t spend every day training for how to do this well. But all that said, As Linda pointed out, Hamas bears culpability and the ceasefire movement is placing all responsibility for the destruction on Israel rather than the fact that Hamasas, first of all, put this in play with their terrorist attack. But second of all, our tunneling under hospitals, our putting rockets on apartment buildings are encouraging civilian harm precisely to create that next generation of hostility.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:33

    Damon, there is also a Netanyahu problem. Namely that because of his own personal corruption, and because of his lust for power, a long war is actually in his interest. Right? I mean, because He knows that the Israeli people have said through opinion polls. They want him out as soon as the war is over.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:56

    Well
  • Speaker 5
    0:31:58

    Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:59

    He’s got sets up a perverse incentive. Doesn’t it?
  • Speaker 5
    0:32:02

    And he fears he’s gonna end up in jail if if he actually is no longer, prime minister. So he has an incentive. It’s assumed there will be no election as long as the war is going on. So he has an incentive to preserve himself by prolonging the war, dragging it out. He knows when it’s wrapped up, there will be calls for elections, and one might be held.
  • Speaker 5
    0:32:27

    And he might lose it. Although I would say that why I certainly agree with you that there is a Netanyahu problem, the deeper problem, like in our country. Is public opinion, and the fact that when you take public opinion and you mix it with the electoral system in Israel, you end up with, a kind of a schema of many parties and as long as Netanyahu remains the leader of the Lakout party, it’s very difficult to come up with a majority that could actually win without that faction of the center right being in the government. And so how will you end up maneuvering around Netanyahu is is a real difficult question. I mean, if you do a straight public opinion poll, it might look like the Israeli elector doesn’t want him to be prime minister anymore.
  • Speaker 5
    0:33:30

    But again, as long as he remains the head of the Likud party and the Likud party is occupying a large chunk of the center right of the electorate, and the electorate is very much right leaning. It’s hard to see how they get around him. And so and what the reason why I made the parallel to the US is that because of Trump. I mean, is our problem? Trump?
  • Speaker 5
    0:33:55

    Yeah, but it’s awesome. Underneath that, it’s the problem that, a large, you know, a solid majority of Republican voters like Trump. And we only have two Charlie Sykes the way it plays out here is different, but the end result sort of the same that you have this giant elephant in the room who is controlling a chunk of the partisan landscape such that if the electorate chooses to elect anyone to the right of center, it’s gonna be that guy. And it’s not quite that way in Israel because Israel has a very different proportional system with a multitude of parties But there are a lot of parties that are further right than the Lukhud party who are in his government and many of those parties including lacud will not form a coalition with Arab parties, which automatically takes a big chunk of, the electorate kind of out of commission, they’re sort of not going to be in power unless a certain kind of left leaning government makes it in, but the left has collapsed. And so you have kind of center left hawkish parties that could do quite well, but can they cobble together enough to get a majority of the Ron DeSantis dicey even with Netanyahu’s personal unpopularity.
  • Speaker 5
    0:35:17

    So I don’t have any easy answers to this dilemma, but it is a real dilemma. And if we end up with with elections and Netanyahu who is not the guy, who ends up winning the prime ministership after that, I would consider it a a close call and a lucky one because it still could turn out that way.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:37

    Bill, is it a catch twenty two? The situation with the Palestinian state? Because on the one hand, If things persist as they are with Hamas in control of Gaza, then it is a situation of perpetual war that both sides are unhappy with. But if you start to speak of, okay, let’s see if we can have some other form of governance for the Palestinians, maybe with the help of the Saudis and other nations that are either at peace with Israel or or even thinking about it, you run into this new problem on the side of the Israelis, which is we’ll wait a minute. After what happened on October seventh, we’re in the least mood to even think about talking about a an independent Palestinian state that would be a nation that would be able to arm self.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:31

    So is that a catch twenty two? What do you think?
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:34

    Well, not quite for reasons that I’ll get to in a minute. But before I do, I I’d like to add some thoughts about Israeli public opinion. Which for my sins, I monitor very closely. And, you know, there are three essential facts about Israeli public opinion that I think need to be taken into account. Number one is already on the table.
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:03

    That is, yo, and a large majority of Israelis want Netanyahu to go. Yesterday, if possible. But, as soon as the war ends at the latest. Number two, Eighty five percent of Israelis support the war aims that Netanyahu is pursue it. The Israelis do not believe that coexistence with Hamas is possible anymore.
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:36

    There was a fifteen year experiment, you know, about the possibility of an uneasy, but fundamentally peaceful and safe coexistence with Hamas. That has been shattered. It cannot be put back together. And so Israel’s aims and Gaza are like Amero as aims in World War II, unconditional surrender, in effect. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:01

    Because the Israelis have decided that They can’t live with Hamas any more than we could live with Hitler. That is not going to change. And for that reason, I don’t think there is any serious possibility of stopping this war short of what Israel is willing to dub a victory, the achievement of its aims. Fact about public opinion number three, in Israel. And here I disagree somewhat with Damon’s analysis.
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:36

    In fact, every poll taken for months shows that if there is an election, there will be a massive loss for every single party in Netanyahu who’s coalition, but likud most of all. And almost all the gains would accrue to the true man of the center. Right now, who is Benny Gantz, who heads the National Unity Party. If there is an election, He and his party will win it. And there will be plenty of votes to form a majority coalition without Likud, let alone anyone to the right of Likud, but also without the error parties.
  • Speaker 3
    0:39:20

    Every single poll has pointed to that result. So this is not mission impossible. Additional fact. Although everybody wants elections as soon as the war ends, there is no way of forcing elections. There’s no way of forcing elections and every party in the current coalition will resist new elections.
  • Speaker 3
    0:39:44

    Because each and every party that coalition knows that new elections would be a catastrophe. For them, it’ll be a blessing for Israel, but a catastrophe for them. Yo, and there is no action forcing mechanism that the current opposition in the minority can use. So unless Some members of the coupd are prepared to desert their party and join forces with gas, which I can’t rule out. But, you know, they’ve had multiple opportunities to do that, and they’ve never missed an opportunity to miss one of those opportunities.
  • Speaker 3
    0:40:20

    So You know, it is going to be a long wait, you know, for this government to fall. Which brings me now to Mona’s question. I’m sorry I took a long wind up before delivering the pitch Mona, but I think certain fundamental facts about Israeli public opinion need to be put on the table in the same way as Corey was saying for that certain fundamental facts about Ukrainian wishes and their war need to be front and center. For now, You’re right. Israelis will not entertain the possibility of a serious state, even though every single offer for for a Palestinian state that every Israel any prime Israeli prime minister has made has included strict demilitarization conditions.
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:09

    Are those conditions enforceable? That’s a question, but there has never been a proposal on the table that would allow a Palestinian led political entity to receive arms from anybody. Eventually, somebody is gonna have to take charge of Gaza for an extended period because there are no alternative forces in Gaza right now that could possibly substitute for Hamas. The Israelis don’t want to do it. But they may have to, because I doubt very much, you know, that the Saudis want to take charge of an international peacekeeping force in Gaza.
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:50

    What’s in that for them, for heaven’s sake? Maybe Corey has a different view of the matter, but I don’t really see that happening. So, I think it’s colon Powell pottery barn in Gaza. You break it. You own it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:42:04

    And the Israelis own it. And that in and of itself will be enough to block any serious. Consideration of a Palestinian state for some time to come. So no daylight at the end of the tunnel.
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:18

    Corey, can you can you weigh in on that? What do you see as any possible post war outcome for Gaza other than a return to Israeli occupation for a period.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:32

    So I agree with Bill that it’s bad and it’s gonna stay bad. For a long time. And I also agree with Bill that in two thousand five, when Israel left Southern Lebanon and Gaza. The overwhelming public opinion in Israel was an acknowledgement that they were trading land for peace. And I think the experience of Israelis in the intervening couple of fifteen, twenty years has been that they didn’t get the piece.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:09

    They were making compromises in order to And so it collapsed confidence that peace was possible. And I think my own judgment, I’m not an Israeli expert, but my my observation is that it looks to me like that push public opinion in Israel more to the right on these issues. So it’s bad. It’s gonna stay bad for a long time. And I also agree with Bill’s point that it’s hard to imagine either a Palestinian or an Arab government in Gaza riding in on the back of an Israeli tank, which is effectively what they would be doing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:58

    So it’s hard to see a legitimate Arab or Palestinian government emerge. I agree that the pottery barn rule is likely to apply. The only possibility I can see And again, I’m not expert on these subjects, so it’s one taxpayer’s opinion. But the only possibility I can see for persuading They, Saudi’s, other gulf countries, possibly even Jordan or Egypt, to support a cooperative outcome with Israel and Gaza is resurrect session of the two thousand five Arab peace plan, which would return Israel to its sixty seven borders the Syria piece of that, the Golan Heights couldn’t obviously come into being given the nature of the Syrian government, but other elements of that might be enough to persuade regional cooperation on post work asset. But I’d put the probability of that outcome at roughly five percent.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:06

    Alright. We’ll leave it there for now. Thank you so much, and we will turn now two hour highlight or low light of the week, and we will start with Damon Lincoln.
  • Speaker 5
    0:45:19

    Well, as, participants and listeners know I’m not always the most optimistic guy, but I, I got a little burst of optimism this week, and it to do, with my old friend, John Avlon, was the senior speech writer, with me way back when we used to work for Rudy Giuliani. And I was very impressed with him then. He was a very good guy. He was a centrist before it was cool. I remember his two political heroes were Bill Clinton and John McCain, and he was the head speech writer for Rudy Giuliani.
  • Speaker 5
    0:45:56

    So there you go. Well, it turns out he spent, the last twenty years since, the end of the Giuliani administration Ron DeSantis Giuliani himself has gone insane, John Avlon has worked as a journalist. He worked at, the Daily Beast where we were again colleagues, back in the early twenty tens. And then he’s been at CNN for the last several years, often hosting their morning show. Sometimes with a guest from his lovely wife, Margaret Hoover, who hosts the new, kind of rebooted firing line.
  • Speaker 5
    0:46:29

    And it turns out, Jonathan Last left CNN now, and he’s left CNN so that he can run for New York’s first congressional district on Long Island in Suffolk County. And I just wanna say if this guy can win this seat, flip it back. It has been a kind of back and forth swing district for a while, but it’s been in Republican hands for the last several cycles. If he can grab this for the Democrats, because yes, Avlon is running as a Democrat, it would be very good for the Democratic party. It would help in that little bit of a way to to grab the house for the Democrats.
  • Speaker 5
    0:47:09

    But just having a guy like Avlon, in office would be a very hopeful sign. I think for the future of the country because he represents, the good, old, and hopefully new style of genuine, civic spirited public service. So he’s a good guy, and, I’m cheered to see that he’s running for office, giving a little bit of hope to this old cynic here.
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:35

    I just wanna put a plus one on that and say that, it is amazing to be coming out of my lips, but it’s true. That, the kinds of people, the the quality of people who are running as Republicans keeps getting more and more horrifying and the quality of people are running as Democrats is improving. So godspeed to John Avlon. Corey Shaki.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:58

    So my highlight of the week is NATO Secret Podcast General Jan Stoltenberg, publicly saying that it’s time to relax the restrictions we have on Ukrainian use of Western weapons provided to them. I think it could be consequential in helping Ukraine regain its internationally recognized territory. And I’m glad to see on this issue as on so many others having to do with the Ukraine war. Our European allies have taken positions that pulled the American administration along to better policy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:39

    Thank you. Will Saletan.
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:41

    Well, my offerings in this slot are usually as heavy as a day old knish. But, but I’m, you know, I’m here to improve the mood. So my highlight of the week is an article a few days ago in the New York Times where, you know, pretty young man explores the age old question of who pays for dinner on the first date. And I was interested to discover that although second, third, and ex states, you know, are are a matter of negotiation, there is still an overwhelming agreement that on the first date the man pays. That’s interesting, but even more interest sting are the reasons given for that preference by the women.
  • Speaker 3
    0:49:45

    And the one that struck my eye was the argument offered by one, as a matter of fact, a a woman that the New York Times reporter dated Maybe still dates for all I know. To the effect that because it takes women longer to prepare for dates, than it does, man, that they ought to be compensated for that time by the man paying for dinner. This struck me. As one of the most remarkably arrested arguments I’ve heard in quite some time. So that’s my highlight of the week.
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:26

    What in the world?
  • Speaker 3
    0:50:27

    Your makeup is worth cash.
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:34

    Thank you Linda Chavez.
  • Speaker 4
    0:50:36

    Well, you know, this, team of ours is is known for being dower and pessimistic and having lots and lots of low lives. And so far, we’ve had nothing but highlights. And I’m gonna continue that trend. I’m not going to be here next week because I’m going to be off in Europe. And so I’ve got a plethora of highlights, today.
  • Speaker 4
    0:50:59

    I’ve actually got, three One is, I think the single best article that has been written on the asylum issue and it appeared in the Atlantic it was, in titles, something fishy about the migrant crisis by Jerusalem Demas. I’m not sure that pronunciation is correct, but it is well worth, a read and he really lays out lots of the mist. She. I’m sorry. Linda.
  • Speaker 4
    0:51:30

    So she. She. Alright. So she lays out lots of the issues and she highlights many of the myths. So I’m gonna make that my first recommendation.
  • Speaker 4
    0:51:43

    But since I’m going to be gone and since I’m going to spend a long time on an airplane traveling overseas, my next recommendation is going to be a cultural a literary one. And it comes via an article that I read in the in op ed, in the New York Times, a week or two ago. And I only read it because the author was, a fellow, whose name, I didn’t know, but his name is s a Causeby, but he and I share a literary agent. So I, I ended up reading that and it was a delight because it introduced me to someone I had not read, someone I had not heard of, and I wanna recommend this author to our readers. He’s known primarily for his mysteries.
  • Speaker 4
    0:52:37

    He wrote many many years ago. He wrote during the, essentially, thirties and forties, and, his name is Chester Hines. And the novel that I read was a rage in Harlem. It is a delightful detective story. Crime story really is more focused on the criminals than the detectives.
  • Speaker 4
    0:53:02

    It is just, wonderfully written. And, then I discovered that the fellow can not only write detective fictions, but he can write, actual novels of of a more literary bit. And so I’ve ordered for my, ride, across the ocean. If he hollers, let him go and I was, basically, turned on to that by an article that appeared in Harper’s magazine a few years ago called the Liberation struggle. It was by Thomas chatterton Williams.
  • Speaker 4
    0:53:37

    And, he discussed a biography of Hines who I think has gotten far too little attention. He’s a serious writer and I wanna recommend him to our listeners.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:47

    Thank you. I, had the very tragic experience this week of having, to attend the funeral of a friend’s daughter, who died very young. And, it was the most heartbreaking funeral I’ve ever attended. But I thought it would be useful to share a piece that appeared in the Atlantic, back in March of last year. It was by, writer named Colin Campbell, and the title is what losing my two children taught me about grief.
  • Speaker 1
    0:54:19

    And it is very helpful not just for people who might be experiencing grief, but for people who are Friends of or relatives of those who are bereaved because people are so at a loss at a time like that for what to say and and how to be. And, you know, outside of a few bad things that you can say to make things worse, such as, you know, god doesn’t give you more to handle than give you more grief than you can handle, which is a terrible thing to say. Mostly, the the messages just express your sympathy. The grieving person is not gonna be judging you. They’re not gonna be saying, oh, that was a you know, a minus wish versus, you know, they they just need the support.
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:04

    And so, I recommend this piece And with that, I want to thank our guests, Corey Shockey. Thank you so much for coming, and all of our regulars. I also want to mention our producer, Jim Swift, and our Sound Engineer Jonathan Last. Also wanna thank our wonderful listeners and viewers on YouTube. We appreciate it and all your comments.
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:29

    And also please, if you don’t mind, if you would just give a rating and a re even a review if you enjoy this. Apparently, this just activates those algorithms and then recommends this to other people who might like it too, and this apparently is key. So we would very much appreciate that, and we will return next week as every week, von voyage Linda.
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