David Frum Profile picture
Jan 21 11 tweets 2 min read
A thread about "negotiations." 1/x
Since 1991, post-Soviet Russia has fought two wars inside Chechnya. It has waged wars across internationally recognized borders against

Georgia (twice)
and Ukraine (2014 and then again in 2022).

Russia intervened in the Syrian civil war and between Armenia & Azerbaijan.
It's often claimed that "all wars end in negotiations." But to date, none of post-Soviet Russia's many wars have ended that way. 3/x
Instead, post-Soviet Russia's wars have tended to freeze into perpetual unresolved conflicts, with Russia retaining chunks of other people's territory - enduring international opprobrium - and waiting out any ensuing sanctions. 4/x
A reason that post-Soviet Russia's wars end as "frozen conflicts" is that they have ended on terms more or less satisfactory to Russian leadership. Russian leaders have never seen any need for a more formal resolution that might require some concession to adversaries. 5/x
If the 2022 invasion of Ukraine were to end today, it would end as another "frozen conflict." From a Russian point of view, there'd be little to negotiate. They've still got Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk. They didn't colonize the rest of Ukraine, but they mauled and terrorized it.
The status quo is acceptable enough to post-Soviet Russia. So when prominent people urge negotiations now, they are urging a policy that would award Russia a good-enough win - and leave Ukraine broken and vulnerable to further Russian aggression/pressure. 7/x
What might induce Russia to change its established pattern and -for the first time- negotiate an end to a war that it started? Only one thing: fear that the war is trending in a direction even more unacceptable than any concessions necessary to end the war Russia started. 8/x
To get to negotiations with Ukraine, Russia needs to genuinely fear that it could lose its war against Ukraine- lose catastrophically enough that negotiations become a less unacceptable alternative to Russia's leaders. 9/x
The way to get to negotiations is, therefore, to arm Ukraine to the point where Russian leaders fear defeat.

The way to thwart negotiations is to withhold arms from Ukraine and leave Russia's leaders with hope they can preserve the status quo. 10/x
To put it more formally, Russia's preferences look like

Russian victory > frozen conflict > continuing war > negotiations requiring concessions.

The West can only "jump to negotiations" after it has denied Russia any hope of success from first three preferences. END

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More from @davidfrum

Jan 21
I'm doing an experiment. On my computer, I am checking the latest tweets by people I follow. On my phone, I'm checking whether their most recent tweets are showing up in the "Following" column. I'm just getting started, but even in the first dozen cases, Twitter failed to show me
...an absolute majority of the tweets I had requested to see. That's the reason your engagement is down, people: Twitter is withholding requested content from those who requested it.
For me, Twitter is most valuable as an information source. But Twitter is now rapidly mutating into a source that capriciously withholds information I asked for - including from such highly official sources as the Tate Gallery in London.
Read 7 tweets
Jan 21
Beef prices have tumbled over the past year, returning almost exactly to their level of January 2021, the beginning of the Biden administration. tradingeconomics.com/commodity/beef Thread ...
The decline in beef prices is good news for consumers, obviously - and also probably good news politically for the Biden administration. tradingeconomics.com/commodity/beef 2/x
But the decline in beef prices should also warn the Biden administration against its own bad impulses. When beef prices spiked, the Biden administration blamed greed and collusion by meatpackers and vowed action. I wrote then how wrong this was theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
Read 7 tweets
Jan 17
The appointments of Jim Jordan, Mark Green, Marjorie Taylor Green, etc. to important committees in the new House prompted me to check a historical precedent: how did Congress deal with ex-Confederates when the Democrats regained their House majority after the Civil War? (Thread)
In 1874, Democrats won a big majority in the House of Representatives, their first since Southern Democrats walked out of Congress in 1860-61. Many of the Democrats who returned to Congress in 1875 were implicated in the rebellion, including the leader of the caucus. 2/x
Yet the Democrats of 1875 also took care choose Union-loyal northern Democrats as the chairs of the key committees of the House - ex-rebels and rebel-sympathizers were generally excluded. 3/x
Read 11 tweets
Jan 13
@ThePlumLineGS The McCarthy parallel is very apt. Joe McCarthy alleged a vast communist conspiracy pervaded the "deep state" of his day. He focused especially on the US Army. He convened hearings very like those planned by Jim Jordan. senate.gov/about/powers-p…
@ThePlumLineGS Weeks and months of McCarthy dramatics ensued. And when it came time to deliver, what McCarthy was able to produce was: that an Army dentist at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, had been promoted from captain to major despite (probably) lying when he signed a form disavowing communism.
Read 13 tweets
Jan 12
Good try, but in the stupidity sweepstakes, the gas-stove culture war is a distant and feeble runner-up to the glass-flute culture war
Whatever happened to that glass flute anyway? It used to be such a big deal.
Now there’s going to be a sad “Behind the Music” episode where the glass flute has to make its comeback appearing in “Die Zauberflote” in second-tier Japanese concert halls
Read 4 tweets
Jan 4
This is devastating by @harrispolitico I won't quote too much, because you should read it in full, but ... "For the holdouts, McCarthy had neither things they want nor things they fear."

@harrispolitico And
"McCarthy had given so many concessions to his party’s Freedom Caucus as to guarantee that the speakership is one-step above a symbolic post, with little ability to set an agenda or exert leverage on anyone to promote it." politico.com/news/magazine/…
@harrispolitico If McCarthy does ever reach the Speakership, why should President Biden or Majority Leader Schumer ever negotiate with him? If you cannot deliver, you cannot negotiate - and it's been proclaimed to the planet that McCarthy cannot deliver.
Read 5 tweets

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