Clockwise from bottom left: Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, July 26, 2018; Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, April 22, 2021; Ukrainian soldiers near Svitlodarsk, Ukraine, February 12, 2022.

Weekly Roundup and Ukraine in the Balance

Claire Lehmann
Claire Lehmann
7 min read


Dear Reader,

This week's dispatch focuses on the unfolding situation in Eastern Europe. We have three pieces for you on the subject, one from Chris Miller, a Grand Strategy expert, analysing Putin's strategic intentions in What Putin Really Wants, another from regular Quillette contributor, Brian Stewart, on the Western response to the Russian threat in Ukraine in the Balance, and the last from Joel Kotkin on Eurasia's ascending power in The New Eurasian Century.

Other articles that you cannot miss this week include Jerry Barnett on how the importation of American racial politics is making the UK's race relations worse, David S. Wills on Ray Bradbury's prescient Fahrenheit 451, and Gil Troy on the history and current state of antisemitism in the US.

And finally, our Toronto-based editor, Jonathan Kay, speaks with two of the many ordinary working-class Canadians who’ve assembled in Ottawa in the "Freedom Convoy," in a podcast that is not to be missed:

Quillette Podcast #180: Canada’s ‘Freedom Convoy’ Protesters, in Their Own Words
Quillette podcast host Jonathan Kay speaks with two of the many ordinary working-class Canadians who’ve assembled in Ottawa to protest restrictive government COVID policies.

Again, if you like these articles and appreciate our journalism, you can show your support by becoming a paying subscriber, and forwarding our newsletter on to family and friends.

Until next week,
Claire

Russia - Ukraine

What Putin Really Wants
On Russian President Vladimir Putin’s desk sits a bronze statue of Peter the Great, the tsar who spent his four decades in power waging war on neighbors to establish his country as a great power in Europe. Peter would have understood the nature of the current conflict in Eastern
Ukraine in the Balance
As I write this, Vladimir Putin has moved more than 100,000 troops to Russia’s Ukrainian border, and has strongly implied that he will invade absent an ironclad guarantee that Ukraine will never be permitted to join NATO. Although the Biden administration has rejected that demand, a chorus of
The New Eurasian Century
The current crises in eastern Europe reflect more than just Kremlin mischief-making—they reflect the first fruits of an emerging world order that spans the vastness from Beijing to Berlin. Unlike the longstanding liberal status quo, with its roots in classical civilization and the Enlightenment, thi…

Politics

How Social Justice Killed Anti-Racism
One of the early signs of trouble for the British anti-racism movement was a tweet sent by Lee Jasper in April 2013, in which he declared that black people are incapable of being racist, and offered to publicly debate anybody who disagreed. I offered to debate him, as did a
To Fight Wokeness, the GOP Should Embrace Immigrant Voters
The rise of ultra-progressive ideologies and the decline in patriotic sentiment are two broad cultural trends that worry American conservatives. Some may be tempted to imagine that these two phenomena are connected to immigration and the resulting ethnic and racial diversity—especially since opposit…
Identity Mania
A review of The Identity Myth by David Swift. Constable, 320 pages (June 2022). In recent decades, anxieties afflicting Western democracies have arisen from new beliefs and conflicts about how citizens relate to each other—their relative status in society, notions of mutual respect, and the patterns…

Culture

“A Pleasure to Burn”: We Are Closer to Bradbury’s Dystopia Than Orwell’s or Huxley’s
For decades, it has been common to call authoritarian new laws, norms, or government actions “Orwellian.” In 1984, George Orwell so brilliantly portrayed a nightmarish future that his name became synonymous with almost anything one wishes to describe as oppressive. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, m…
Jew-Hatred in America: Not as Bad as Jews Think, Not as Good as it Could Be
The tense hostage standoff at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, this past January was like a false positive reading. The incident heightened awareness of growing antisemitism in America—even though a British-Pakistani Islamist’s terrorist attack should not reflect on Americans. In fact…
How the Dutch Created Europe’s First Free-Speech Zone More than 400 years Ago
On a Continent embroiled in religious turmoil and persecution, tolerance and free speech found few patches of fertile soil in Western Europe at the dawn of the 17th century. The first such patch was the flat and windswept Low Countries on the North Sea coast. During the so-called Dutch Golden
A Desister’s Tale
How many trans-identified children “desist”? That is, how many identify as transgender for a time, and then eventually stop doing so, prior to medical intervention (as distinct from detransitioners, who return to identifying with their natal sex after undergoing some form of medical transition)? The…
Didion in El Salvador
There is a special kind of practical information that the visitor to El Salvador acquires immediately, the way visitors to other places acquire information about the currency rates, the hours for the museums. In El Salvador one learns that vultures go first for the soft tissue, for the eyes, the

Education

It’s Time to Start Treating High School Math Like Football
As a skinny, unathletic nerd, I had no desire to play high-school football. Fortunately, no one compelled me to do so. Even if I could have become an adequate player by expending massive effort, much of the time I spent playing would have come at the expense of learning things

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“Establishment” opinion can certainly be wrong. But especially on issues of science and medicine, anti-establishment dissent can become a path to crankdom.
Black Lives Matter’s missing billions
More and more questions are being raised about BLM’s finances.
The cancellation of John Sherman
Another week, another person cancelled for saying something true about race and IQ. Professor John Sherman, who teaches Chemistry at the University of British Columbia, has been placed on “indefinite leave” while he is “investigated” for comments made during a class discussion about the meaning of ’…
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Every few years, it seems, someone new will learn of the work of philosopher Stephen Kershnar (SUNY Fredonia), share their shock, amusement, or outrage about it on social media, and cause a brief spike in amazed, angry, or humorous commentary about it. Then people move on and tend to forget about it…

Comment of the Week

“A Pleasure to Burn”: We Are Closer to Bradbury’s Dystopia Than Orwell’s or Huxley’s
Here’s a radical thought, what if we’re just deluding ourselves? What if this cancel culture, closed minded, self limited existence is the natural state of humanity? Were we wrong to expect the masses to think responsibly? Sure, we congratulate ourselves as to how brilliant we are, because we all ca…

Claire Lehmann Twitter

Claire Lehmann is the founding editor of Quillette.