Vladimir Putin is desperate.
And so is Tucker Carlson.
Anyone who caught his Fox News monologue Thursday night could see it firsthand.
Carlson appears to have a lot invested in Russia winning its war against Ukraine.
But Russia is losing that war.
Ukraine’s counteroffensive is taking huge swaths of territory back; in just weeks Ukraine’s military took back more than 3,000 square miles that Russia had occupied.
Putin is now panicking.
So much so that last week he announced he would mobilize 300,000 reservists.
Numerous reports show that his current deployments of troops are so poorly supplied with arms and even basics like food and clothing, they are literally fleeing the battlefield.
Russia is a very corrupt nation.
In fact, it is the most corrupt nation in Europe. (Putin’s generals are said to be stealing their own supplies to sell them on the black market.)
Russia is also a dictatorship and a threat to democracy.
It is an existential threat to America and our allies, as Putin again claimed last week he may use nuclear weapons.
This time, he said, he wasn’t bluffing.
Carlson isn’t bluffing either.
He really is invested in Russia winning this war, even if it’s losing right before our very eyes.
Before the war started Carlson said he would side with Russia if there was ever a war.
He even applauded as Russia moved troops to the Ukraine border. Russia was justified, he claimed.
And since Russia’s February 2022 unprovoked attack on a free, democratic, and sovereign Ukraine, he has used every opportunity to oppose Ukraine.
And he does so oftentimes with exaggerated claims and phony allegations.
During the Cold War, Soviet apologists would often cite facts and claims from Pravda, as if they were really true.
Today, Carlson recites Russian talking points with the same sort of zeal.
Putin really likes Carlson for doing so.
Newsweek reported that Carlson’s Fox video from last week is even being shown on Russian state media to bolster Putin’s war efforts.
What did Russia like so much about Carlson?
On Fox Carlson claimed Russia was just too big to fail. (He ignored mentioning Ukraine’s huge pushback of Russian troops and battlefield wins.)
Instead, he started his show saying mighty Russia would still defeat little Ukraine.
Carlson said Russia had a mighty population, a mighty army, a mighty economy, and he said "it’s the largest country on planet Earth" (which refers only to its land mass, most of which is not even inhabited).
The fact is Russia’s economy is a joke, on par with the GDP of Mexico or Italy (and that was before the economic sanctions).
Another joke is Russia’s military, being torn to pieces by Ukraine as we speak.
Still, Russia has nuclear weapons and Putin is not bluffing, Carlson insisted.
Usually Americans don’t give in to nuclear blackmail.
Carlson thinks that’s a good thing. I believe it would have disastrous consequences.
Fortunately almost all Republicans and Democrats in Washington agree with that view, as do almost all of our allies across Europe.
But Carlson insists Ukraine should immediately sue for peace.
And if they don’t do that, he wants the U.S. to cut all funding for Ukraine to bring them to the negotiation table.
So let me get this straight:
Russia attacks a country, Ukraine, for no reason.
They weren’t joining NATO.
They aren’t run by Nazis.
They had no intent to attack Russia.
And then Russia begins mass slaughtering Ukraine’s citizens — women and children — and begins burning to death captured POWs, putting Ukrainians in concentrations camps, raping and pillaging them — and Ukraine is the one we should stop funding and demand they negotiate?
Why cut the funding and arm shipments when Russia is in retreat?
It makes no sense unless you really want Russia to win.
Now Carlson almost mocks the idea Russia should be opposed. "OK, Russia is bad," he says with a snarl.
His nonsensical rants — which rarely criticize Russia and never mention their incredible atrocities — make numerous exaggerated claims.
Take, for example, Carlson’s claim last week that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants a nuclear first strike on Russia.
Carlson’s source for this unbelievable claim?
An anonymous quote by an unnamed "aide" who said if Russia "thinks" of using nuclear weapons, the U.S. should strike them first with nuclear weapons.
This is hardly the policy of Zelenskyy, despite Carlson’s repeated claims it is.
Only in Carlson's demented world could Putin announce he may use nuclear weapons on TV, but it’s really Zelenskyy who wants to use them first.
Carlson’s other claim, made Thursday and many times before, is that President Joe Biden and Democrats in Washington really want a war with Russia to force "regime change" in Moscow, to remove and punish Putin for electing Trump president in 2016.
These bizarre conspiracy theories are odd, but perhaps they resonate with some.
They don’t resonate with former President Donald Trump. He thinks Biden has shown weakness and acquiescence with Putin.
Soon after becoming president, Biden removed Trump’s sanctions on Russia that held up the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany.
It was Biden’s gift to Putin, not an act of war.
And after the war started, Biden was slow to help Ukraine. He even suggested Zelenskyy flee his country.
I have many issues with Biden, but the idea he is seeking to engage Russia in a major war is simply not true.
But the facts just don’t matter to Tucker Carlson.
He’s on a mission.
The U.S. should continue to support the underdog, Ukraine. The U.S. supports Taiwan and Israel, both small nations facing giant adversaries.
And our resolve with Ukraine is already paying big dividends.
China is clearly reluctant now to invade Taiwan, and Iran has to think twice about striking Israel or other U.S. allies.
Fortunately, we are not giving in to Putin’s blackmail.
And as long as good sense prevails, we never will.
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