Last week we sat down with Michael Kofman, the head of the Russia Studies Program at the Center for Naval Analyses, to discuss the Ukraine War. The CNA is an independent but government-funded think tank which is tasked with generating scholarship and analysis to serve the Department of the Navy (the Navy and the Marine Corps) and the larger U.S. national security community. You may not have heard his name before but Kofman is one of the country’s most knowledgable people on the ins and outs of the Russian military, its strengths, doctrines, culture and challenges. Among the many subjects we discussed was why a direct military assault may not be the best or most feasible way for Ukraine to reclaim Crimea, if that’s in the cards at all; and the downsides of having so many different countries donating so many different weapons systems for the Ukrainian war effort. If you’re a member, join me for our TPM Inside Briefing with Michael Kofman after the jump.Read More
I’ve only gotten a couple negative replies to the post below about Alvin Bragg’s expected indictments of ex-President Trump. But those replies have had a wild intensity that started me thinking about what the possible disconnect was between me and these readers. What I said was that it’s not great. But it’s happening entirely outside any framework that any of us can do anything about. And, mostly, I don’t think it will matter much one way or another if, as I expect, it is followed by indictments for graver crimes. In fact, even if this is the only Trump indictment ever, I still don’t think it matters much.
People just see things differently of course. And intense disagreement is nothing new to me. But I think there’s something more going on here — or two things rather. And, because I think these few TPM Readers represent a lot more people who think the same way, here’s what I think those things are.Read More
At present, my main contribution to Lab Leak Discourse is making fun of it. I say this operating on the distinction provided to us by TPM Reader JS a couple weeks ago, noting that Lab Leak Discourse is now entirely autonomous from the actual ongoing research into the origins of COVID-19. Indeed, I noticed yesterday that it has now taken a new turn focusing on public opinion surveys showing that a majority of Americans believe COVID began with a laboratory accident at the virology lab in Wuhan, China. The “wisdom of crowds,” one Lab Leak advocate told me, should be given its own weight along with the judgments of those with domain expertise in virology, genomics and other fields.Read More
As a publisher, I love highly kinetic pieces like Hunter Walker’s new article on the Axios journalist, Ben Montgomery, who Axios canned after he got crosswise with Ron DeSantis’s carnivorous Florida media machine. I’ll assume you’ve read the story. So I won’t rehash the details. (If you haven’t, just read it.) But I want to expand a bit on why it’s such an important story. It captures in a single incident key dynamics of our present treacherous political moment and the role of the political press within in it.Read More