Ukraine War, February 20, 2023: Antony Blinken, top U.S. diplomat, confronts Wang Yi, Chinese foreign minister, in meeting at Munich Security Conference; “Woke” ideology and the defense of Ukraine; President Biden’s historic visit to Kyiv

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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, and you will see a list in chronological order.

To understand the broad context within which current developments in Ukraine should be considered,see

“Ukraine War, October 26, 2022: The context for analysis of current developments; The “dirty bomb” as a Russian propaganda distraction from current war crimes,” The Trenchant Observer, October 26, 2022.


1) Valerie Browne,  “West ‘too busy with woke rights to combat Russia’; ‘If you don’t help Ukraine defeat Russia now, you will fighting them five years’ says a Ukrainian soldier,” The Telegraph, February 11, 2023 (9:30 am);

2) Esward Wong, “U.S. Warnings to China on Arms Aid for Russia’s War Portend Global Rift; Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken says Washington has indications that Beijing is strongly considering giving military aid to Moscow for the war in Ukraine,” New York Times,February 19, 2023;

3) Lluís Bassets, “Desafío y humillación de Putin;; No hay mensaje de mayor contundencia política ni trascendencia incluso militar que la visita de Biden a Zelenski,” El País, el 20 de febrero 2023 (08:41 EST);

4) Lluís Bassets, “Putin’s challenge and humiliation; There is no message of greater political forcefulness or even military significance than Biden’s visit to Zelenski,” El País, February 20, 2023 (08:41 EST);

5) Sabrina Siddiqui, “Biden Makes Surprise Visit to Kyiv in Show of Support for Ukraine; Half a billion dollars of additional aid is pledged before anniversary of war’s start,” Wall Street Journal, February 20, 2023 (updated atb8:40 p.m. ET);

Sabrina Siddiqui was one of onlybtwo reporters who accompanied President Biden on his trip tomKyiv.


“Wokeness” and the Russian war against Ukraine

Valerie Browne quotes a Ukrainian soldier to telling effect:

A Ukrainian soldier has warned the West is too busy fighting for transgender and feminist rights when they should be preparing for the threat of Russia invading countries beyond Ukraine.

“Today it’s Ukraine. Tomorrow it’s Poland, Germany. We’ve already destroyed more planes than the British Army has in total and Russia keeps fighting,” said Artem, 32, who is just about to join his brigade stationed in Bahkmut.

Adding: “If you will not help Ukraine now, you will fight Russia in five years. If you’re thinking about human rights, transgender, feminists you’re not thinking about your country.”

The Observer has often wondered how so much energy could go into “woke” protests and demands on college campuses, and so little energy could go into raising awareness of the stakes in the war of Russian aggression against Ukraine. Or how so much energy could be spent ferreting out Americans who were slave owners or who had some connection to slavery 200 years ago, self-righteously condemning them for transgressing our 21st century values, and so little attention could be spent fighting to eliminate slavery where it exists in the world today, in countries like Saudi Arabia.

To make this statement is not to defend slavery, but rather to question those who scour history not to learn from it but rather to find villains upon whom they can heap scorn and moral indignation. It is easy and pretty much cost-free to attack dead men and women who lived centuries ago. It is quite another thing to fight current injustices, and those responsible for them, when to do so may require critics to put some skin in the game as it were, to personally risk something if they are going to correct the injustice.

What is, really, the explanation for the deafening silence among American college students and younger members of tbe cultural elite on one of the greatest moral issues of our times? To what extent are we morally obligated, both as individuals and as a nation, to enter the fight to defeat Russian fascism and aggression, and the barbarism of Russian soldiers? Do young people have an important role to play in shaping the world they and their children will inhabit in the future?

If they do, why are they so silent?

Antony Blinken’s undemocratic meeting with Wang Yi

Secretary of State Antony Blinken set the harshly negative tone of U.S.-China relations in his first meeting with Chinese foreign minister Wan Yi in Anchorage Alaska in March 2921, when he in effect used the meeting as a platform to publicly denounce China, instead of establishing personal relationships and conducting diplomacy.

At his meeting with Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference earlier this week, Biden remained true to form, using the meeting to publicly denounce China.

Blinken is a most undiplomatic top diplomat of the United States. He seems to prefer arguments in the media to the real work of diplomacy.

This should not surprise us very much, as he had virtually no diplomatic experience at the working level prior to assuming his current job. To be sure, he served as Deputy Secretary of State under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but any “negotiations” at that level are not the same as years of experience negotiating with foreign officials an ordinary diplomat acquires.

At the Munich meeting, one of the biggest issues was whether China will provide military aid to Russia.

Public confrontation, I would submit, was not a well-chosen means to pursue that goal. China can be denounced by other officials in other venues.

The goal of diplomacy when meeting with an adversary is ti persuade that adversary to do or not to do something in furtherance of one’s own foreign policy goals.

Blinken apparently doesn’t know how to do that.

When he was trying to secure the release by Russia of Whitney Griner, the women’s basketball star, Blinken tried to push foreign minister Sergey Lavrov by pressuring him through press leaks and announcements. Any diplomat could have told him that that was a ploy which would fail, which it did.

When Blinken met with Wang Yi in the first bilateral meeting at the ministerial level, Blinken was reportedly confrontational in his private meetings with Wang Yi, and sought to embarrass and humiliate him and China in his public remarks to the press. This gambit failed in a spectacular way. Only days later, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov traveled to China and concluded a strategic partnership agreement with President Xi Jinping.

The meeting in Munich did not go well. Blinken, in public statements and apparent leaks, made it clear that China was responsible for the failed meeting. Wang Yu, in his speech to the Conference, made it clear that China viewed the U.S. as being the one at fault.

The United States needs a top diplomat who knows how to conduct diplomacy, and who can reverse the personal animosity in relations between U.S. and Chinese officials. Given the personal animosity between the Secretary of State and foreign minister Wang Yi, it is clear that Anthony Blinken cannot perform this job.

President Biden’s historic visit to Kyiv

President Joe Biden’s surprise visit to Kiev, where he met with Volodymyr Zelensky and others, was just the kind of highly symbolic move which can move masses. It may some day be compared to Ronald Reagan’ challenge to Mikhail Gorbachev in Berlin: “Mr Gorbachev, Tear down that wall!

Lluís Bassetts, a leading commentator for Spain’s El País, expressed his reactions as follows:

Revised Google translation

It was an unusual visit, historic like few others. There is no message of greater political forcefulness or significance, even military significance.

Biden’s identification with the positions of the Zelensky government, expressed with extreme clarity in Munich (at the Munich Security Conference) in the discussion between the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmitro Kuleba, constitutes the framework in which the Peace proposals coming from Beijing, hardly acceptable if they are limited to a fragile ceasefire that serves to resupply Russian troops or if they do not contemplate the restoration of the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Ukraine guaranteed by all treaties and international agreements, including the United Nations Charter, to which Russia is bound. They are summed up in a few words from Biden with epic and compromising resonances: “One year later, kyiv resists, Ukraine resists, democracy resists.”

The Trenchant Observer


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