The Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2021


“An unidentified ‘senior administration official’ in a Dec. 17 U.S. State Department telephone briefing for reporters:

You asked what the Russians are up to. I will let the Russians speak for themselves with regard to what they’re up to. We believe, the President believes, our allies believe that if there are concerns–and we have concerns on our side, they clearly have concerns on their side–they are best discussed diplomatically…And that is what we are proposing, and that is a far better path not only for Ukraine and all of us but for the Russian Federation itself.

I mean, let’s remember that Russia has one of the highest Covid levels in the world. The Russian people don’t need a war with Ukraine. They don’t need their sons coming home in body bags. They don’t need another foreign adventure. What they need is better health care, build back better, roads, schools, economic opportunity. And that’s what the polling is showing in Russia. So we hope that President Putin will take this opportunity for diplomacy and will also listen to the needs of his own people.”


Often, when we talk about others, we are subtlety (or in this instance wholly) talking about ourselves. Here,  to great folly, a senior administration official is showing Russia his cards; essentially saying that the US doesn’t have the will or the resources to help the Ukraine fight to remain an independent country; that the US supports a diplomatic settlement that would presumably slice off some of Ukraine’s eastern border for Russian consumption.

The quote is hysterical as it reveals the senior administration official doesn’t have a clue about Russia’s priorities. Cluelessness is characteristic of those who are overwhelmingly ideological and perfunctorily empirical.