How the war in Ukraine reduces the risk of nuclear war

Liked Nuclear war! by Timothy Snyder (Thinking about…)

Why it isn’t happening

Our nuclear talk is a way to claim victimhood, and then to blame the actual victims.  Once we turn our attention to a hypothetical exchange of missiles, we get to imagine that we are the victims.  Suddenly the actual war no longer seems to matter, since our lives (we imagine) are at risk.  And the Ukrainians seem to be at fault.  If only they would stop fighting, then we could all be safe.  This, of course, is exactly how Russian propagandists want us to reason. And it is wrong.


It is an example of a narcissistic fantasy that looms over discussions of American foreign policy: the fantasy of omnipotent submission.  This is the notion, birthed in American exceptionalism and impatience, that since America is the power behind everything, all will be well if America does nothing.  If we do what the Russian propagandists want, and do nothing for Ukraine, then (in this fantasy) there will be no nuclear war.

Finances Political Commentary

The old classic, lying with statistics

Replied to Exaggerating China’s military spending, St. Louis Fed breaks all statistical rules with misleading graph (

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis published a jaw-droppingly misleading graph that portrays China as spending more on its military than the US. In reality, the Pentagon’s budget is roughly three times larger.

In an accompanying report, the St. Louis Fed admitted that China’s 2021 defense spending was just 1.7% of GDP, “which was the lowest share among the six nations in the figure”.

Yay! I love Actual Propaganda! With a good ol dose of racist fearmongering 🙃

My Biostatistics teacher in college devoted our entire first lecture to discussing ways you could lie with data, so we would be better able to recognize it — and hopefully, not do it.

If we acknowledged how much we waste on bloated military spending, we would have to come to grips with our spending priorities. We would have to acknowledge what we don’t buy with that money. Some of that money could help stop children from going hungry, or keep diabetic people (who aren’t on Medicaid) from dying for lack of affordable medicine 🤷‍♀️ (To name some real problems in the US that shouldn’t be controversial yet somehow are.)

A much more accurate graphic created by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation shows how, as of 2022, the United States spent more on its military than the next nine largest spenders combined – including China, India, the UK, Russia, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea (and several of these countries are close US allies).

Some of what our $$$$$$$ military spending buys is impressive: a rapid response force that can be wheels up in under 18 hours (the logistics of that alone are mind-blowing), a sophisticated anti-tank weapon that still beats out everything anyone else has and is making a huge impact in Ukraine, and development of GPS.

Preserving self-governance in Ukraine A+++++++ But mayyyyybe we could spare some of the $850 billion we’re spending on the military this year to care directly for people?