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There’s nothing more tiresome or predictable than a cable news host who makes the show about himself. Narcissism is to TV people what black lung is to coal miners, and we do our best to avoid catching it. But we’re going to break our rule and tell you about something pretty interesting that happened to “Tucker Carlson Tonight” a couple of days ago.
On Tuesday, we did a segment about the nation of Ukraine. Now, Ukraine may be a perfectly nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t think it would get a lot of attention from a superpower like this one. Ukraine is a pretty small country, really. It’s in Eastern Europe. It’s 5,000 miles from Washington. It’s got a population about the size of the state of California. So hugely significant? Not really. And yet we never seem to stop talking about Ukraine.
As the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden himself spent an enormous amount of his time meddling in the internal affairs of Ukraine and because of his influence in that country, his son Hunter got a job at a Ukrainian company and got rich from that. Then Donald Trump was impeached for speaking on the phone to an official from, yes, Ukraine.
And now, as of tonight, we’re moving closer to a war over Ukraine. In the coming days, Russia may violate Ukraine’s eastern border, and this, we are told, cannot stand. In Washington, the territorial integrity of the United States means precisely nothing. Walls are racist. We’re a nation of immigrants. But the territorial integrity of Ukraine? That is something we must fight for.
A remarkably broad spectrum of political figures appeared on all three cable networks to explain that if Russians crossed the Ukrainian border in an undocumented caravan, we have a moral obligation to use force immediately.
ADAM SCHIFF, CBS: We will move more NATO’s assets closer to Russia, not further away if they once again bring war to Ukraine.
ALEXANDER VINDMAN, MSNCB: It’s just not going to be that simple. I think we should be doing a lot more and we, we shouldn’t be just considering a diplomatic track.
REP. DAN CRENSHAW, FOX NEWS: There needs to be clear consequences for what they do because we’ve failed to deter and now you’re inviting conflict. It’s a, it’s a very bad situation and we’ve left ourselves without many options as a result.
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL, CNN: I don’t think we’re providing the deterrence necessary to stop Putin from invading Ukraine, the breadbasket of Russia.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: And it’s time for the Biden White House to start speaking more clearly and more aggressively and telling us how they’re going to stop this invasion from happening.
Oh, they’re all red in the face, but it’s not the usual partisan chorus. This is the entire choir. You just saw representatives from every faction in Washington, from Adam Schiff to Dan Crenshaw, not as different as they seem, and all the dummies in between. And all of them are promoting war against Russia on behalf of our new and deeply beloved ally, the government of Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin is our most dangerous enemy, they scream. We can’t let him hurt Ukraine. So it turns out Russiagate was actually more effective even than we’d realize. The Steele dossier has been debunked. But in Washington, the theme remains in force: Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia is bad. What is this about, exactly?
Well, obviously it’s the usual collection of children falling for the usual collection of lies, but why this specific lie? On Tuesday, we tried to get to the bottom of this because it seems like it matters. We spoke to a man called Clint Ehrlich. As Ehrlich pointed out, there are a lot of factors here driving us toward war over Ukraine. But one of them, a central one, is NATO. So what is NATO and what is the purpose of NATO since the fall of the Soviet Union 30 years ago that NATO was designed as a bulwark against?
Well, no one can answer that question. Not one person and yet the same people who cooked up the Iraq War are now insisting that Ukraine must join NATO anyway. That would mean putting American military hardware right on Russia’s border, and Russia doesn’t want that any more than we would want Russian missiles in Tijuana. Hence, the tension. Now the irony, as Clint Ehrlich pointed out, is that NATO doesn’t even want Ukraine to join. In other words, the whole thing is nuts. It serves no American interest whatsoever. It is yet another manufactured crisis, this one devised by restless, power-hungry neocons in Washington looking for another war. Here’s part of what Clint Ehrlich told us.
EHRLICH: Here we have people who are arguing that even if the Russians don’t invade Ukraine, that we need to invade and kick the Russians out of Crimea, that was an op-ed from a senior Obama administration official this week. And so I would say that it’s even simpler than that. We’re dealing with our warmongers, unserious people whose policy prescriptions could have deadly serious consequences. … The deeper irony is that NATO doesn’t even want Ukraine, that it’s a corrupt country. It’s more of a liability than it would be a military asset. And the people who are pushing this simply argue that it needs to happen because Russia shouldn’t have a veto over who’s in NATO. In other words, even when it’s in our mutual interest to not have a state in NATO, we have to insist that there will be added just to spite the Russians.
Well, that was an interesting conversation, and those seem like fair points. If they’re wrong, go ahead and explain how they’re wrong. We’ll listen. But official Washington is done explaining anything, as you may have noticed. So instead, the very same foreign policy geniuses who brought slave markets to Libya went insane with rage. Not since we made fun of pregnant flight suits have they been this mad. “Fox host unabashedly makes Putin’s case,” barked CNN’s White House correspondent. “Unabashedly,” “shows how the disinformation successes of Russian intelligence extend way beyond Trump.” “Tucker is all-in for Putin,” noted Bill Kristol, a man who couldn’t even run a small circulation magazine, but imagines he should run our country’s foreign policy. And then a former DNC contractor called Alexandra Chalupa announced that this shows opinions violated the law. “This isn’t journalism,” she wrote. “It’s an ongoing FARA violation. Tucker Carlson needs to be prosecuted as an unregistered agent of the Russian Federation and treason under Article 3, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution for aiding an enemy in hybrid warfare against the United States.”
A death penalty offense! What Alexandra Chalupa didn’t mention, speaking of FARA violations, is that she herself has extensive personal ties to the Ukrainian government. In 2016, Chalupa contacted Ukraine’s embassy looking for dirt on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Now, she says that anyone who doesn’t believe Americans should die for Ukraine must be sent to prison.
Virginia Congressman Gerry Connolly didn’t go that far, but close. He called us “right-wing agitator spewing Russian propaganda into millions of American homes.” Like a virus. And then Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, a man who literally had sex with a Chinese spy, apparently multiple times in very strange ways, agreed with this. “Carrying Putin’s water again,” he wrote on Twitter. And then one of Barack Obama’s speechwriters accused us of being “on the side of ethno-nationalist authoritarianism.” Ethno-nationalism.
So if you don’t support fighting a war on behalf of all White Ukraine against all White Russia, you my friend are a racist and so on. So what’s so interesting here is that there was not a single argument, not a single idea in any of it. These aren’t just Twitter trolls, these are people who imagine themselves, foreign policy heavyweights, deep thinkers, statesmen. But when challenged, all they could muster was name-calling. They went ad hominem immediately because they had nothing else. They’re pathetic.
That ought to worry you, though, because they may be pathetic. They’re also very powerful. So in the end, it fell to poor Kamala Harris to explain why we need to fight for the honor of Ukraine. And she did it on The Today Show, the Biden administration’s forum for deep thoughts on foreign policy. Here’s what she said.
HARRIS: And on the subject of Ukraine, I will tell you that the president has been very clear and we, as the United States are very clear. If Putin takes aggressive action, we are prepared to levy serious and severe costs. Period. And I will tell you that part of the posture that we have taken is grounded in the respect and the value we place in sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Reading her little talking points as vehemently as she can. But the best? The emphasis we place, the value we place, on territorial integrity. Borders. Sovereignty. The right to determine who comes into your country and when. That’s the word from Kamala Harris, the lifelong open borders activist.
So how should Putin handle this? Well, Putin had a better imagination, apparently he doesn’t. He’d paint the Russian tanks now massed on the Ukrainian border with the slogan, “No person is illegal.” What would Kamala Harris say to that? On what grounds would she tell Russians who just want a better life with their families in Ukraine that they can’t come to Ukraine? If the Russians just quoted Emma Lazarus, Kamala Harris would have to back off and support them and their voting rights in Ukraine.
But unfortunately for them, the Russians are just too literal for this. When they invade a country, just go ahead and call it an invasion. But you still have to wonder, invasion or not, why is any of this a profound concern of ours? Why would you even consider risking American lives or sending billions of dollars to stop it? There are multiple border wars underway around the world. Multiple just on the continent of Africa, right now. There always have been. Many are dying in those wars. And yet Kamala Harris is not agitating for American troops to Congo. How come? We can only speculate about that What we do know is that the administration’s Russia policy would only make sense if your goal was to gravely hurt the United States of America. Already, we have spent nearly $4 billion in aid to Ukraine over the last few years, much of it for weapons. The point of this is to tweak Russia and, if necessary, to kill Russians. Our leads feel very superior about this, morally. They brag about it constantly. So it’s an up, it’s a win for them. But what about the cost to the rest of us and to our country?
China is the preeminent threat to the United States. Nothing comes close to the threat that China poses. Here’s the truth: The U.S. military, impressive as it is, is not big enough to engage meaningfully simultaneously in Europe and in Asia. Can’t do both at the same time.
So our attention to Ukraine, by definition, detracts from our attention to China. But worse and more dangerous than that, more dangerous than anything, it drives the Russians into an alliance of convenience of necessity with the Chinese government. So here you have our two biggest rivals, united. United not simply against our military, but against our currency. When the U.S. dollar is displaced as the world’s reserve currency, this country will become poor overnight. This, what you’re watching now, will be one of the reasons why it happened. So it’s hard to imagine anything more significant or destructive than what these people are doing right now. It’s not just about Ukraine, it’s about our future.
This article is adapted from Tucker Carlson’s opening commentary on the January 20, 2022, edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”