For the army of scribblers who have recently made a cottage industry out of discovering fissures in the edifice of the U.S./NATO/EU triumvirate vis-a-vis Russia. Not that the following will in any fashion slow them down. The accursed monolith has been painstakingly crafted for over thirty years and won’t be dismantled without a comprehensive effort. The Russian government, through TASS, reacted to the Western threat by in part celebrating the withered olive branch of yet more negotiations over the West’s non-negotiable points offered by its friends, to which, aptly, a fable by the 18th Century Russian poet Krylov is appended below.

Readout of President Biden’s Video Call with European Leaders on Russia and Ukraine

President Biden held a secure video call with European leaders today. They reiterated…their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The leaders underscored their shared desire for a diplomatic resolution – BUT – The leaders also discussed their joint efforts to deter further Russian aggression against Ukraine, including preparations to impose massive consequences and severe economic costs on Russia for such actions as well as to reinforce security on NATO’s eastern flank. They committed to continued close consultation with transatlantic Allies and partners, including working with and through the EU, NATO, and the OSCE.

Participants in the call included European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President Andrzej Duda of Poland, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom.


Ivan Krylov
The Wolves and the Sheep

The wolves so plagued the sheep, that life was not worth living;
It got so bad, that in the end,
The rulers of the beasts, their best attentions giving
Sought how the sheep they might defend.
So High Commissioners were summoned to attend;
Now, some of these were wolves, the truth to tell;
But wolves there are of whom report speaks well;
Such honorable wolves – and oft the story’s told,
With proofs that cannot be rebutted –
Were seen to walk right past the fold
In perfect peace – when they were fairly glutted;
Then why refuse a vote to wolves of good repute?
The sheep may claim a hearing for their suit: –
No reason there, the wolves to persecute!

Deep in the forest’s wilds the Council opens session,
To every plea gives due expression,
And drafts a law quite perfect and complete;
And word for word this law I here repeat: –
“So soon as wolf on fold shall make aggression,
And sheep thereby suffer from oppression,
Then straightway shall that sheep be free,
No matter who that wolf may be,
To seize him by the throat, and drag to judgment-seat
In nearest copse or wood.”
There’s nothing left to add, and nothing to delete;
Only the way it works is not so good.
For though the court, they say, is scrupulously fair,
The sheep may plaintiff or defendant be –
The dragging’s never done by him, and he
Has yet to make his first appearance there.