WTH is Putin doing in Ukraine?
AEI’s Chris Miller on Biden’s response as Eastern Europe teeters on the brink of war


In what is arguably the most serious crisis in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War, Russia has positioned more than 100,000 troops along Ukraine’s border and has sparked fears of an invasion. With tensions at a high, the US and its allies have warned the Kremlin that any invasion will be met with “massive consequences” and “severe economic costs.” A new round of talks is set to begin in Paris this week, but Russia and the West have yet to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

Chris Miller joined Marc and Dany to discuss the Russian military mobilization at the Ukrainian border, a potential Russian invasion, Putin’s intentions in Ukraine, and how the US and its allies should respond.

Chris Miller is a Jeane Kirkpatrick Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he focuses on Russian foreign policy, politics, and economics; Russia and Ukraine; Russian-European relations; and Eurasia. He also focuses on semiconductors and the geopolitics of technology. Concurrently, Dr. Miller is assistant professor of international history at the Fletcher School at Tufts University and codirector of the school’s Russia and Eurasia Program. He is also the director of the Eurasia Program and a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI).

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In 2020, the United States marked a grim milestone as it experienced its largest-ever single-year homicide spike on record. As murders continued to climb in 2021, 12 major US cities broke their annual homicide records, with many other urban areas suffering near-record high violence.

Rafael Mangual joined Marc and Dany to discuss the impact and driving factors behind America’s crime wave, the failure of our elected leaders and the criminal justice system to hold criminals accountable, and why the criminal justice reform movement is not only misguided but also dangerous.

Rafael Mangual is a senior fellow and head of research for the Policing and Public Safety Initiative at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. He has authored and coauthored a number of reports and op-eds on issues ranging from urban crime and jail violence to broader matters of criminal and civil justice reform. His work has been featured and mentioned in a wide array of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, New York Post, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer and City Journal. His first book, “Criminal (In)Justice,” will be available in July 2022.

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As the Olympics continue in Communist China alongside Beijing’s continued genocide against the Uighurs, all too few have been willing to call out the tyrants and abusers. Democratic freedoms are under assault from Xinjiang to Ankara to Tehran to Moscow. But the powerful have been strangely reticent. Enes Kanter Freedom, a human rights advocate and center for the Boston Celtics, has committed himself to being a voice for freedom and human rights around the world, calling out injustices despite threats against him and his family.

Enes Kanter Freedom joined Marc and Dany to discuss his human rights activism, using his platform to call out injustice, those trying to keep him silent, and why so many people choose their money over their morals.

Enes Kanter Freedom, originally from Turkey, is an American professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics and a human rights advocate. A center, Freedom has played for five NBA teams since entering the league in 2011. In 2021, Freedom officially became a US citizen and legally changed his name to Enes Kanter Freedom at the same time to mark the occasion.

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In late January, a group of truckers calling themselves the “Freedom Convoy” traveled to the Canadian capital of Ottawa to protest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cross-border vaccine mandates. However, what started as a modest protest has since mushroomed into a broader movement opposed to Trudeau, vaccine mandates, and draconian Covid restrictions. With over $7.8 million in donations from supporters, the “Freedom Convoy” has inspired similar demonstrations not only across Canada—where protesters blockaded North America’s busiest land border crossing for almost a week— but also in New Zealand, France, Netherlands, and most recently, the United States. In an effort to end the ongoing protests, this week, Trudeau invoked the never-used-before Emergencies Act, giving the Canadian government the broad powers and the authority to take steps to “restore order.”

Canadian columnist Anthony Furey joined Marc and Dany to discuss Canada’s trucker protests, Prime Minister Trudeau’s invocation of the Emergencies Act, Canada’s draconian COVID restrictions, and how the Canadian government is progressively taking away its own citizens freedoms.

Anthony Furey is a national columnist for the Sun newspapers chain in Canada and the host of the Postmedia podcast “Full Comment with Anthony Furey.” He’s also written for TIME, NY Daily News, Literary Review of Canada and other publications. He regularly appears on talk radio and has been featured on BBC, Fox News Channel and other channels. Furey’s new book “Pulse Attack: The Real Story Behind The Secret Weapon That Can Destroy North America,” about electromagnetic pulse warfare, is now out and available.

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This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin officially recognized the independence of the Moscow-backed breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and ordered Russian troops to enter the Donbas. After what President Biden (ultimately) called the “beginning of a Russian invasion,” Russia’s blatant violation of Ukrainian national sovereignty has triggered a wave of sanctions from both the US and our European partners. With tensions rising and no sign of Putin being deterred, hopes for a diplomatic resolution continue to fade while the likelihood of more serious confrontation in Ukraine grows by the hour.

General Jack Keane joined Dany and Marc to discuss Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Moscow’s recognition of two breakaway regions in the Donbas, and the ramifications for US national security if President Biden fails to act.

General Jack Keane is a retired 4 star general, the chairman of the Institute for the Study of War and Fox News Senior Strategic Analyst.

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As Moscow intensifies its assault on Ukraine, the United States and its Western allies have responded to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression by waging a financial war and imposing a barrage of sanctions designed to cripple Russia’s economy. The measures, which have increased in severity in the days since the Russian invasion, caused the ruble to reach its lowest level ever against the dollar and have wrought havoc on Russia’s financial markets and largest banks. With the announcement that the US and its European allies are planning to expel selected Russian banks from the global financial messaging service SWIFT, the Russian economy is in increasing peril.

Marshall Billingslea joined Marc and Dany to discuss the US and the West’s response to Russia’s aggression on Ukraine, the sanctions campaign against the Russian economy, and what the US needs to do to ensure severe financial and military pain for Moscow.

Marshall S. Billingslea is a senior fellow at Hudson Institute, focusing on illicit finance and arms control with the Kleptocracy Initiative. Prior to joining Hudson Institute, Mr. Billingslea was the special presidential envoy for arms control at the US Department of State, holding the rank of ambassador. Before joining the State Department, Mr. Billingslea served as the assistant secretary for terrorist financing at the US Department of the Treasury, and in 2018, he was selected as president of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)—the global anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing body—and co-chaired the global Counter-ISIS Finance.

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As Russia’s violent assault on Ukraine enters its second week, causalities on both sides have been climbing, and many of Ukraine’s largest cities remain under siege. Despite Russian combat operations initially facing severe setbacks as a result of a determined Ukrainian resistance, the Russian offensive has been gaining ground in recent days, with Russian troops capturing their first major city, the southern port of Kherson.

Dr. Frederick W. Kagan joined Marc and Dany to discuss the current military state of play in Ukraine, Putin’s initial miscalculations, and the Ukrainian people’s heroic stand against Putin’s aggression.

Kagan is the director of AEI’s Critical Threats Project and a former professor of military history at the US Military Academy at West Point. He served on the ground in Afghanistan, providing civilian support to the US military mission.

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As Russia continues its bloody invasion of Ukraine, the United States and its NATO allies have responded by levying wide-ranging sanctions against Moscow as well as providing Kyiv with humanitarian, security, and economic assistance. However, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the aid has been largely insufficient in helping turn back the almost two-week-long Russian campaign. With Ukrainian cities increasingly under siege and intelligence estimates suggesting Russian President Vladimir Putin may soon escalate his offensive, this week President Zelensky pleaded for the US and NATO to step up their support by establishing a no-fly zone over the country, banning the purchase of Russian oil, and helping secure more fighter jets. (Late breaking news suggests a NATO deal is underway to get Polish MiGs to Ukraine.)

Radosław Sikorski joined Marc and Dany to discuss Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, President Zelensky’s request for more support from the US and NATO, and the implications of an increased Western response in Ukraine.

Radoslaw Sikorksi is a member of the European Parliament where he serves on the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA) and the Subcommittee on Security and Defense (SEDE). He also chairs the Delegation for relations with the United States. Prior to his election to the European Parliament in 2019, Sikorski served as minister of national defense of Poland from 2005 to 2007, minister of foreign affairs from 2007 to 2014, and marshal of the Sejm (speaker of Poland’s parliament) from September 2014 to June 2015. From 2002 to 2005, he was resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. and executive director of the New Atlantic Initiative. Sikorski is the author of several books, including Dust of the Saints and The Polish House: An Intimate History of Poland.

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This past week, plans to bolster Ukraine’s military defenses with MiG fighter jets were derailed when President Biden refused to permit the transfer of the fighters to Ukraine. With the White House and NATO also rejecting a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine, the war’s civilian toll continues to rise. As the war drags, a growing number of Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling on the President to ramp up military aid to Ukraine and provide Kyiv with the military assistance it requested.

Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D) joined Marc and Dany to discuss the Biden administration’s response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the repercussions of the US response in Ukraine, and what the White House needs to do to support Ukraine.

Congressman Panetta is a member of the US House of Representatives, representing California’s 20th Congressional District. First elected in 2016, Panetta currently serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, the House Committee on Agriculture, and the House Committee on Armed Services. He also serves as a Chief Deputy Whip in the 117th Congress. In 2007, Congressman Panetta volunteered for active duty and was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, where he worked with Special Forces units and, as a result of his meritorious service in a combat zone, was awarded the Bronze Star.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has brought horror and misery to millions and challenged the US-led international order to an extent unseen since the Cold War. As NATO struggles to mount an effective response to Russia’s aggression, a growing alliance of dictatorships led by Putin and China’s Xi Jinping is attempting to shape the geopolitical order to their interests and against those of the US. With casualties rising in Ukraine and growing fears of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, does the US now find itself in a new Cold War?

Matt Pottinger joins Marc and Dany to discuss the new cold war, the conflict’s ideological underpinnings, and the historical analogies that help explain Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Matt Pottinger is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, Chairman of The Foundation for Defense of Democracies China Program, and a Senior Advisor at The Marathon Initiative. From 2019 to 2021, Pottinger served in the White House in senior roles on the National Security Council staff, including as deputy national security advisor. He previously served as senior director for Asia, where he led the administration’s work on the Indo-Pacific region, in particular its shift on China policy. Before his White House service, Pottinger spent the late 1990s and early 2000s in China as a reporter for Reuters and the Wall Street Journal. He then fought in Iraq and Afghanistan as a US Marine during three combat deployments between 2007 and 2010.

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