S4 E16 — The Collateral Damage Triggered by the Reflexive Control Playbook

We’d long been confused by the former President’s policy of accommodation and appeasement of Russia, the United States’ most pressing major adversary. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, seizing the Crimean Peninsula, attacking its industrial heartland, the Donbass, from the capital, Kyiv.

The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book

“5” Steve Nash, 45: “Events unfold similarly to the rhythms of yesterday, but you’ll ride them differently because you know them better. You’re getting into the deeper levels of things.” Aquarius

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s 16th Episode in Season 4 of  Our Disruptively Resilient Year” on this 27th day of March in the spring of 2022.

We concluded the three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed — during the “normal” pre-pandemic year compared to the pandemic year, and more recently to the paradoxically normal year. 

Season Four continues now within domestic and global chaos.

Previously in Season Four, The Disruptively Resilient Year

S4 E15So Maybe Ulysses S. Grant Wasn’t Wrong After All; S4 E14 Lies and Lost Causes and Repeat and Repeat; S4 E13Was Trump Putin’s Puppet?

Related from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E16Quid Pro Quo the Awesome Kind; S3 E15 — Wait, Did I Say That Out Loud?; S3 E14 — How!; S3 E13 — Why?; 

Related from Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E16Scroll to the Bottom for Foresight and Quality-of-Life, Right Leo?; S2 E15Behaving Badly, Why Big Sur made “Fodor’s Travel NO List”; S2 E14Reading Tea Leaves Bottled and Set Adrift; S2 E13Slipping on a Bar of Dove Soap and other Ripple Effects

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E16Day 16 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E15Day 15 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E14Day 14 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E13Day 13 of My 1-Year Experiment;

Context

United States is elementally unlike the Soviet Union, unlike Putin’s Russia wrote Alexander Vindman in his book, “Here, Right Matters: An American Story.”

Presidents sit at the head of this table (in the Situation Room). It was the room where President Obama and his team watched the Osama bin Laden raid being carried out.

We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement of Russia, the United States’ most pressing major adversary.

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, seizing the Crimean Peninsula, attacking its industrial heartland, the Donbass, from the capital, Kyiv. 

By 2019, little had changed, Russian military and security forces and their proxy separatists continued to occupy the Donbass.

Vindmin says the biggest change was to Ukraine’s importance as a bulwark against Russian aggression.  Our diplomacy had been based on that fact.

That was until the White House had abruptly put a hold on nearly four hundred million dollars, creating shock and dismay in the minds of the professionals tending to the global order on behalf of America.

Enter Rudolph Giuliani into the mix — as a direct representative of Trump taking advantage of the confusion over the White House’s behavior toward Ukraine.

Vindman, in his book and in testimony at the first impeachment hearings of Trump, concluded that Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s proposal, acting on behalf of Trump, to the Ukrainians was clearly improper, but at least Sondland wasn’t a freelancing outlier like Giuliani

If you were glued to the hearings like Emma the Baroness and I were, you’ll recall that prior to serving in the Trump Administration, Sondland is the founder and chairman of Provenance Hotels. 

According to his Wikipedia page, he served as the United States Ambassador to the European Union from 2018  to 2020. 

Vendman recalls how he crashed smack dab into “that false narrative, one concocted for the shabbiest of reasons unimaginably remote from anything I was working on for high-level global U.S. strategy.”

Helsinki would be the first face-to-face between the new president of the United States and President Putin:  felt my stomach sink as I thought about the U.S. interpreter, public attempts to determine the content of the presidential meeting.

Trump, through Giuliani, was clearly demanding a public commitment by Zelensky to investigate Burisma (a Ukrainian gas company where Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden had sat on the board) and the 2016 election as a prerequisite to receive a White House invitation or phone call. 

“Was there a ‘quid pro quo? The answer is yes,” he said in his opening remarks. The quid pro quo in question was relating to the public commitment by Zelensky to investigate Burisma and the 2016 election as a prerequisite to receive a White House invitation or phone call. — Wikipedia

Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian and actor ran on a platform of 

    • reform,
    • anticorruption, and 
    • public trust in government for 
    • real improvement within Ukraine,

Trump, on the other hand, it became clear ran on the platform of re-electing Trump at all cost.

Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, worked closely with Bill Taylor, the Vietnam War–era infantry officer.

Didn’t matter how capable she was, she was collateral damage.

 Trump recalled her on the basis of a smear, according to Vindmen. 

President Trump’s instincts for how to handle Russia strategy —what I saw was disappointing. Russians were relying, as usual, on our not knowing what to do in the face of their belligerence.

The pros knew how adept the Russians were at a technique—it’s part of a uniquely Russian doctrine called “reflexive control”—which conveys information that inclines an opponent to overreact. It’s kinda like the old saying the easiest mark for a sale is another salesperson.

Trump fell into a classic state of decision paralysis. Vindman reflects on his motivations based on Trump’s behavior — 

(It) seems possible that President Trump simply didn’t care about the U.S. interests and was more concerned about not upsetting President Putin.

Meanwhile Giuliani’s moves were bewildering.  He freelanced with his own strange agenda:

Rudolph Giuliani inserted himself into diplomatic matters once William Barr mischaracterized the findings Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in early 2019 as an exoneration of the president for colluding with Russia during his campaign and implicated Ukraine instead.

Giuliani as the mouthpiece for his “client” spun the same story the Russians had now been pushing for two years, according to Vindmen.

In March, negative stories began circulating about the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Masha Yovanovitch, based on Lutsenko’s accusations (Lutsenko would later recant this falsehood.) 

Vindman says he did his best to try to get NSC to go out on a limb to support Ambassador Yovanovitch, while Donald Trump Jr. approvingly retweeted a Daily Wire article repeating slanderous claims about her.

Once the narrative was in place at the end of April Trump directed Secretary Pompeo to recall Ambassador Yovanovitch — to remove some impediments to whatever Giuliani was trying to get going in Ukraine.

Evidence

Now what about Steves?  What’s going on here?  Alas. Nothing for me or Emma the Baroness today.  

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“4”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “What makes you want to hug someone, and what makes you want to yell? You’ll become more conscious of your triggers and start to develop plans to avoid unwanted states.” Aries

I feel like I’m the only one heeding your advice.  After the Pandemic, the Impeachments, the Insurrection and now the Invasion — I’ve got so many triggers I don’t know what to do.

“4”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61; Stephen King, 72: “The world is not divided into two teams. Thinking in terms of winners/losers, right/wrong, my way/your way is too reductive to solve today’s problem or seize the current opportunities.” Virgo

Haven’t we all been conditioned to view the world through for me or against me lenses?  No wonder I’m triggered so much.

“3”  Steve Kerr, 54: “In life, challenge is given. In a sense, you’re in a privileged position today because you have the luxury of choosing the sort of challenges that are aimed at getting you to a much-desired place.” Libra

Yeah, I see how this might be true.  And I feel blessed that I have some choices while others less fortunate don’t.  So, let’s hope for the best and plan for the worst and collectively work our way through our challenges together.

“4”  Steve Aoki, 41; Steven Spielberg, 74: “Fear is like a wild horse. If you’re going to ride it, you must first become its master. Today you’ll get in touch with your inner rodeo star and you’ll find a way to communicate with the wildness inside you.” Sagittarius

I love the first sentence.  I hadn’t thought of fear being like a wild horse.  Unless it’s all about that old TV cowboy motto, when the horse throws you out of the saddle you have to jump back up and on or you’ll be too afraid to try again in the future.  In my career I chose public speaking and training groups.  Like the majority of us speaking in front of an audience is our number one fear.  It was for me until I mastered it.

“5” Steve Nash, 45: “Events unfold similarly to the rhythms of yesterday, but you’ll ride them differently because you know them better. You’re getting into the deeper levels of things.” Aquarius 

Is this still about riding that wild horse again to communicate with the wildness inside me?  Or is it a recognition that history doesn’t repeat itself because we live in totally different times, but the rhythms and rhymes echo emotional feelings from our past.  Or as Jamie Raskin explains the Lost Cause Myth spun in the Confederacy South after its defeat still rhymes with the vein Trump taps into as the aggrieved victim who had everything unfairly taken away from what was rightfully his — the second term in office.

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “One person’s waste of time is another person’s passion. No need to judge the matter; it’s a personal choice. As long as you follow what interests and engages you, your time is well-spent.” Pisces

Even if no one follows you on Patreon?

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines, according to my analytics, grew from 12344 this week to 12458 organically grown followers.
    • Orange County Beach Towns 196 viewers stopped by the week before.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

    • “Here, Right Matters: An American Story” by Alexander Vindman. “We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement of Russia, the United States’ most pressing major adversary. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, seizing the Crimean Peninsula, attacking its industrial heartland, the Donbass, from the capital, Kyiv. By 2019, little had changed, Russian military and security forces and their proxy separatists continued to occupy the Donbass. The biggest change was to Ukraine’s importance as a bulwark against Russian aggression weeks earlier, the White House had abruptly put a hold on nearly four hundred million dollars.” 
    • David Enrich begins his book with a suicide in “Deutsche Bank Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction” and then meticulously details the bank’s Russian money laundering operations. Deutsche’s Russian business surged after revenues had fallen 50% due to the 2008 financial crisis. Putin’s Russia, poured in to Deutsche from deals it did with VTB Bank, linked to the Kremlin’s intelligence apparatus. Deutsche positioned itself as a crucial cog in “The Laundromat” by doing what couldn’t be done — processing cross-border transactions for banks that were too small  and didn’t have offices outside their home countries.
    • “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy” by Jamie Raskin recalls one tragedy no parent should endure — the suicide of his son — and then a second tragedy at almost the same time — the insurrection on January 6th 2021, that terrified he and his congressional peers who were tasked by the Constitution to routinely oversee the orderly transfer of power from one former president to the duly elected new President. 
    • “A Warning” by Anonymous (Miles Taylor) written prior to the January 6th Insurrection as an insider’s account documenting how frequently the former President’s behavior and rage without any “guard rails” showed just how far he would go to win the next election at any cost while spinning lies and misinformation on top of each other.  

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

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