Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues



1 August – developments in Ukraine

I think we decided last Monday to talk about the latest developments in Ukraine. Topics might include any of the following:

How long can/will the US and Europe continue to supply arms and aid to Ukraine?

What role is Turkey playing in the conflict – mediator, in the case of the purported agreement to allow Ukraine to export grain? Spoiler, in the case of its repeated threats to veto the admission to NATO of Finland and Sweden?

Is there an end game to the conflict? If so, what is it for Russia? Ukraine? the US? the EU? Or is it still to soon to come up with any?

What lessons are China and the US learning from the conflict in Ukraine that might be relevant to a possible conflict over Taiwan in the near future?

Why do a large majority of Russians seem to support the war (aside from not wanting to risk jail by publicly opposing it)? Although it might be a dubious attempt to analyze the Russian national psyche, I think this opinion piece from the 26 July edition of the New York Times isn’t far off the mark (

Does Putin have an exit strategy?

Assuming at least part of the conversation on Monday, 14 March will be about Russia and Ukraine, a column by Tom Friedman in the 8 March issue of The New York Times might be of interest. In that column, Friedman asks what Putin’s exit strategy from Ukraine is and concludes that he doesn’t really have one, given Ukraine’s so far apparently successful resistance and the Russian military’s apparent failures. Here’s a link to that column:

Feb. 7: Ethics

At tomorrow’s session, we’ll circle back to a subject we’ve touched on before: ethics.

Three unrelated (?) lines of discussion in recent weeks led to this topic:

  • Supreme Court ethics (or code of conduct). Should it formally adopt one or, as the highest court in the land, should it continue to retain the flexibility of an “honor code” in which each Justice makes the decision as to whether to recuse from a case?
  • Journalistic ethics. (Another trigger for the Supreme Court angle, centered around the public leaks from the court about Neil Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, and masks). And the Sarah Palin/NYT defamation trial just getting under way.
  • Corporate “ethics.” Should corporations be ethical? What does that mean in the context of a corporation?

For that matter, if (as Peter S. likes to quote) ethics is “obedience to the unenforceable,” who gets to decide what is ethical and what is not? (I have my answer, but I’ll save it for tomorrow.)

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