Most public facts fall into the “maybe” category. Let’s review the maybes in three categories of recent headlines.
- the conflict with Russia;
- the situation in Iraq;
- the transmissibility of Ebola.
The conventional wisdom is that “Putin is on the run” and “Edward Snowden was a patriotic whistleblower.” Ed Epstein has recorded a YouTube video that might make you rethink the proposition that Snowden acted with good intentions. Epstein argues that the vast majority of documents Snowden stole pertained to U.S. penetrations of Chinese and Russian systems. Only a very small portion of his take bore upon NSA domestic surveillance, and that has been selectively released to people like Glenn Greenwald. Epstein makes a thoughtful case for the possibility that Snowden was — objectively at least — a Russian intelligence op.
Timothy Ash disputes the idea that Putin is on the run. In a closely reasoned article he asserts that Putin is far more likely to escalate the crisis in Ukraine, probably via some sort of invasion carried on under the cover of restoring peace to that troubled land. Michael Weiss at Foreign Policy writes, “Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine won’t be an armored blitzkrieg. It’s a slow, seditious drip — and it’s already underway.”
For those living the reality of having a portion of their country occupied by Russian intelligence agents and insurgents — all armed with Moscow-dispatched weapons, of course — the question isn’t whether Vladimir Putin will launch a full-scale assault on his neighbor, but when he’ll do it. This week, U.S., NATO, and European officials all seemed to agree that the prospect of that event occurring has risen precipitously.
Is Putin on the run before a triumphantly advancing Obama? The situation in Iraq is rather interesting. The conventional wisdom is that the Obama has finally arrived to save the day. The best place to begin examining the alternatives is the map provided by the Institute for the Study of War Iraq Updates site.