Is a potential conflict in Ukraine a showcase for soul-searching, economic soul-searching, or something much more serious? It could be all of these things.

“The Russians have already started a Hybrid War,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Moscow is using cyberattacks, economic pressure and, more recently, bogus bomb threats, to undermine its neighbour, Kiev says,” the news agency said in an analysis.

Yes, but money speaks globally.

Glenn Beaton, in a column for The Aspen Beat, said, “War is semi-obsolete in today’s global economy. Just as China does not want a war with the United States, which is its biggest customer of manufactured goods, Russia does not want a war with Western or even Eastern Europe, which is its biggest oil and gas customer. .

“Say what you want about the perils of globalization, but it discourages war. Bombing your client or even your client’s neighbor is bad for business,” he wrote on the Colorado-based news and opinion site.

“Secondly, Ukraine is not defenseless even if it does not receive much help from NATO. Ukraine could field a few hundred thousand troops. Although they are not great soldiers, they are not bad, and soldiers notoriously fight well when defending their own lands, towns and families,” Mr Beaton advised.

Russian President Vladimir Poutine is also an important factor, noted Harry J. Kazianissenior director of the Center for the National Interest and editor of its editorial arm, The National Interest.

“We have to take into account that Russia’s real strategy may not be to conquer every square inch of Ukrainian territory, but to transform Kiev’s economy, military and society into something so fractured and shattered that Kiev has no chance of joining NATO or the European Union.And to achieve that – what Putin has said are his real goals for Ukraine – would be a short, hard war that would make ‘Ukraine the hopeless case of Europe,’ predicts Kazianis.

“The only question now is will Putin be willing – or able – to handle the economic sanctions the West will impose on him if he decides to attack? If Putin thinks he can withstand the economic heat and destroy Ukraine for decades to come, then he will invade,” Kazianis said in a statement shared with the Beltway.

DRUMS OF WAR IN THE PRESS

Meanwhile, the situation in Ukraine has become the source of much media speculation. Some headlines from the last 48 hours:

“Biden Administration Paints Brutal Russian Invasion Scenario, Issues Grim Warning to Americans” (Fox News); “US officials warn diplomatic efforts ‘shrink’ amid Russian-Ukrainian tensions” (The Hill); ” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz fly to Ukraine, Russia as part of last-ditch diplomatic offer” (New York Post); ‘British Defense Secretary cancels holiday as Ukraine crisis deepens’ (Reuters); “The Finnish President knows Vladimir Poutine Good. And he fears for Ukraine” (The New York Times); “Biden warns Putin that the United States will react ‘decisively and impose swift and severe costs’ if Russia invades Ukraine” (CNN).

THE PERSISTENCE OF “RED HANDS”

Note that “Red-Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win” by Peter Schweizer is now No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list – this after topping the Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestseller lists since the book was published on January 25. And no wonder.

“Schweizer says that in a quarter of a century as an investigative journalist, this is the chilling investigation he has ever conducted,” said publisher Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins.

President Bidenby the way, figure on the bright red cover shaking hands with the Chinese president Xi Jinping.

“That the Chinese government seeks to infiltrate US institutions is hardly surprising. What is quite new, however, is the number of American elites eager to aid the Chinese dictatorship in its quest for global hegemony,” the Harper Books said in advance notes.

“Presidential families, Silicon Valley gurus, Wall Street high rollers, Ivy League colleges, and even professional athletes are all willing to sacrifice American strength and security on the altar of personal enrichment. “, advised the editor.

THE HEART OF THE PROBLEM

Well, it’s not all dreary and gloomy right now.

Spending on Valentine’s Day in the United States is expected to hit $23.9 billion this year, up from $21.8 billion in 2021 and the second-highest year on record, according to the National Retail Federation.

“Valentine’s Day is a special occasion for many Americans, especially as we emerge from the pandemic, and retailers are ready to help them mark the holiday in a memorable and meaningful way,” said Matthew ChayPresident and CEO of the said federation.

The group’s research also found that 53% of US consumers plan to celebrate the holidays on Monday – and 76% of them agree it’s important to do so “given the current state of the pandemic”, according to analysis.

SCALABLE CONFECTIONS

This year’s Valentine’s Day is also set to benefit from the growing “self-care” trend, reported the National Confectioners Association, an industry group. The Confectionery Authority expects consumers to “indulge” in confectionery, celebrate the day and “support their emotional well-being”.

The creators of Sweethearts Conversation Hearts, meanwhile, now reveal that the posts “celebrate teamwork and encouragement” for Valentine’s Day.

“Just when we all need a little boost, fans of the beloved candy hearts will find 16 new sayings in boxes this year, including ‘WAY 2 GO’, ‘CRUSH IT’ and “HIGH FIVE” alongside classic messages like “BE MINE, “HUG ME” and “CUTIE PIE,” advises Spangler Candy, the Ohio-based parent company.

SURVEY OF THE DAY

• 86% of American adults believe that “true love” exists, 67% say they have experienced it.

• 85% of married people say they have known true love, as well as 69% of women, 64% of men, 60% of divorced or separated people and 43% of those who have never married.

• 52% of those who say they’ve experienced true love said it was “different” from what they expected.

• 33% of American adults say they have never known true love overall.

• 69% of those who haven’t experienced true love believe it’s because they “just haven’t found it yet,” while 31% believe true love doesn’t really exist.

SOURCE: A CBS News poll of 1,980 American adults conducted Jan. 27-31 and released Sunday.

• Happy Valentine’s Day and thank you for reading Inside the Beltway.

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