There’s … there’s so much wrong with this headline.
1) How is it, on the very same day Russia launched 70 ballistic missiles at Ukrainian civilian targets, that launching two guided drones at Russian military targets is considered, by The New York Times, an “escalation”?
2) How is it that, in a war that has killed well over a hundred thousand people, tens of thousands of them civilians, anyone at The New York Times would consider a defensive action “raising the stakes.”
What putrid privilege to sit behind a computer in NYC and decide that Ukrainians desperately fighting for their very existence can do anything to “raise the stakes” in the … oh yeah …
3) “Conflict”? Ah yes, Russia claims it’s just a wee “special military operation,” not the world’s largest-scale conventional war in decades. It’s just a disagreement between two nations! Why, this “conflict” shouldn’t be “escalated!”
Here’s the story in the web edition. Check out the language:
Ukraine executed its most brazen attack into Russian territory in the nine-month-old war on Monday, targeting two military bases hundreds of miles inside the country using drones, according to the Russian defense ministry and a senior Ukrainian official.
“Brazen.” The Oxford dictionary defines that as “bold and without shame.” There’s a value judgment here: that the action should be with shame, yet those escalating Ukrainians have no shame, so brazen in their actions! There is no positive connotation to the word; quite the opposite. Donald Trump is “brazen.” Putin and Russia are “brazen.” Ukraine is never brazen.
Unfortunately, The New York Times is taking its cues from the Biden Administration, which refuses to deliver long-range ATACMS rockets that could, theoretically, strike inside Russian territory. But there’s a difference: the Biden Administration doesn’t want an escalation between Russia and the United States, or anything that would trigger a wider conflagration. They don’t care if Ukraine uses its own weapons to strike Russian territory. We can argue whether that caution makes sense—I don’t think it does, and in any case, the U.S. could always require veto power over Ukrainian ATACMS targets—but it’s totally different than this ignorant take, that any attack on Russian soil is escalatory.
One expects this kind of nonsense from the Tankies, busy these days justifying the authoritarian regimes in Russia, Iran, and China. But The New York Times should do better.
p.s. That reminds me, I’m way overdue for another check-in with the Tankies. Will do one later this week.