Here’s your challenge: Quickly bring together a group of wary allies with a lot at stake to defend a historically corrupt country with a former comedian and political newbie for a president by providing enough military support to maintain the post WWII order, but not so much that you provoke a nuclear war. With some excellent reporting, a group of WaPo reporters take you behind the scenes at The White House during the lead up to the Russian invasion. (Gift Article): Road to war: U.S. struggled to convince allies, and Zelensky, of risk of invasion. “The U.S. intelligence community had penetrated multiple points of Russia’s political leadership, spying apparatus and military, from senior levels to the front lines … Using mounted maps on easels in front of the Resolute Desk, Milley showed Russian troop positions and the Ukrainian terrain they intended to conquer. It was a plan of staggering audacity, one that could pose a direct threat to NATO’s eastern flank, or even destroy the post-World War II security architecture of Europe. As he absorbed the briefing, Biden, who had taken office promising to keep the country out of new wars, was determined that Putin must either be deterred or confronted, and that the United States must not act alone. Yet NATO was far from unified on how to deal with Moscow, and U.S. credibility was weak. After a disastrous occupation of Iraq, the chaos that followed the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and four years of President Donald Trump seeking to undermine the alliance, it was far from certain that Biden could effectively lead a Western response to an expansionist Russia.”

+ Yesterday, I shared my take on how the reaction to the Mar-a-Lago search and the attack on Salman Rushdie are connected. You can read and share it here: An American Fatwa?