Instant Opinion

‘We want the “inspo” stories that reveal the “shock and awe” spirit of Ukraine’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Ann Treneman at The Times

The search for hope in this David v Goliath fight

On hope-scrolling

“We are all said to be endlessly ‘doomscrolling’ on our phones to hear the latest news” from Ukraine, says Ann Treneman in The Times. “And yet that is not quite right, is it?” In fact, the news that we are seeking as we incessantly refresh our social media feeds and news pages is “not just of hell, though there is no lack of that, but also of hope”. We want the “‘inspo stories’” that have “revealed the magnificent ‘shock and awe’ spirit of Ukraine whose people are fighting, using ingenuity and bravery, with the likes of sunflower seeds, bottles that once contained beer and hand-made spiky ‘hedgehog’ anti-tank weapons”. The conflict is a “David v Goliath battle”. But it is “the stories about David that we want most”.

2

Kate Andrews at The Telegraph

Joe Biden’s solutions are only creating more problems in the US

On an inflation crisis

Joe Biden’s State of the Union address was “widely well received”, says Kate Andrews in The Telegraph. “Watching Democrats and Republicans up on their feet” offered a “glimpse of unity that has been absent from American politics for years”. But the president’s problem is that “these are not normal times: an economic crisis was emerging even before sanctions were put in place, and the rest of Biden’s speech was seemingly ignorant about how to fix this”. The president’s solutions “mainly more spending and more investment – weren’t just inadequate: they risk worsening the inflation crisis”, argues The Spectator’s economics editor. His American Rescue Plan “has pumped an additional $1.9 trillion into the real economy, adding to the inflationary pressures” that were already on the rise. There is “a mismatch between Biden’s desire to bring the free world together and his refusal to promote free trade, which underpinned US alliances during the Cold War”, she adds. It “remains dubious” that “Biden’s recent leadership in foreign affairs is likely to offset the serious economic problems that continue to brew back home”.

3

Julie Bindel at Unherd

The sly sexism of left-wing men

On smokescreens

“It’s a year since Sarah Everard was abducted, raped and murdered,” writes Julie Bindel for UnHerd, “and the London Mayor this week called for men to lead a ‘fundamental cultural shift’ to help end violence against women.” But is Sadiq Khan “really the best candidate to speak about sexism?”. Khan, “like so many prominent left-wing men, is on the ‘trans women are women’ side in the gender war”, she argues, and “appears not to understand what sex is”. If you “scratch the surface of Left Man” you will “find all kinds of hypocrisy”, because “Left Man uses liberal feminism as a smokescreen to mask his misogyny”. In their quest to “put men first, they tell actual feminists how to do feminism properly”, she adds. “What worries me, a life-long leftist, is how much power and influence Left Man has over young women looking to find their way as feminists.”

4

Kenneth Roth at The Guardian

Putin has a history of atrocities. Just how far will Russian forces go in Ukraine?

On Moscow’s moves

As Russia meets with “stronger and more effective resistance than the Kremlin probably anticipated” in Ukraine, the big question is “what comes next”, says Kenneth Roth in The Guardian. Noting the Russian military’s brutal track record in Syria, the executive director of Human Rights Watch adds that Russian forces “utterly devastated” the Chechen capital Grozny between 1999 and 2000. There are already “signs that Russian forces in Ukraine are moving in a similarly indiscriminate direction, but these are early days”. Roth continues: “The prospect of international prosecution for war crimes remains a potential moderating factor”, but “the most powerful deterrent of atrocities by the Russian military may be the Russian people”. The West should “avoid as much as possible harming ordinary Russians”, he adds. “Standing with the Russian people as they attempt to rein in Putin’s brutal tactics may be the best tool we have for preventing Kyiv and Kharkiv from becoming the next Aleppo and Grozny.”

5

Ben Felsenburg at The Jewish Chronicle

Bikes, shivah and the cycle of life

On the joy of two wheels

“The world always looks better on a bike,” says Ben Felsenburg in The Jewish Chronicle. “You might soak up the scorching sun on your face as you pedal along if you’re lucky,” he says, but even if you are “caught up in a torrential downpour” that is no problem, as you can “just masochistically revel in the adventure”. He was, he admits, “a late convert” to cycling because he was 34 when he learnt to ride. One night, as he was “teetering along, feeling pleased about staying upright for more than a brief moment”, he was stopped by “two scowling policemen” who gave him some “richly deserved mickey-taking” when they discovered he was not a drunk but merely a late adopter. But he is now a “full-on cyclist, merrily dodging lorries, climbing lung-busting hills and every now and then saying my prayers after a wrong turn onto a dual carriageway, or a run-in with one of those drivers who part company with the laws of physics when it comes to braking distances”. Cycling, he says, “reveals character”.

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