The Bear is Putin and he can’t quite get his story straight. He feels, in his gut, that Ukraine is really part of Russia but he doesn’t know how to say so, convincingly.
Every time he gets ready to find a reason to start some high-intensity pushing and shoving in Ukraine, Jake Sullivan stools the “secret”, identifies it as a fabrication and/or false flag operation and takes the Bear off his game. Putin ends up punching air and losing another news cycle.
Putin is accustomed to being first actor and having the advantage of surprise and Jake Sullivan is peeing in his porridge. The window of opportunity for Putin’s designs on Ukraine is closing.
Which is a good thing.
Who is this guy, Jake Sullivan? His actual occupation is National Security Advisor to the President of the United States. Henry Kissinger made the job glamorous and exciting. Kissinger made himself Nixon’s friend, confidant and alter ego. He became famous and powerful in the process.
I had dinner with Henry once. In Washington, at Rive Gauche. Best place in DC at the time. I may be stretching it a bit saying I was “with” Henry. We were in the same restaurant at the same time. The fact that he was sitting with Pete Petersen, Nixon’s first Secretary of Commerce and I was sitting with Sam Boyce, an Arkansas Lawyer, is a mere technicality. I’m sure Henry would agree that we were very much with each other.
Trump had a guy named John Bolton as National Security adviser. Bolton aspired to be a Kissinger level operator. Bolton lacked the Kissinger gravitas and had negative charm. Trump got to the point that he couldn’t stand him. Bolton was last seen walking down Pennsylvania Ave carrying a Yellow Legal Pad.
The National Security Advisor has a constituency of one, the President of the United States. If the President likes, trusts and values the Security Advisor’s judgment, the occupant of the post is one of the most important persons in Government. Jake Sullivan has earned Joe Biden’s trust and the trust of those he’s worked for in the past.
He was born in Burlington, VT and grew up in Minnesota. Went to Yale and Yale Law School, Rhodes Scholar and Supreme Court Law Clerk. All that cold air in Vermont and Minnesota must have been good for the brain cells. Married a woman who was also a Supreme Court Law Clerk. If you’re invited for dinner take a few months off to re-read Dante, Chaucer and Immanuel Kant’s Critique on Pure Reason.
Sullivan is efficient and understated in dealings with the press. He knows he’s not the story. He’s kept himself out of the news until Ukraine. Whenever you see a staff person getting a lot of great Press (remember, Rahm Emanuel) there’s a pretty good chance that person is leaking to the Press. The fawning coverage is “returning the favor.”
Jake Sullivan knows his role. We’re lucky we have him.
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