Ron DeSantis’ Mushy Foreign Policy

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, currently the highest-polling potential challenger to Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, is trying to work out a foreign policy platform in public. The NYT devotes two articles today—both with bylines by Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Swan—to his most recent effort.

DeSantis Calls Putin a ‘War Criminal,’ Clarifying Earlier Comment on Ukraine

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida this week clarified his description of the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “territorial dispute” and said that Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, was a “war criminal” who should be “held accountable.”

Mr. DeSantis, a Republican who is expected to announce a presidential campaign in the coming months, made his latest comments in an interview with the British broadcaster Piers Morgan, who shared them with The New York Post and Fox News, both owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Last week, Mr. DeSantis made one of the most significant statements of the 2024 presidential campaign to date, to the influential Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has criticized the Biden administration’s approach to Ukraine. “While the U.S. has many vital national interests,” Mr. DeSantis said in his statement, “becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them.”

Mr. DeSantis did not mention Mr. Putin then and criticized President Biden’s policy as a “blank check” to Ukraine with no clear objectives, one that distracts from U.S. problems.

The line about a “territorial dispute” was heavily criticized by foreign policy hawks, as well as Republicans in Congress and, privately, some Republican donors. It also put Mr. DeSantis’s views more in line with those of former President Donald J. Trump.

But Mr. DeSantis used an apparently lengthy interview with Mr. Morgan early this week to clarify his statement to Mr. Carlson.

“I think he is a war criminal,” Mr. DeSantis said of Mr. Putin, for whom the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant related to war crimes. “I don’t know about that route,” he said of the arrest warrant, “but I do think that he should be held accountable.”

To Mr. Morgan, Mr. DeSantis insisted that his comment about a “territorial dispute” had been “mischaracterized,” but he acknowledged he could have been clearer.

“Obviously, Russia invaded” in 2022, Mr. DeSantis said. “That was wrong. They invaded Crimea and took that in 2014 — that was wrong.”

The change appeared not to have been lost on Mr. Carlson. Just hours after Mr. DeSantis’s new comments about Mr. Putin were made public, Mr. Carlson attacked what he said were people who give in to the news media, asserting that they are forced “to repeat whatever childish slogan they’ve come up with this week.” In a mocking voice, he said, “Vladimir Putin is a war criminal.”

While he was a congressman from Florida, Mr. DeSantis faulted President Obama’s administration for not doing more, as Russia annexed Crimea.

“What I’m referring to is where the fighting is going on now, which is that eastern border region, Donbas, and then Crimea,” Mr. DeSantis said. He added, “There’s a lot of ethnic Russians there. So, that’s some difficult fighting, and that’s what I was referring to, and so it wasn’t that I thought Russia had a right to that, and so if I should have made that more clear, I could have done it.”

But he added, “I think the larger point is, OK, Russia is not showing the ability to take over Ukraine, to topple the government or certainly to threaten NATO. That’s a good thing. I just don’t think that’s a sufficient interest for us to escalate more involvement. I would not want to see American troops involved there. But the idea that I think somehow Russia was justified” in invading is “nonsense.”

He added that he did not believe that the conflict would end with “Putin being victorious. I do not think the Ukrainian government is going to be toppled by him, and I think that’s a good thing.”

Mr. DeSantis’s stance on Russia has been of significant interest to Republicans looking for an alternative to Mr. Trump. A large swath of Republican voters have come to say that the U.S. is providing too much support for Ukraine.

Stipulating that DeSantis is an opportunist, even by the standards of politicians seeking to be President, I tend not to be overly harsh of contenders’ clumsy early attempts to formulate and articulate a foreign policy agenda. With the exception of those with long service in that sphere, most candidates either stumble along early in the journey or articulate an incredibly simplistic agenda. Interestingly, the other piece (by Jonathan Swan, Maggie Haberman and Kitty Bennett) argues that DeSantis is in the former camp:

The DeSantis Foreign Policy: Hard Power, but With a High Bar

When Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida made headlines recently by undercutting U.S. support for Ukraine, Republican hawks, many of whom cling to him as their only hope to defeat former President Donald J. Trump, wondered if they had misread him as an ideological ally.

Mr. DeSantis ditched his previous backing for Ukraine to align himself with the increasingly nationalistic Republican base, which he will need to win the 2024 presidential primary if he runs. But he was never the committed internationalist that some old-guard Republicans had wanted or imagined him to be.

Until now, Mr. DeSantis served as a Rorschach test for Republicans. There was, conveniently, something in his record to please each of the party’s ideological factions, and he had every incentive to be all things to all Republicans for as long as he could get away with it.

Hawks had claimed Mr. DeSantis as their own for his fervent support of Israel and his denunciations of China, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela. And restraint-oriented Republicans had claimed Mr. DeSantis for his 2013 decision, as a congressman, to break with Republican hawks and oppose President Barack Obama’s requests to intervene militarily in Syria.

Yet, despite his policy shifts and inconsistencies — this week, he said he had failed to make himself clear on Ukraine and called President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia a “war criminal” — Mr. DeSantis’s worldview is not a mystery.

Unusually for a governor, Mr. DeSantis, whose spokeswoman declined interview requests, has a long paper trail on foreign policy. A close reading of more than 200 of his speeches, votes, writings and television commentaries over the past decade, as well as interviews with his peers, reveal the makings of a DeSantis Doctrine.

‘Just a Jacksonian’

Tucked between the campaign boilerplate in Mr. DeSantis’s new book, “The Courage to Be Free,” is a short chapter describing how his service in Iraq, as an officer in the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps, reinforced his doubts about former President George W. Bush’s “messianic impulse.”

“Bush sketched out a view for American foreign policy that constituted Wilsonianism on steroids,” Mr. DeSantis writes, referring to former President Woodrow Wilson’s idealistic liberal internationalism after World War I. He recalls his reaction to a line in Mr. Bush’s second inaugural address: “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.”

“I remember being stunned,” Mr. DeSantis writes. “Does the survival of American liberty depend on whether liberty succeeds in Djibouti?”

Mr. DeSantis’s analysis of Mr. Bush’s attempt to use the military to “socially engineer a foreign society” is the sort of thing one hears from conservative elites who call themselves Jacksonians, after President Andrew Jackson, the 19th-century populist. Though The New York Times could find no public record of the Florida governor describing himself as a Jacksonian, the word kept coming up in interviews with people who know Mr. DeSantis.

“I think he’s kind of dead-center where Republican voters are, which is to say that he’s neither an isolationist nor a neoconservative, he’s just a Jacksonian,” said David Reaboi, a conservative national security strategist whom Mr. DeSantis has hosted at the governor’s mansion.

Mr. Reaboi was referring to a 1999 essay by the academic Walter Russell Mead, “The Jacksonian Tradition and American Foreign Policy,” which is still in heavy circulation on the intellectual right. It defines a Jacksonian as having a narrow conception of the U.S. national interest: protection of its territory, its people, its hard assets and its commercial interests overseas.

A Jacksonian does not dream of implanting “American values” on foreign soil. He or she believes that if the U.S. military is to be deployed, it should use as much force as necessary to achieve a quick, clearly defined “victory,” with as few American casualties as possible. A Jacksonian cares little about lopsided casualty counts — so long as they’re in America’s favor — or about international law.

Unlike Mr. Trump, a fellow Jacksonian but one who operates on pure instinct and would never dream of suffering through a foreign policy treatise, Mr. DeSantis has read deeply and has formed a philosophy about America’s place in the world. But you will rarely hear Mr. DeSantis invoke abstract values to justify the use of force — as some of his potential 2024 rivals and current party leaders have done.

He has not framed the Ukraine war as a battle for “freedom,” as former Vice President Mike Pence has done, or as a mission to defend the post-World War II international security framework, as Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, has done. If Mr. DeSantis is elected president, there is unlikely to be any more Biden-esque talk of “autocracies versus democracies.” In Mr. DeSantis’s framing, these are the idealistic mutterings of a “Wilsonian.”

More than two decades ago, Walter Russell Mead argued that there are four impulses that have governed American foreign policy over the years , all of which compete for control. Two of them, Jacksonian and Wilsonian, are described above. The other two are Jeffersonian—essentially, the peacenik version of the Jacksonians, eschewing foreign entanglements because it will corrupt Americn democracy—and the Hamiltonians, who are the Realist counterpart to the Wilsonians, promoting an active foreign policy to further US economic power rather than spread American values.

It may well be that DeSantis—who, despite his many flaws is an educated man who has had plenty of occasion to think about US foreign policy—is instinctively Jacksonian. A tendency toward isolationism and non-interventionism if let alone combined with responding with righteous fury when crossed is not uncommon among Southerners who have served in the military. It is not, however, a foreign policy agenda.

None of the four themes in Mead’s model are, by the way. Like it or not, the United States is a global superpower and has been for more than a century. It has competing interests all over the world that require complicated trade-offs.

I couldn’t place President Biden into one of the four camps. Indeed, like most Presidents, I think he sees foreign policy as a distraction from his domestic agenda. His general foreign policy instinct—going back to at least the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait—has been a cautious reluctance to intervene. We’ve seen that in his slow ratcheting up of support for Ukraine pursuant to last year’s invasion by Russia. While I have quibbles with his decisions on that score, his overall handling of that crisis has been masterful—serving Wilsonian “world order” goals, Hamiltonian economic ones, and Wilsonian “smiting the enemy” goals nicely. Only the Jeffersonians, who kvetch that this plays into the hands of the military-industrial complex and takes money that could be distributed to the poor, are upset.

There is certainly a Jeffersonian strain among the Republican nominating electorate, just as there is among the Democratic nominating electorate. Indeed, the latter is historically larger. Part of what we’re seeing here is simply the increasing tendency of both parties—but especially the GOP—to reflexively oppose the policy of the other party’s President.

Armed Georgia homeowner catches intruder in the act, shoots him dead as neighbors cook breakfast

A Georgia homeowner fatally shot a would-be intruder trying to break into his house – and a neighbor called police after the gunshots interrupted her breakfast, police said.

Shots rang out at about 5:30 a.m. Thursday in DeKalb County when an unidentified homeowner shot the unidentified male suspect, who was rushed to a local hospital but did not survive, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.

The gunshots were heard by neighbors in the area, including by Melan Sydnor, who was in the middle of making breakfast. 


“I was in the kitchen and then there were gunshots and it was really loud,” Sydnor told Fox 5. “I heard a few gunshots and then about five minutes later the police pulled up.”


Another resident in the area, Joann Proctor, said she was left on edge and that criminals are targeting homes early in the morning.

“Young guys are stalking the neighborhood at night, like 4-5 in the morning, they checking doors,” Proctor said.


The homeowner, who has also not been identified, was questioned by police and returned to his home by mid-morning. He will not be charged as he was defending himself and his home, WSBTV reported.

“I just think it’s a sad state of affairs for the country,” one unidentified neighbor told the outlet. “In this case, somebody having a gun was a good thing.”

The investigation into the shooting is ongoing, according to Fox 5. Police have not released information on why the suspect was trying to break into the home and if the homeowner was targeted. 

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Bobby Wagner, All-Pro linebacker, agrees to rejoin Seahawks on one-year deal

Bobby Wagner on Saturday rejoined the team he won a Super Bowl with – the Seattle Seahawks.

The two sides agreed to a one-year deal. He spent the 2022 season with the Los Angeles Rams after spending 10 years with the Seahawks as he was a salary cap casualty. The deal to rejoin the Seahawks is reportedly worth up to $7 million.


“BOBBY. IS. BACK,” the Seahawks wrote on their Twitter account. “We’ve agreed to terms with the future Hall of Famer.”

Wagner’s Seahawks teammates Quandre Diggs and Tyler Lockett first reported that Wagner was returning to the team.

“Glad to be back in Seattle! It means a lot to be able to come back!” Wagner tweeted.


Seattle selected Wagner in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Utah State. He finished in second place for Defensive Rookie of the Year, which launched his terrific tenure in Seattle.

He earned his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections in 2014. It was the first of eight consecutive Pro Bowl nods for Wagner. He also had six First-Team All-Pro selections while in Seattle.

Last season, he played in all 17 games for the Rams . He had 140 total tackles with six sacks and two interceptions. He’s never had a season in which he recorded fewer than 100 tackles.

Seattle finished 25th in points allowed and 26th in yards allowed. The team finished 9-8 and lost in the NFC wild-card playoffs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Trump rally goes silent after he attempts to mock DeSantis

Former President Donald Trump took aim at potential Republican primary foe Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a recent campaign event, with much of the criticism garnering little enthusiasm from those in attendance.

During his Saturday campaign event in Waco, Texas, on Saturday, Trump argued that DeSantis had little chance of becoming Florida’s governor without the former president’s endorsement, with Trump breaking into an impersonation of DeSantis allegedly begging him for his support in the state’s 2018 Republican primary.

“So, he came, and he really wanted [my endorsement]. I said, ‘You can’t win, can you? How do you – can [you] win?'” Trump said, recalling the alleged conversation with DeSantis. “‘Sir, if you endorse me, I’ll win. Please, please, sir, endorse me,'” Trump continued as he acted out a crying, begging voice.


While similar jabs against political opponents have been a hit with Trump’s crowds during past rallies, those in attendance were noticeably more silent as Trump took aim at DeSantis . Though some in the crowd could be heard laughing or clapping as Trump continued to be critical of DeSantis, the reaction of the crowd was much more silent than when Trump went after other targets, such as the mainstream media.

DeSantis, who has yet to declare a 2024 White House bid, is largely regarded as Trump’s biggest rival in the Republican primary field. Having just won reelection in Florida in a landslide, many analysts have noted the governor’s growing national profile and popularity in the key swing state as a reason DeSantis could be a legitimate challenger to Trump.

That reality has caused Trump to more frequently target DeSantis for criticism in recent weeks, with that trend continuing during the former president’s event in Waco.


“He gets the nomination because of you. He wins the election because of you. Two years later, the fake … is up there saying, ‘Will you run against the president? Will you run?’ And he says, ‘I have no comment,’” Trump said after arguing that DeSantis was virtually dead in the race before his endorsement.

Trump went after DeSantis for his handling of COVID-19 , arguing that other states did not shut down as Florida did at the beginning of the pandemic, and blasted the Florida governor’s record of attempting to slash Social Security benefits while a member of Congress.

The former president also argued that Florida was in great shape well before DeSantis took office.

“Remember one thing: Florida has been tremendously successful for many years, long before this guy became governor,” Trump said. “Florida was tremendously successful under Rick Scott … whether you like him or not, Charlie Crist was very successful, he was a Republican at the time. But Florida has been successful for decades, in fact, probably as or more successful than it is now.”

DeSantis’ office did not immediately reply to a Fox News request for comment on Trump’s remarks.

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Texas high school softball player goes viral for nifty trick to get around catcher and score run

A Texas high school softball player went viral last week for the stunt she pulled at a play at the plate during a game.

Carthage High School senior Jada Walton was put into a predicament as she tried to put a run on the board for her team. She rounded third base and was met by the Center High School’s catcher at home plate. It should have been an easy out, but Walton somehow managed to work her way around the catcher.


Walton avoided the first tag attempt but missed the plate as she went home. The catcher appeared to have Walton pinned down.

However, Walton looked straight into the catcher’s face and pointed to the other direction. The catcher looked and in that split second Walton dove for home. She was safe.


“I was really just goofing around because I thought I was going to be out,” Walton told The Panola Watchman . “Then I had pointed and she looked and I just saw that as an opportunity to score.”

She added that she was even stunned that it worked.

“I was amazed at what I did. I’ve never seen that, trick somebody like that, then when I was in the dugout I was screaming and so excited,” she added.

The play was part of a five-run fifth inning to help Carthage beat Center 7-5.

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Jonathan Majors pleads innocence after domestic dispute arrest: ‘This woman was having an emotional crisis’

Jonathan Majors is maintaining his innocence after previously being arrested by NYPD for a domestic dispute on Saturday.

“Jonathan Majors is completely innocent and is provably the victim of an altercation with a woman he knows. We are quickly gathering and presenting evidence to the District Attorney with the expectation that all charges will be dropped imminently,” Priya Chaudhry, Majors’ criminal defense lawyer, told Fox News Digital.

“This evidence includes video footage from the vehicle where this episode took place, witness testimony from the driver and others who both saw and heard the episode, and most importantly, two written statements from the woman recanting these allegations,” the statement continued.

The “Creed III ” actor was charged with strangulation, assault and harassment according to a police report. An NYPD Detective told Fox News Digital that he was transported to Manhattan Central Booking on Saturday.


“All the evidence proves that Mr. Majors is entirely innocent and did not assault her whatsoever. Unfortunately, this incident came about because this woman was having an emotional crisis, for which she was taken to a hospital yesterday. The NYPD is required to make an arrest in these situations, and this is the only reason Mr. Majors was arrested. We expect these charges to be dropped soon,” the statement concluded.


“On Saturday, March 25, 2023 at approximately 1114 hours, police responded to [a] 911 call inside of an apartment located in the vicinity of West 22nd Street and 8th Avenue, within the confines of the 10 Precinct. A preliminary investigation determined that a 33-year-old male was involved in a domestic dispute with a 30 year-old female,” the original police report reads.

“The victim informed police she was assaulted,” an NYPD DCPI spokesperson said.

“Officers placed the 33-year-old male into custody without incident,” the statement added. “The victim sustained minor injuries to her head and neck and was removed to an area hospital in stable condition.”

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ESPN honors Lia Thomas in ‘Celebrating Women’s History Month’ segment

ESPN on Sunday honored former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas as part of a “Celebrating Women’s History Month” segment.

The segment brought up Thomas’ transition from male to female, her win at the NCAA Championships and competing amid criticism from the swimming world. 


“People will say, ‘Oh, she just transitioned so she would have an advantage so she could win.’ I transitioned to be happy,” Thomas says in the segment.

Thomas’ participation in NCAA women’s swimming during the 2021-22 season sparked a growing debate over the fairness of transgender women competing against biological females. She became the first transgender woman to win an Ivy League Championship and later an NCAA Championship in the 500 free.


But the wins didn’t come without scrutiny and put a sharper focus on the governing bodies of various sports to set rules regarding transgender athletes’ participation.

Recently, World Athletics said it would exclude transgender female athletes who have been through male puberty from world rankings competitions.

World Athletics’ Sebastian Coe said the organization’s decision could be guided by science.

“Decisions are always difficult when they involve conflicting needs and rights between different groups, but we continue to take the view that we must maintain fairness for female athletes above all other considerations,” he said. “We will be guided in this by the science around physical performance and male advantage, which will inevitably develop over the coming years. As more evidence becomes available, we will review our position, but we believe the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount.”

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‘Tiger King’ Joe Exotic: Someone has to ask questions for the people who ‘work their butts off’ in our country

“Tiger King” Joe “Exotic” Maldonado discussed his 2024 presidential run from prison and responded to critics who labeled his campaign a “big joke” on “Cross Country .”

Despite being incarcerated for a murder-for-hire plot and animal violations, Maldonado told Lawrence Jones he has a chance at taking the White House just as much as any other legal candidate.


“It’s my constitutional right to do this. It doesn’t matter what people think,” Maldonado said in response to critics of his campaign.

He said changes need to be made in America’s political and judicial systems.

“Things have to be changed in our country, in our political system, in our Justice Department, our prison system,” he continued. “Somebody’s got to start asking some real questions for the people that work their butts off in this country to pay the bills for these politicians to just keep paying this money away.”

Jones noted that Maldonado’s campaign had already received criticism from the Libertarian Party as well, saying that the party’s chair, Angela McArdle, had claimed: “We are not a landing pad for former reality stars and D-list celebrities.” 

Maldonado responded with his attempt to run for Oklahoma governor in 2018 , where he said the Libertarian Party colluded against him.

“When I ran for governor in Oklahoma, the Libertarian Party voted to not let independents vote just so they couldn’t vote for me, and I expected that out of the Libertarian Party.”


“… I don’t see the Libertarian Party in the news, do you?” Maldonado asked.

He also shared his presidential campaign plans, such as reducing America’s role on the global stage, arguing that the working people of America shouldn’t be responsible for taking care of the rest of the world.

“We have to quit policing the rest of the world, OK, and we have to quit funding everybody else’s culture. It’s not the working people of America’s problem to take care of the rest of the world,” Maldonado said. “We’re sending billions and billions of dollars to other countries for gender identity — for their wars, for their crap — and we’re cutting grandma and grandpa’s Social Security in America, and we have homeless vets, and it’s just — it’s ass-backwards.”

Maldonado noted allegations against Russian President Vladimir Putin , former President Donald Trump and the Bidens.

“What the hell’s the difference if it’s somebody in prison that sees the system for what it really is?” 

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Putin’s attack on Ukraine’s Christians deserves this punishment

On March 17, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes, including his involvement in the abduction of children. Previously, a United Nations inquiry found evidence that Russia has committed a wide range of war crimes, including the deportation of children and “systemic and widespread” use of torture. All wars involve casualties, but no wars should involve crimes. 

Russia’s war in Ukraine has led to tens of thousands of deaths and injuries as well as the displacement of at least 14 million people. In addition, the Russian military has created untold suffering, specifically among Christians and religious minorities in Ukraine, going out of its way to systematically target Christians and destroy houses of worship. Putin and Russia must be held accountable for their crimes — especially those perpetrated on the basis of religion.

Human rights experts say Russian soldiers have targeted pastors and churches when invading regions in eastern Ukraine. The Russian military has disproportionately sought out evangelical Christians, destroying, damaging and looting nearly 500 religious buildings and sacred sites. The Institute of Religious Freedom (IRF) has documented numerous cases where Russia has seized religious buildings and used them as military outposts to conceal firing positions. 


As if those atrocities weren’t enough, Russia has murdered at least 26 religious leaders and tortured and imprisoned many others. Russian soldiers have labeled Ukrainian Christians as “American spies” and “enemies of the Russian Orthodox people.”

In just a five-month period in 2022, the IRF recorded 20 cases of illegal imprisonment of Ukrainian religious leaders, accompanied by attempted rape, mock executions, deprivation of food and water and threats of violence against family members. Last year, Russia jailed four church members for illegal meetings and raids were conducted among a series of Pentecostal churches.


All of this is lamentable, but it’s also ironic. While Russia lauds itself as “pro-Christian,” its behavior belies its claim at propaganda.

Most Christians in Russia belong to the Russian Orthodox Church, which views the breakaway Orthodox Church of Ukraine as illegitimate and its members as apostates. This errant classification helps lay the foundation for the pretext to mistreat, abuse and persecute evangelicals and other non-Russian Orthodox believers in Ukraine. 

If history is education, then the Russian Orthodox Church should know better than to stay silent. During the Cold War, the Soviets attempted to crack down on religious organizations and the Orthodox church bore the brunt of the persecution. Its property was nationalized and many of its schools were shut down. More than 50,000 bishops, priests and other clergy members were slaughtered or imprisoned. So how can Russian Orthodox leaders and members turn a blind eye when their government carries out similar atrocities?

Our allies are also not immune from being called out for instances of potential persecution. Zelensky’s government in Ukraine is attempting to evict Orthodox monks from an 11-century monastery because of its links to Russia. The monks claim they broke away from the Russian Orthodox Church and deny any links to the government in Moscow.

As with any war, the international community must vigilantly hold bad actors accountable for atrocities. The UN is rightly scrutinizing the numerous human rights violations Russia has been accused of committing and has compiled a list of individuals to hold accountable. The U.S. State Department has designated Russia as a Country of Particular Concern for engaging in continuous systematic violations of religious freedom, which allows us to impose targeted sanctions on government officials and agencies.

While calling attention to war crimes is a positive step toward accountability, talk is cheap and must be accompanied by action. It’s our call as Christians to seek justice and defend the oppressed, Christian and non-Christian alike. Russia and Putin must stand trial for their crimes so that others will be deterred from similar barbaric behavior in the future. 


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Liberals flip out over YouTuber MrBeast for doing… what?


The most popular individual YouTuber in the world has gained 138 million subscribers, delivered more than 23 billion video views and angered critics for his… philanthropy. MrBeast, who is Jimmy Donaldson in the real world, has been criticized in the past few months for major acts of charity that helped cure the blind and provide shoes for those who don’t have them.

MrBeast’s uniquely feel-good videos have long been an Internet staple and are almost impossible to do justice for how fun and silly they are. He tips service people thousands of dollars, opens a car lot and sells vehicles for $10 or $20, plays hide-and-seek with his friends for massive prizes, recreates Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and even introduces a Lamborghini to a hydraulic press. (Hint: It doesn’t go well for the Lamborghini, though it’s fun to watch.) 

But it’s MrBeast’s charity efforts that have drawn the most criticism. He’s been called “demonic,” the “antichrist” and a creator of “inspiration porn.” 


When you are as popular as MrBeast, pretty much everything you do can generate some degree of controversy. He raised hackles when he spent a reported $3.5 million recreating the “Squid Game” set, with a lot less killing. He was knocked, of course, for missing the point of the show and its criticism of how people are overwhelmed by debt. The video generated 388 million views, more than any other video he has done.

Current Affairs complained about his mixture of charity and “extreme public stunts,” concluding, “MrBeast himself is also grotesque.” “Look at all this wasteful, dumb, carbon-intensive bulls**t,” whined the author.

Critics especially attacked MrBeast’s philanthropy. He did a video titled “1,000 Blind People See for the First Time,” and was promptly bashed. One commenter called him the “antichrist” for helping heal people. NBC News called it a “charity stunt.”

TechCrunch chimed in with the most-stupid take imaginable. “MrBeast’s blindness video puts systemic ableism on display.” Yes, it’s so awful to cure people of blindness when they want to be cured. 

TechCrunch contributor Steven Aquino went on to call it “inspiration porn” and claim that, “MrBeast (and his defenders) easily fall into the trap of perpetuating that deeply entrenched ableist mindset; as I wrote earlier, ableism is just as pervasive as racism and sexism.”

The Buzzfeed hit job was headlined, “MrBeast Built A YouTube Empire On Being Mr. Nice Guy, But His Stunt Helping 1,000 Blind People Divided Viewers, Who Called It ‘Demonic.’” (Have to slip that “demonic” bit into the piece where you complain about getting extra “views.”) 

That article went on to call the video an “act of stunt philanthropy.” Buzzfeed added, “Another huge problem: MrBeast’s video seems to regard disability as something that needs to be solved.” (As a life-time nearsighted person, I’d love for that problem to be ‘solved,’ but I don’t work for BuzzFeed. Thankfully.)


For his part, MrBeast didn’t stop there. He had one patient read an on-screen “eye chart” that tells him, “You just won $10,000.” Another patient said he missed driving. MrBeast gave him a Tesla .

The uncharitable criticisms continued with another MrBeast philanthropy video. 

Earlier in March he posted a video entitled, “Giving 20,000 Shoes To Kids In Africa.” He explained the problem: “For hundreds of thousands of kids in South Africa , the only thing standing between them and an education is a simple pair of shoes.” So he set out to fix it.

You can’t have that. The Gamer blasted the effort because “the video heavily reinforces colonialist stereotypes about Africa being impoverished and backward,” adding “it looks just like old-fashioned charity tourism from where I’m standing.” 

BuzzFeed said the donation “Has Started A Viral Discussion About ‘Poverty Porn.’” And some on social media accused MrBeast of profiting off of his charity. He shut down that claim fast, tweeting, “100% of all revenue from beast philanthropy goes towards running my food banks and helping ease human suffering.”

MrBeast will inevitably have the last laugh over his critics and that might come soon. He was seen recently with another celebrity people love to hate – former NFL superstar quarterback Tom Brady . The combo of the top YouTuber and the greatest modern football star is sure to annoy someone. 

Meanwhile, MrBeast spends his time entertaining and helping others. He says his goal is to “one day open hundreds of homeless shelters/food banks and give away all the money.” 

If that makes him popular, I’m all for it.


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