episode 214: “Ukraine, The Balloon and the Loss of US Hegemony” with Brandon Weichert.
Events are picking up pace rapidly on the world stage and I’ve asked my frequent guest Brandon Weichert to join me to help explain what’s happening. Brandon, geopolitical analyst and publisher of The Weichert Report, is among the best at connecting the dots globally with his bold and unnerving forecasts. Among the many issues brewing that we get into: Russia is amassing up to 400 thousand troops on Ukraine’s borders for a winter offensive, objectives unknown. Nuclear escalation looms. The Chinese sent a satellite balloon hovering ominously across the entire United States as it presumably took surveillance photos. Strangely, the Biden Administration, which is all in to defend the borders of Ukraine, refused to protect America’s own airspace. Why wasn’t it shot down sooner? Our southern border with Mexico has been left wide open for over two years. The United States’ enemies – and its friends – have watched us admit almost five million undocumented aliens, whose purposes and destinations are unknown. South Korea’s president is having a public meltdown about no longer having reliable American nuclear protection. He has reason to be concerned. Joe Biden, just two weeks ago, declared that “global warming is the single most existential threat to humanity we have ever faced, including nuclear weapons.” Did the way Biden fail to confront the Chinese balloon sooner than he did reflect this priority? Brandon conjectures: “A political decision in the White House was made to let it just pass by quietly because the Biden administration didn’t want to rock the boat going into their global warming negotiations with China. They worried that if they shot it down, that the Chinese would freak out and leave the meeting before anything could get done”. “If it wasn’t for a local Montana newspaper, we wouldn’t have known about any of this. This would have been just another conspiracy theory on the internet.” With Ukraine, United States strategic objectives could have been the preservation of the Ukrainian core in the western portion of the country and a speedy end to the fighting. Instead, the Biden administration continues to insist that Ukraine drive the Russians completely out. If this means sending in U.S. combat jets and long range missiles, the massive risk is that this widens the war, triggering our NATO agreements, leading to a general – and possibly nuclear – war in Europe. The German general von Clausewitz told us that “war is an extension of politics through other means.” Well, politics and our politicians seem to have gone mad. Worryingly, the United States is playing a weaker and weaker hand. Brandon warns that “America’s political and cultural system is collapsing here at home. The rest of the world sees that. Especially in China, they talk about this all the time. China believes the Americans are declining.” There’s a lot to unpack in this episode. Please listen in.
episode 214 transcript
Episode 214: “Ukraine, The Balloon and the Loss of US Hegemony” with Brandon Weichert
Speaker 1 (00:04):
Welcome to The Bill Walton Show, featuring conversations with leaders, entrepreneurs, artists and thinkers, fresh perspectives on money, culture, politics and human flourishing, interesting people, interesting things.
Bill Walton (00:24):
Welcome to The Bill Walton Show. I’m Bill Walton. Look around the world today. Everywhere there are, as the old adage goes from the Bible, there are wars and rumors of war. Russia and Ukraine, China, Taiwan, North Korea talking about invading South Korea. Iran, back in the headlines, letting loose terror upon Sunni Arabs and Israel. The German General von Clausewitz told us that war is an extension through politics through other means. Well, today, politics has gone mad. As America’s failed wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, they’ve all shown mission creep can be catastrophic, and mission creep in the world is gathering steam.
Russia is now amassing up to 700,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders for a winter offensive. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, reliably, Ukraine’s president, is now calling on the international community to use nuclear weapons on Russia. Now, we have the stunning site of a mysterious Chinese satellite balloon hovering ominously over the United States. We need our leaders to start making some better decisions.
To talk through this, how we work through this mess, I’m joined by my reliable geopolitical strategist, Brandon Weichert. You all know Brandon, geopolitical analyst and publisher of The Weichert Report. He also is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower, and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy. Brandon, where do you want to start? Should we start with the balloon or do you want to start with nuking Moscow? We’re in an opportunity-rich environment here, my friend.
Brandon Weichert (02:28):
We can … They’re sort of linked, the two things, I think.
Bill Walton (02:32):
They are linked, yeah. Continue.
Brandon Weichert (02:32):
Bill Walton (02:33):
Brandon Weichert (02:34):
Basically, you’ve got on one hand, the … As my friend in the Air Force corrected me, he said, “Stop calling it a ballon.” He said, “It’s an endoatmospheric satellite.” I said, “Yeah, but it sounds sexier to say balloon, and it also sounds funnier to say balloon.” The bottom line is that this technology that’s penetrated our porous airspace, it’s a surveillance piece of equipment and there’s been some nightmare scenarios. Maybe it’s an electromagnetic pulse weapon. Maybe it’s a biological contaminant. That’s certainly a possibility. I don’t think that’s what it is.
The Chinese have used these kinds of balloons for the last 10 years over the South China Sea. They are used to augment Chinese satellite surveillance capabilities, which basically, they use these high-altitude balloons to track U.S. Navy warships operating in the South China Sea, and to enhance China’s ability to target those warships if a war were to erupt, and so this is part of that program. The fact that they sent it over to our territory, if you look at what part of the country it was surveilling, this is a part of the United States where we have a large cluster of intercontinental ballistic missile silos.
This is a part of the country where the North Dakota, that Grand Forks facility that the Chinese were trying to buy farmland by. That facility controls a large number of our very advanced satellites in orbit, and this kind of balloon can actually track and intercept signals, they think, from low-Earth orbiting satellites.
Bill Walton (04:20):
Well, if it’s not a weapon, why don’t we shoot it down?
Brandon Weichert (04:24):
Well, and now, I don’t know if you saw. About two hours ago, there was a story in the Daily Mail which said-
Bill Walton (04:30):
Just remind. We’re recording this.
Brandon Weichert (04:30):
Bill Walton (04:32):
Where are we? Saturday, February 4.
Brandon Weichert (04:34):
Bill Walton (04:34):
Brandon Weichert (04:35):
This morning at around 8:00 a.m. on February 4th, there was a story, unconfirmed, in the Daily Mail that shows the picture of a bizarre missile streaking towards something in the Montana sky early in the morning and blowing it up. The military has not confirmed that they clipped this thing. I’ve not gotten any confirmation from people that I know in the Pentagon, off the record, but it’s a very caustic image. I posted it on my Twitter. It’s a good article, but it’s unconfirmed, so it’s possibly shot-
Bill Walton (05:09):
Yeah, I saw the image but I thought the balloon … Or what are we calling this? We were calling it a-
Brandon Weichert (05:12):
It’s an endoatmospheric satellite.
Bill Walton (05:14):
Endoatmospheric satellite. That’s a mouthful.
Brandon Weichert (05:18):
I know. It’s a balloon.
Bill Walton (05:20):
I thought I’d seen the images that it was, drifted further away from Montana, which would be the first safe place-
Brandon Weichert (05:27):
Yeah, so this is why it’s very confusing right now. There’s a lot of misinformation.
Bill Walton (05:32):
Well, we ought to bring up the real threat here that’s EMP, electromagnetic pulse. We had the great Peter Pry on many times, I did. Great friend, great thinker. We’re so sorry he’s gone.
Brandon Weichert (05:45):
We need him.
Bill Walton (05:47):
My fear was that they said this could contain up to 100, 200 pounds of extra weight, putting some sort of device in. If there were a nuclear device and you shot it down, or shot at it, or blew it up, that could trigger an electromagnetic pulse-
Brandon Weichert (06:05):
Bill Walton (06:07):
… which would then shut down the electric grid, and the internet, and all our communication.
Brandon Weichert (06:12):
Yeah, yeah. That’s the worst-case scenario.
Bill Walton (06:16):
Yeah, that is.
Brandon Weichert (06:19):
I don’t know if China’s ready to go that far yet. I think this is a proof of concept. I think they’re just testing to see what they can get away with. The fact that these balloons are used in the South China Sea for surveillance, I think we’re probably in the clear in terms of this being an EMP. It’s certainly a possibility though. Maybe that one coming up from Latin America does have something very bad onboard. I don’t know, but my thought process, why I said that this situation and the nuking of Moscow are linked, I think that this was the Chinese are trying to get very detailed, actionable intelligence on the state of readiness of our nuclear weapons arsenal. I know that most Americans kind of laugh when they hear Zelenskyy say he wants us to nuke Moscow.
Most people say, “Well, yeah. His country’s under siege. The Americans aren’t going to do that,” but I actually think that the Chinese don’t know that we’re not going to do that. I think that many countries in the world are very surprised how far we’ve gone in supporting Ukraine, to the point that we are talking openly about overthrowing Putin, dismembering the Russian Federation, and possibly even going to nuclear war over Ukrainian sovereignty, and so I think that this might have just been A, a fact-finding mission to augment Chinese surveillance of our nuclear-readiness.
I think that, B, this is also maybe China having a little fun with us. Look at what they did. This is the sole remaining superpower, the United States supposedly is, and we’ve been ground to a halt by a balloon. This is a country that put men on the moon, and we couldn’t handle a balloon being in our presence on the eve of what was supposed to be this big meeting between Tony Blinken and the Chinese leadership over global warming.
What did China say when we caught them red-handed? They said, “Oh, this is a global warming monitoring balloon that got off course.” I think they’re also having a little fun with us. I think they’re trying to humiliate us, and maybe even send signals to those fence-sitting Asian countries like South Korea and the Philippines. “Hey, you think the Americans have your back against us. They can’t even protect their own airspace.”
Bill Walton (08:41):
Well, Joe Biden’s told us global warming’s a bigger threat than China.
Brandon Weichert (08:46):
Bill Walton (08:46):
So think about that.
Brandon Weichert (08:49):
It’s scary. Yeah.
Bill Walton (08:50):
Brandon, you wrote a book called Space War. How does this fit into that? It strikes me that we should have, certainly, not let this end up over U.S. territory. Do we not have the perimeter defenses to see this before it ends up over the continental United States?
Brandon Weichert (09:08):
Well, the Pentagon says that they tracked this thing coming in from the Aleutian Islands and that it was over-
Bill Walton (09:13):
They thought it was just fine? I mean, this is a-
Brandon Weichert (09:18):
This is the thing, is that my understanding is that when we detected this thing coming in from the Aleutian Islands, off the coast of Alaska, going in through Canada, we could have taken it out at any point, but there was a political decision in the White House made to let it just pass by quietly because the Biden administration didn’t want to rock the boat going into these global warming negotiations with China, and they worried that if they shot it down, that the Chinese would freak out and leave the meeting before anything could get done, and so if wasn’t for-
Bill Walton (09:51):
See, that’s my point though. We got people in the White House that think global warming is a bigger threat than people trying to kill us.
Brandon Weichert (09:57):
Just think about this. If it wasn’t for a local Montana newspaper reporting the images that an airline pilot took of this thing, the Biden administration was going to cover it up. The Biden administration was not going to let this happen, so we have people running our country … You’re completely correct.
We have people running our country who are, on the one hand, sloppily courting nuclear war with a has-been power like Russia, and at the same time, bending over backwards to kowtow to the Chinese, the new Chinese hegemon over this made up issue of global warming, or catastrophic global warming, and so we have leaders … Elections have consequences. We have leaders leading us who are leading us to our ruin, and they will gladly lead us to our ruin. If it wasn’t for a local Montana newspaper, we wouldn’t have known about any of this. This would have been just another conspiracy theory on the internet.
Bill Walton (10:50):
Well, and you’re certainly making my day. It’s worse than I thought. I mean, so-
Brandon Weichert (10:57):
Bill Walton (10:58):
Is this Victoria Nuland? Is this Jake Sullivan? Who in the White House is in favor of placating China, except maybe our President, Joe Biden, who’s had something with the Chinese?
Brandon Weichert (11:13):
I think this is … My friend, Josh Rogin, at The Washington Post was reporting this before he was elected, during the transition, that there were three power centers in the White House. That there was the kind of, the more hawkish element led by a guy named Kurt Campbell. Tony Blinken was a little bit on that side, but he’s sort of a floater.
There was another group that’s just the political hacks that are just worried about always making Biden look good. Then you’ve got also, the Kamala Harris wing, and then you’ve also got the John Kerry, Susan Rice wing, which are the doves. They’re the appeasers. They’re the ones who want the Iran nuclear deal. They’re the ones-
Bill Walton (11:54):
Tell me about the Kamala Harris wing. What is she …
Brandon Weichert (11:58):
Well, her whole task is to basically build out a portfolio for herself, and to try to elevate herself at a policy level to give herself more believability as a potential successor when and if Biden is no longer in power.
Bill Walton (12:15):
They told her they were going to give her the balloons, and she thought that was going to be some sort of carnival. Astute, yeah.
Brandon Weichert (12:22):
Yeah, well, she’s done a bang-up job with the border so far.
Bill Walton (12:24):
Yeah, she’s been great. Well, I didn’t even mention the border at the outset. We’ve got a catastrophe.
Brandon Weichert (12:28):
Well, think about this also, Bill, just as a thought experiment. Our enemies are looking at us going, we let five million people, unregistered people into our country-
Bill Walton (12:37):
And we don’t know who they are.
Brandon Weichert (12:39):
And we don’t know who they are, and now we have no protected airspace. Why would anybody fear the Americans? This is why, by the way, on Friday, South Korea’s president is having a public meltdown about not having a reliable American nuclear protection anymore. That they don’t believe, in South Korea, the Americans can have their back. Not because we don’t want to have their back, but because we literally can’t do it anymore.
Bill Walton (13:03):
Have they started a nuclear program? I’ve lost track of who has nukes. Do they have them yet?
Brandon Weichert (13:08):
No, but they’re talking about it seriously now because they don’t think that the United States has any staying power. I mean, our own allies … I mean, think about this. Our own allies no longer believe that we are a reliable power. Saudi Arabia, which absolutely needs us to survive, the Saudis are now picking apart the dollar dominance, go helping the Russians and the Chinese to go after the supremacy of king dollar as the world’s reserve currency, so you have our own friends picking us apart because they think we’re weak.
Bill Walton (13:38):
They’re no longer doing petrodollars or doing petroyuan.
Brandon Weichert (13:42):
Yep, yeah. Well, they’re starting to incorporate it. They’re still going to do … They’re just going to allow some trades to happen to see how it goes, but our own friends are … When you’re weak on the world stage, it’s like blood in the water with sharks. Every animal’s going to come at you. Not because they don’t like you necessarily but it’s because, why wouldn’t they? It’s their nature, so it behooves us to have a leadership that understands that and that’s strong. I’ve been critical over the last year of President Trump on some of the things he’s done or said, but I was a Trump guy in 2016. I still think that Trump understood-
Bill Walton (14:16):
I’m still a Trump guy.
Brandon Weichert (14:17):
I know. Look, you know what? At this point, if he’s the nominee, I’m going to vote for him.
Bill Walton (14:20):
Brandon Weichert (14:20):
But I’m a Floridian, so I lean toward DeSantis.
Bill Walton (14:24):
Okay, gotcha. [inaudible 00:14:25]
Brandon Weichert (14:24):
I do think that Trump understood. I think Trump understood the Russians. I think he understood the Chinese. I think he understood the Saudis. I think that’s why we didn’t have wars when he was president, and I think that we need to get back to that.
Bill Walton (14:37):
We only did little things like keep peace in the Middle East.
Brandon Weichert (14:41):
Bill Walton (14:41):
We overlook that.
Brandon Weichert (14:42):
The thing we were told couldn’t happen. Right.
Bill Walton (14:43):
Yeah. This is The Bill Walton Show. I’m here with the great geo … What are we calling you? Geostrategic thinker? What’s your-
Brandon Weichert (14:49):
Bill Walton (14:50):
Okay. Geostrategic. Brandon Weichert, publisher of The Weichert Report, who is very interesting and very accurate on all things global. We’re in the midst of a discussion, where I think I was upset at the beginning. I’m more upset now because for me, as somebody that’s led a fair number of organizations, it starts with good decisions by your leaders. It seems like we’re making bad decision, after bad decision, after bad decision, and we’re creeping, incrementally, into a World War III, with no real thinking through different alternatives.
Brandon Weichert (15:33):
Right. Well, this is sleepwalking to war. This is World War I all over again. I say this to my friends in D.C., and they freak out, and they call me a crazy person, and they make fun of me, but this is not World War II. Everybody’s cosplaying Winston Churchill. They should be worried about being Eyre Crowe, or they should be worried about being the kaiser in World War I, because what we’re witnessing now, whether it’s in Asia or right now presently in Ukraine, really Ukraine, is the beginnings of a regional crisis that sparks a larger unwinnable, protracted World War that, in this case, could potentially bring down civilization itself because we’re talking loosely about nuclear weapons here.
We’re talking about going to war using all means, including nukes, and over what? This is just like World War I. Nobody really knew what they were fighting for. It was just sort of this automatic thing. We kind of just drifted into a position where the world was just at war, and it was the killing fields. It literally just, it destroyed European power. People forget.
Bill Walton (16:36):
In World War I, you had all the European powers with their mutual defense treaties. I guess, that’s similar to NATO.
Brandon Weichert (16:44):
Right. It’s like NATO. Yeah, yeah.
Bill Walton (16:47):
What’s our archduke at Sarajevo, the assassination that set the match to the tinder?
Brandon Weichert (16:56):
Well, there was a … I think, probably the election of Joe Biden, to be honest with you. I think that he’s just horrendous, but there was a moment in July, and our friend, Stephen Bryen, was writing about this at the Asia Times, where I also write.
There was a moment in July of 2021, where the British Navy sent a frigate off the coast of Crimea during a very large Russian naval exercise, and the British frigate was purposely acting very flagrantly toward the Russian ships, so much so that it is believed that the Russians deployed two MIG jets and dropped bombs in front of the British frigate. This is July of 2021. Now, it’s never been confirmed, but I have heard from multiple sources that that is what happened because the British were acting so brazenly.
Bill Walton (17:52):
Well, was this when the mad man was Prime Minister, Boris Johnson?
Brandon Weichert (17:58):
Bill Walton (17:58):
Isn’t Boris Johnson still also out with Zelenskyy arguing to make-
Brandon Weichert (18:03):
Bill Walton (18:03):
… “We got to nuke Moscow”?
Brandon Weichert (18:06):
Bill Walton (18:06):
He was then prime minister.
Brandon Weichert (18:08):
Bill Walton (18:08):
So this was consistent with his view about Russia. He’s still advocating that. He’s over here-
Brandon Weichert (18:14):
We need to remember that the Russians, they are imperialists. They have a history of imperialism. They’re not good guys, but the bottom line here is that we really did things to antagonize a bear. We really, we went out of our way to antagonize the situation, guys like Boris Johnson. That’s why this incident that’s kind of been covered up, I think that is a huge trigger. Because if you look, July 21, that incident happens. The Russians are going, “I think the NATO allies are going to start something with us,” and then that’s when, suddenly, you had-
Bill Walton (18:53):
Didn’t later that we announce that we were going to push with getting Ukraine into NATO?
Brandon Weichert (18:58):
Yeah, I mean …
Bill Walton (19:00):
That was also a trigger.
Brandon Weichert (19:02):
Yes, that was a trigger. That was the big one. If you remember, in April of 2021, a few months before the incident with the British, Biden met with Putin, and Putin was laughing at him to his face because Putin saw this crumbled man who’s the president, and at one point, Biden apparently said that, and I’m paraphrasing but, “If Russia takes little parts of Ukraine, it’s not a big deal.”
At that point it’s over because the Russians are thinking, “Okay. Well, the Americans are going to let us do this,” and so there was a lot of confusing signals, and I think that the Russians thought we were weak and confused, and I think that that was when they thought they could really punch us in the nose.
Bill Walton (19:46):
Well, we’ve already dated this for February, early February 2023. Where do we go from here? I do believe, for a while, people were saying, “Well, the Russians are spent. They’ve got hundreds of thousand young men leaving the country. They’re not going to be able to build a big army.” Well, that turns out not to be true. They’ve got a lot of army, a lot of soldiers amassing as we speak.
Brandon Weichert (20:10):
Bill Walton (20:10):
There are thoughts about a winter offensive. I also think that they’re thinking now … Originally, they had limited objectives of just those, what are they, four … What do we call those?
Brandon Weichert (20:22):
The breakaway republics. Yeah.
Bill Walton (20:24):
Breakaway republics in Southeast-
Brandon Weichert (20:26):
And then Crimea. Right.
Bill Walton (20:27):
Yeah. Now they’ve got more robust ambitions to take Kyiv. Is that true? One of the things, I asked a friend who I was talking about having you on, I said, one of the things we want to ask is, how do we know what we think we know? This particular war seems to be, among others, among many things, subject to so much disinformation.
Brandon Weichert (20:54):
Yeah. Well, it certainly, as Churchill said, “It’s surrounded by a bodyguard of lies.” Some of that is necessary. Obviously, in wartime, both sides are going to do that. In the case of the Russians, so I hear 700,000. What I have heard from people that are private military contractors … In fact, one of the gentlemen in my community here, he is gunrunning right now for NATO. He’s a retired Navy guy, and he spends half the year in Lviv, gunrunning-
Bill Walton (21:23):
You have an interesting neighborhood. You’ve got a gunrunner.
Brandon Weichert (21:28):
Yeah. Yeah, he’s a very interesting guy. He sat on the city council here, actually. I saw him over Christmas, and what he was telling me … This was during Christmas. He said that it’s getting bleak for the supply lines, as he sees it. What he told me was that … He sends me, occasionally, some WhatsApp messages with what’s going on. Then I hear things from people that have been private military contractors over there.
My sense is, maybe they have 700,000 troops, the Russians, but it looks like there’s definitely between 300 and 350,000 that they have, so far, moved into position. Now, I think they’re trying to galvanize more, but definitely, I would be very comfortable-
Bill Walton (22:13):
They don’t need 700,000. I mean-
Brandon Weichert (22:13):
No. They don’t. They don’t.
Bill Walton (22:14):
… they started with 160.
Brandon Weichert (22:17):
If you look at the population base, the reason Ukraine survived last year, largely because of weapons from us and targeting intelligence from us, but it was also because Putin, he thought he could go in there with 160 or 190,000 troops and just scare the bejesus out of the Ukrainians so that they drop their guns and run away like they did in Crimea in 2014.
He didn’t realize that seven years of hard training, and hard equipping from NATO, and the fact that they have strong leadership now in Kyiv, that that was going to change the dynamic, so he basically got humiliated. He went in with a small force though, I think, because he was hoping to just negotiate, and when that didn’t happen, that changed things.
Bill Walton (23:03):
Did Zelenskyy get … Is it true that in March of 2000 … I guess, March of last year, that he was ready to talk with Putin?
Brandon Weichert (23:12):
Bill Walton (23:13):
Then he got talked out of it, that may be putting it mildly, by Boris Johnson-
Brandon Weichert (23:17):
Bill Walton (23:18):
… and the Americans.
Brandon Weichert (23:20):
There’s a guy … Zelenskyy, I know a lot of people have problems with Zelenskyy. I actually feel kind of bad for the guy. He’s got a terrible position. He’s got a terrible card he’s been dealt.
Bill Walton (23:28):
Well, we’re going to hang him out to dry. I don’t think he’s going to survive this.
Brandon Weichert (23:30):
Yeah, we are. Just like we did the Afghans.
Bill Walton (23:33):
Brandon Weichert (23:33):
On the one hand, I don’t like attacking him because I just think that that’s a terrible position to be in, and I think he has done some good things for Ukraine. There’s a guy who’s, I think, his foreign minister, Kuleba. Kuleba’s psychotic. Kuleba’s the guy who convinced Zelenskyy to sign a bill in 20021 that made it the law of Ukraine’s government to seek to restore Crimea through force to Ukraine. This is before the war began. That’s one of the big triggers of the war, by the way, was that law.
Kuleba then, as you’re talking about with Boris Johnson … Basically, Zelenskyy led an effective defense of Kyiv. He saved his country. He saved the core of Ukraine. Zelenskyy understood. Zelenskyy’s a Russian-speaker. He understands Putin. Zelenskyy understood, “I cannot hold out indefinitely.”
Bill Walton (24:22):
He was born a Russian-speaker. That was his first language.
Brandon Weichert (24:24):
Yes, yes. So Zelenskyy reaches out, I believe, to Lavrov, who was the foreign minister for Russia, trying to get the opening bid of a deal. Well, Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine, gets wind of this and basically calls Brussels, calls London and is like, “Hey, He’s going to cut a deal.” Boris Johnson gets on a plane the next day and is in Kyiv, and the famous pictures of him touring, and hand in hand, but behind the scenes, he’s supposedly strong-armed Zelenskyy and was like, “We’ve given you all this help. You are not going to stop this. You are going to keep going, and you’re going to restore Ukrainian sovereignty. You’re going to break the Russian military in the field for us.”
That sounds great on paper, but Boris Johnson’s a politician. He doesn’t understand tactics or strategy, clearly. The Russians, once that point of no return was reached, once the Russians realized they’re not going to get a deal, that’s it. It’s now total war, and that’s why now you have Putin sounding like the mullahs in Iran, talking about how we’re run by satanists and pedophiles. I mean, he sounds …
Bill Walton (25:27):
There’s some truth to that.
Brandon Weichert (25:28):
Right. There’s an element of truth.
Bill Walton (25:29):
Some truth to that.
Brandon Weichert (25:31):
Even Russian propaganda-
Bill Walton (25:32):
I don’t want to get into social issues, but …
Brandon Weichert (25:37):
You understand though. There was a real shift in Russia’s demeanor. The Russians were … They’ve done terrible things.
Bill Walton (25:43):
Brandon Weichert (25:43):
I’m not defending them, but it’s Russia.
Bill Walton (25:47):
Everybody’s a little villainous in this. I mean, it’s not-
Brandon Weichert (25:49):
Bill Walton (25:50):
Brandon Weichert (25:52):
Right, right. The point is though, is that the moment that Kuleba got Johnson to put pressure on Zelenskyy to end the negotiations, that’s the end of Ukraine because now, Putin’s in a position where he can’t lose. If he loses, he’s going to lose his position, so he’s staked his whole legitimacy on this thing. He’s all in, and now you’re seeing this, which is why now we’re talking about nuking Moscow over-
Bill Walton (26:15):
Brandon Weichert (26:16):
This is why the Chinese, I think, are getting scared and they’re sending these satellites over to us trying to figure out, “Are the Americans going to go nuclear? What is going on here?” Because we’re not acting like we should be acting.
Bill Walton (26:26):
Well, Stephen Bryen talks about the possibility. He’s not predicting it, but there’s a possibility that Zelenskyy’s regime is not going to survive much longer.
Brandon Weichert (26:35):
Bill Walton (26:36):
The thing that’s … I asked somebody yesterday about, where are we getting our information from about the war? Is it coming from the Zelenskyy propaganda machine? Do we have multiple sources? How do we know what’s going on?
Brandon Weichert (26:54):
For me, in the beginning, I was relying on a lot of mainstream sources and I realized pretty quickly that that’s not reliable.
Bill Walton (27:02):
Brandon Weichert (27:02):
There are things that they were promising us in the beginning that I thought sounded believable, and you look at it and you go, “We’re a year into this war and we’re farther from an end than we were six months ago,” so any mainstream Western source, you should probably just throw away. There’s some wonderful blogs that I’ve been reading. There are, like I said, I have contacts that I’ve been talking to on the ground.
Here’s something that people don’t realize. I have always held off saying this, but I’m going to say it now. The U.S. and its allies have people on the ground embedded with Ukrainian forces. They call, the term is sheep-dipping. Basically, there are people wearing Ukrainian uniforms or posing as individual private mercenaries.
There was a young man, a few weeks ago, who was tragically killed. He sounded like a wonderful person. I think he was a 29-year-old former Green Beret, or Green Beret. That the official story is he went AWOL in Syria in 2019 and ended up joining a private military firm to stand with the Ukrainians because he believed in the cause. I think he was a black ops guy. I think this was black operations.
Bill Walton (28:16):
How analogous is to the, quote, advisors we sent in in Vietnam?
Brandon Weichert (28:20):
This is exactly analogous. This is exactly. There’s another guy I talked to who was an advisor in Vietnam. He said that, “Do you really think that they’re going to train those guys and just let those guys go fight and die? They’re going to go with them because those are their guys. They’re going to go fight with them. They’re going to lead their troops, regardless of whether they’re Ukrainian or not,” and so you have a lot … Particularly in Bakhmut. My understanding is there was a contingent of Australians there. It’s a Baskin 31 flavors-
Bill Walton (28:51):
Well, they ought to be able to … I mean, they’re not going to share with us because what they’re doing, but there ought to be some feet on the ground there to tell us what’s actually happening.
Brandon Weichert (29:02):
Yeah, well, we do have … The government does. We have spies, we have paramilitaries. We don’t have any media people though, and so it’s very hard to get an … Which is why you have to really go scrubbing the internet for some of these blogs.
Bill Walton (29:17):
There’s no opposition media in Ukraine. I mean-
Brandon Weichert (29:21):
Bill Walton (29:21):
Brandon Weichert (29:21):
They’ve shut that down. They’ve shut it down because it’s a war, but in the West, in general, it’s just like COVID all over again, where you had people like myself who were saying, “Hey, this thing came from a bio lab,” and we were shut down. We were censored immediately. We were ratioed, and all that. It’s the same thing now with the Ukraine. There’s an official narrative in the West. There is an agenda. Again, I’m pro-Ukraine, but I’m also a realist here. I do not want to go to nuclear war for Ukraine.
Bill Walton (29:52):
We’re all pro-Ukraine in the sense you don’t want this terrible stuff happening to them. I put out a headline last week, It’s High Time for a Cease Fire in Ukraine, and-
Brandon Weichert (30:02):
Yeah. There’s not going to be one.
Bill Walton (30:03):
We know there is not going to be one?
Brandon Weichert (30:06):
Bill Walton (30:08):
Brandon Weichert (30:08):
This was my point, is that last year-
Bill Walton (30:10):
That’s [inaudible 00:30:11]
Brandon Weichert (30:11):
… you and I talked-
Bill Walton (30:11):
Yeah, continue. Sorry.
Brandon Weichert (30:13):
Yeah. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cut you off though. I-
Bill Walton (30:16):
No, go ahead.
Brandon Weichert (30:19):
Bill Walton (30:20):
Your head’s much more filled with facts than …
Brandon Weichert (30:24):
Last year, I was, as you know, one of the ones saying, “Let’s get a deal. Let’s get a deal,” but in global politics, you’ve got a window and if it closes, good luck getting it open again. That window’s closed. The moment that Putin mobilized those forces in December of last year, going into this year, that was Putin saying, “I’m done. I’m walking away. It’s now either going to be my survival and victory, or it’s going to be theirs, and I don’t think it’s going to be theirs,” and so now Putin is going to push.
This is going to become a traditional, I think, Russian war, where they’re going to grind out the Ukrainians. They’re going to attrit them. They’re going to basically bleed them in the field, and we’re going to watch it happen, and we’re going to say, “Hey, the tanks are coming. The tanks are coming,” 73 or 81 tanks versus the 200 T-90Ms that Russia’s sending, and the hundreds of T-72s, and possibly … I mean, this is insane.
Bill Walton (31:21):
A, we don’t have the tanks. It’s going to take months, and months, and months-
Brandon Weichert (31:24):
It’s going to take years.
Bill Walton (31:24):
… maybe more to build them.
Brandon Weichert (31:25):
The Abrams have to be built from scratch.
Bill Walton (31:27):
They don’t know how to operate them.
Brandon Weichert (31:28):
That’s right, and so this is, we have set the Ukrainians up for slaughter. The Russians are going to win this thing, I think, at this point. It might take eight months. It might take another year, but this is just like World War II. The Russians, once they get going, they start grinding you out and they bleed you dry.
While the Russians don’t have the population base they did in World War II, their population’s still larger than the Ukrainians’. That’s the bottom line, that they have numbers they can throw into a meat grinder and still walk out relatively well. Think Grant versus the South in the Civil War. He didn’t win by superior tactics, necessarily. He won because he had a lot of people he could throw at the South, and the South couldn’t withstand it. It’s the same thing here.
Bill Walton (32:12):
What does the United States do?
Brandon Weichert (32:14):
Well, that’s the big question, isn’t it? I think that’s why we’ve got Chinese balloons scoping out our nuclear silos. I think the whole world is wondering, “What the hell are the Americans going to do?” Because on the one hand, Biden is seen as more of sort of this kind of stable figure. He’s mister calm, compared to Trump or whatever, but in reality, you look at what he has let happen under his watch, how we have literally gone up that escalation ladder, right up to the break of nuclear war.
Who knows? There’s another gentleman that I speak with. He says … We go back and forth. He goes, “The Russians have no need to nuke Ukraine because they’ve got all the resources now in place to just bleed them dry without nukes.” He said, “The thing you need to worry about is NATO nuking Russia as a Parthian shot.” At first, I went, “Oh, come on,” but the more I think about it, and you look at the rhetoric surrounding what NATO’s saying about this war, Biden needs to be seen as winning, and Biden has become mister World War III. This is, he’s the FDR. He’s gone from trying to do all these big domestic bills, to now he’s shifting to World War III.
If we’re going to lose, who knows what we’re going to do? Maybe we do fire off a Parthian shot, and maybe that’s the trigger for something even worse. I don’t know. That’s the scary thing is, I can’t predict it at this point because it’s been so unstable. If it were me, if I were advising NATO, I would say, “Stop with the aid to Ukraine. Tell the Poles, because this is the big issue, is we need to protect Eastern Europe. That Poland is the future of Europe. It is one of our best allies.” I am very partial to the Poles, so I have a bias here. I love Poland.
If it were me, I would tell the Poles, “Accept that the Russians are going to take Eastern Ukraine and Southern Ukraine, that they’re going to hold those territories. Move your forces into the region known as Galicia, which is the Western Ukraine. Annex it, and put a line of control through Kyiv, and tell the Russians you’re going to take everything east and south of that, but we’re getting the West. You will not put your troops on our borders.” I think that would end this conflict right away.
I think that’s what Putin always wanted. Putin’s goal has always been the end of the Ukrainian state, and he’s going to get that one way or the other. What we need to figure out as an alliance is, how far are we going to let him go? Are we going to let him go all the way up to Poland’s border? Or are we going to tell the Poles, “Go in and secure Western Ukraine, and then we’re going to make a deal.” Because the other alternatives are, we’re talking World War III with nukes. I mean, really bad things. There’s no good options here.
Bill Walton (35:01):
This is The Bill Walton Show. I’m with Brandon Weichert. I think I’m hearing that one plausible outcome for this catastrophe in Ukraine is the partition of Ukraine, and half of it goes to Russia, and half of it goes to Poland.
Brandon Weichert (35:15):
Bill Walton (35:17):
Well done, Biden and Joe, and Boris Johnson. Way to go, guys.
Brandon Weichert (35:23):
Right. They’ve made the world weaker, not stronger. The United States … Once Russia is able to collapse Ukraine, you’re going to see some knock-on effects in NATO. NATO’s going to divide Europe. You’re already seeing those divisions now, but they’ve been papered over because as long as Ukraine is fighting, the hope is that NATO can stay together, but once Ukraine is gone … Germany is already aggravated, the people are, understandably, with the economic situation because of these sanctions. They’re going to elect a far left and/or far right coalition government that is pro-Russia and anti-NATO.
France, Emmanuel Macron, is increasingly a man, island unto himself. The French, if you read the French press … Actually, we talked about the media. Actually, if anybody can get ahold of the French newspapers, it’s probably some of the best dissenting opinions that you’ll find in the West. The French papers have a lot of dissent going on, so-
Bill Walton (36:21):
Dissent against what we’re doing in Ukraine, you’re saying.
Brandon Weichert (36:24):
Yeah, yeah. Saying, “They want a deal. Don’t go too far.” If you look at the French newspapers … And the French are the French. Macron is increasing a man on his own. His government will not survive if NATO loses in Ukraine, and it will be replaced by also a more pro-Russian regime in Paris, which is going to kill NATO unity.
Bill Walton (36:46):
Brandon Weichert (36:46):
Poland … Sorry.
Bill Walton (36:48):
Let’s talk about NATO’s capabilities because-
Brandon Weichert (36:50):
Bill Walton (36:51):
… when Trump came in, he was talking about how the United States has been funding everything and provides 70, 80, whatever the percentage is, of the military clout that NATO has. It seems to be like one outcome here is that the United States is getting marginalized in-
Brandon Weichert (37:08):
That’s the key.
Bill Walton (37:11):
They’ve got another alliance here that doesn’t include the United States.
Brandon Weichert (37:14):
Right. That has always been the dream of France and Germany, is to create a Pan-European military economic alliance. They’ve never been able to get it done. The British and the Poles have never wanted that to happen. The Eastern Europeans have always tried to keep the Americans engaged. It’s been in our interests, I think, to have some hand in Europe, but not at the expense of our other issue dealing with the Middle East, Iran, dealing with China, which is what’s happened now as we’re sacrificing more core areas of interest of our own to Europe, which is a problem.
The capabilities are, without the United States, and Britain, and Poland, France is the next major military player in Europe, and they’re very hesitant to go too far against Russia. Germany’s the major economic player. They have been very hesitant to go against Russia, so you have Western Europe subdividing away from the rest of Europe. In the process … Yeah?
Bill Walton (38:16):
Well, let’s put that in context because you’ve written, interestingly, and it was, I think, accurately that we had a U.S.-led world order from the end of World War II. Through, I think, mainly bad decisions by the United States, and administration after administration, this is a bipartisan problem. It’s not Democrat versus Republican. We’ve really lost that preeminence.
Brandon Weichert (38:42):
Oh, yeah, yeah.
Bill Walton (38:42):
We’re going from a world that was pretty much dominated by the United States and our democracy promotion efforts, and our attempts to bring the world into a global economic order, that seems to be gone.
Brandon Weichert (38:57):
It’s all gone.
Bill Walton (38:59):
Let’s do this. What’s this chessboard look like now if this thing plays out the way you’re describing?
Brandon Weichert (39:05):
We’re at the beginnings. Probably beginning in 2017, but we are definitely right now in the birth pangs of a new world order. It is, unfortunately, a post-American one. It is a world order in which it is a multipolar system. Really, a tripolar system, in my opinion. The United States, China, Russia, with Russia being declining, but so is the United States. China’s the ascendent, I think, and I think the Chinese think that, and so it is going to be a world not built on cooperation, not built on unity. It’s going to be a world built on competition. It’s going to look a lot more like 19th century Europe than it is going to be looking like post-Cold War, global system that we’ve had.
Bill Walton (39:53):
Where does the Klaus Schwab globalist world order, global reset fit into this? I know it’s another day. He’s working-
Brandon Weichert (40:01):
Bill Walton (40:02):
… mainly in the economic dimension, but seems like that’s a thing of a … That’s a relic of the past.
Brandon Weichert (40:07):
They’re irrelevant. The most they’re going to be able to do is terrorize people in America and Europe, but-
Bill Walton (40:17):
Which they do.
Brandon Weichert (40:17):
Right, right. The Chinese, and the Russians, and the Iranians, they don’t care one iota about Klaus Schwab, and they think they’re clowns, and they’re going to ignore them, and so we’re witnessing the birth of a new world order that’s post-American that, by the way, is hostile to America. Because now you have regimes in China, and Russia in particular, who truly believe, if given the opportunity, the United States would destroy their regime, so now they’re building the capabilities and the resources to, at the very least, prevent that from happening and maybe even to roll back American-style culture, democracy that has pervaded the whole world since at least the end of the Cold War.
Meanwhile, our system here is collapsing at home, and that’s another thing. Especially in China, they talk about this all the time. They say that the Americans are declining, and you look at the way we reacted to this balloon. We freaked out, like had a hissy fit over a balloon. This is not the same country that put men on the moon. It’s not the same. We aren’t the same country. We are a weaker country and a sadder country, and the rest of the world sees that. They don’t want to follow that, and so the whole system is reforming into a multipolar one that is going to be limiting American power at every turn. That will be the thrust of that system, limiting the Americans.
Bill Walton (41:51):
Oh my. It just seems like everything we’ve touched in the last 70 years since World War II, we’ve messed up.
Brandon Weichert (41:59):
Bill Walton (41:59):
We have countries that we’ve gone into. Afghanistan. I mean, my god. $80 billion of equipment and all the people that worked with us stranded in a hostile-
Brandon Weichert (42:10):
Still there. In some cases, we still have American citizens. This is not widely reported. We have Americans still stuck there.
Bill Walton (42:16):
The internationalists in the State Department have got a lot to answer for.
Brandon Weichert (42:22):
No they don’t. They’re going to keep getting promoted, and they’ll keep getting their pensions.
Bill Walton (42:26):
Well, in my tribunal they do. Of course, not in theirs. They’ll survive and thrive, and there we go.
Brandon Weichert (42:37):
D.C. will be the last place that falls in America. They will not know it’s all turning to garbage until it’s the stink is right there, so …
Bill Walton (42:49):
Well, I’m a member of a lot of the clubs in D.C. I look around, and I’m having conversations-
Brandon Weichert (42:54):
They don’t get it.
Bill Walton (42:55):
… with like-minded people like you, and I look around the room and I say, “What are these people thinking?” I guess, you’re right. They do think … They’ll be the last one-
Brandon Weichert (43:03):
They’ll be the last ones.
Bill Walton (43:04):
Last one standing.
Brandon Weichert (43:05):
They’re making deals with China. People need to remember also, they’re making deals with China, Bill. They want to do business with China, even today. They talk a big game about, “Oh, we don’t like what China’s doing against Taiwan,” but their actions say otherwise. Their actions are that they’re making deals with these people.
Bill Walton (43:21):
My friend, Frank Gaffney, keeps bringing me on his show to talk about corporations and China, Wall Street and China.
Brandon Weichert (43:27):
Bill Walton (43:29):
He’s dismayed because I remind him, the whole of Silicon Valley has investments in hundreds, if not thousands of technology companies in China, including a lot of artificial intelligence companies.
Brandon Weichert (43:42):
Bill Walton (43:44):
BlackRock is dying to do more business in China, so is J.P. Morgan. Even today, they’re just looking for this latest … Us all to pass away, so they can keep expanding there.
Brandon Weichert (43:57):
Well, Bill, Google, in 2019, made a big show of saying they were pulling out, under congressional pressure, their AI program in Beijing. As I did the research, and I’ve shown this in my writing, what they did was they officially pulled out Google, but they kept the head of Google’s AI program teaching at University of Tsinghua, which is the Chinese equivalent of MIT.
What he has been doing for the last four years, three years, is integrating a social network of Chinese AI researchers, and keeping that conduit and pipeline open to Google Central so that, eventually, when the congressional pressure … Google thinks when the congressional pressure goes away on the tech war with China, Google can just kind of parachute back in and pick up right where they left off, and this is how Silicon Valley’s operating.
My next book’s coming out in May called Biohacked. It’s all about the grotesque marriage between American biotech sector as well as the National Institute of Health and Chinese biotech, and how that’s being weaponized by China’s military, being funded and supported by American companies and American government.
Bill Walton (45:10):
It fits right into our new medical state that we’re dealing with.
Brandon Weichert (45:14):
Bill Walton (45:15):
Well, Brandon, I’m only looking at a clock here that says we’re supposed to stop talking. We could-
Brandon Weichert (45:20):
I could keep going.
Bill Walton (45:22):
Keep going, keep going. Brandon, let’s plan a part two.
Brandon Weichert (45:26):
Bill Walton (45:27):
We’ve reached a point now where we’re basically staring at the abyss.
Brandon Weichert (45:34):
Bill Walton (45:34):
Maybe next time, we can figure out a way to get us out of this abyss and maybe get us on a path to survival here, which looks like an increasingly tough one.
Brandon Weichert (45:46):
Yeah. It’s going to require new leadership.
Bill Walton (45:47):
Yeah, new leadership. Brandon Weichert, author of The Weichert Report. We can find you @thebrandonweichert?
Brandon Weichert (45:53):
Bill Walton (45:54):
wethebrandon. That’s your handle on Twitter.
Brandon Weichert (45:58):
Bill Walton (45:58):
Where else can we find you?
Brandon Weichert (46:01):
That’s the primary one. I’m also on Truth Social under the same name, wethebrandon.
Bill Walton (46:06):
I love that. Well, you can find us @thebillwaltonshow. I need to be more clever like Brandon, but it’ll do for now. And on all the major podcast platforms, and Rumble, and YouTube, and we’re also on CPAC now, channel, on Monday nights with our show, and of course, Substack. We get a lot of comments there. Very interested in your reaction to this show. Brandon will be back. Tell us what you’d like us to talk about next and-
Brandon Weichert (46:36):
Bill Walton (46:37):
… we’ll do it. Anyway, thanks for joining, and to be continued.
Brandon Weichert (46:41):
Bill Walton (46:41):
I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Want more? Click the subscribe button or head over to thebillwaltonshow.com to choose from over 100 episodes. You can also learn more about our guest on our Interesting People page. Send us your comments. We read every one, and your thoughts help us guide the show. If it’s easier for you to listen, check out our podcast page and subscribe there. In return, we’ll keep you informed about what’s true, what’s right, and what’s next. Thanks for joining.
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