The Star News Network’s Neil W. McCabe Comments on Ukrainian President Zelensky’s Speech to the U.S. Congress and Further Actions

Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed The Tennessee Star’s National Political Editor Neil McCabe to the newsmaker line to give his take on how the Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech to the U.S. Congress will be received and what further actions the U.S. will take to aid his country.

Leahy: On the newsmaker line, the very best Washington correspondent in the country for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network, national political editor Neil W. McCabe, who serves in the Army Reserve. He did a tour in Iraq and was awarded a Bronze Star. Mr. Neil W. McCabe, good morning, Neil.

McCabe: Michael, very good to be with you. A bit of a buzz in D.C. right now, because Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is expected to speak to Congress in a virtual session. And so that’s going to be kind of exciting.

Leahy: That’s going to happen in about 40 minutes from now [9 a.m CST, 3/16/22]. He used the same technique to deliver a message to the Canadian Parliament and the British Parliament yesterday, I believe. Is he going to ask for anything different from the United States in this address to Congress, or is it going to be the same thing?

McCabe: I think Zelensky is walking a very fine line. He is obviously disappointed that the Biden administration sort of encouraged him to stand tough against Putin. And then when the shelling started and the tanks rolled, there was no no-fly-zone, and there weren’t the firmer commitments of combat troops that he would have expected from an ally.

Remember, the Biden administration was referring to Ukraine as sort of an allied country, even though they were not part of NATO. At the same time, the United States has leveled the Russian government, Russian businesses, and some very powerful Russian individuals with some very severe and heavy economic sanctions.

And of course, there are just tons and tons of humanitarian and military aid flowing into Ukraine. It’s like this tightrope, right? It’s like he’s grateful, but he would want more. Obviously, if bombs are falling on your head, you would like to know that F-16s from the United States could stop the bombs.

Leahy: During your service to the United States Army, you’ve been in the theater, you did a tour in Iraq. I’m trying to get a good understanding of the military situation there. It looks like it’s a tough battle for the Ukrainians.

They’ve got 250,000 in their armed forces. The Russians have much larger capabilities, but they have not succeeded militarily, the Russians have, at the level and the timeline they thought. What’s the military situation like in Ukraine right now, as best you can tell?

McCabe: I’ll quote Napoleon twice. So, Napoleon said, “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” And he also said that “geography is destiny.” And so the Russians may have had a plan to race into Ukraine, but that didn’t happen. But that happens a lot.

Maybe I’ll quote Napoleon one more time. In the beginning of his invasion to Russia, Napoleon said something to the effect of, I can’t believe how bad these Russians are. The Russians take a very long view and they are willing to survive.

Those economic sanctions, they’re not going to have the same bite in Russia that you would have in the United States, because the Russians are used to eating sticks, rocks, and berries, and they just harken back to the heroic resistance to the Nazis and the Germans.

Going back again to the Germans, in ’41, August or September, the Germans slowly encircled Kyiv and (Inaudible talk) then 600,000 Russian troops. And it looks to me when that column dispersed and started surrounding Kyiv, that the Russians are taking the same approach that the Germans took in ’41.

I think the Russians are holding back. It may not seem like they’re holding back, but really, I think they’re holding back, because there are such cultural, economic, and religious, and family ties between the Russians and the Ukrainians.

These are not groups, these are not nations that have had centuries-long bitter entanglements. These are people who really see themselves really like how the Canadians see the Americans.

And so it’s a situation where they’re in this war, they want to win it, but at the same time, they don’t want to do so much destruction that it means they can never have peace.

Leahy: What is going to be Zelensky’s big ask of the U.S. Congress when he addresses them virtually in about 40 minutes?

McCabe: When he addressed English Parliament, the British Parliament, he really made allusions to Churchill, virtually quoting Winston Churchill. I suspect that Zelensky is going to quote maybe Abraham Lincoln, maybe Franklin Roosevelt, maybe Ronald Reagan, to sort of appeal to that American sense of duty and destiny, and that role that the United States has played since World War II, of protecting the peace and supporting democracies.

He’s going to ask for that no-fly zone again, because why not? And then we’ll see what happens. There’s tremendous empathy, sympathy, love, and support for the Ukrainians, but it’s less than a year since we were basically chased out of Afghanistan.

I’m just not sure the Americans are ready to dive into something like this. And Americans have trouble understanding that Russia is a land power. They don’t have two large oceans on the left and the right, and they don’t have relatively weak and friendly countries to the up and the down, like the United States.

And so Russia as a land power, everyone on land is a threat to them, and that’s why they want this buffer state. Unfortunately, this was a very avoidable war.

And unfortunately, even more, when you consider the tens of thousands of people killed, it’s going to end up ending with Ukraine agreeing to the Don boss and the Crimea under Russian control, Ukraine, being an independent country, and then they’ll probably nibble on the edges as to whether or not Ukraine keeps the military.

Leahy: Do you see these efforts to have these 27 MiGs transferred? You’ve written about this extensively. The Polish government had asked to transfer 27 MiG-29s to the U.S. and then, in turn, have them transfer it to Ukraine as the beginning of sort of the efforts to place a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

Now our friend Stephen K. Bannon has said that’s just a bunch of press release, because it wouldn’t have much practical impact. It would be difficult to implement. What are your thoughts on what happens there?

McCabe: Secretary of State Antony Blinken supported the plan of taking these MiGs. I’ve even seen that it’s maybe just 21 MiGs, because a lot of these MiGs aren’t working anymore. These are Soviet-era fighter jets, and he was going to take those jets. And Blinken said, go ahead, Poland, if you give those jets to Ukraine then we’ll backfill you with F-16s.

And that was a go until the Poles said, great, what we’re going to do is we’re going to transfer those MiGs. We’re going to fly them to your base in Germany, Ramstein, and then have the Ukrainians pick them up there.

And that’s when the U.S. Air Force and the Pentagon said, no, we’re not going to get involved in this. You’re not pulling us into your war. (Chuckles) The original plan was somehow to get the Ukrainian pilots to Poland and then they just fly the MiGs in.

The Poles were trying to sort of launder them through the United States, obviously to give themselves some protection. And so again with the Biden administration, there’s a lot of love and support, but not complete love and support. We’re not completely all in, and we don’t want to get pulled into World War  III, which I think is prudent.

Leahy: Exactly.

Listen to the full interview here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Volodymyr Zelensky” by CC BY 4.0.

















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2 Thoughts to “The Star News Network’s Neil W. McCabe Comments on Ukrainian President Zelensky’s Speech to the U.S. Congress and Further Actions”

  1. Traditional Thinker

    They’re not only buying it but actually writing the script they’re applauding, once again trying to persuade the weak minded on a narrative of their own device. What the trusting naive people don’t realize is that the days of leave it to beaver and simpler times are gone. The condition of the world is exactly what the elitist set out to create. Things will never go back to a time of innocence like a lot of us were fortunate to experience, however it can be stopped if those under the spell of the main stream media come out of their hypnotic state and fight against this evil government U.S.) and their Godless agenda. Vote not for party only, but for those with conservative traditional values only and let’s demand honesty in our election this time. And if that doesn’t work, best pray like never before.

  2. Mark Knofler

    It’s all Kabuki Theater, he’s an actor his wife is a screen writer, his “Speech” before Congress was a scripted joke. The Dumb**ses we have elected are so desperate to get into another war in order to enrich their defense contractor donors, they are buying what he is shoveling.