A full-fledged information battle

The NYT: “In recent weeks, the Biden administration has detailed the movement of Russian special operation forces to Ukraine’s borders, exposed a Russian plan to create a video of a faked atrocity as a pretext for an invasion, outlined Moscow’s war plans, warned that an invasion would result in possibly thousands of deaths and hinted that Russian officers had doubts about Mr. Putin. …

“The hope is that disclosing Mr. Putin’s plans will disrupt them, perhaps delaying an invasion and buying more time for diplomacy, or even giving Mr. Putin a chance to reconsider the political, economic and human costs of an invasion.

“At the same time, Biden administration officials said they had a narrower and more realistic goal: They want to make it more difficult for Mr. Putin to justify an invasion with lies, undercutting his standing on the global stage and building support for a tougher response. …

“One U.S. intelligence official said that when the country’s spy agencies have information that could help the world make better judgments about Russian activity, it should be released, as long as the government can avoid exposing how the information was collected or who passed it along.

“It is, according to some strategists, a full-fledged information battle.”

How not to handle a pandemic

On an epidemiological map of the world, the Czech Republic shows up as a tiny island of doom and gloom. While the global number of new coronavirus cases has been dropping for six consecutive weeks, the Central European nation of 10 million has been experiencing near record levels of new infections.

The Swedish approach to Corvid-19 revisited

From the NYT: “Normalcy has never been more contentious than in Sweden. Almost alone in the Western world, the Swedes refused to impose a coronavirus lockdown last spring, as the country’s leading health officials argued that limited restrictions were sufficient and would better protect against economic collapse.

“It was an approach that transformed Sweden into an unlikely ideological lightning rod. Many scientists blamed it for a spike in deaths, even as many libertarians critical of lockdowns portrayed Sweden as a model. During a recent Senate hearing in Washington, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the leading U.S. infectious disease specialist, and Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, angrily clashed over Sweden.

“For their part, the Swedes admit to making some mistakes, particularly in nursing homes, where the death toll was staggering. Indeed, comparative analyses show that Sweden’s death rate at the height of the pandemic in the spring far surpassed the rates in neighboring countries and was more protracted. (Others point out that Sweden’s overall death rate is comparable to that of the United States.)

“Now, though, the question is whether the country’s current low caseload, compared with sharp increases elsewhere, shows that it has found a sustainable balance, something that all Western countries are seeking eight months into the pandemic — or whether the recent numbers are just a temporary aberration.”