Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has become an icon around the world for his bravery and leadership since the Russian invasion began—and New Abnormal co-host Molly Jong-Fast herself has a special place in her heart for him.
Zelensky “is my age and a Jewish comedian, so I feel very connected to him,” she says on the latest episode of The New Abnormal. “My generation, we’ve had a tough time of it. We’ve never really had our moment. So this may be as close as we ever get to our moment.”
With the world watching the war in Ukraine, “There’s all sorts of talk about no-fly zones,” says Jeet Heer, Nation columnist and the author of the newsletter The Time of Monsters. “I think the Biden White House has very wisely said that’s not really an option. That’s one of the things that could lead to a nuclear war.”
Indeed, this moment is the first time since the 1980s that the prospect of a nuclear war is a real one, and now all the “do your own research guys” are coming out of the woodwork to question whether that would really be so terrible, Heer says.
“I saw one guy saying, ‘It’s really a matter of attitude’... I’m sorry, man. Radiation does not care about your attitude,” Heer says. “Fallout doesn’t care about your attitude.”
“I think if you have to say, ‘Nuclear war is bad, but…’ That’s a sentence that, once you say that, you’ve lost,” Molly says.
Later on the episode, Face the Nation moderator and CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan joins to talk about the conflict in Ukraine and the exodus of a million Ukrainians.
When Molly asks whether this is different from other refugee crises, Brennan notes that “European countries surrounding Ukraine are opening their borders to take in refugees from the war zone from Ukraine at a time when they have tried to close their borders to refugees from [other] active war zones.”
“Those coming from war zones from Muslim majority countries, those who are brown or Black, have had a different experience than those being welcomed from Ukraine who are largely Christian, some Jewish, but largely Christian white Europeans,” she says. “There have been charges that this is based in racism. The European governments, Poland, for example, would argue that no, it’s because they are our European neighbors.”
Finally, former presidential candidate Evan McMullin, who’s now running as an independent to unseat Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), comes on to talk about his race and the Russia-Ukraine war.
“This whole Russia-Ukraine situation has, I think, made clear the fight that the world is having now between democracy and authoritarianism,” he says. “And here in Utah, we’ve got somebody who has stood on the side of Putin and on the side of efforts to overturn our own democracy.”