The May Issue

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Thank you for reading the Observer. Links to each article are provided below, or you can read a PDF of the print issue.

As we were finalizing articles for our last release, Vladimir Putin decided to give us the story of a lifetime. Once predicted to be lopsided and swift, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has at this point lasted months, thanks to head-scratching unforced errors on Russia’s part. For this issue, we have examined the conflict from every angle. Aaron Meuser ’22 and Hayden Toftner ’22 give a broad overview of Putin’s motivation and public justification for the war, and the fallout across Europe’s economies and political institutions.

To say the least, the war has complicated Russia’s role as Europe’s main source of natural gas. Angus Soderberg ’22 delves into this shakeup of global energy politics and argues that the invasion of Ukraine will ultimately accelerate the transition to renewable energy. Meanwhile, the invasion has stirred specters in the world’s other hot-spots of geopolitical conflict. Alex Mormorunni ’25 looks back on how the outcome of the Syrian Civil War set Russia up to weather sanctions from Western countries. And Ben Hoffer ’23 looks ahead to the invasion’s implications for Taiwan’s security and independence as it faces an increasingly belligerent mainland China.

Turning to other matters, James Butler ’23 assesses inflation in the U.S. and offers a rather grim diagnosis of Democrats’ midterm prospects: low. That said, the Supreme Court looks set to overturn Roe v. Wade, which could inject a jolt of energy into their liberal base and drive big turnout. Wrapping up the issue, Evan Wagner ’22 makes the case that government institutions and private entities are using data-based tools in the criminal justice system with reckless disregard for the biases baked into them.

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Evan Wagner, Molly McLaughlin, and Matt LesStrang, editors

1 comments on “The May Issue”

  1. “…Vladimir Putin decided to give us the story of a lifetime.” Try to contain your glee, editors. To introduce your analysis of the war in Ukraine in this way shows poor judgment and zero compassion. This is a conflict in which tens of thousands have already been killed (in a little over two months), including civilians murdered in some of the most brazen atrocities witnessed in Europe since the Second World War. You go on to suggest that “head-scratching unforced errors on Russia’s part” (like in tennis, I guess?) are the reason the war has lasted this long, ignoring the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian military and the resilience of its people and leadership, not to mention the aid they’ve received from Europe and the US. Is your idea in that sentence that if you were a Russian military leader, you would have crushed Ukraine much more quickly and efficiently? Overall, you don’t give the impression of having “examined the conflict from every angle,” and what’s missing is the human angle.

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