Omnium Gatherum

Jacob Akey, Crier Staff

The Russian army has failed to take Ukraine. Some military theorists (of both the professional and armchair variety) have suggested that the Russian offensive failure is proof that the nature of warfare has changed; that the defensive has finally regained its supremacy after the offensive’s post-WW2 reign. The theorists (who predicted a swift victory for Putin) claim that modern anti-tank systems make armored offensives untenable.

The belief that warfare itself has changed ignores the vast incontinence of the Russian army. Their failure is a long-overdue crumbling of a rotten institution. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has maintained the largest tank corps in the world, a first-rate air force, a formidable navy (replete with an aircraft carrier), a massive nuclear program, and one of the world’s largest armies. They have also sought to remain technologically competitive with the United States. It is unbelievable that a country with a GDP comparable to Australia could afford all of that. It’s not even like the Russians were spending a particularly large amount on their military. Their military budget is less than that of Saudi Arabia. Either the Russians are the greatest penny-pinchers in the world, or they cut corners the size of Texas.

Reports of expired rations, faulty tires, and inoperable munitions make it clear that corners were cut. Large portions of their tank corps and air force have been cannibalized. Their massive army is inflated by untrained conscripts. The Admiral Kuznetsov is always accompanied by tugboats. God only knows the state of their nuclear program. The bear is toothless, blind, and suffering from rheumatism.

The French voted in the first round of their presidential election Saturday. The two candidates who received the most votes, Emanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, will advance to the second round of voting. Macron is the incumbent, and his political party represents the center of French politics. Increasingly though, that center has shifted to the right. Marine Le Pen is the heiress of a right-wing political dynasty. Traditionally, her family has been kept out of power by left-wing voters’ practice of coalescing around the non-Le Pen candidate. However, during the 2022 campaign, Marine adopted economically populist positions (think Bernie Sanders), which have led to a softening of her image among the French left. She has also attracted significant youth support. Another factor in the race’s closeness is the spoiling effect of Éric Zemmour. The controversial pundit has shown that even the daughter of Pétainism can be outflanked on the right.

If power corrupts, then what does fame do? Will Smith, who has been in the public eye for thirty years, walked onto the stage at the 2022 Oscars and slapped Chris Rock. Smith was offended by a joke at the expense of his wife’s baldness. I cannot fathom the ego necessary to believe that your having taken offense at a joke is worth interrupting a globally televised event. The detachment from reality necessary to hit a comedian at said event is incomprehensible. Celebrities are not like us: not at all.

Last Friday, Saint Anselm College held Mind Over Major. It was, for the first time since COVID, held entirely in person. I saw presentations from English majors, Politics/IR majors, and Writing Assistants. Many more spoke at the event, with a near-even mix of sophomores, juniors,

and seniors presenting. The conference is an important resource for students, giving them the necessary experience in public speaking and conference etiquette. Thank you to Professors Bentz, Cronin, and New for organizing the event.

This is the first Spring Semester since 2019 that COVID-19 hasn’t forced students off The Hilltop. In the Spring of 2020, college students worldwide were sent home as cases spread globally. In 2021, students were banished for a week because of increasing cases on campus. The move was handled poorly. On Thursday, March 25th, students were emailed by President Favazza, informing them that they needed to leave campus by the end of the day Friday. Those without vehicles and students who lived far from Saint Anselm College were hugely inconvenienced. It is important to look back at the decisions made in the heat of the pandemic so that we may avoid repeating them.