The Renew Democracy Initiative brings you the third episode of Frontlines of Freedom. In this episode, our host Evan Mawarire sits down with ex-U.S. Navy Intelligence Officer, former MSNBC Contributor, and New York Times bestselling author, Malcolm Nance to discuss the state of the frontlines in the War in Ukraine, the connections between Russia and Iran, and what the U.S. must do to make sure Kyiv is successful.
Malcolm Nance took Russia’s invasion of Ukraine personally. So personally, that he decided to travel to the Ukrainian frontlines and put his decades of intelligence experience to use. According to Nance, Kyiv—Ukraine’s capital city—will never fall to Russian control. After spending months with frontline forces, Nance was amazed by their effectiveness and even went as far as to say that, in many ways, Ukraine has already tasted victory.
Nance’s understanding of Ukraine also puts a more global connection into context: the relationship between Russia, Iran, and autocrats around the world. Malcolm explains how the “incestuous triangle” of Russia, Iran, and Syria helped boost terrorist organizations like Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon, with Russia allowing its clients in Damascus to become a conduit for arms proliferation throughout the Middle East.
What can the United States do about all of this? Nance puts it simply: “Vote for the people who will stand up for our democracy.” That means recognizing and taking seriously the threat posed by Donald Trump and other extremists and would-be authoritarians who are not shy about their admiration for Putin’s Russia.
In our “What the Hell” segment, Evan rounds out the episode and takes a look at a very different kind of American military veteran. Our host asks how a disgraced U.S. Marine Corps analyst and convicted sex offender winds up talking to thousands of soldiers in Chechnya and touring the Russian Special Forces Academy. It may sound ridiculous, but this is actually the story of one Scott Ritter, who is a shameless pro-Putin propagandist and who has also taken up defending the Iran-backed Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas since the October 7 attacks against Israel.