Rand Paul is Not an Isolationist

Credit: Gage Skidmore/wikimediaCredit: Gage Skidmore/wikimedia

Last Friday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) released a statement on the situation in Ukraine:

We live in an interconnected world and the United States has a vital role in the stability of that world. The United States should make it abundantly clear to Russia that we expect them to honor the December 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which the U.S., Russia, and the United Kingdom reaffirmed their commitment 'to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.' Russia should also be reminded that stability and territorial integrity go hand in hand with prosperity. Economic incentives align against Russian military involvement in Ukraine. Russia, which has begun to experience the benefits of expanded trade with World Trade Organization accession, should think long and hard about honoring their treaty obligations and fostering the stability that creates prosperity for its citizens. Most importantly, Russian intervention in Ukraine would be dangerous for both nations, and for the rest of the world," Sen. Paul said.

This sort of position is not good enough for neoconservatives, some of whom are repeating familiar and inaccurate rhetoric relating to Paul’s foreign policy positions.

Over at Commentary, Jonathan Tobin today referred to Paul's "neo-isolationism." Tobin has previously associated Paul with “a growing chorus of isolationists.” In a column for The Washington Post published today, Jennifer Rubin refers to “the isolationist right,” and writes that “no one has looked less able to lead America in dangerous times than Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).” Rubin previously referred to Paul’s “isolationist vision” in a column about intervention in Syria. In a post for the American Enterprise Institute published in October last year, Phillip Lohaus referred to Paul’s “isolationist tendencies.”

Of course, Paul is not an isolationist. Wanting trade and diplomatic relations with countries while opposing being overly involved in their affairs does not make you an isolationist. Taken to its extreme, an isolationist foreign policy results in a country that looks much closer to North Korea than a country like Switzerland, which in economically engaged with the world but is known for being wary of military intervention. 

That Paul is not an isolationist has been point out before by the Cato Institute’s Justin Logan:

Rand Paul, Rep. Justin Amash, and other skeptics of reckless foreign wars and secret government spying on Americans aren’t isolationists. They’re prudent conservatives who take the Constitution seriously and rose to power amid the wreckage of the George W. Bush administration, which destroyed the GOP advantage on national security and provided a good example of how not to conduct foreign policy.

There are some on the right who do understand the difference between isolationism and non-interventionism. National Review correspondent Kevin Williamson writes that those who advocate for non-military solutions to foreign affairs justifiably protest against the use of the term “isolationist.”

Paul has outlined his position on foreign policy before in a speech at The Heritage Foundation last year. Watch below:

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  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    well, hell, I didn't know there was an actual treaty at stake.

  • pmains||

    I can't tell if this is serious or sarcastic.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    It's serious. I don't think it changes my opinion on intervention much, but still...

  • wareagle||

    at least Rand has a foundation from which to speak. I realize the neo-cons would rather he took to the mikes and warned of consequences, but Obama already did that and sounded impotent in doing so. One dickless wonder is enough.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Watch out for that drone, dumbass!

  • wareagle||

    why, is the fundraiser over?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

  • DJF||

    Russia says this does not count, Yeltsin thought he was signing his bar bill, not a diplomatic memorandum.

  • tarran||

    It's not an actual treaty.

    It wasn't voted on by the Senate.

    So technically, the narcissist in chief can legally walk away from it.

    WTF am I saying?!? Since when does the narcissist in chief care about what the law says?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    It's still disconcerting that Ukraine gave up its chief defenses and now gets a fat "SOL" from the rest of us.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    If your nation has nukes and there is ever a debate on whether to give them up -- just say no. As much as I hate the Iranian regime, they are being damn smart in insisting on a nuclear program. Nations without one have a nasty habit of being invaded by their neighbors.

    Exit q: would Saddam have invaded Iran in the 80s if Iran had a credible nuclear deterrent?

  • Paul.||

    Exit q: would Saddam have invaded Iran in the 80s if Iran had a credible nuclear deterrent?

    No.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Exactly -- so why is the Iranian theocracy's pursuit of nukes supposed to be prima facie evidence of the regime's intent to use said nukes?

    Not to say that a nuke-holding theocracy is a prospect I relish, but evidence for their malevolence cannot hinge on their desire to have a nuclear weapon -- else, every nation currently holding nukes is equally guilty of same.

  • Paul.||

    Exactly -- so why is the Iranian theocracy's pursuit of nukes supposed to be prima facie evidence of the regime's intent to use said nukes?

    I think it's more base than that. I think that the developed nations just don't want unstable third-world "crazies" to have nukes, period, the end. Whether the 'use' of that nuke is a strike against a western power just because Allah told them to, or against an invading army like Iraq, no one knows and I suspect no one cares.

  • Sudden||

    It's almost as though the only credible means for preventing a country from acquiring a nuclear weapon is actual fucking war now.

    We can almost assuredly thank Obama's toppling of Ghadafi for that.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Ah, the Muammar Gaddafi lesson!

  • ||

    My biggest fear is:

    If Putin stops at the Crimea it will seal the deal on Ukranian NATO membership.

    Which means he has a good reason not to stop at the Crimea.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    I doubt it, Georgia was up for NATO membership before Russia invaded. Now it's not even considered.

    Ukraine is on their own, unless Poland decides to intervene which I highly doubt.

    The former eastern bloc countries learned nothing from their past. As soon as those countries gained independence they should have been heavily investing in defense instead of expecting other countries to protect them.

  • ||

    Ukraine was considered a lot more seriously for NATO membership than Georgia ever was.

    Ukraine shares direct borders with NATO and EU members.

  • Free Society||

    It's still disconcerting that Ukraine gave up its chief defenses and now gets a fat "SOL" from the rest of us.

    How much blood and treasure do I owe the Ukrainians?

  • The Last American Hero||

    A memorandum, not a treaty. Kind of like a memorandum at work that reminds employees to take their food out of the fridge by Friday.

  • wareagle||

    but presumably done with some expectation of good faith. Now, we can say that expectation was foolhardy but in a normal world, you expect folks to live up to their agreements.

  • Sevo||

    wareagle|3.3.14 @ 6:17PM|#
    "but presumably done with some expectation of good faith."...

    Pretty sure the USSR was presumed to ignore treaties. Dunno about Russia, since it's reverted to pretty much rule of whoever's-in-charge.

  • wareagle||

    this was 1994, so Russia and the whole new day that was going on after the Wall fell. Yes, you were largely dealing with the same characters but in a different world that turned out to be not so different.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Agreed. Rand Paul is not an isolationist.

    Except in the GOP.

    He is alone. An iconoclast and a future footnote.

  • wareagle||

    if only he carried a big red Re-Set button around and practiced some of that smart power Hillary bragged about.

  • Paul.||

    Rand Paul is Not an Isolationist

    And he's no Jack Kennedy either.

  • Almanian!||

    Rand Paul is Not an Isolationist

    So he IS an isolationist! I knew it!

  • ||

    No, no, Rand Paul is not not an isolationist, except when he's not. Do you not get it?

  • Almanian!||

    I don't not get this, at all. No, I don't.

    /Almanian's Sockpuppet - I AM THE 8%

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What part of "Commerce with all nations, alliance with none" is so hard to understand?

  • Paul.||

    That whole middle part, apparently.

  • GILMORE||

    Nothing is hard to understand about it.

    Just that actually *putting that into practice* lasted until about 1812 before we realized that trade, alliances, and warfare were kind of intertwined.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And yet, China manages to lead the world with trade despite their explicitly stated policy of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries.

    *shrugs*

    Perhaps the problem lies within the concept of the modern nation-state itself?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    China certainly intervenes in the internal politics of other nations when it suits them -- see Sudan and the ongoing shenanigans with Honduras' proposed Atlantic-Pacific canal.
    I suspect that China's quiescence wrt saber-rattling has more to do with an inability to project power and the US Pacific presence than with any principle on the part of their politicians.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    ongoing shenanigans with Honduras' proposed Atlantic-Pacific canal

    Do you have a link to an article that describes the shenanigans? I didn't know about the canal and all I get are articles basically saying that a Hong Kong firm wishes to build a canal in Nicaragua.

    I suspect that China's quiescence wrt saber-rattling has more to do with an inability to project power and the US Pacific presence than with any principle on the part of their politicians.

    I would argue the opposite. Given 5,000 years of history where China has pretty much shown little interest in expanding beyond the borders of huaxia, that is what the culture imagines to be "historical" China, the US presence in the Pacific actually causes China to act more bellicose. Remember, we play Chess; whereas, the Chinese play weiqi, a game in which you win by surrounding your opponent and choking them off. So when China looks at her borders and sees US friendly Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, Thailand, and further out to Taiwan, Saipan, the Federated States of Micronesia (whose military is our military, by treaty), Guam, etc. They're understandably nervous. Shit, the USSR moved some missiles to Cuba and JFK almost gave us this world.

  • Sevo||

    "Given 5,000 years of history where China has pretty much shown little interest in expanding beyond the borders of huaxia, that is what the culture imagines to be "historical" China,"

    According to Keay at least, the concept of an "historical" China seems to be flexible such as to encompass those areas any current regime can control.
    For instance, those in Tibet and the Muslims 'way out west would disagree.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||


    China has been throwing money and political support all over Central America for a while now, in an attempt to get its own canal. This would require gargantuan ED abuse, indigenous people resettlement, and ripping the environment a new one, all contrary to the wishes of the people of the region -- which is why they've only been able to get traction when a thig like Ortega is in power. They were somewhat involved in trying to keep Honduras' impeached Preys in power, and today are supporting Ortega in exchange for forward movement on their canal.
    5,000 years of history where China has pretty much shown little interest in expanding beyond the borders of huaxia

    ...besides repeated invasions of Tibet, Vietnam, Korea, encroachment on the Eastern Steppe, and the addition of territories formerly belonging to foreign invaders (e.g., Manchuria), I'd agree.

    What I wouldn't agree with is that the tributary state system was in any way non-interventionist or that China's current soft-visualization of Latin American or African states = 'trade with all, alliance with none'.

    Not saying that China is fixing to become the next Nazi Germany or anything, but even a prior history of isolationism doesn't guarantee such for the future (as the history of Japan and the US both illustrate).
  • Heroic Mulatto||

    his would require gargantuan ED abuse, indigenous people resettlement, and ripping the environment a new one, all contrary to the wishes of the people of the region

    So, pretty much what they have done in Burma and Laos. Gotcha.

    ...besides repeated invasions of Tibet, Vietnam, Korea, encroachment on the Eastern Steppe, and the addition of territories formerly belonging to foreign invaders (e.g., Manchuria), I'd agree.

    First, the Mongols of the Yuan Dynasty don't count. Secondly, Tibet, Vietnam, and Korea are all seen as part of the Sinosphere. I'm not saying they're justified, but it is a long standing meme in the culture.

    China's current soft-visualization of Latin American or African states = 'trade with all, alliance with none'.

    Why not? With the exception of China's interest in South and Southwest Asia via the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, I don't see China attempting to build military blocs on par with NATO in Africa or Latin America.

    but even a prior history of isolationism doesn't guarantee such for the future (as the history of Japan and the US both illustrate).

    I'll concede your point.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    First, the Mongols of the Yuan Dynasty don't count. Secondly, Tibet, Vietnam, and Korea are all seen as part of the Sinosphere. I'm not saying they're justified, but it is a long standing meme in the culture.


    I don't see why we shouldn't count the Yuan Dynasty. The Mongol rulers' attitudes and norms were as alien to their subject populace as the current regime's atheist-materialistic viewpoint is to the traditional/historical Confucian/Buddhist/Daoist worldview of China. I do agree that Korea is seen as part of a sphere of intervention in a way that, say, Panama isn't but I'm not sure that reassures China's neighbors much.

    With the exception of China's interest in South and Southwest Asia via the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, I don't see China attempting to build military blocs on par with NATO in Africa or Latin America.


    I'm still not exactly sure what the libertarian foreign policy entails, but my understanding is that any aggression against taxpayers or the rights of people abroad are restrictions on their foreign policy -- I don't see how taking taxpayer money to fund invasive infrastructure projects abroad fits into that.

  • Sevo||

    "I suspect that China's quiescence wrt saber-rattling has more to do with an inability to project power and the US Pacific presence than with any principle on the part of their politicians."

    I sure can't see the Chi Coms driven by 'higher motives'.
    If they could, they would and it's high time the Japs start covering some of the defense costs.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Agreed. They are the ones stuck with China as a permanent neighbor, after all.

  • Calidissident||

    I would agree with that, but it nonetheless supports HMs assertion that being involved in trade internationally doesn't necessitate constant military interventions around the globe.

  • GILMORE||

    Depends what you define as 'interventions'. they do plenty of stuff short of gunboat-diplomacy.

    I think the phrase is more accurate as, "being involved in trade internationally inevitably requires the capability for military interventions around the globe."

    the actual use of which is obviated by diplomatic prowess, or lack thereof.

  • Calidissident||

    "I think the phrase is more accurate as, 'being involved in trade internationally inevitably requires the capability for military interventions around the globe.'"

    First off, China has a pretty limited capability to project force very far beyond their borders. Secondly, I think the existence (now and historically) of small, militarily weak countries that have/had high levels of foreign trade show that this isn't true.

  • GILMORE||

    "Heroic Mulatto|3.3.14 @ 6:25PM|#

    Perhaps the problem lies within the concept of the modern nation-state itself?

    You're on to something there.

    I've pointed out repeatedly (with no one really listening) that the "Libertarian Foreign Policy"-conception is something that lives in an alternate universe outside of the current 'Westphalian Order' of nation-states.

    and I don't know what to tell you about China other than that "stated policy" is pretty much what any country would have when there's a 1000 year history of people fucking with your own territorial integrity. They're just as meddle-y as anybody, just in a different way. And increasingly they are just straight up grabby about calling territory "MINE!" and seeing who cries foul.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    've pointed out repeatedly (with no one really listening) that the "Libertarian Foreign Policy"-conception is something that lives in an alternate universe outside of the current 'Westphalian Order' of nation-states.

    You're right, in a way. At least part of the debate is that some on here are arguing what "is" and some argue what "ought to be". The problem for me is that realpolitik has a nasty habit of becoming a "catch-all" that justifies pretty much anything as long as you appeal to the pragmatism of the action. I believe that a moral foreign policy has some guiding principles that are applied to every situation despite any inconvenience of putting them into practice. As we have seen, they way we treat others eventually becomes the way we treat ourselves.

  • GILMORE||

    "realpolitik has a nasty habit of becoming a "catch-all" that justifies pretty much anything as long as you appeal to the pragmatism of the action"

    Absolutely.

    And I think that realpolitik, informed with a moral-bias toward 'neutrality/non-intervention' would be a wonderful starting-point for a 'real world' Libertarian foreign policy platform.

    However, in my mind, I hear a voice telling me, "never gonna happen, dude". While I personally have no problem maintaining different philosophical views on how domestic governance vs foreign policy may work best, I'm not finding a lot of flexibility in the general population... to say the least.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And I think that realpolitik, informed with a moral-bias toward 'neutrality/non-intervention'

    I'd sign up for that.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I'd sign up for that.

    Ditto

    /newsletter signup

  • Calidissident||

    I'm not sure how the War of 1812 proves or disproves anything. The British were impressing American sailors into their navy. The only moral system under which defense in that situation would not be justified is pacifism. Not that that war accomplished anything for either side in the end.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • GILMORE||

    "Calidissident|3.3.14 @ 7:42PM|#

    I'm not sure how the War of 1812 proves or disproves anything."

    it was at its heart a 'free trade' dispute.

    We only earned our 'trading independence' after we showed we wouldn't put up with arbitrary restrictions by 3rd parties.

    "The War of 1812 began largely because the US got caught up in economic warfare between France and Britain. ... In all, Britain felt that maintaining good relations with the US was less important than hurting Napoleon economically.... The British and the Napoleonic measures, aimed at hurting each other, ended up greatly hurting US trade, when US merchants only wanted to be neutral traders. ...Since France and Britain both needed US goods, especially raw materials (American cotton), Jefferson felt an embargo was a good way to retaliate against both Britain and France for the economic sanctions they had imposed against the US without endangering US sovereignty or individual lives... "

    ...and so on.

    i.e. the "trade with all" thing soured rather quickly. it also impressed upon us the need for a potent Navy to enforce our own 'free trade'. Which went to work rather quickly doing just that.

    e.g.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Barbary_War

  • Calidissident||

    Again, I'm not opposed to a military capable of defending the country and its citizens from aggression by foreign countries or pirates. I don't see either the War of 1812 or the Barbary Wars as violations of the NAP or non-intervention. Also, I believe HM is correct that the issue at the root of the War of 1812 was solved diplomatically before the war, but news of it arrived after the war began (similarly to how the Battle of New Orleans occurred after the peace treaty was signed).

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Had to drive to Helena this AM. You should have heard the war boner crowd on AM radio today. Dismal.

  • Paul.||

    Been watching a lot of WWII documentaries recently. I've watched so many over the years that most of the information is rehash, but it's always good to stay fresh.

    The one thing that bubbles up to the surface is realizing that there was a time when we went to war with people who had either matched or superior technology to our own, and what it was like to go to war with an advanced, committed enemy with an industrial base and well-developed war machine.

    Looks like the McCain's want to test that idea out again.

  • SusanM||

    Reminds me of that scene in Blackadder Goes Fourth: "Even spears made us think twice..."

  • Paul.||

    "It was a particularly pointy mango..."

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    OBAMA IS WEAK! WE NEED TO GIVE A BUSH STYLE ASS-WHOOPING ON THE SOVIETS!!

  • Paul.||

    My fear is Bush IV will be all to happy to oblige.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    No worry, Jeb is locked and loaded.

    I hear it from the BigShits in the GOP.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|3.3.14 @ 6:18PM|#
    'No worry, Obama is locked and loaded.'

    Fixed, asshole. Let's just hope we don't have to rely on Putin to save his sorry ass again.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You are the dumbest fucker to ever post here, SEVO.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|3.3.14 @ 6:32PM|#
    "You are the dumbest fucker to ever post here, SEVO."

    Now, there's a response!
    Go fuck your daddy, asshole.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Cheney said: "Don't worry, George. It is just little butt mud on my penis pullin' out and such.. Go back to sleep."

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|3.3.14 @ 6:42PM|#
    "Cheney said: "Don't worry, George. It is just little butt mud on my penis pullin' out and such.. Go back to sleep.""

    The best you've got is 'blame Bush'?
    Your fave lying asshole is in office for 5 fucking years, and he still can't do ANYTHING?
    Nearly as pathetic as you.
    Go fuck your daddy.

  • ||

    Uh oh, FdA. You're getting Tulpa all worked up. He really wants you to respond to him.

  • wareagle||

    uh, Rollo's counseling him right now. A new sock puppet's birth is imminent.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    What'd I miss? I've been out all day, has he actually shown his face? He tried to post late last night as if nothing happened.

  • ||

    He's right here in this very thread.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    I'm leaning a little more towards the Unified Theory than I was yesterday.

  • ||

    Doesn't it make more sense that the Disparate Theory?

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    It does now.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    He spent all day denying, rationalizing, and accusing other people of lying. I'll go looking for the link...

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    God, that was priceless. Sorry I missed it.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Hah hah!

    I said this morning that commenters would be mining Rollo's past posts for laffs.

  • Gene||

    What a trip, I still don't see the shrike angle. Is it really Tulpa's all the way down? Makes me pine for Dunphy, or was he another one?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Is Buttplug Tulpa too?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I read something today that had a list of things we could do if Russia gets too out of hand. One of them was to kick them out of the G-8, which, of course, they don't belong in, anyway. Or, at least, threaten to.

  • Paul.||

    We could kick them out of NATO.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Or help some of the 'stans sell oil.

  • wareagle||

    we could kick up domestic energy production and fill the void in Europe that Russia would create. But oil is icky and it would mean people working, so the administration will squash that pretty quick.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Well, oil is pretty icky. I mean have you ever tried washing that shit off your hands without Lava soap?

  • wareagle||

    we could sell the Europeans some lava soap, too. Or include it as a value-add.

  • Sevo||

    Just so long as it's a cash deal. Their credit rating is a bad as the US'.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Just suggesting we might do that would end this very quickly. Russia is not some economic superpower, after all, and could easily blow to pieces if it's not careful.

    Not necessarily advocating this course of action, but even Europe could make the suggestion without even directly involving the U.S. just yet.

  • iEagleHammer||

  • GILMORE||

    " those who advocate for non-military solutions to foreign affairs justifiably protest against the use of the term “isolationist.”"

    While I think the self-description of being an "Advocate for non-military solutions" is both cute and conveniently meaningless, and therefore politically *awesome*...

    ...what does this mean in the context of, say, a magazine that nearly shit themselves purple over the incident where an American Ambassador mentioned that we actually *preferred* some members of the Ukrainian opposition over others?

    meaning = clearly its wrong to call the libertarian foreign policy view, 'isolationist' when it simply endorses 'non-military' alternatives....

    ...but it sure is funny how often non-military influence is ALSO scorned, disowned, ridiculed, as being way too intervention-y.

    I think the point is = you have to be a tad more specific about what exactly this 'prudent, skeptical, conservative' foreign policy attitude actually *is* rather than what it *is not* before you're going to be able to shake the "isolationist" label.

    Also = this false dichotomy of "intervention!=War" vs "non-tervention!=peace!" needs to be dropped. it ends up with nothing but accusations that one side is needlessly provoking war, while the other side gets stuck with the above-noted Chamberlin-ism. its bullshit and is unreflective of the reality of how foreign affairs are conducted.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    While I think the self-description of being an "Advocate for non-military solutions" is both cute and conveniently meaningless, and therefore politically *awesome*...


    "smart diplomacy"

    "soft power"

    "cut wasteful spending"

    Etc...

    My beef is that outside of fairly unique circumstances, non-interventionism is a practical impossibility in most places. Could a libertarian really claim to improve on what Otto von Bismarck did for Prussia -- a country with virtually no geographic defenses and plenty of strong, bellicose neighbors? A crippling inability to go to (and commit to) war didn't seem to help the Polish Commonwealth, or any number of Italian city-states swallowed up by Napoleon.

  • Calidissident||

    Would things have ended any better for the Polish Commonwealth or the Italian city-states had they been more willing to go to war?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Yes, absolutely. Poland in particular was a very modern and advanced nation with a powerful military (especially cavalry) with a governing structure decentralized enough that a noble with interests or sympathies abroad could significantly impair war-making capacity through use of the liberum veto. Eventually, thanks both to other nobles' connections with foreign powers (Russia, Prussia and Sweden in particular) and to local nobles attempting to secede, the Commonwealth's ability to prepare and fight wars went to shit, its territories split amongst powerful neighbors, and the rest is history. Shame, since the reformists had just finished drafting a liberal constitution on US principles which had a decent structure and separation of powers.

    It was only one of many contributors to Poland's demise, but it was a significant one.

  • Malkavian||

    Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth was indeed powerful - they manipulated Russian politics and their military even occupied Moscow during Time of Troubles. They were also abusive, earning great hatred from Ukrainian Nationalists. Such great hatred, in fact, that in 1942-43 Ukrainian Nationalists murdered 100,000 Poles in West Ukraine. Made occupying Germans happy.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth was indeed powerful - they manipulated Russian politics and their military even occupied Moscow during Time of Troubles.


    Absolutely.

    They were also abusive, earning great hatred from Ukrainian Nationalists.


    Only true in part -- the PLC was not a great master, but breakaway of Ukraine was more due to progressively worse serfdom than nationalism (which didn't exist at that time).

    The later Polish republic was no great friend to Ukraine or its ethnic minority, but it is unjust to blame Ukrainian nationalists on a murder which was instigated and coordinated by the highest levels of Stalinist and German government (itself a continuation of Stalinist policies wrt the Polish and Ukranian minorities).

  • Malkavian||

    Hmm... UPA fought for independent Ukraine. They hated Soviets and only tolerated Germans if they didn't cross their path.

  • Calidissident||

    I don't see how non-interventionism is relevant there. That's an example of an empire crumbling internally.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    What, dare I ask, to Rand's opponents suggest in lieu of Rand's "isolationism"?

  • Paul.||

    "The missiles are flying..."

  • GILMORE||

    RAGNAROK OR NOTHING!

    sigh

    See my point above about false dichotomy, please

  • ||

    Yes! Let's go to war against Russia! The Crimeans will welcome us with flowers!

  • BrooklynChick||

    Murder murder murder, kill kill kill

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Meanwhile....

    German troops have occupied the Kerch peninsula, wiping out all Russian armies in the Crimea- only Sevastapol remains pic.twitter.com/eOSSuo760X

    — WW2 Tweets from 1942 (@RealTimeWWII) March 3, 2014


    [removed][removed]

  • wareagle||

    the neo-cons fear the likes of Paul as much as the Dems and they will cannibalize him even faster if possible. They don't want a shooting war with the Russians, either. Even the old dogs remember what mutually assured destruction was about.

  • GILMORE||

    As a side thought =

    This REALLY would be a good time to refresh ourselves on the High Quality of Hilary Clinton's tenure as Sec.State, and the massive improvement in US/Russia relations she shepherded in, hm?

    Really. instead of trying to burnish Rand Pauls non-existent FP credentials, I see tremendous opportunity here to utterly shatter Mrs. 'What At This Point Does it Matter?'

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, it's a great idea to go full amateur hour on foreign policy. It's worked so well for domestic policy, after all.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Obama has a fresh perspective - he doesn't know what *can't* be done!

  • Sevo||

    GILMORE|3.3.14 @ 6:22PM|#
    "As a side thought =
    This REALLY would be a good time to refresh ourselves on the High Quality of Hilary Clinton's tenure as Sec.State, and the massive improvement in US/Russia relations she shepherded in, hm?"

    And isn't it wonderful how the world LOVES the USA now that Bush/3 is in his 2ND term?
    I mean the current Bush was supposed to change EVERYTHING!

  • thorsmjollnir||

    The irony is that most of these "conservatives" are more isolationist than Paul in that they are anti-immigration and would, in all likelihood, favor protectionist legislation that would require the manufacture of certain products in the United States.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    I presume Putin knows there may be some economic blowback. Perhaps he relies on the Europeans to remain dependent on his gas and not do much?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Which, of course, is the economic solution to the mess--make noises about diversifying their oil supply. They should be doing that, anyway.

    The U.S. could export oil, you know. And there are other places, like one of the 'stans, though that would mean challenging the Russians a bit more.

  • Paul.||

    I picture a large tank battle and a race for the Romanian oil fields.

  • Almanian!||

    See my linky to KT McFarland's post below. EXACTLY what she proposes.

    "How to win without firing a shot..." Interesting.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Just make it clear that there are consequences to playing tough guy in Europe. No military threats, just mild economic ones. Only not so mild if they continue to push things.

  • Almanian!||

    "This issss my....BOOMstick!"

  • wareagle||

    and that's where the US runs aground - clarity re: consequences. After the red line debacle, who sees Obama as a serious threat to do anything? I don't disagree with your sentiment, just noting the the CIC is not the guy to deliver it.

  • Sevo||

    ..."Perhaps he relies on the Europeans to remain dependent on his gas and not do much?"

    I presume he relies on the EUROs to act EUROish; flap their jaws and await the US military.

  • Pro Libertate||

    There's another option--the U.S. tells Europe to start building their own military. The Russians don't want that, either.

  • Almanian!||

    *France throws down guns, raises hands*

  • wareagle||

    which moves the spotlight to the Germans. Usually confused with the French.

  • wareagle||

    usually NOT confused with the french.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Tell you what, don't think the Russians aren't scared shitless of a Germany with a real army. In some ways, the EU is Germany and Friends.

  • Sevo||

    ..."the EU is Germany and Friends."

    Or Germany and some cannon fodder.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Exactly. Which is what Hitler wanted to do in the first place. German troops and Western European troops. We're strangely lucky he didn't stick to that plan and decided to take on Russia before resolving things in the west.

    A really clever president would hint that he had no choice but to advise "Europe" to rearm.

  • Sevo||

    "A really clever president would hint that he had no choice but to advise "Europe" to rearm."

    Pretty sure most presidents since Eisenhower have done exactly that. The Euro response is: 'We have to give our populations all this free shit to keep them from becoming communists, so why don't you just keep defending us?'
    IOWs, I'll bet Putin would collapse in laughter at the suggestion that we'd 'unleash' the EUROs.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Roger Daltrey is 70.

    Fuck everyone!

    http://backbeat.cachefly.net/c.....140227.mp3

  • Almanian!||

    "Hope I die before I get old!"

    TOO LATE! PWND

  • ||

    Considering that nobody in the US or the EU has any fucking clue what to do about Russia's invasion of the Crimea, it doesn't seem like Paul has been proven wrong quite yet.

    If Paul was advocating keeping our hands out of the Ukraine, it might be because he didn't want us to put ourselves in the embarrassing position of having Vladimir Putin openly ignoring our wishes.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    If I were cynical, I would say that maybe there's some domestic US politics involved here, with the Republicans trying to get into a dick-waving contest with Obama and the latter improvising actions from his "do something" playbook in order to fend off Republican attacks and distract from his domestic problems.

    Good thing politics stops at the water's edge and isn't affected by such silly considerations! Otherwise I'd be worried.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Paul is neither an isolationist nor a non-interventionist. Per his own statements, he is a liberal realist. While I won't agree with Paul on everything, I find this an improvement on both the ludicrous status quo and the dogmatic non-interventionism held to by his father. Attacks on Paul Jr as an 'isolationism' is more indicative of the nonsense that is post-Cold War foreign policy than anything related to Paul's actual views.

  • lap83||

    "I find this an improvement on both the ludicrous status quo and the dogmatic non-interventionism held to by his father." This, times a billion.

  • Almanian!||

    OK, I feel like 'Murcan posting this, but...I thought there were some good ideas in KT McFarland's column. Guess where I found this? Posted by Tommy Kendall, the racecar driver. WEIRD!

    Anyhoo....have a look. I hope this doesn't make me the new Red Tony...(I like skinny girls if that helps)...

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion.....=obnetwork

  • Paul.||

    Fifth: I will institute a $15 minimum wage, making the U.S. the greatest economic powerhouse in the world after Greece.

  • Almanian!||

    +$8 or so...

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Cheney said: "Don't worry, George. It is just little butt mud on my penis pullin' out and such.. Go back to sleep."

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    If I wanted a real-time account of a short, repulsive man's sexual fantasies, I'd subscribe to Frank Reynolds' twitter feed.

  • Sevo||

    ^?
    Is this one more lame BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!?
    Go fuck your daddy, asshole

  • Almanian!||

    Did someone hear shrieking? ARF ARF ARF!

  • Agammamon||

    Regarding the Ukraine situation, let me run this by you and you tell me if its fucked up.

    We have the Monroe Doctrine that basically states that the Americas are our playground. We've stuck our noses in (and continue to do so) and interfered with the internal politics of damn near every country from Mexico on down. Every time a Middle Eastern peasant *sneezes* in the direction of his local dictator we're there shoving thousand dollar bills in his face to wipe his nose, shouting REVOLUTION! and NO-FLY ZONE!

    How many dictators have we and do we prop up around the world to support our interests?

    Yet here's Russia, which shares a border with the Ukraine, poking around in the Ukraine's internal politics - and we have the temerity to wag our finger at them and tell them that what they're doing is wrong.

    Do our leaders not realize that 'moral authority' is derived from being the 'good guys' and being the 'good guys' is *entirely* dependent on not doing certain actions which are 'bad'?

  • ||

    I'd like to invoke the Roosevelt Corollary and point out that the whole world is Latin America now.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Then they really need to update this video, stat!

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    This presupposes an equivalence between all interventions such that any class of interventionist is equally bad -- a Tonyesque comparison which obscures salient differentiation between specific interventions. Yes, the Dollar Diplomacy era and all the rest were lousy but they don't begin to compare to Tsarist and Soviet Russia's atrocious treatment of its neighbors. Both of our significant expansionist wars (Mex-Am and Span-Am) resulted in treaties and a status for the incorporated peoples which protected their property rights and liberties, and which in short order led to those peoples being granted legal, social and political self-determination and citizenship. I don't think any would deny that being a Puerto Rican or Texan Mexican is worse than being almost anywhere else in Latin America.

    In contrast, almost every Russian intervention was premised on the principle that Russia could do with the conquered as it would, whether in the west (where tens of thousands of Finns were sold as slaves to Istanbul by Peter the Great) or the East (where mass forced conversions and military settlement/occupation was the norm). Ukraine's relationship with Russia was particularly bloody under communism, where millions of Ukrainians died for the noble cause of sating a dictator's paranoia, bloodlust, and ideological ends.

  • Calidissident||

    "I don't think any would deny that being a Puerto Rican or Texan Mexican is worse than being almost anywhere else in Latin America."

    What?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I messed that up.

    Being a Puerto Rican or Texan Mexican is better than being a citizen of almost any Latin American country today.

    My bad.

  • Calidissident||

    Ok that's what I thought you meant, it just stood out to me so I wanted to be sure it was just a typo.

  • Calidissident||

    *To be fair to Russia, Stalin was Georgian and it was technically the USSR. On the other hand, the USSR was the successor state to the Russian Empire and most of its population and leaders (besides Stalin) were Russian.

  • Malkavian||

    Khruschev's power base was in Ukraine (hence Crimea gift), Brezhnev was born in Ukraine... Lenin was Russian, but on German payroll???

    Beria/Trotsky - Jewish??

    Like half the Russian Imperial dynasty was either inbred Germans of they were trying to emulate them very hard.

  • Malkavian||

    In contrast, almost every Russian intervention was premised on the principle that Russia could do with the conquered as it would, whether in the west (where tens of thousands of Finns were sold as slaves to Istanbul by Peter the Great) or the East (where mass forced conversions and military settlement/occupation was the norm)

    What contrast? When United States needed land, it herded Native Americans into reservations. When United States needed slave labor, it imported Africans. Russia enslaved serfs/peasants of various nationalities, and russified/resettled people in accordance with Russia's version of Manifest Destiny.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I am unfamiliar with any US military conflict which ended with the mass enslavement of the people it was fighting. I am also unfamiliar with any group treated as badly in the present as the Chechnyans or most of the other steppe peoples of Russia, almost all of which were subject to mass displacement within living memory (can one even speak of such a thing as the Crimean Greek anymore?).

    Yes, yes, the USA has been very naughty but what I am talking about specifically is the nature of interventions and the treatment of the civilian population. The Trail of Tears was terrible in the context of the US, but fairly unremarkable compared to the pacification of the steppelands and Siberia. People who constantly trumpet the US' goodwill are annoying, but that is a bit different from noting that the US' interventions are quite different from those of Russia and Germany (two of the worst offenders as far as western powers go).

  • Calidissident||

    I think the US's treatment of Native Americans and Russia's treatment of the people of the steppes and Siberia are actually pretty good historical parallels. Not exactly alike, given different contexts, but similar in quite a few regards. The Trail of Tears was far from the only injustice or atrocity committed by the US government or American settlers against Native Americans.

    That said, the overall historical equivalency between the US and Russia is still problematic for many reasons, some of which you've touched on here.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    US's treatment of Native Americans and Russia's treatment of the people of the steppes and Siberia are actually pretty good historical parallels.


    Eh. Like I said, they're OKish but break down once you get into specifics (Russia was very aggressive about forced conversions into the Russian church and their form of settlement was centered around government-directed military colonialism complete with military-style laws and reprisal efforts).

    They are comparable, but the scale of the Russian government's effort (and for that matter, the number and aggressiveness of the steppe peoples Russia tried to master) was much greater than that of the US and thus much bloodier.

  • Malkavian||

    Yes, the chief Russian expansionist idea was this '3rd Rome' nonsense. Russia as messianic Orthodox Church vehicle, centered in Moscow. This is why Russians were fighting Ottomans - to capture Constantinople and establish a church union with Greeks, Armenians, Georgians, etc.

    So on top of ethnic hatred of Tatars, there was also religious hatred. Russian version of Crusades, so that made it more brutal.

    I'm not sure what the religious zeal was for European colonists in North America. I know in Spanish colonies it was pretty bad.

  • Calidissident||

    "Eh. Like I said, they're OKish but break down once you get into specifics (Russia was very aggressive about forced conversions into the Russian church and their form of settlement was centered around government-directed military colonialism complete with military-style laws and reprisal efforts)."

    They're different, but in the US case, you still had a decades-long war of conquest, killing resisters (and in quite a few instances, non-combatants), and forcibly relocating survivors to shitty land to stay put on. Forced religious conversion wasn't as bad as it was in the Spanish colonies, but you also had the Indian boarding schools of the late 1800s and early 1900s.

    "They are comparable, but the scale of the Russian government's effort (and for that matter, the number and aggressiveness of the steppe peoples Russia tried to master) was much greater than that of the US and thus much bloodier."

    That's largely due to the fact that Russia was conquering a much larger geographic area home to a much greater number of people. Something like 90% or more of the pre-Columbian indigenous population died off from disease even before everything else become a factor. The native population was down to something like 250,000 (IIRC) around 1900.

  • Malkavian||

    Lol. Chechens are currently ruled by a Chechen tribal warlord. Yes, he is pro-Russian. And brutal. After Russia lost the 1st Chechen war (which i opposed by the way... I was in Russia at the time), Chechnya got their de facto independence, and was ruled by ambivalent towards Russia warlord. And it was fine, while they were raping, murdering, and kidnapping themselves and foreign aid workers. But then they formed an islamist brigade and attacked Dagestan. What should have Russia done?

    Steppe people were remnants of Tatar States which conquered Russia, ruled it for centuries, and then ran one of the largest slave networks in the world, selling Slavs on Turkish markets. They were hated with passion, and destroyed for all the pain and misery that they caused.

    US was lucky with immune systems of the natives, and being able to buy slaves without actually needing to do the dirty work to capture them. If Native Americans and blacks could conquer European Americans in some sort of race war, and rule them and kill them and trade them for centuries, you guys wouldn't be as nice either. You got lucky, and could afford to be nice. Even to the slaves.

  • Calidissident||

    That's quite the whitewashing of Russian history. They just accidentally ended up with an empire stretching from the Baltic to the Pacific. Had no choice in the matter.

  • Malkavian||

    Why whitewashing? United States was not the only country with Manifest Destiny. I did say that Russians were motivated by the same spirit - to stretch from coast to coast and carry 'Russianness' with them. Russia ended up with the such a huge territory in part thanks to that.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Even if that is accurate, still doesn't contradict what I've said about US history vs Russian.

    "Sure, Russia was meaner but they had to be" isn't an argument that Russia was, in fact, kinder or equivalent to the US' history. (I will agree that the Tatars and other steppe peoples were themselves no angels, but the same is true of many native American tribes like the Commanche -- and I certainly see no past incident wrt Finns and Russians which would account for the mass enslavement of the Finns under Russian occupation.)

    There is a reason that Russia's neighbors loathe the country they separated from, while most US Mexicans have no desire to split from the US and the US' neighbors have a (mostly) good working relationship with the US.

  • Malkavian||

    Finns were a province of Swedish Empire, with which Russian Empire was war... If you are talking about Great Northern War. They were a hostile force at the time.

    There is a reason that Russia's neighbors loathe the country they separated from

    Here's the rub. Some do. Some don't. Georgians don't like Russians. But Ossetians do. Western Ukrainians don't like Russia. Eastern ones do. Crimean population (excluding Tatars) likes Russians. It all has to do with histories going far back, and it's not all back and white.

  • Calidissident||

    Many of the people in the groups you're referring to (Easter Ukrainians, Crimeans) are ethnically Russian

  • Cytotoxic||

    And then America fought a civil war to end all that and had civil rights and rule of law. Jesus peacenazis are as retarded as ever.

  • Calidissident||

    As I said in my reply to IT, the historical equivalency of the US and Russia is most definitely problematic. That said, the comment about the Civil War is still ridiculous considering the Civil Rights movement didn't happen for another 100 years (it's true that the oppression of black people in the US in that timeframe wasn't as bad as the gulags of the USSR or other atrocities committed by the USSR and its predecessor, but it's still absurd to say the civil war "ended all that" or gloss over the fact that there was a century-long delay between the war and the Civil Rights Era), and more to the point, the Indian Wars continued for another 25 years.

  • Malkavian||

    And Russia doesn't have GULAGs now either. Putin is a murderous thug who abuses people's civil liberties, and kills journalists, but he is nowhere near as bad as Communist Party Secretaries.

  • ||

    Americans didn't just decide to invent the slave trade because they needed labor. The slave trade pre-dated America's independence. The slave trade got started by the Spanish bringing Africans to the Carribean to replace the native population which they worked, essentially, to death.

    Later the British and French got in on the action, and it spread to the American colonies.

    America was founded in an environment where slavery was an extant fact which supported the economies of half of the original colonies. Despite that, there was profound opposition to the practice among American colonists. So much that it almost caused the constitutional conference to break down.

  • Malkavian||

    British outlawed slavery way before United States. Actually, US abolition of slavery occurred at about the same time as Russian abolition of serfdom.

    And there where plenty of Russians who opposed Communism. That's what Civil War was all about. With Communists being analogous to Confederacy. Unfortunately, in Russia's case, Communists won.

  • ||

    It was around 20 years before, which was some 60 years after US independence.

    And it might have been easier for Britain to do it, once they didn't have as much of an economic stake in it after the US colonies broke away.

    Obviously the people who actually owned the slaves (i.e. southern plantation owners) were going to be the last people to give them up.

  • Agammamon||

    Just because not all our interventions have been disasters (some quite helpful) and even the disasters are not as bad as the Russian's doesn't mean we have any standing to tell them 'don't do that thing that we do all the time'.

  • CE||

    Isolationism, now! Stop running from it. It means what it's always meant, and it's a good idea.

  • CE||

    I am referring to military isolationism, of course. Trade and immigration should be free and open for all.

  • John C. Randolph||

    My neighbor doesn't throw rocks at my windows, so I think he's a hermit.

    -jcr

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    I like to burn down a random neighbor's house every few years to remind everyone of the importance of the Pax Yenraba.

  • lap83||

    I believe in isolationism, but mostly with regards to the current administration. Send them all to Antartica with nothing more technologically advanced than a tin can telephone.

  • MvMstupid!||

    SO my first Question is did he write the message himself or did he steal it from someone else.

  • Chipperoni||

    stfu eraserhead!

  • Jon Lester||

    I guess my own worldview wouldn't get anyone elected president in this country, so I can only hope Sen. Paul is only saying what he thinks he must. All the same, I'll be keeping score on that count with all of his competitors, and going with whom I think will do the least harm overseas.

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