Russia

Reason Writers Around Town: Michael C. Moynihan on Russian Aggression

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In day two of his week-long Los Angeles Times debate with former Time correspondent Andrew Meier, reason Associate Editor Michael C. Moynihan argues for NATO expansion to former Soviet republics such as Ukraine.

Read all about it here

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  1. And expanding NATO to countries like Ukraine and Georgia has what to do with libertarianism?

  2. It is interesting to note the contrast in tactics between the Russians, and the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, who rely so heavily on airstrikes.

    The U.N. recently found that one of our airstrikes in Afghanistan killed about 70 children. No such mass deaths of children occurred during Russia’s invasion of Georgia.
    The main civilian deaths occurred when Georgian forces fired indiscrimantly on high rise buildings, according to one American on the scene (who is married to a S. Ossetian)

    Thus far, the Russian response in Georgia, though bullying and aggressive, does not approach the callous disregard for civilian deaths displayed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

  3. Abkhazia voted unanimously to break away from Georgia for the THIRD TIME since 1992.

    South Ossetia voted unanimously to break away from Georgia for the THIRD TIME since 1992.

    They are not interested in joining NATO to be protected from Russia because they are mostly Russians, what a surprise! (Georgia is 60% Moslem)

    “When, in the course of human events it becomes necessary………..”

    Looks like the S. Ossetians and Abkhasians want to declare their independence from Georgia, like we did from England.

  4. No offense, but what the fuck is this expand NATO bullshit doing getting published by a libertarian magazine? There is no conceivable national security interest in doing such a thing. Stop it. Stop it now. Jesus fucking Christ on a liberventionist stick.

  5. Uh, Kevin, have you read Reason the last 7 years? It’s been liberventionism central. Seriously, go back through the foreign policy writings of Michael Young, Cathy Young, Ronald Bailey, Jonathan Rauch, and Charles Paul Freund, not to mention Matt Welch on all things Russian.

  6. NATO is the near-perfect realization of the “entangling alliances” that the founders of our country warned us to avoid. Such alliances, and the wars they engender, are true and long-recognized enemies of our liberty. Saying that NATO is essential to preserving our liberty and must be expanded strikes me as tantamount to making the old Vietnam war crime excuse, “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

  7. (Georgia is 60% Moslem)

    Hey TJ, it’s more like 10%

  8. Free countries making alliances with other free countries is somehow unlibertarian? Libertarianism means isolationism? Go ahead, make a case for isolationism in today’s world. It ain’t 1799.

  9. Douglas Gray,

    There is an artificial shortage in Afghanistan, which compels our military to use air strikes in situations better handled by more troops. Unsurprisingly, this leads to more civilian casualties.

    Care to take a stab at how this sorry situation came about?

  10. er, artificial troop shortage, that is.

  11. Now, when you raised Stephen Cohen and his talk of “blowback” and “payback,” I heard an echo. Again, let’s return to that fateful year of 1998, when things went desperately south for Russia and Washington sat idle. Cohen warned then that the U.S. was “in danger of losing our soul in Russia,” that if we didn’t back Russia and extend a generous economic hand in the wake of the “Black Monday” economic crash, “Russia will become the cemetery of America’s moral reputation.” (quoted from Andrew Meier’s counterpoint)

    The lack of charity towards Russia in the 1990’s was disappointing. However, charity belongs in the private sector, not the government. To their credit, the International Society for Individual Liberty put a lot of effort into helping former Soviet communities rebuild. Religious charities from the West also tended to both spiritual and physical needs in Russia. Frankly, I’m most appalled by how American Marixists watched Russians go hungry without lifting a finger. They were enthusiastic about the USSR in the 1970’s, but in the 1990’s the very same people were too busy watching their stock portofios rise to bother with the people they once championed. No wonder so many leftists want to leave Georgia out to dry. They hope sacrificing Georgians to Putin will absolve them for Clinton era neglect.

  12. joe | August 27, 2008, 8:04am | #

    Douglas Gray,

    There is an artificial shortage in Afghanistan, which compels our military to use air strikes in situations better handled by more troops. Unsurprisingly, this leads to more civilian casualties.

    Care to take a stab at how this sorry situation came about?

    I blame the millitary cuts that the Clinton administration pushed through. We used to hire many more soldiers than we currently have. Trying to defend the country on the cheap puts both our troops and nearby civilians at risk.

  13. James Anderson Merritt-1:09 am

    Once again, you the man!

  14. Ed-

    Entering into, finanancing and sustaining entangling alliances with foreign governments is fundamentally at odds with libertarianism as to do the aforementioned necessarily requires the initiation of force. Checkmate!

  15. LOL, jtuf.

    Yes, the Clinton adminstration.

    Lord knows a five year, 150,000-man war of choice isn’t going to put a strain on any pre-existing military commitments.

    Nah, it’s all Bill Clinton’s fault. You know, like everything.

  16. He’s talking RealPolitik

    Russia, China, Europe: one can master the continental mass they share.

    And one will. It’s in our interests that it’s Europe, and Europeans.

    It’s as practical common sense as any other belief.

    Libertarianism doesn’t mean that if you ignore the world, it will ignore you. Whiners, get your heads out of the sand and start using them.

  17. Care to take a stab at how this sorry situation came about?

    Because since the Vietnam War US casualties have been political poison, so we use stand-off weapons to keep the US body count to a minimum?

  18. Because since the Vietnam War US casualties have been political poison, so we use stand-off weapons to keep the US body count to a minimum?

    I guess all that footage of soldiers patrolling on foot in Iraq and kicking in doors was filmed on a sound stage, then.

    “Contortionists” is the word that comes to mind.

  19. Russia, China, Europe: one can master the continental mass they share.

    And one will. It’s in our interests that it’s Europe, and Europeans.

    It is not in our interests that anyone totally control Mackinder’s world island.

    I don’t care who it is-the group that does that will eventually dominate us, too.

    There was a time not too long ago when we had a President who openly stated that domination of Eurasia by any one power was not in the US national interest. I’ll have the exact quote from George H. W. Bush later, when I get home and can pull my copy of ThePerils of Anarchy off the shelf.

    I do think arguing for NATO expansion is hard to justify in terms of libertarian thought, but that’s a separate issue from whether it makes sense in a cold calculation.

    We’ve added a lot of places we’re pledged to defend in the 17 years since the USSR went out of business, and decreased our ability to defend them. Adding two more (one of which has a populace that is, for the most part, against joining NATO, and the other of which has just gone to war with Russia, is not an idea I support.

    I think that using our power to ensure that no one dominates Eurasia (if anyone is threatening to do so) can be defended from a realpolitik and libertarian perspective.

    Of course, one has to talk about whether or not it even makes sense to talk about someone dominating Eurasia in an era with nuclear weapons. Two European powers possess nuclear arsenals as is, and the rest could fund an expansion of those arsenals (make it part of the EU common foreign policy) and cover themselves pretty well.

  20. The Ukrainians, who have a very recent experience with revanchist Russia, feel much the same. President Viktor Yushchenko took to the pages of the Washington Post on Monday to agitate for admission to NATO, arguing that “this conflict has proved once again that the best means of ensuring the national security of Ukraine and other countries is to participate in the collective security system of free democratic nations, exemplified today by NATO.”

    No doubt that explains why close to 60% of Ukrainians don’t want to join NATO.

    I think there is about 0% chance that Mr. Moynihan is ever going to talk about that in one of his articles, though.

  21. Well logically, one could blame either budget-cuts-leading-to-a-smaller-military or the-Iraq-War-and-occupation for the “troop shortage” in Afghanistan. Or both. If you’re most interested in figuring out which to blame more, in order to more effectively point fingers at the other, I would ask whether Clinton’s military budget cuts diminished forces more than they are tied up in Iraq? It’s not a clean comparison, but at least it’s something.

  22. “…such as Ukraine: After a century of occupation, genocide by forced famine and consistent meddling in internal affairs…”

    OK, they can stop right there since they obviously have no clue what they are talking about. Or are lieing on purpose.

  23. We need to help protect Europe from the coming aggression of the great awakening bear. I advocate doubling the troop numbers in Germany and expanding NATO drastically. We need to make some real sacrifices as real americans in order to protect freedom in Eastern Europe. Moynihan shows us why we canno cling to the old man isolationist views of the selfish, penut brained, paulians.

    In order to fund these increased commitments we may need to increase our budgets deficits over the next few years(and marginally raise taxes), but there are plenty of people willing to lend us that money! We should take advantage of their generosity. We cannot fiddle while Europe is overtaken by these proven aggressors.

  24. If a country is a NATO member, the rest are obliged to come to its defence if it is attacked. Do we really want to go to war for any of these places? What American wants to die for Ukraine?

  25. Ed,
    I agree isolationism is bad, isn’t it “isolationist” to make ourselves bigger enemies with one of the biggest countries in the world?

    Shouldn’t we try to IMPROVE relations with Russia ? maybe we could offer to dismantle NATO in exchange for a bilateral agreement to end all tariffs and quotas between Russia and the US and the recognition of Ossetia and Georgia as fully separate soveriegn countries?

    It would certainly be nice to enjoy the peace dividend that would result from us not having to defend germany anymore.

  26. All of these arguments like Moynihan’s seem to assume that the West Europeans are going to stand with us. But I think Germany has fought enough wars with Russia in the last century, thanks. Also, they enjoy being able to heat their homes and drive their cars.

  27. The Reason brand of libertarianism is neoconservativism plus legalized pot.

    Free South Ossetia!

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