Rand Paul

Some Conservatives Aren't Happy About Rand Paul's Comments on Russia

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Credit: Gage Skidmore/wikimedia

Yesterday Jennifer Rubin responded to comments made by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on the turmoil in Ukraine and America's relationship with Russia.

Rubin's column, which has the headline "Rand Paul defends Putin, earns scorn from the right," highlights how alone Paul is in the GOP when it comes to foreign policy, and suggests that Paul's opinions on U.S.-Russian relations are in conflict "with virtually all members of the U.S. Senate."

Rubin goes on to say that House offices were reluctant to comment on Paul's opinions on Russia, and quotes one unnamed aide who said that Paul has "got the perfect foreign policy for the Victorian era." Rubin does not mention whether she reached out to Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) or Rep. Walter Jones, Jr. (R-N.C.), the only two members of the House to vote against H RES 447, a bill "Supporting the democratic and European aspirations of the people of the Ukraine, and their right to choose their own future free of intimidation and fear."

Rubin quotes the American Enterprise Institute's Danielle Pletka and Freedom House's David Kramer, who both unsurprisingly don't quite see eye-to-eye with Paul on foreign policy.

If you read what Paul said about Russia in his recent interview with The Washington Post, it is clear that to describe his statements as some sort of defense of Putin is a stretch.

Speaking to the Post, Paul said that the U.S. should have a "respectful relationship with Russia" and that we should be proud that the relationship we do have with the Kremlin is better than it once was.

From the Post:

"We still need to be conscious of the fact that Russia has intercontinental ballistic missiles," he said. "Though the Cold War is largely over, I think we need to have a respectful—sometimes adversarial—but a respectful relationship with Russia."

"I think we should have trade and relations, criticize them if they have human rights violations," he said. "But for the most part, we should be very glad that we've gotten beyond such a tense situation that we're worried that any minute we could have a nuclear war. We ought to be, I think, proud of where we've gotten with that relationship, and even when we have problems with Russia, realize that we're in a much better place than we were once upon a time."

Encouraging a working diplomatic relationship with a country is different from coming to the defense of that country's awful policies. Indeed, Paul notes in the quote above that the U.S. should criticize governments "if they have human rights violations."

In his interview with the Post, Paul notes that some in the GOP are "stuck in the Cold War era." While America's relationship with Russia is far from ideal, policy makers should resist falling back into the mentality that dominated American policy towards the Kremlin for decades.

As Sheldon Richman noted earlier today at Reason.com, the ongoing turmoil in Ukraine is not the business of the U.S. government:

It is none of the U.S. government's business whether that country is economically closer to Russia or the European Union (EU). The Obama administration should not only forswear direct and covert intervention, it should also shut up. American presidents must learn to mind their own business, even where Russia is concerned.

Read more from Reason.com on Ukraine and Russia here and here.

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  1. Fuck the conservatives. Rand is right. There is no reason to start another cold war with Russia. Is Russia ever going to be the country we hope it would be? NO. But we are not going to change that and it doesn’t have to be an enemy.

    1. It is far easier to influence your friends than your enemies.

    2. Is Russia ever going to be the country we hope it would be? NO.

      Fuck, is America ever going to be the country we hope it would be? NO.

      The only reason we aren’t blissfully ignorant of the fact that we’re being spied upon by our own government is because of China and Russia.

      Now that we’re all largely first-world, it’s nice to have largely first-world problems and first-world options for dealing with them. I don’t know Snowden’s living conditions but I’m thankful he’s not hanging from a rope and very thankful we aren’t all out standing on the banks of the Potomac in winter without any shoes on.

    3. I can’t believe I’m living in a universe where anything he said was remotely controversial.

    4. No kidding. FFS, I like Ukraine and it would be great to see it become a rights-respecting nation. Given its history with Russia, it is completely understandable that its people would rather not have its destiny inextricably linked to Russia — but it is not our call, nor is it in our power to do much about it. Good luck to them, but we’ve got to look out for our own interests and not Ukraine’s.

      1. I like them too. But I am not risking a nuclear or even another cold war to help them. Sorry but just not worth it.

      2. Given its history with Russia, it is completely understandable that its people would rather not have its destiny inextricably linked to Russia

        But roughly half of Ukrainians do want to be linked to Russia.

  2. got the perfect foreign policy for the Victorian era

    They are so unaware and uneducated to realize the “perfect” foreign policy for the “Victorian era” was imperialism; the very policy they advocate and Rand criticizes.

    1. This.

      And *they* have “got the perfect foreign policy for the *Biblical* era”, nyah-nyah.

      1. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

        I think our foreign policy position may be too robust sir. The Hague would like a word with you.

        1. Don’t make us go all Ai on you!

          /Joshua

    2. We were much bigger at the end of the Victorian Era than before. Our foreign policy must have done something right.

      1. “Bigger” is the organizing principle of a cancer cell.

  3. One House aide commented, “This guy’s got the perfect foreign policy for the Victorian era. We’ve tried hiding behind two big oceans in the past. That doesn’t do you a lick of good in the fiber optic era. We live in a globalized world. International trade powers our economy. You either keep America out in front, or you don’t.” He added, “We’ve seen ‘Isolationism, the Movie’ before. It ends badly for the U.S.”

    Can someone translate this?

    1. “CYBER PEARL HARBOR!!! 9-11 TIMES A MILLION!”

    2. It is hard to give a literal translation. But taken as a whole it means the aid is a typical member of our political elite who is totally ignorant of history beyond mouthing a few buzzwords.

    3. “Can someone translate this?”

      Not really.
      It’s an archetype of a Tony response to a reasonable argument, full of strawmen, obfuscation, arm-waving and misdirection.

    4. “I read Thomas Friedman!”

    5. “Can someone translate this?”

      “Neener, neener, neener, the Internet exists and World War 2 happened, therefore you’re an idiot!!!”

    6. his guy’s got the perfect foreign policy for the Victorian era.

      “The sun never sets on the British Empire” and “the White Man’s Burden” are more accurate when talking about Victorian foreign policy than “isolationism.”

      International trade powers our economy.

      Uh, it’s been doing that for over 200 years. Do you think the colonists were just hoarding all of that tobacco, fur, whale oil, cotton, and rum for themselves?

      1. Well, hopefully the rum.

    7. Can someone translate this?

      “I’m highly educated but haven’t learned a goddamn thing. And synergy. Yes, synergy.”

      1. Synergy, now there’s a word I hate almost as much as “cyber”.

    8. “Anyone who disagrees with me is a big poopyhead.” Seriously, that’s about as much substance is there.

      Firstly, nobody has suggested “isolationism”, so it’s purely a smear.

      Secondly, there has never been a time when the US tried isolationism. Seriously, if anyone ever says that, ask them when it was the US tried isolationism. Before WWII? What, you mean the time when we sent troops to Honduras, Mexico, Russia, and China? Well, before WWI, the guy says. What, the time when we sent troops to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua, Panama, the Philippines, etc.?

      1. Before the Spanish-American War, when the federal government actual pretended to take the Neutrality Act seriously.

        1. Too busy killin’ and displacing Indians and threatening Mexico with another go ’round.

          1. Don’t forget the three invasions of Canada; one in 1775 and the others in 1812 and 1813. Then there were the several invasions of Mexico in 1846-48.

            1. I forgot about the coup the US orchestrated in Hawaii in 1893.

  4. If we can get along with Saudi Arabia and even China, for the most part, why not Russia? It’s not the liberal western state we would like it to be, but I think we made a big mistake not trying harder to woo her when the Soviet Union collapsed (and since then). Despite being their Cold War opponent, we had considerable capital with the Russians, which we’ve been burning as much as possible since then.

    Doesn’t mean accepting everything the Russians do, but they might be more inclined to moderate some things if the people recommending moderation were viewed as friends rather than opponents. I’m not sure their current system is very set in stone, it being really based on Putin’s autocracy and not much else.

    1. Maybe getting along with a country war with whom could destroy the world is a pretty good idea. But I am just a bit of a Victorian like that.

      1. It’s not like even now we’re completely opposed. In many respects, we get along with Russia okay. The Cold War was largely unavoidable for the U.S. This situation isn’t.

        Again, we don’t have to agree with internal oppression or empire-building to stay cordial with the Russians.

    2. I’d be happier if we cozied up to Russia and alienated Saudi Arabia and China, personally. Historically, the Russians have been more willing to negotiate, and give us something in return. We get so little out of the other two for everything they get that it’s embarassing that we even talk to them anymore.

      1. I wouldn’t call petroleum and willing buyers for our junk bonds to be “so little”.

        1. Easy credit is a disease.

        2. I wonder if there were fewer willing buyers, might that affect some of our spending habits.

      2. They’re also of greater strategic importance because of Europe and the oil, not to mention their military capability (which isn’t what it was, but the potential still exists).

        I’d happily discard the Middle East, and we probably shouldn’t be using China so much to manufacture cheaper stuff for us, anyway–plenty of other options.

    3. Getting involved in Kosovo really screwed our bilateral relationship with post-Society Russia. Probably the dumbest single foreign policy move since the end of the Cold War.

      1. At least the Albanians really like us now though…

        I had some really great steak in the Serb quarter of Pristina, and a brutal hangover from drinking rak? with a bunch of NGO and UN workers.

          1. November 2007 for a few days. I had an aunt who was working there at the time and stopped in for a visit on my way back from Korea. Then spent a few weeks in the Balkans, Slovenia and Hungary.

            It was a worthwhile stopping point and all of the NGO workers wanted to see the UNMIK stamp because they don’t get it for reasons I didn’t fully grasp, and nobody actually visits Kosovo just to visit Kosovo.

    4. I don’t think Russia could have ever ben our friend. They are a culturally backwards belligerent bunch. Racist, homophobic etc. Wooing them is a waste of time.

  5. They’re coming right at us!

  6. Some Conservatives Aren’t Happy About Rand Paul’s Comments on Russia

    Surprise.

    NEVER let an opportunity to poke another nation in the chest go to waste.

    They hate us for our FREEDUMZ!

    1. And as countries go, Russia isn’t even that bad. I wouldn’t want to live there. But I would take living there over living in China or North Korea, or pretty much any of the Arab states. And frankly, some of the shit that we bitch about Russia doing is no better here. I fail to see how sending Pussy Riot to prison for two years for the crime of trespassing on a church is any worse than sending someone to federal prison for decades for the crime of possessing drugs.

      1. Russia isn’t even that bad. … But I would take living there over living in China

        You either love the ice and cold, or you’re nuts.

        1. I am not nuts. I am pretty familiar with how China works and I wouldn’t want to live there. Not that Russia is much better. But China is still worse.

          1. But China is still worse.

            In what ways do you believe they’re worse?

            1. They have to resort to panoramic murals to let citizens see what a sunset still looks like.

            2. Russia, as far as I know doesn’t execute anywhere near as many people as China. Russia doesn’t have near as many prisoners of conscience as China. China has hundreds of thousands of people rotting in Gulags for the crime of being in the Fulong Gong or being a Muslim or Christian who rejects the state version of it. Russia doesn’t do anything near that bad. In fact, one of the reasons why people noticed the Russian anti-gay laws so much is that they are a bit of a departure from their previous laws. If China did that, no one would notice.

              Also, there are very credible claims of China engaging in things like organ harvesting of their political prisoners. China is not quite the nightmare state it was under Mao, but it is closer than it is generally seen to be.

              1. Russia, as far as I know doesn’t execute anywhere near as many people as China.

                Russia doesn’t execute anywhere near as many people as the US as well, considering that capital punishment is illegal in Russia.

                But I understand where you’re coming from now.

                1. You just get mysteriously shot – well, if you are a reporter or an investment banker or such.

              2. OK, I get what you’re saying now, but I think I would change what you said originally (correct me if I’m wrong) to “I would rather be a Russian living in Russia than a Chinese living in China.”

                Because for foreigners, things are quite different. And in China, it’s pretty obvious you’re a foreigner even before you open your mouth. I got treated like near-royalty when I lived in China, even by most police.

                1. Good point PR.

      2. And they let Pussy Riot out! How many dopers has Obo released?

        1. TEAM Red won’t let him! They’ve intimidated him into not using plenary power to pardon convicts!

      3. Or making crappy Youtube videos.

  7. Moscow in summer in the late 90s; gorgeous slavic women wearing see-through tops.

    A nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

  8. One must be willing to invade any country at a moments notice or you are an isolationist.

    1. Just like you must be willing to put someone in prison for tax evasion or you’re selfish.

  9. “””””Supporting the democratic and European aspirations of the people of the Ukraine, and their right to choose their own future free of intimidation and fear.”””

    I am confused on who this is supporting. Is it the protesters who overthrew their government or the democratically elected government overthrown by protesters? And Russia is also part of Europe.

    1. Its code language for “Russia – stay out of May elections”

      Or what? “Or else we will make more statements of support for the aspirations of…”

  10. *When* some other nation tries sanctioning or invading the United States because of “human rights violations” or “crimes against humanity” or “suppressing peaceful protest”, will people like the “one unnamed aide” be applauding?

  11. “We ought to be, I think, proud of where we’ve gotten with that relationship, and even when we have problems with Russia, realize that we’re in a much better place than we were once upon a time.””

    I think this is the most accurate foreign policy statement he’s ever made.

    I’m just curious if he appreciates how we got to this particular place. Or how some of our allies like say the Czech Republic, Poland, et al, feel about staying in this particular place.

    1. Dare I say it sounds almost…Presidential?

      Oh, wait, there wasn’t any bleating about red lines or grandstanding on the bodies of dead children, so obviously this just shows that Paul is the heir of Neville Chamberlain, or something.

      1. No.

        Not that ‘reduction ad absurdum’ isn’t the most common retort to any suggestion that “principled non-involvement’ isn’t by default the ideal posture in every possible situation.

        but it is instructive to meet people who lived in countries once controlled by the Soviets, and listen to their views on how American diplomacy was instrumental in their subsequent liberation.

        And to also take note that these same ‘allies’ of ours have a major stake in the outcome in the Ukraine.

        But please, continue with the hysterical overblown Let’s Start WWIII idea.

  12. Funny how Reason isn’t anywhere near as gung-ho about the rebellion in Ukraine as they were about the so-called “Arab Spring” in the early going.

    1. Why should they be, in your view?

      1. I don’t know. But it seems to me like the question is why should we be more supportive of Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood than pro-western Ukrainians?

        1. Mike makes an interesting point.

        2. Your positions is that all of the Arab Spring movements were Al Qaeda/Muslim Brotherhood fronts?

          1. No, his position is that even if you sincerely opposed Mubarak and sincerely wanted an Egyptian republic, you should have been shot down in the streets with US support because if you succeeded, Al Qaeda might attain power in the resulting vacuum.

          2. My position isn’t particularly important, and this is an obvious attempt to deflect away from my point. Nevertheless:

            #1: My position was a hell of a lot more closer to being accurate than the position that the Arab Spring was all a bunch of modern day Thomas Paines.

            #2: Our government right now as we speak is taking actions both overtly and clandestinely to try and help overthrow Assad, just like we helped to overthrow Mubarak and Ghadafi, and this journal barely even makes a peep about it.

            1. Mike makes an interesting point.

            2. Like I said.

      2. it is a bit curious, don’t you think? The Arab world has zero connection to democratic style govt, yet the media narrative was that of Prague on the Nile or Euphrates.

        At least the old Soviet bloc nations have an idea of what free societies look like having lived so close to them. Democracy seems a far more natural fit for them than the Middle East nations.

        1. The Arab world has zero connection to democratic style govt…

          Not zero, BassBoat, but very little. I offer to you the shining and singular example of Lebanon during the sixties. And I’ll withold comment on what external factors destroyed Lebanese democracy and thereby retarded democratic process in the region.

          1. I won’t: it was the PFLP’s decision to move there and consequent Israeli intervention.

    2. I would say the level of tyranny was exponentially greater in the countries undergoing the Arab Spring than is Ukraine. Ukraine has democratically elected rulers and a chance at joining the EU. Countries in the Arab world are light years even from that.

      1. I thought the defacto policy of ‘mind yer bizness’! libertarians was “WHO CARES?”

        i.e. “Its their problem” – none of this is stuff we should have any opinion about whatsoever because NON-INTERVENTION DERP

        1. It’s perfectly consistent and reasonable to be delighted about developments you would not support using armed force to attain.

          On virtually EVERY ISSUE IMAGINABLE, both foreign and domestic, libertarians acknowledge goods that are praiseworthy, but not worthy of compulsion.

          I mean, how could anyone be a libertarian for ten minutes and not fucking pick that part up?

          1. I mean, how could anyone be a libertarian for ten minutes and not…

            Ah. Here’s yer problem.

          2. I mean, how could anyone be a libertarian for ten minutes and not fucking pick that part up?

            ^This. But one doesn’t even has to be a libertarian; you can’t seriously engage libertarianism for ten minutes without picking up on that. Unless one is dull-witted or dishonest, of course.

          3. “Fluffy|2.27.14 @ 12:21PM|#

            It’s perfectly consistent and reasonable to be delighted about developments you would not support using armed force to attain

            No doubt, and I’m not even talking about that.

            What I’m talking about is the sudden lack of interest in people liberating themselves from a Russian-backed puppet-regime, compared to people liberating themselves from (say, in Egypt’s case) an American-backed puppet-regime.

            The point made above is that there is a noticeable difference in emphasis in Reason’s sudden “non-intervention” hardon.

            My person opinion is that the whole “non-intervention” schtick is horseshit as a rule, and that any position on ‘do something’ or ‘do nothing’ should be based on the merits of the case. Which no one apparently seems interested in doing, ever, at all, in any of these cases, and instead default to this utopian nontervenshun theme.

            1. My person opinion is that the whole “non-intervention” schtick is horseshit as a rule, and that any position on ‘do something’ or ‘do nothing’ should be based on the merits of the case.

              That would be fine, as long as the whole merit-consideration piece takes place after we have a government that only possesses libertarian powers and resources.

              Because if our tax system, currency system, selective service system, etc. were redesigned on libertarian lines, pretty much every case examination would conclude, “We don’t have a strong enough state to project power into the middle of Eurasia, so fuck it, I guess.”

              1. “That would be fine, as long as the whole merit-consideration piece takes place after we have a government that only possesses libertarian powers and resources.”

                … is this called ‘dishonest debate’? Because I seem to recall living in the Here and Now, and not “Libertopia” just yet?

            2. My person opinion is that the whole “non-intervention” schtick is horseshit as a rule, and that any position on ‘do something’ or ‘do nothing’ should be based on the merits of the case. Which no one apparently seems interested in doing, ever, at all, in any of these cases,

              Not me. I reject The Faith of Noninterventionism.

            3. “My person opinion is that the whole “non-intervention” schtick is horseshit as a rule, and that any position on ‘do something’ or ‘do nothing’ should be based on the merits of the case.”

              Good thing we have a wise government in place to make good judgments based on “the merits of the case.”

              1. “Good thing we have a wise government in place to make good judgments based on “the merits of the case”

                Is the idea that governments are so fatally flawed institutions that they are fundamentally incapable of acting in the best interests of the nation-state as a whole, and therefore should necessarily hobble themselves in any relations with the outside world?

                Look, all I’m asking for here is someone to actually *justify* a position based on the, rather than to maintain a ‘de facto, dogmatic libertarian thesis’ of non-intervention without any reflection on possible benefits or liabilities of any particular action.

                In my view, we’re better off putting a little pressure on the Russkies to lay off rolling tanks into Kiev. This isn’t exactly a controversial “commit military force” argument. Its simply saying that in the current conditions, we’d consider it an unwelcome inflammation of the situation.

                Aka Diplomacy. Yes, it implies force behind it. Everything does. See Max Weber, Machiavelli, etc.

                1. “based on the *merits*…”

                2. “Is the idea that governments are so fatally flawed institutions that they are fundamentally incapable of acting in the best interests of the nation-state as a whole”

                  I would say that yes, given the power, they are incapable of acting in the best interests of the nation-state as a whole (whatever that means, and to whatever extent that’s actually a desirable goal) consistently, whether we’re talking domestic or foreign policy. There may be times where they will do so, but I certainly do not trust them to wisely exercise this power or compass.

                  “Look, all I’m asking for here is someone to actually *justify* a position based on the, rather than to maintain a ‘de facto, dogmatic libertarian thesis’ of non-intervention without any reflection on possible benefits or liabilities of any particular action.”

                  Your position is every bit based on a moral position as mine is. You just think it isn’t because you pretend to be above it by playing the “I’m just a stone-cold realist who has no time for these silly moral games” card.

                  1. “Your position is every bit based on a moral position as mine is.”

                    I’m asking people to base foreign policy positions on reasoned arguments of “this provides for the best/better outcomes for the United States *because* X”

                    aka = “Reasons”

                    You’re calling this ‘moralism’?

                    You don’t want to have reasons for “not being diplomatically involved” in the Ukraine? Fine. I think these is actually a case to be made for either side. However, you refuse to do so = and call my request for ‘cost-benefit’ judgements ‘moralistic’.

                    Because you *say so*?

                    “For a magazine called Reason…”

                    DRINk

                    1. “I’m asking people to base foreign policy positions on reasoned arguments of “this provides for the best/better outcomes for the United States *because* X””

                      Do you not see the moral judgement you’re making in asking this question?

                      It’s not my problem if you’re so blinded by fancying yourself as a “realist” that you can’t see that.

                    2. “”Do you not see the moral judgement you’re making in asking this question?””

                      No.

                      Explain how =

                      – rational assessments of benefits/liabilities and determination of policy based on *preferred outcomes*

                      vs.

                      – Pricipled Opposition to Diplomacy Writ Large (aka “Non-Interventionism”)

                      …are supposed to be the same, again?

                    3. You’re demanding that the terms of the debate revolve around “the best/better outcomes for the United States.” If you can’t see the moral judgement you’re making there, then I can’t help you.

                      Let me offer an example you might understand. Let’s suppose we were talking about a domestic issue, like government spending, and Tony (or some other progressive) said something like “‘I’m asking people to base policy positions on reasoned arguments of ‘this provides for the best/better outcomes for the country *because* X'”

                      Do you not see the problems a libertarian might have with someone demanding to frame the debate in that way?

                    4. “You’re demanding that the terms of the debate revolve around “the best/better outcomes for the United States.””

                      yes. You see, I live here. it puts the “Self” in “Self-interested”

                      “Do you not see the problems a libertarian might have with someone demanding to frame the debate in that way?”

                      No. Because I make the case that libertarian views are defensible based on exactly that kind of Rawlsian, ‘what is best for me is also best for all’ reasoning.

                    5. “yes. You see, I live here. it puts the ‘Self’ in ‘Self-interested'”

                      Ok, but that doesn’t actually answer my point. You’re demanding the debate be on your terms, when not everyone agrees with that. Why should what’s in GILMORE’s self-interest be the basis of policy? What reason is there actually to think that what’s best for you is best for all? There are plenty of times when self-interests conflict, and there are plenty of instances where someone can do something in their self-interest that the vast majority of people who agree is morally abhorrent.

                      I can at least respect you for being intellectually consistent, but I’m not sure why you’re so shocked that people have a different perspective than you. Not everyone is a libertarian for the same reasons you are.

                3. “non-intervention without any reflection on possible benefits or liabilities of any particular action.”

                  To me, non-interventionism as a general philosophy does this to an extent, and I even think it’s not at all difficult to fit it into your “interests” method. Strict non-interventionists believe that a government’s intervention into the affairs of foreign countries is necessary and justified when those interests are the defense of its citizens. Really, the only difference between that and your position is that you have a much broader definition of “interests” that justify government intervention.

                  “In my view, we’re better off putting a little pressure on the Russkies to lay off rolling tanks into Kiev. This isn’t exactly a controversial “commit military force” argument. Its simply saying that in the current conditions, we’d consider it an unwelcome inflammation of the situation.”

                  Perhaps I’m not enough of a non-interventionist for your taste, but I wouldn’t really have a problem with just letting the Russians know that we would prefer they not inflame the situation. That said, I would be pretty cautious in how I went about doing that, and your next paragraph is a little worrying, because I don’t think threatening Russia with force would be a wise decision, on any sort of grounds, including your precious practical, utilitarian “interests.” Other people have given pretty good reasons why.

                  1. “”Other people have given pretty good reasons why.”‘

                    For the record, I refer to this sort of thing now as “Pulling a Bo”

                    1. Really? Bo is the only person to ever suggest that it’s not necessary to copy and paste obvious arguments that have been repeated over and over in a thread by multiple people?

                    2. “Bo is the only person to ever suggest that it’s not necessary to copy and paste obvious arguments”

                      So “obvious” they never get said in the actual context of making a point.

                      Yes, bo does this a lot.

                    3. Ok gil, just to make you happy, I’ll copy and paste John and Immaculate Trouser’s takes on the subject. They were both in the first five comments in this thread:

                      “Fuck the conservatives. Rand is right. There is no reason to start another cold war with Russia. Is Russia ever going to be the country we hope it would be? NO. But we are not going to change that and it doesn’t have to be an enemy.”

                      “No kidding. FFS, I like Ukraine and it would be great to see it become a rights-respecting nation. Given its history with Russia, it is completely understandable that its people would rather not have its destiny inextricably linked to Russia — but it is not our call, nor is it in our power to do much about it. Good luck to them, but we’ve got to look out for our own interests and not Ukraine’s.”

                      I agree Bo does a lot, but he’s hardly not the only person who does it. It’s not like I was referring to one obscure post in the middle of the thread, anyone who glanced over the very beginning of this thread would have caught those comments.

                    4. I have no grief with either point made there (and apologies for not noting, but I tend not to read the entire thread in advance…)

                      both presume an either/or situation that I consider unnecessarily self limiting. Is taking a side in the Ukrainian conflict a guarantee of problems with Russia? Maybe not = if we engage with Russia to help them find a happy(happier?) place where their needs are addressed. There is such a thing as ‘win-win’ which we can try and aim for.

                      Simply writing off diplomatic engagement due to a presumed nasty outcome guarantees only an outcome we have no control over.

                      again to the point of “intervention” as a term = engagement in a situation can and should have multiple dimensions. “non” engagement has only one dimension. this is why I find the entire term so distasteful in the realm of foreign affairs. It pretends to a false, bi-polar reality that does not exist, and posits a monolithic attitude towards other nation states which doesn’t reflect the real myriad differences in relations. ‘Engagement’ is already something of a given = the ‘how?’ of it is where the conversation starts.

                  2. “I wouldn’t really have a problem with just letting the Russians know that we would prefer they not inflame the situation”

                    Well then, you are an insane republican warmonger according to Sheldon.

                    1. Who said I agreed with every word Richman said? I saw the headline earlier, but I didn’t bother reading his article

                    2. its full of pearls of libertarian foreign policy wisdom, like the following =

                      -‘What’s happening in Ukraine is sad.’

                      – ‘It is none of the U.S. government’s business whether that country is economically closer to Russia or the European Union (EU).’

                      -‘It would be best if Russia and the EU did not press agreements on Ukraine ‘

                      -‘Intervention is more likely to make things worse than better’

                      What’s most fascinating about all of these value-laden insights is he never mentions a *single reason why* anything is “sad” or “best” or “worse” or “more likely”. He simply states these things to be self-evident and therefore U.S. DIPLOMACY BAD!!

                      Maybe you’re starting to get an idea about what my problems are with the Libertarian Foreign Policy Dogma.

                    3. Also – Two examples given by Sheldon Richman of “horrible, shitty behavior by the US Govt” in the foreign policy realm =

                      1 – “the U.S. government had a hand in the Georgian and Ukrainian “color revolutions,” which brought pro-U.S. politicians to power, at least for a time.”

                      2 -“America’s rulers did much more than spike the football when the Soviet Union peacefully disintegrated. In every conceivable way, they exploited the occasion to assure that the United States would maintain its status as sole superpower and global hegemon”

                      The Horror.

                      Its almost as if acting in our own self-interests is being considered *a bad thing*

                      And what’s most remarkable, again – he doesn’t even bother trying to explain *why* any of this has particular negative implications at all. Its just accepted as ‘granted’. I have no doubt there *might* be a case for why these things are ‘bad’, its just that he doesn’t say.

                      So you’ll forgive me if I accuse “nonterventionisters” as having a penchant for irrational moralizing.

                    4. “Its almost as if acting in our own self-interests is being considered *a bad thing*”

                      Considering it’s Richman, who knows what exactly he’s talking about in that quote, but generally speaking for myself, I don’t think the insistence on global hegemony and all that entails by US politicians is in any way in the best interests for the country as a whole. That’s a fundamental flaw in your reasoning; you actually seem to think politicians are going to make wise foreign policy decisions based on the actual best interests (which, once again, is in and of itself subjective) of the country, and not idiotic blunders that they think are best for themselves and their cronies.

                      Regarding Richman, every school of thought on anything has people who aren’t good at making arguments. I could quote quite a few intellectual midgets promoting the “US must act in its ‘interests'” line of thought.

                    5. “…you actually seem to think politicians are going to make wise foreign policy decisions based on the actual best interests …of the country”

                      Well its either that, or “don’t try” – the latter apparently being the conceived alternative which I keep pointing out isn’t really an option.

                      or, as another example of libertoid “idealism” =

                      “Someday, if we’re lucky, people will stop thinking of trade as a matter of state policy. Why must Ukraine ? meaning its politicians ? sign an agreement with either the EU or Russia? Why can’t individual Ukrainians and private Ukrainian companies trade freely with whomever they want? (This question also applies to America and every other country.)”

                      yes, that *would* be nice, Sheldon. unfortunately we have the more pressing matter of *current reality* to deal with.

                    6. “Well its either that, or “don’t try” – the latter apparently being the conceived alternative which I keep pointing out isn’t really an option.”

                      Well to be fair, I’m not saying don’t try; I just have a much narrower definition of “interests that require government intervention” than you do. Namely, the protection of rights. You can call me a naive idealist and pride yourself on being a realist (I find it hilarious btw that the guy who’s trusting the government with this kind of power with massive potential of abuse is somehow the stone-cold realist), but your argument is no more logical or less emotional than mine is. My criteria for a legitimate intervention abroad are: 1) Is the intervention justified in actually being in defense of the nation and its citizens? 2) Is it capable of realistically accomplishing its goals 3) Is it cost-effective?

                      This is essentially an extended definition non-interventionism (my brand of it, anyways) and the only real difference I can see is that your #1 is “Does this further America’s interests?” If I substitute my definition of legitimate government interests instead of yours, it’s the exact same thing. Yet somehow, I’m a naive idealist promoting something that’s not an option, and you’re the wise realist who is nothing but a bastion of logic and reason. Just because you define “interests” (at least ones that justify government intervention) far more broadly than I do.

                    7. “This is essentially an extended definition non-interventionism”

                      đŸ™‚

                      (or maybe you’ve inadvertently given up trying to defend a principle and just said, ‘our definition of interests may differ = but we still need to define them and have criteria based on them to determine actions’)

                      I’m happy enough with that.

                    8. And send Sheldon a message if you want to debate him, because I can assure that I’m not him.

                    9. My longer winded beef was already posted there. All I got was Mary and Mandalay yapping. No one wants to go back there now.

    3. Ukraine already had a parliamentary democracy, albeit a flawed one.

      The Ukraine event seems to have proceeded:

      1. The slightly-less-than-a-majority pro-Europe faction did not like what the possesses-a-slight-majority pro-Russian faction decided to do on a trade agreement.

      2. The former faction took to the streets and occupied a square and various public buildings.

      3. The latter faction started shooting.

      4. REBELLION BITCHEZ

      That’s not really as easy an issue to get excited about as “dictator of decades-long standing in non-democratic (even formally) country gets toppled”. It’s just not.

      I know the pro-Russian forces shooting at protestors screams “oppression”, but I couldn’t help but thinking (and I think I posted this) that if a bunch of libertarians seized a few square blocks of DC the way parts of Kiev were seized, the police and National Guard would shoot us down with much less restraint than the Ukrainian security forces showed. There is video of protestors seizing riot equipment and beating cops with it, and if that happened in DC or NY the police would shoot everything in front of them, and then shoot everyone who ran for good measure. And the public would yawn.

      1. The Guard wouldn’t shoot anyone. The metropolitan police on the other hand…

        1. Not anywhere outside of Ohio anyway.

      2. http://dcist.com/2012/02/eight…..inue_c.php

        There was another eruption in the crowd when a police officer was struck in the face with a brick. The protester who flung the brick was promptly tackled to the ground and arrested, the officer was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for injuries.

      3. Fluffy presents a grossly distorted view of Ukraine. Does Putin pay you by the word?

        The trade thing was just the straw that broke a camel’s back. Yanukovych was centralizing power for himself and grossly corrupt. Activists got jailed for no good reason. Etc

    4. The Arab Spring (and maybe this is just my opinion) was/is a much much much bigger deal with much broader long term implications than this thing in Ukraine.

  13. Why on Earth would you link to Jennifer Rubin?

    I can see linking to Krugabe or the Sadbeard just for the lulz, but linking to Rubin is like linking to Hitler.

    1. linking to Hitler

      Nice band name.

        1. Another nice band name.

    2. Diversity, plus it is getting hard for Reason to point to Brooks and Frum or Peter King and John McCain as emblematic of “conservatives” anymore.

  14. America’s influence works best when we set an example for others, and not so well when we hector others like a nuclear-armed schoolmarm.

    1. I find your ideas intriguing. Do you have a newsletter?

  15. Maybe Rubin would have Rand draw an arbitrary red line that the Russians may not cross. It worked great for Obama.

    1. More like as series of lines, each transgressed in turn, as depicted in one of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons.

      1. Fearless Freep?! That’s my boy! Yipeee!

        1. I know this defies the law of gravity, but you see, I never studied law.

  16. Oh, by the way? Mary is now shitting all over the ‘other’ “DONT INTERVENES UKRAINES!!!!”-thread.

    In what can only be called a nexus-of-awesome, she’s accusing you all of threatening the Russians with nuclear war because of Obama-Derangement-Syndrome.

    No, I don’t know what it means either, but sometimes I enjoy it.

    1. I’m having trouble understanding this. Calls for nonintervention = threatening nuclear war?

      1. “Pro Libertate|2.27.14 @ 12:52PM|#

        I’m having trouble understanding this”

        You saw the “Mary” part, right?

        Its SUPPOSED to make no sense. Or rather, she thinks its some incredible insight into how libertarians are in fact warlike cretins who hate Obama because he’s better at it than BOOOSH and shit.

        Meanwhile, I think she translated my comments as DEFCON5 pre-emptive nuclear strike by-default.

        I *am* so General Ripper at times.

  17. Oh, and Mary is not alone = the ‘Mandalay’ creature has also risen from the depths…

    Witness its awesome powers =

    On The Road To Mandalay|2.27.14 @ 10:54AM|#

    The “Cold War” is over, although there are many people in The Government who apparently do not think it is, or perhaps do not want it to be. In any event, the Ukraine is none of our business….

    Like it or not, we are going to have to evacuate Europe one of these days whether we like it or not. Maintaining Armed Forces around the globe cost billions. Those who like to rant and rave about national health care reform, Social Security, and Medicare better think about the high cost of defense also. And don’t forget that running all over the globe did not prevent 9/11!
    ….
    HOWEVER (always a great qualifying word) there is always the other side of the coin which tells us that if the United States of America does not “patrol” the world, then some other country or coalition of countries will. World War II should serve as a good reminder of this. To have done nothing about Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan would have meant our destruction. Now China is on the rise, and Japan is rattling sabers again, so who can say that we should abandon places like South Korea?! Allow Russia to do as it pleases? That requires some rethinking also.”

    …”And in Summation! = that was the book I read this summer. The End.”

    DEEP STUFF.

    1. So we turn Ukraine into a parking lot to protect ourselves from the inscrutable and heathen China-man?

      Sounds legit.

      1. “‘the Ukraine is none of our business….you spineless appeaser!!””

  18. Rand Paul is right.

  19. What is the distance between Russia and China, geographically and diplomatically? Isolating the rich-in-resources Russia is foolish.
    Rand Paul gives voice to wisdom here in that he takes a long view of the situation instead of the reactive approach of our present executive “branch”.

  20. Gilmore,
    The Ukrainians we support will appreciate our help for 5 years. The Ukrainians we oppose will hate us for generations. Just like in every other intervention we have been in for the last few decades.
    That’s an actual realist perspective.
    Which of our dozens of post WW2 interventions would you can a realist success?

  21. What? Jen Rubin advocate any policy other than what Israel would do if in the USs’ position?

    Neocon, Neocon, fly away home.
    Neocon, Neocon, fly away home.

  22. What I’m talking about is the sudden lack of interest in people liberating themselves from a Russian-backed puppet-regime, compared to people liberating themselves from (say, in Egypt’s case) an American-backed puppet-regime.
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