Ukraine

Ron Paul vs. Students For Liberty President: Crimea's Real Crisis?

|

Gage Skidmore

Russia may be seizing Ukraine's warships and massing tens of thousands of troops and armaments along the eastern border while President Obama warns for the umpteenth time that they better cut this stuff out, seriously, or else there will be costs, but that's not where the real battle for Crimea is. It's all about former Rep. Ron Paul and Students For Liberty (SFL) President Alexander McCobin and the "right" stance for libertarians.

Recap of Round One:

Ron Paul penned an op-ed last week stating that the referendum in Crimea over joining the Russian Federation was legitimate and that the "occupation" by the Russian military did not have an impact on the vote. He contended that it's a "so what?" issue for Americans, and the U.S. government should focus on ending its own meddling around the world.

McCobin wrote on Tuesday that Paul "gets it wrong when he speaks of Crimea's right to secede" because it was "annexed by Russian military force at gunpoint and its supposedly democratic 'referendum' was a farce." He fires some shots saying, "it's much too simplistic to solely condemn the United States for any kind of geopolitical instability in the world."

Round Two:

Paul didn't shoot back himself, but Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute, yesterday asserted that McCobin has "no evidence" that Russian military played a role in annexing the region, and that if Crimeans wanted to remain part of Ukraine, they could have just delegitimized the referendum by "stay[ing] home" and not voting at all.

MGM

McAdams dropped some more bombs. He accused McCobin of being a "neocon warmonger," suggested that his organization "is in bed" with the National Endowment for Democracy, and warned that SFL would experience an exodus of members for attacking Paul.

McCobin retaliated within hours. He wrote that McAdams made too "many false claims" to bother addressing, but wrote:

I don't deny that any part of a country (thus also Crimea) has the right to secede; I just respectfully disagree that what happened between Crimea and the Russian Federation was a peaceful secession, rather than an armed invasion….

We ought to oppose war, military aggression, and farcical democratic posturing by all governments….In this case, I believe we ought to not only call for the United States to not engage in war with Ukraine, we ought to call for Russia not to engage in war with Ukraine.

He concluded with a call for a truce, explaining that he still supports Paul, even if they disagree, and "hope[s] that [his readers] will work with the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity."

Round Three:

The fighting has spread to Antiwar.com. God help us all.

At The Libertarian Standard, Anthony Gregory suggests that both sides have merits and demerits, but that "refighting the Cold War within libertarianism will only harden people's hearts, polarize their loyalties, and ultimately compromise their principles and clarity of thought. I plead young libertarians to refuse to be a proxy belligerent in this Cold War."

Round Four:

Despite libertarian ideological infighting, Crimea is still annexed, Ukraine's eastern border is still threatened, and the world keeps spinning.

Advertisement

NEXT: More Pot, Less Crime: Medical Marijuana States See Drops in Assaults and Homicides

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I actually think this is perfectly heathy and makes the very important point that Ron Paul doesn’t speak for all libertarians.

    It’s also good for Rand since he has a way of separating himself from his father’s outlandish views on foreign policy, the issue he is most vulnerable on.

    1. True. This is the liberty movement Ron Paul started severing its umbilical cord.

      1. I believe Paul himself cut the umbilical cord, him being an OBGYN and all.

  2. My understanding of the referendum in Crimea was that they could choose to secede now or later. Not at all was not an option. Doesn’t seem very legitimate to me.

    1. so does that make it the US’ problem or are you just pointing to the wording and how secession has been interpreted?

      1. Saying the referendum was a sham is in no way equal to saying that it is a problem for the US to solve.

        You can simultaneously believe that Russia illegally annexed Crimea and that the US has no business being involved in the dispute beyond issuing vague platitudes supporting the right for free people to self determine their government and condemning the use of force.

        1. ^^This^^

          People seem to have a problem with splitting on things like this.

      2. What Rasilio said.

    2. I believe the there were two distinct votes:

      vote a) Should Crimea secede and form an independent union?

      vote b) should Crimea secede and request Russian Federation admission?

      A person could vote no on both, a defact vote for no secession.

      1. There weren’t. You are misinformed. There was one vote with two options on the ballot, one of independence and one joining Russia. Voters could mark that they favored one or the other. By the pre-election announced rule, any failure to mark a choice would be treated as a spoiled ballot and not counted at all; so would a choice of both.

        But that doesn’t matter, actually. Because there is no reason to believe the results would have been accurately reported anyway. When McAdams says Crimeans could have delegitimized the election by staying home, he is ignoring the fact that they may well have. We don’t have any evidence that either the 80% turnout reported or the 96% in favor of Russian annexation reported has any connection with reality. All we have is an assertion by the officials of a Russian-occupied Crimea that the election said that. What reason do we have to believe the officials?

  3. Infighting among Libertarians! NAme calling and wild accusations of statism and insanity!?!

    Spoken like Baldrick of Blackadder I’m shocked at this unexpected development, which we have never seen happen before!

    1. something about hearding cats

  4. Was it legitimate? I do not know.

    Is it our place to determine the legitimacy of foreign elections?

    NO.

    1. Sure, we can determine whether we think it’s legitimate all we like. I think that’s our job. I don’t think you do anything to enforce that judgment.

    2. Ron Paul was implicitly commenting on the legitimacy of a foreign election by presenting the plebiscite as evidence of Crimean desire to secede. If he had no opinion of the referendum’s legitimacy, he wouldn’t present it as meaningful.

  5. Why is it all foreign referendums that don’t agree with America’s view of what’s right are coerced?

    I would personally have liked to seen a third (Ukraine) option on the ballot, but…

    1. I believe this falls within the FYTW principle.

    2. Some do hold that view but it is unlikely that McCobin does.

      The only way this vote could have had any legitimacy is if Russia had waited until after it was held to take any action. Russian troops occupying the country before the vote basically obliterates any pretense of a fair and honest vote because many who might have voted against joining Russia would have been intimidated into not voting at all.

  6. Paul didn’t shoot back himself, but Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute, yesterday asserted that McCobin has “no evidence” that Russian military played a roll in annexing the region, and that if Crimeans wanted to remain part of Ukraine, they could have just delegitimized the referendum by “stay[ing] home” and not voting at all.

    But the fact is that they didn’t stay home; now the Neo-cons and Beltwaytarians find themselves in a bind, so they invent this farce that since there were Russian troops inside Crimea, ipso facto that turns the referendum into a sham. Interestingly enough (and I argued this before) that argument was not offered with the same conviction by these same Neo-cons and Beltwaytarians when the Iraqi people or the Afghan people went to the polls to vote for their governments under the watchful eye of corn-fed, awesomely big and armed thugs donning the American flag. Either the presence of troops delegitimizes a vote or it does not – you can’t argue using Special Pleading fallacies.

    1. But the fact is that they didn’t stay home

      Yes they did.

      so they invent this farce that since there were Russian troops inside Crimea

      Are you fucking joking? Tell us how the JOOS carried out the 9/11 attacks and moon-landings.

      1. Re: Cytotoxic,

        Yes they did.

        No, they didn’t.

        Tell us how the JOOS carried out the 9/11 attacks and moon-landings.

        That’s not a counterargument. And you seem to have flown way past the word “since” in what I wrote:

        “so they invent this farce that since there were Russian troops inside Crimea…”

        My son is also dyslexic, so I kind of understand your predicament…

    2. 123% of the population of Crimea turned out to vote in favor of something 96%-4%

      That’s North Korea-level bullshit.

    3. But the fact is that they didn’t stay home

      No, the claim by the vote-counters is that they didn’t stay home. We have no evidence that the reported 83.1% turnout was anything but a lie.

  7. Damn old Ron can make me cringe. Putin should have invited him over to certify the referendum Jimmy Carter style.

  8. I think Ron nailed the libertarian position when he said “so what?”

    1. Then he shoved his foot completely down his throat.

      1. Sure, libertarianism and elections obviously don’t go together. Just stop at “so what?”

  9. Ron Paul is dead wrong here.

    Yes Crimea has the right to secede from Ukraine

    The problem is they did not vote on secession until AFTER there were Russian boots on the ground occupying the territory which completely illegitimatizes any claims of veracity on the secession vote.

    He is right that the US has no real role to be involved in events there but he is dead wrong to try and claim that it is somehow a peaceful movement of free people even if the majority of Crimean residents support the move

    1. Um…

      Correct me if I’m wrong (and I may be), but don’t the Russians have military bases in Crimea much like we have bases in Italy and Germany?

      Are all Italian and German elections coerced?

      1. Are armed US GI’s patrolling the streets of Rome and Berlin as the residents are voting on whether to become the 51st state?

        1. Is that what was happening?

          I admit I wasn’t following very closely (precisely because I don’t give a shit). What I thought I picked up in snippets was that the war-boners were calling it an invasion, but reasonable folks were saying, no, the Ruskies simple increased their presence in the places they already had troops.

          As OM points out above…The elections in Iraq and Afghanistan were coerced because there were US troops patrolling the streets?

          1. The unmarked Russian troops were outside their bases surrounding Ukrainian bases. Your understanding is wrong it is nothing like US bases in foreign places.

          2. (precisely because I don’t give a shit).

            This happens to be the appropriate libertarian response to Crimea.

      2. They had a leased naval base in Crimea. But during the crisis they had unmarked troops throughout Crimea, securing airports, hospitals, etc. Russia denied these were active duty Russian troops, but the evidence suggests that they were professionally trained and equipped Russians acting to a specific concerted purpose.

  10. Now Lithuania’s calling the US to export gas.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26724081

    Are Russia and the US the only countries on the planet with geologists and petroleum engineers?? ferfuxsake.

    1. This move is so flipping obvious.

      And there is zero chance our moron President will do it.

    2. our energy industry was among the few points of leverage we had, which pretty much guaranteed Obama would never use it.

  11. He [McCobin] fires some shots saying, “it’s much too simplistic to solely condemn the United States for any kind of geopolitical instability in the world.”

    What IS simplistic is your take on what Paul was arguing. He’s not blaming the United States for every possible instability in the world. He was CORRECTLY pointing out that the actions made by the Russian government were in direct response to the State Department’s and the CIA’s meddling in the affairs of the Ukrainians for the purpose of obtaining a new client state for NATO, through their proxy agency of provocation called the National Endowment for Democracy.

    1. Yeah, they’ve been poking the bear since the wall fell.

    2. if memory serves, a similar agency stepped in it in Egypt back when the turmoil there was treated as a news story. I think Ray LaHood’s son was in the middle of that group and a few of its members had been detained.

    3. Tell us how you know Pearl Harbor was carried out by the Lizard People from what you heard when you played your Beatles records backward.

      1. yeah Team Crazypants here.

        What IS simplistic is your take on what Paul was arguing. He’s not blaming the United States for every possible instability in the world.

        No, he’s just saying that this is the United States’ fault, and then when something else in the world happens, that will also be the U.S.’s fault.

        So, no, here he did not blame the US for every instability in the world, but he’ll just blame them for each discrete one…like there’s a difference.

        1. It’s not the fault of the US, but there were definitely American organizations with their hands in shaping the instability.

      2. Re: Cytotoxic,

        Tell us how you know Pearl Harbor was carried out by the Lizard People

        Everybody knows that the FDR government unilaterally imposed an embargo of scrap metal and oil on Japan and poo-pooed the deal that the Japanese PM Fumimaro Konoye and US Ambassador Joseph Grew were drafting and negotiating (with the consequence that the Japanese PM was ousted and replaced by war-mongering Tojo). That much made it clear to the Japanese that the US was not serious about wanting peace and was, instead, preparing to war by moving squadrons of new P40 airplanes and B17 bombers to the Philippines and cramping the Pacific fleet in the forward base of Pearl Harbor. That enticed the Japanese to strike the first blow and take it from there.

        So, no Lizard People. Was it the fault of the US government? You betcha. The Soviets wanted that war and used their man, Harry Hopkins, to convince the incredibly gullible and Sovietphile FDR to reject any deals with Japan.

  12. Russia is in violation of the Budapest Memorandum. As a signatory the US DOES have interests in what is going on.

    1. What is the penalty for violating the Budapest Memorandum? If it’s verbal condemnation, then the sentence has been carried out and we can all stop talking about it. If it’s something else, why have we only verbally condemned Russia?

      1. If Russia nukes Ukriane, Ukraine is free to seek assistance from UN Security Council. Where Russia has veto. That’s the only guarantee. Memorandum is a joke.

      2. Attack by the US. The memorandum included security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine as well as those of Belarus and Kazakhstan.

  13. I have watched the Ukraine/Russia/Crimea situation carefully. I have read up on the history. I have considered it very carefully and decided it is NONE. OF. OUR. FUCKING. BUSINESS..

    1. It’s a new market for domestic gas producers. If we could find a way to keep liquefaction and shipping less than the Russian premium… KA-CHING.

      1. What are they gonna pay us with?

        1. mud and fraud: the pride of Ukraine!

        2. bossy women

        3. Remittances from all the people who left.

  14. Too-bad this piece didn’t reference the fantastic, well researched, and backed up analysis by Justin Raimondo titled “Ron Paul Is Right About Crimea” This highly recommended read can be found here: http://original.antiwar.com/ju…..ut-crimea/

    1. I’ll take a pass on Raimondo’s lies and dictator-apologism.

    2. Wait, don’t tell me; He blames it on Innocence of the Muslims, right?

  15. Paul didn’t shoot back himself, but Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute, yesterday asserted that McCobin has “no evidence” that Russian military played a roll in annexing the region, and that if Crimeans wanted to remain part of Ukraine, they could have just delegitimized the referendum by “stay[ing] home” and not voting at all.

    No you see this why that’s bull-

    NEOCON WARMONGER -how Ron Paul ‘Institute’ folks actually ‘think’ and argue.

    Disgraceful.

    1. Think about it. These are people Ron Paul actually trusts and surrounds himself with. People who can’t make an actual point and resort to NEOCON WARMONGER because they’re that simple and dishonest.

    2. I’m an America who doesn’t give a shit about what happens in Ukraine. Let Putin do what he wants. We have no duty to spend taxpayer dollars or to stop trade in the name of “human rights.”

  16. I’ve called over to people I know there in the Crimea just down the road. The vast majority of people worried about the revolution that took place in the Ukraine Capital and were relieved and happy to have the opportunity to vote on the move to Russian control. The vast majority of Crimeans’ are Russian and employed in Russian owned or Russian based businesses.The vote was an enthusiastic 97% that include about half of the Muslim Tartars which was surprising.
    If Russia takes more of the Ukraine then the cause for action may well be justified. Crimea exercised rights contained within their Constitution as an Independent territory through their own legislature.

  17. I can imagine that this could get out of hand.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.