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.


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.