Ukraine

Ukraine: Arresting Dissidents, Eager for U.S.'s Military Support

Let's think more than twice about fighting Ukraine's battles.

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Trouble is, still, a-brewing in Ukraine (see our P.M. links both today and yesterday) and prominent Republican candidate Ted Cruz seems to think it is our sworn duty to provide the Ukrainians with weapons to fight their enemies foreign and domestic, while the Obama administration is seriously considering it.

Stephen Walt in Foreign Policy gave some intelligent reasons yesterday why we shouldn't get involved in any way in a shooting war with Russian-backed rebels in Ukraine (yes, there are people who managed to live through the Cold War and to feed themselves daily who actually think getting us involved in any way in a shooting war even one step removed, supposedly, with Russia is a fine idea).

Walt's argument is based on the notion that Russia is not in fact an expansionist power getting out of control, but one spiraling downward fighting for continued relevance and influence:

It is lingering fear, rather than relentless ambition, that underpins Russia's response in Ukraine.

Moreover, the Ukraine crisis did not begin with a bold Russian move or even a series of illegitimate Russian demands; it began when the United States and European Union tried to move Ukraine out of Russia's orbitand into the West's sphere of influence. That objective may be desirable in the abstract, but Moscow made it abundantly clear it would fight this process tooth and nail. U.S. leaders blithely ignored these warnings — which clearly stemmed from Russian insecurity rather than territorial greed — and not surprisingly they have been blindsided by Moscow's reaction….

…..arming Ukraine will only make things worse. It certainly will not enable Ukraine to defeat the far stronger Russian army; it will simply intensify the conflict and add to the suffering of the Ukrainian people.

Nor is arming Ukraine likely to convince Putin to cave in and give Washington what it wants. Ukraine is historically linked to Russia, they are right next door to each other, Russian intelligence has long-standing links inside Ukraine's own security institutions, and Russia is far stronger militarily. Even massive arms shipments from the United States won't tip the balance in Kiev's favor, and Moscow can always escalate if the fighting turns against the rebels, as it did last summer.

Most importantly, Ukraine's fate is much more important to Moscow than it is to us, which means that Putin and Russia will be willing to pay a bigger price to achieve their aims than we will. The balance of resolve as well as the local balance of power strongly favors Moscow in this conflict. Before starting down an escalatory path, therefore, Americans should ask themselves just how far they are willing to go….

Our brave Ukrainian supposed allies gave an interesting sign of how devoted they are to American notions of freedom this week, by arresting a journalist for encouraging draft dodging. Not exactly (modern, at any rate) American values on freedom of political expression:

Ruslan Kotsaba — a television journalist from the western region of Ivano-Frankivsk — was ordered held in custody for 60 days pending investigations, his wife, Uliana, wrote on Facebook.

A senior official at Ukraine's SBU security agency, Markian Lubkivskyi, wrote online that Kotsaba was detained on suspicion of treason, an accusation that carries a possible 15-year jail sentence.

Kotsaba published a video on YouTube last month denouncing a new round of military call-ups by Kiev to boost its forces fighting pro-Russian rebels in the east.

"I would prefer to go to prison than to participate in this fratricidal war," Kotsaba said in the footage, which was viewed more than 300,000 times.

"I refuse to be drafted and call on everyone who is called up to refuse," he said.

May the U.S. also refuse to be drafted into this conflict.

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  1. There’s some aggressive faggotry afoot in Ukraine.

    I’ve wanted to say that all day since reading it on 4chan.

    1. If we must intervene, what we should do is simply tell Russia that we’re going to pressure Germany to go whole hog and militarize some more. Incidentally, it’s not at all clear that Germany isn’t a greater conventional military power than Russia right now.

      That should be the extent of our intervention. Then we tell Germany we did that, after eavesdropping on Merkel some more.

      1. So…let’s you and him fight?

      2. And what makes you thing that Germany would respond to US pressure?

  2. Fuck it, let’s do this thing! Nuclear war, cars wired with exploding gas tanks, mutants, the whole nine megatons.

    1. The bomb in the baby carriage
      Was wired to the radio

  3. Can someone explain to me why what Putin is doing to the Ukraine is okay but what the US is doing to Cuba is wrong?

    1. Putin ended an embargo against Ukraine?

      Who knew?

      1. I get it now! Winston is obviously referring to the snub given by the Academy to Cuba Gooding Jr.’s performance in Selma!

        1. It was transcendent.

          1. If the Academy wants real actors to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us. We ain’t gonna play with them no more.

            /Kanye

      2. Who is this “we”?

        I’m referring to how it is bad that the US supported an invasion to overthrow, then plotted to kill, and embargoes, a country very close to its border ruled by a foreign supported dictator who overthrew an US-allied regime.

        1. Fair enough. On the other hand, I don’t think the situations are entirely comparable.

        2. Oh and Cuba has an important US Naval Base there too. I suppose if Castro took over Gitmo libertarians would be defending US attempts to retake it rather than condemning Gitmo as an illegal lease forced upon Cuba by American imperialists.

          1. That only gets you the Crimea in your analogy. The rest of it is a land grab.

            1. Also his use of present tense is pretty much bullshit.

                1. 7:11 was to HeteroPatriarch.

                  That only gets you the Crimea in your analogy. The rest of it is a land grab.

                  And if the US used that situation as an excuse to overthrow Castro and ensure a US-backed regime was in power would libertarians defend it?

                  1. Winston, why do you keep asking us about the Libertarians in your head?

                    The answer to your question is ‘I don’t fucking know’.

                    Personally, I wouldn’t have too much of a problem with anyone ousting a murderous communist regime that keeps the Cuban people in slavery and poverty and misery.

            2. “The rest of it is a land-grab.”

              Sorta, but not exactly. Crimea is Russia’s only warm water port. Without it they are landlocked part of the year. This is intolerable for them. Right or wrong they were going to get the Crimea back at any cost, Putin or no Putin.

              The rest of it is about making sure the Crimea is secure. They can’t defend it from the east and they don’t have any other approach to it except through Ukraine. Russia’s only warm water port would be a tiny island surrounded by Ukraine. They need a land approach and the only place that can happen is eastern Ukraine, so they are taking it. And they are going to take it.

              I would say to anyone that unless they are willing to get into an all out war with Russia, possibly starting a world war, leave it alone.

        3. I’m referring to how it is bad that the US supported an invasion to overthrow, then plotted to kill, and embargoes, a country very close to its border ruled by a foreign supported dictator who overthrew an US-allied regime.

          Ok, but what does that have to do with your original “are you still beating your wife” question?

          1. They think that Putin is acting in the national interest and has a legitimate grievance while the USG does not act in the national interest and has no legitimate greivances.

            Also the implication that Russia is right to have a sphere of influence while the US is wrong to.

        4. Rothbard would agree with you.

      3. Are we invading Cuba?

        Russia isn’t invading Ukraine either, if you believe them that is.

  4. “It is lingering fear, rather than relentless ambition, that underpins Russia’s response in Ukraine.”

    Uh, I’d more likely call it Russia’s continuing paranoia, but I still don’t want the US to get involved beyond jaw-boning.
    Let Obo yap his face off, I don’t care.

  5. Uh, seriously? Putin wants to rebuild the Soviet Union. He’s annexing everything he thinks he can get away with.

    I mean, seriously, Russia being afraid of Ukraine (Or Georgia before it)? Yeah, sure.

    1. He can want to do that all he wants, but there is a point where that’s not going to work. Russia’s conventional strength is quite limited, and there are countries in Eastern Europe that likely won’t play ball with further incursions. Heck, they may not go along with this one if it looks like total annexation is the result. Not to mention the U.S. I’m a citizen, and I have no fucking idea what we might do.

      1. You know who else did total annexations until other countries wouldn’t play ball with him….

        1. Genghis Khan!

          1. KHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNN!?

        2. Every Roman emperor?

  6. I hope Groovus Maximus is okay.

    1. Ditto, though I trust he has plans within plans within plans for dealing with this eventuality.

      1. I’m trying to convince my company that having a staff doctor would be cheaper than paying for Obamacare for everybody. He could come back and do that job if he wants it.

      2. I’m not entirely sure that scrawling “become Ukrainian strongman dictator” on a cocktail napkin constitutes a plan.

    2. Wonder if he still thinks that the Ukraine is a beacon of liberty.

      1. I’m sure he still thinks it’s a beacon of hot poon.

      2. “Wonder if he still thinks that the Ukraine is a beacon of liberty.”

        I didn’t get that from him. It seemed he was offered a hell of a deal and didn’t have to put up with US medical regs.

    3. Wasn’t he taken hostage by some Ukrainian babe?

      1. “Back in April, the Ukranian model became an online phenomena when photos of her doll-like features and Barbie proportions went viral around the world.”
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..03350.html

          1. Hey, what Bing gives me, I use…

        1. She’s pretty hot, but I’m turned off by her missing genitalia.

  7. And also, didn’t we kind of guarantee Ukraine’s security when they decided to give up nukes?

    Between this and Libya, no on else is going to give up their nukes in the future…

    1. JeremyR|2.10.15 @ 8:12PM|#
      “And also, didn’t we kind of guarantee Ukraine’s security when they decided to give up nukes?”

      Fortunately, it was one of those ‘we’ll think about helping you out’ deals that negotiators offer when they know damn well it’s not gonna get through congress.

      1. In other words the “You fucked up, you trusted us” reason.

        Of course that means, in the future, other countries will not trust us in negotiations.

  8. the Ukraine crisis did not begin with a bold Russian move or even a series of illegitimate Russian demands; it began when the United States and European Union tried to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbitand into the West’s sphere of influence

    Stopped reading right there. What a load of shit. Typical peacenazi. America had as much to do with Ukraine’s revolution against despotism as it did with the instability in the CAR: none. The people had enough. Russia is solely responsible for this mess they are the aggressor, end of story. As awful as the Ukrainian government’s jailing of journalists is, they are still the good guys.

    America should not be arming Ukraine, but the USG allow arms to be sold to them. European countries are the ones that should be sending arms to Ukraine. Let them take care of their backyards for once.

  9. “Walt’s argument is based on the notion that Russia is not in fact an expansionist power getting out of control, but one spiraling downward fighting for continued relevance and influence:”

    Those are not mutually exclusive conditions. A power which is backsliding often engage in military adventurism to regain the perception of relevance and prestige.

    “…..arming Ukraine will only make things worse. It certainly will not enable Ukraine to defeat the far stronger Russian army; it will simply intensify the conflict and add to the suffering of the Ukrainian people.”

    Ukraine, lie back and enjoy your rape.

    It is one thing to say the US has little influence over what happens in Ukraine without escalating into a level we don’t want to get to, but offering this kind of apologia for Russia’s aggressions is just morally craven.

  10. Every country on Earth now knows that a treaty with the US promising border security is worthless. That has consequences. Why the hell would anybody trust the US anymore?

    Another element that isn’t mentioned here is that by the US ignoring it’s treaty and providing no aid of any value, there really is a rise of a fascist element now fighting in the east to push out the Russians. Does anybody think they and their new recruits aren’t going to demand a bigger voice in Ukraine when this is all over?

    Reason likes to pretend that doing nothing is always the best choice. Well, doing nothing means something. Just ask the folks in Rwanda that were cut down while we sat on our hands.

  11. You know, I understand anti-interventionism. Don’t stick your nose in where it’s not wanted.

    What I don’t understand is ignoring your allies when they’re asking for help. Help that you promised to provide.

    Who would ever associate with us then?

    This strikes me as a policy that would leave us ever more isolated and despised as we break our promises to allies, trading partners and treaty partners.

    It sounds almost exactly like a policy that does nothing more than undermine us, undermine the idea that liberty is important–or even coherent.

    In short, in appears to be another policy grafted on to make libertarianism unworkable. What a shock.

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