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Russia's Global Anti-Libertarian Crusade

How Vladimir Putin's desire for domination and acceptance is scrambling American politics.

One of the surreal twists of the past year in American politics has been the rapid realignment in attitudes toward Russia. Democrats, many of whom believe that Russian interference was key to Donald Trump's unexpected victory last November, are now the ones sounding the alarm about the Russian threat. Meanwhile, quite a few Republicans—previously the keepers of the anti-Kremlin Cold War flame—have taken to praising President Vladimir Putin as a strong leader and Moscow as an ally against radical Islam. A CNN/ORC poll in late April found that 56 percent of Republicans see Russia as either "friendly" or "an ally," up from 14 percent in 2014. Over the same period, Putin's favorable rating from Republicans in the Economist/YouGov poll went from 10 percent to a startling 37 percent.

The dominant narrative in the U.S. foreign policy establishment and mainstream media casts Putin as the implacable enemy of the Western liberal order—an autocratic leader at home who wants to weaken democracy abroad, using information warfare and covert activities to subvert liberal values and to promote Russia-friendly politicians and movements around the world.

In this narrative, President Donald Trump is like the French nationalist Marine Le Pen, whose failed presidential campaign this year relied heavily on loans from Russian banks with Kremlin ties: a witting or unwitting instrument of subversion, useful to Putin either as an ideological ally or as an incompetent who will strengthen Russia's hand by destabilizing American democracy.

At its extremes, the Russian subversion narrative relies on a great deal of conspiratorial thinking. It also far too easily absolves the Western political establishment of responsibility for its failures, from the defeat of European Union supporters in England's Brexit vote to Hillary Clinton's loss in last November's election. Putin makes a convenient boogeyman.

Nonetheless, there is a real Russian effort to counter American—plus NATO and E.U.—influence by supporting authoritarian nationalist movements and groups, such as Le Pen's National Front, Hungary's quasi-fascist Jobbik Party, and Greece's neo-Nazi Golden Dawn. Today's Russia is no longer just a moderately authoritarian corrupt regime trying to maintain its regional influence. Cloaked in the mantle of religious and nationalist values, the Kremlin positions itself as a defender of tradition and sovereignty against the godless progressivism and the migrant hordes overtaking the West. It has a global propaganda machine and a network of political operatives dedicated to cultivating far-right and sometimes far-left groups in Europe and elsewhere.

Joanna AndreassonJoanna AndreassonTom Palmer, vice president for international programs at the Atlas Network, has been actively involved in projects promoting liberty in ex-Communist countries since the late 1980s; he has taken to warning against a new "global anti-libertarianism." Writing for the Cato Policy Report last December, Palmer noted that "Putin, the pioneer in the trend toward authoritarianism, has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into promoting anti-libertarian populism across Europe and through a sophisticated global media empire, including RT and Sputnik News, as well as a network of internet troll factories and numerous made-to-order websites."

Slawomir Sierakowski of Warsaw's Institute for Advanced Study and Emma Ashford of the Cato Institute have also warned about the rise of an "Illiberal International" in which Russia plays a key role.

Of course, for many libertarians, the post–Cold War international order that Putin seeks to undo is itself of dubious value. For one thing, that order is based on America's role as GloboCop, which isn't very compatible with small government. For another, it enforces its own "progressive" brand of soft authoritarianism, from over-regulation of markets to restrictions on "hate speech" and other undesirable expression. Yet for all the valid criticisms of the Western liberal establishment and its foreign and domestic policies, there is little doubt that the ascendancy of hardcore far-right or far-left authoritarianism would lead to a less freedom-friendly world. And there is little doubt that right now, Russia is a driving force in this ascendancy.

The President's Rasputins

One common view is that we've re-entered a Cold War–style ideological confrontation—but that this time, in a head-turning reversal from the Communist era, Russia sees itself as leading a global traditionalist resistance. The argument is superficially persuasive but tends to confuse rhetoric with motive.

Former National Security Agency analyst John R. Schindler, that rare pundit who is vehemently critical of Clinton but also strongly believes Russian interference was instrumental to Trump's win, goes so far as to call Putin a champion of "Orthodox Jihadism."

In a post-election New York Observer column titled "Why Vladimir Putin Hates Us," Schindler asserts that the Russian leader's holy-war ideology sees the West as "an implacable foe" of Russia and her Orthodox faith, and Russia as a country with a special spiritual mission to fight evil. Schindler anticipates the objection that Putin, a career KGB officer under the atheist Soviet state, is an unlikely Christian zealot. But in his view, it doesn't matter what Putin or other nominally Orthodox Russians may believe in their hearts. The important thing is that Putin acts like a champion of religious nationalism on a "spiritual-cum-ideological" crusade against the decadent West. As evidence, Schindler cites a 2013 speech in which Putin deplored the rejection of "Christian values" by "many Euro-Atlantic countries," defended Russia's right to protect traditional morality, and criticized attempts to export "extreme Western-style liberalism" worldwide. (The main example of Western decadence and liberal extremism was, of course, same-sex marriage.)

Schindler, like the Yale historian Timothy Snyder, believes that Putin takes his inspiration from the Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin, an émigré who died in Switzerland in 1954. Putin has quoted Ilyin on several occasions, including in an address to the Duma, and he assigned one of Ilyin's books to regional governors as winter holiday reading in 2014. Onetime Kremlin propaganda chief Vladislav Surkov is also a fan.

Ilyin was an authoritarian nationalist, though late in life this was tempered by a belief in the rule of law and limits on state power. (In the 1930s, by contrast, he was openly pro-fascist.) His vision for a post-Communist Russia featured a strong government rooted in patriotic values, Orthodoxy, and national unity, run by the "single will" of a near-dictatorial ruler periodically reconfirmed by an electoral assembly. In his later years, he also saw the West as innately hostile to Russia and likely to seek its destruction. While the Ilyin passages Putin has publicly quoted have been blandly patriotic or even liberal-sounding, the elevation of this particular figure as the Kremlin's favorite political philosopher is telling.

A much weirder contender for that role is the maverick ex-academic Alexander Dugin—sometimes dubbed "Putin's Rasputin," possibly because he has the shaggy beard and crazy eyes for the part. Dugin, now 55, spent the 1990s calling for a "red-and-brown" fascism and being active in a group called the National Bolshevik Party, which is every bit as bad as it sounds. In the Putin years he has rebranded himself as a "traditionalist," started an "International Eurasian Movement," and found patrons in high political and military circles; in the late 2000s, he served as an advisor to Duma chairman Sergei Naryshkin and had top officials of the ruling party, United Russia, on his movement's advisory board.

At the core of Dugin's theory—much of it cribbed from 20th century reactionaries and proto-fascists, with an added dose of mystical apocalyptics—is the conviction that "Eurasian" Russia must lead the resistance to "Atlanticism," viewed as literally demonic in its promotion of sin and secularism. Dugin argues that human rights-based liberalism is totalitarian, since it wants to impose itself everywhere and allows no alternatives, while his traditionalism is genuinely pluralistic, since it respects all cultures, political systems, and beliefs—as long as they make no claim to universalism.

If Putin did help elect Trump, it seems so far to have been a spectacularly bad investment.

Dugin's foreign policy views do dovetail with actual Kremlin policies of the last decade, from his intense hostility to Ukrainian independence to his call for an international anti-liberal alliance. Dugin envisions a common struggle of diverse forces—nationalist, conservative Christian, Islamist, leftist—against Western norms, globalism, and liberal capitalism. That's not so far off from Russia's support for European far-right and far-left parties (in addition to the likes of Le Pen, Russia has backed Germany's Die Linke and the socialist-communist-Green Syriza coalition in Greece), diehard communist dictatorships in Cuba and North Korea (the latter of which has been hailed by "Christian traditionalist" Dugin as a brave island of independence from Western hegemony), Venezuela's socialist government, Iran's Islamic Republic, the Assad regime in Syria, and the militantly jihadist Hezbollah.

Nonetheless, Dugin's actual political influence is debatable. In 2014, he was fired from his job running the international section of the sociology department at Moscow State University, apparently because of backlash against a Facebook post in which he urged the murder of Russians sympathetic to Ukraine's cause. The Kremlin also seemed to sideline him as it scaled back its active support for the pro-Russian insurgency in Eastern Ukraine, with which Dugin was in at least occasional contact.

Dugin may be making a comeback, though. He has carried out some unofficial diplomacy between Russia and Turkey, where his Eurasian movement has a following. He is also the editor in chief and co-founder of the Russian Orthodox cable channel Tsargrad-TV, a project of God-loving tycoon Konstantin Malofeev—a Kremlin insider and an active supporter of the Illiberal International.

Does Putin believe in Dugin's bizarre metaphysical geopolitics? That's doubtful. But Dugin's ideology "is a very useful virus to let loose," says Palmer. "It's useful to the idea of a Russian state led, as they say in Russia, with a strong hand—that hand being Mr. Putin's."

Illustration: Joanna Andreasson. Background circle taken from the Russian poster for Solaris (1972)Illustration: Joanna Andreasson. Background circle taken from the Russian poster for Solaris (1972)The same calculus almost certainly explains the Putin circle's interest in Ilyin, whose bowdlerized ideas provide a convenient, authentically Russian foundation for the Putin regime's style of government. Likewise, Russia's current blend of nationalism and Orthodox Christianity has been a useful quasi-official ideology to fill the post-Communist void.

Still, it's quite a leap from that to the conclusion that Putin—a man with a KGB past, a crony-capitalist present, and friends like the notoriously corrupt Italian ex–Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi—is a holy warrior at heart. Even his 2013 speech lamenting Western moral decline was delivered at the Valdai Club, Russia's Davos-style annual hangout for domestic and foreign intellectual and political elites. That's an odd venue for an "Orthodox Jihadist" diatribe. And even those remarks also praised secular patriotism and religious diversity, and called for openness to "the best ideas and practices of the East and the West."

The Orange Threat

For all the anti-Western and anti-globalist animus, for all the rhetoric about Russia's unique virtues, Moscow's elites crave the West's acceptance and respect. Putin was always an authoritarian, but he started his rule in 2000 as a pro-American authoritarian. His shift to anti-Western rhetoric didn't become evident until early 2007, with his Munich speech inveighing against the U.S.-dominated global order.

Some Russia watchers, including Evan Osnos, David Remnick, and Joshua Yaffa in a March 2017 article for The New Yorker, trace this change in attitude to the war in Iraq. But while Putin opposed the U.S.-led invasion, his criticism was restrained and sometimes balanced by statements favorable to the U.S. position (such as his claim in early 2004 that Russian intelligence had received and shared information about Saddam Hussein's regime plotting terror attacks against Americans). Putin's turn against the West is far more likely to have been precipitated by perceived infringements on Russia's sphere of influence—especially Ukraine's Orange Revolution, which began in November 2004.

After massive demonstrations challenged the fraud-riddled election victory of President Leonid Kuchma and forced a recount, the pro-NATO Victor Yushchenko was declared the winner in January 2005. Putin, who had visited Kiev twice to show support for Kuchma, blamed these events on Western meddling. The "Orange threat"—foreign subversion disguised as grassroots demands for change—became a staple of Russian official rhetoric.

In a recent column for the independent Russian website Grani, the Ukrainian journalist and Radio Liberty commentator Vitaly Portnikov argued that Putin was pushed toward even more hardline anti-Western views by the Arab Spring, which he also attributed to Western subversion. (Putin, writes Portnikov, is "very typical of lower-rung chekists"—KGB agents—in his conviction that "all mass protests are always engineered and financed by someone.")

The Russian president certainly seems to have been rattled by the brutal death of the deposed Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011, which Putin publicly blamed on NATO. (Gaddafi was killed by insurgents, but their victory followed NATO's intervention in the country's civil war.) And in late March of this year, when protests broke out across Russia in response to a video accusing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of corruption, Putin warned in his remarks at an international forum in Arkhangelsk that the "instrument" of anti-corruption protests "was used at the beginning of the so-called 'Arab Spring' [with] bloody consequences."

In Putin's perfect world, Russia would have an authoritarian regime that secures his own hold on power and ill-gotten wealth and treats smaller nearby countries as vassal states—while also being recognized as a major player on the world stage and a member of the club of free nations. These somewhat incompatible goals are reflected in Russia's schizophrenic official rhetoric, where broadsides against Western perfidy mix with declarations of partnership with the West. For all the talk of Russia's unique spiritual virtues, the Kremlin's fallback defense of questionable practices, such as arresting protesters, is that Western countries do it too. In Palmer's words, "They don't claim that what Putin has created is the best. What they claim is that nothing is better than anything else."

The goal of protecting Putin's power at home while securing a respected position on the international scene would also explain much of Russia's activity targeting the West: The aim is to win friends by moving other countries in a more pro-Russian direction. A case in point is Kremlin support for Le Pen, a Putin admirer who not only endorses the annexation of Crimea but envisions Russia as an essential part of the alliance of sovereign European nations that she would like to see take the place of NATO and the E.U.

Russian interference in the West has become the subject of fevered speculation that borders on a post-Soviet version of reds-under-the-bed panic. But there are real reasons to worry about Putin's global outreach. Kremlin-sponsored activity abroad includes not just information warfare intended to undermine the very notion of facts—weaponized postmodernism, as it were—but more literal subversion.

Earlier this year, prosecutors in Montenegro charged that a thwarted violent coup in the fall of 2016 had been engineered by two Russian military intelligence officers with the help of paramilitary Russian and Serbian nationalists. The plot, they said, included a plan to assassinate the prime minister and was intended to keep the country from joining NATO. While the charges remain unproven so far, there is little doubt that Russia is extensively involved in the Balkans with the goal of undermining pro-Western forces.

In Macedonia, that involvement is on the side of the conservative populist supporters of former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who have refused to accept a liberal and multi-ethnic parliamentary coalition following the results of last December's elections. Russian media outlets, such as Sputnik News, have been stoking the Slav majority's fears of empowering the country's Albanian minority by flogging conspiracy theories about NATO plans for "Greater Albania" and for Macedonia's dismemberment. The conflict turned bloody after the election of an Albanian speaker in late April, when about 200 right-wing protesters stormed the parliament; about 100 people, including nine lawmakers, were injured in the melee.

Less dramatic but baneful effects of Russian influence can be seen in Hungary, where the Kremlin has cultivated both the far-right Jobbik and the more moderately right-wing ruling party, Fidesz. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has an amicable relationship with Putin and is openly skeptical of the post-Crimea sanctions, says he favors an "illiberal democracy" in which the collective good takes precedence over individual rights.

In practice, this has meant reforms that weaken the separation of powers and strengthen state controls over the media. In April, Hungary passed a law requiring non-E.U. universities that issue diplomas in Hungary to have an active campus in their home country, a measure likely to force the closure of the country's top private school, Central European University, which is headquartered in New York but has no campus in the United States. Since it's funded by George Soros, the financier and controversial philanthropist at the center of many post-communist regimes' conspiracy theories, the government's critics charge that it is being targeted on purpose—perhaps taking a page from Russia, where the Soros-backed European University in St. Petersburg closed after having its license revoked in March.

Aside from the separatist fighting in Ukraine, neither ethnic nor political conflicts in Europe are created primarily by Russia. But the Putin regime has been adept at exploiting and stoking conflicts and tensions that already exist. Those conflicts range from ethnic and political divisions to anxieties about social disruption and violence by migrants—an area where Russian media can vie with Breitbart in fearmongering. Between April 2016 and May of this year, Sputnik News ran 127 articles tagged "Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe."

What Is To Be Done?

What should American policy be toward Putin's Russia? The answer to that question depends, above all, on your view of America's role in the world and of how broadly America's national interest should be defined. In the wake of the Iraq War, few would defend the vision of nearly untrammeled American hegemony that some neoconservatives espoused in the early 2000s. On the other hand, you need not embrace wide-ranging American adventurism abroad to believe that we're better off in a world with more freedom-friendly countries in it.

Russian interference has become the subject of fevered speculation that borders on a post-Soviet version of reds-under-the-bed panic. But there are real reasons to worry.

While "democracy promotion" in countries with no homegrown liberal tradition is a project likely to remain discredited for the foreseeable future, support for genuine grassroots pro-freedom aspirations in countries that look to America for leadership is a far more complicated matter. Ukraine, Georgia, and even the Baltic states may not be paragons of liberal capitalism today. Yet if they were bullied into a return to Russian vassalage, it would be a net loss for liberty and, arguably, for America as well.

Nonetheless, pro-Russian (or at least anti-anti-Russian) arguments have become fairly common not just among conservatives but among a contingent of libertarians, such as former Rep. Ron Paul and Antiwar.com Editorial Director Justin Raimondo. The new Republican affection for Russia is largely a matter of political polarization: Since Putin is the Democrats' boogeyman du jour, he can't be all bad. But quite a few conservatives also genuinely see Putin's Russia as a Christian ally against Islam, a perspective recently endorsed by Ann Coulter in a March column trollishly titled "Let's Make Russia Our Sister Country."

That view manages to ignore not only Russia's coziness with Iran but the fact that one of Putin's staunchest domestic allies, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, runs a de facto sharia state within the Russian Federation. This spring, Kadyrov was in the news for throwing gay men in prison camps and threatening a fatwa on Russian journalists who exposed the persecution.

Joanna AndreassonJoanna AndreassonMeanwhile, Ron Paul–style libertarians are inclined to see Russia as a check on U.S. foreign adventurism and Russia hawks as hardcore proponents of the American imperial leviathan. "Unfortunately, there is a small contingent who fall victim to the fallacy that 'the enemy of the enemy is my friend,' and if the Kremlin is the enemy of my enemy, then it must be my friend," Palmer says.

Still, most Republicans in Washington don't share the party base's newfound affection for the Russian president: A spending bill unveiled by the Republican-controlled Congress includes at least $100 million for a Countering Russian Influence Fund, intended to support "civil society organizations and other entities" in Europe and Central Asia.

Aside from a verbal commitment to liberal democracy and the rule of law, what can Western countries do to curb Russia's anti-liberal influence without risking military conflict? Economic sanctions—particularly when they target the Russian political elite and its properties abroad, as opposed to targeting ordinary Russian consumers—can be more effective than they are often believed to be. The desire to avoid further and harsher sanctions, for example, may have helped persuade the Putin regime to abandon its territorial ambitions in eastern Ukraine and to scale down its war in that region to a simmering conflict.

The threat of stronger sanctions could be used to push for genuine enforcement of the 2014–15 Minsk agreements, which were supposed to restore Ukraine's control over the territories currently ruled by the thuggish "people's republics" of Donetsk and Luhansk. Russia's backsliding toward open contempt for those agreements was signaled in February by a decision to "temporarily" recognize identity documents issued by the two gangster statelets.

Financial support for political forces favorable to liberal democracy—in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet republics, and Russia itself—is important as well, though private organizations have a more important role to play in this than the congressional purse. It's true that foreign funding makes political and civic organizations vulnerable to charges of disloyalty, but it is often their only feasible source of revenue in a system where most privately owned business is extensively entangled with the state and where backing dissent can bring retaliation.

Private organizations and media must also take the lead in countering Russia's information wars, since government measures against "fake news" raise inevitable and well-founded concerns about censorship.

Above all, it's important not to exaggerate the Putin regime's omnipotence. For one thing, it is running out of cash reserves, thanks not just to sanctions but to lower oil prices and other factors. That will weaken its ability to fund not only political intrigue abroad but the domestic programs that keep the population content at home.

The Kremlin's efforts to maintain its sphere of influence have been expensive: Besides the money pumped into Ukraine, Russia is saddled with massive subsidies to South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Georgian breakaway republics it has sponsored since 2008. Its record of victories on the larger global stage has been mixed at best, with such defeats as Montenegro's admission to NATO and Le Pen's crushing loss in France. And if Russia did help elect Trump, it seems so far to have been a spectacularly bad investment. While political chaos in America may benefit Putin in some sense, the Kremlin goal of a more accommodating administration in Washington is probably more elusive than before: Very public concerns about Russian influence are likely to make the White House skittish about offering concessions to the Kremlin.

What lies ahead? Victor Davidoff, the Moscow-based founder of the human rights monitoring website IXTC.org, suspects that the Kremlin's financial difficulties will lead to less Russian influence in Eastern Europe over the next several years—including, he predicts, the electoral defeat of pro-Moscow leaders such as Hungary's Orbán.

Davidoff says he also sees new troubles for the Putin regime in the revival of the protest movement, signaled by the anti-corruption rallies in multiple cities starting March 26. Those troubles are compounded by the changing media landscape. The latest protests were sparked by a 50-minute online documentary that accused Russian prime minister and ex-president Dmitry Medvedev of large-scale graft and exposed his alleged "secret empire" of mansions, villas, vineyards, and yachts. The video garnered over 20 million views on YouTube alone in a little over a month.

"A high school student who was at a protest said, 'We don't even watch television,'" says Davidoff. "Do you see what that means? The main lever of thought control is television, but it turns out that it's bypassing the younger generation. So what are they going to do now? They've lost the internet. The trolling, none of that works. There are just too many sources of information." Even websites that have been officially banned in Russia, such as Grani, are easily accessible through mirror sites.

Meanwhile, an April survey by the Levada Center, a highly regarded independent polling firm, found that nearly four in 10 Russians approved of the protests. In May, only 48 percent said they would vote for Putin if the next presidential election—due in March 2018—were held now. Two years ago, that figure stood at 62 percent.

Protests and disaffected voters may not seem to pose much of a threat to Putin, given how thoroughly the Kremlin has neutralized independent political life. But disaffected business and political elites may be a force to reckon with if they feel that Putin's continued rule threatens their position. This is particularly true, argues Davidoff, if they manage to harness popular dissatisfaction to create pressure for Putin's removal.

That scenario may seem unlikely, but if recent experience has taught us anything, it is to not dismiss unlikely scenarios. Few expected Trump's victory in November; by the same token, even the more ardent Never Trumpers did not think the new administration would be so thoroughly and so quickly engulfed in Russia-related scandals.

At this point, the further development of U.S.-Russian relations is virtually impossible to predict. Trump seems to be trying to straddle a conventional Republican foreign policy (firm commitments to NATO, hawkishness in the Middle East) and friendly rapprochement with Russia (cooperation on the problems of ISIS and Syria). In actuality, he's lurching awkwardly between those two positions.

The Kremlin, for the moment, seems inclined to treat Trump as a well-intentioned hostage of the anti-Russian Washington foreign policy establishment, but it could easily adopt a more hostile stance. Meanwhile, if the Trump presidency remains a disaster zone, it could have the opposite of a domino effect elsewhere, deterring the populist uprisings Russia favors: The Trump factor probably helped defeat Le Pen in France.

For both Putin and the Illiberal International, the future is far from guaranteed.

Photo Credit: Illustration: Joanna Andreasson. Background circle taken from the Russian poster for Solaris (1972)

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  • TRussotto.com||

    Nice analysis. I am not sure sanctions by the US will have any affect because the Europeans will continue to aid Russia, as they did in the Cold War. Few countries are a real danger to the US and Russia is at the top of the list. The situation in the Baltics is particularly grave. We've sent a small force there as hostages to prevent Russia from directly taking them back. NATO has also planned to send European troops to the Baltics although I have not been able to verify that European troops have been deployed as yet. English and Canadian troops and equipment have been reported to deploy and even a few German tanks. My guess is that European NATO nations may take troops out of Afghanistan to deploy in the Baltics but they may just renege for fear of aggravating Russia. The US must realize that we are practically alone in opposing Russia militarily. Russian and Chinese help to Iran and North Korea should enable those countries to deploy ICBMs in the next few years. We need comprehensive anti-missile defense systems and a reduced footprint on the world stage if we are to avoid war/wars that we will lose. We also need to remember that we did not win World War II by being nice. We did not worry unnecessarily about enemy civilian deaths or destruction. Unfortunately, in the next war with Russia or its surrogates, we would likely have to accept that our nation would also see such death and destruction. We need to let the rest of the world find their own peace with Russia and China.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    This guy some kind of time traveler?

  • WakaWaka||

    Just another pro-war Leftist....er 'libertarian'

  • mtrueman||

    "We did not worry unnecessarily about enemy civilian deaths or destruction. "

    Are you British? Then you can boast about your country's indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets in Europe. Americans tried to avoid them, for example by sending bombers over Dresden in more risky but more accurate daylight raids.

  • WakaWaka||

    Sheer paranoia. I get that this publication is utterly determined to curry favor with the Left and therefore principles have merely become an inconvenience. So that in 2012, Romney was a warmonger for targeting Russia, but now the Left is so brave for doing the same.

    Since this publication has completely stopped being anti-interventionist with the whole Russia fever dreams, let's be honest who is the real threat to the American empire. China is clearly a larger threat to the US, particularly with its support for a nuclear armed North Korea and its dominance in the East. Russia is a nuisance for the Europeans to handle, if they care to.

  • Jerryskids||

    That's just what a commie subversive would say. How many rubles you get paid to spread this disinformation?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    He got paid 1000₽, but hasn't yet figured out that's less than $17.

  • WakaWaka||

    How do you know the exchange rate so well, comrade?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It's called "Google." Ask Jeeves to help you find it.

  • pan fried wylie||

    google, ruble, coincidence? I think not.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    Is that before or after Brexit?

    (Obviously, everything related to currency exchange rate fluctuations is Brexit's fault., The internet said so.)

  • Bruce D||

    "...commie..."

    Russia isn't çommunist any more. The Soviets fell in '91 without a shot being fired.

  • DavidVazquez||

    Without a shot being fired? You must have slept through the nearly 10 year Afgan war, the countless insurgencies they sponsored and were responsible for in Latin America, Africa, far East, the several wars against Israel which were directly funded and armed by them, and so on. No shots indeed.

  • Bruce D||

    "Russia is a nuisance for the Europeans to handle, if they care to."

    Exactĺy.

  • Bruce D||

    But none of that brought down the Soviets. What brought down the Soviets is that they went bankrupt..bellyup. It was the internal contradictions of communism that inevitably led to bankruptcy. The Red Chinese were smart enough to dump communism in favor of fascism. That's why that regime survived when the Soviets didn't.

  • Devastator||

    They'll always be commies to us.

  • Domestic Dissident||

    The single greatest threat to freedom, global liberty, and western enlightenment values is the (predominantly Sunni) Islamonazi movement and their main Wahabbi Lobby sponsors of Saudi Arabia.

    Yet the lefties (including the ones who tragically were permitted to hijack Reason Magazine several years ago) love the Islamonazis and hate Putin because he's not a dedicated Marxist like Stalin and Lenin were. In fact, when everyone sees Oliver Stone's interview with Putin, they're going to realize pretty quickly that in fact he strongly desires peace (or at least a detente) with the United States, he fully understands how dangerous these murderous, barbaric Islamonazi vermin are, and he would really like to join with us to crush them.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Okay, "Wahabbi Lobby" is kind of funny, but i don't think even your imagination is up to the challenge of painting Putin as not also an enemy of freedom, global liberty, and western enlightenment values.

  • WakaWaka||

    No one is denying this, but there are many bad actors in the world and Putin is hardly the most nefarious. More importantly, suggesting that the US has a responsibility to go out and fight boogeymen is quite the opposite of anything resembling a libertarian foreign policy.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Good thing there's nothing in the article about how going to war against Russia - or anybody, really - is a swell idea.

  • WakaWaka||

    Yeah, that's the ticket! All this Russia fever dreams is just information and everything. It's not like we're currently engaged in near direct combat with Russia throughout parts of the Middle East or anything. Surely this paranoia won't serve to prime the pump toward war.

    Pro-war fake libertarians are the most vile statists of all

  • Zeb||

    So, you either don't talk about Russia at all, or you are pro-war? Is that what you are saying?

    The fact that some people have lost their shit over Russia doesn't mean that everyone critical of Russia has lost their shit.

    I haven't read the whole article yet. But can you point out the "fever dream" parts for me?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    So pointing out that the article doesn't call for war with Russia is the same thing as calling for war with Russia. Got it. Have you considered changing your meds?

  • Zeb||

    Don't talk about the war.

  • sarcasmic||

    The single greatest threat to freedom, global liberty, and western enlightenment values is the (predominantly Sunni) Islamonazi movement and their main Wahabbi Lobby sponsors of Saudi Arabia.

    Kinda, but no. The single greatest threat to freedom, global liberty, and western enlightenment values is government reaction to the terrorist boogeyman. PATRIOT Act, TSA, wiretaps, etc... Those are the greatest threats to liberty. And stupid right wingers beg for these restrictions on liberty because of their lust to murder Moozlems.

  • WakaWaka||

    Yeah. Remember during the last administration when wiretaps ended and the PATRIOT Act was suspended. About the only thing you got right is that government is the greatest threat, but try to square that with your love of war with Russia.

  • sarcasmic||

    Remember during the last administration when wiretaps ended and the PATRIOT Act was suspended.

    No, actually. I don't. I've been ignoring the news.

    try to square that with your love of war with Russia.

    Er, what? When did I say I wanted war with Russia?

  • XenoZooValentine||

    I think they misinterpreted your novel about somebody who came from Russia, with love. Or the one about the spy who loved you. Maybe even the one with the brief but spectacular topless scene of Virginia Hey, I don't know. I met her a few times, she's actually really cool and funny in person. Hopefully she doesn't hate me now for bringing that up. I have no idea what her position on Russia is.

    You can take some quantum of solace in that, I guess.

  • Zeb||

    About the only thing you got right is that government is the greatest threat

    I think that was the only thing he said.

    You are even worse at reading minds than John.

  • Calidissident||

    Did you even read the article? Yeah, the guy who lets a Sunni leader run a sharia state within his country totally realizes how dangerous Islamism is in all forms, and not just when it's convenient to his interests.

    As long as we're in Syria, I'm not against teaming up with Russia where it makes sense to fight ISIS, but let's not have any illusions about why Putin is fighting them. It's because they're trying to overthrow his ally Assad. It has nothing to do with any principles beyond that. Putin's alliance with Iran and Ramzan show he has no issues with letting Islamism flourish when it is in his interests.

  • DarrenM||

    The single greatest threat to freedom, global liberty, and western enlightenment values is the (predominantly Sunni) Islamonazi movement and their main Wahabbi Lobby sponsors of Saudi Arabia.

    It appears the enemies of Western civilization have been successful in distracting at least one person from the real threat.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    Sheer paranoia is only a shade away from nude paranoia.

  • Calidissident||

    Did you even read the article? It's hardly adopting the doctrinaire take of "the Resistance." It's actually pretty nuanced analysis of the situation. I didn't agree with everything Young wrote, but it's not the virtue-signaling fluff you're making it out to be.

    You and the other people who make anyone who disagrees with you out to be a leftist SJW are as bad as them. It's equivalent to when Tony would accuse libertarians of all being Republicans because they disagreed with Obama on a lot of things.

  • BearOdinson||

    I feel the same way. The first third of this article is nothing more than trying to make some vague connections between a few authoritarian thinkers to the Kremlin.
    Ukraine is an interesting issue, but there is so much history there that it doesn't necessarily imply some broader threat of hegemony.
    Referencing Qaddafi only goes against her thesis. Many of us in the US were equally suspicious of the "Arab Spring", and the protests in Libya were sponsored by Islamists.
    As far as nationalism and Christianity, he sounds no different than most Republicans.
    Shadowy financial connections to LePen and others are not documented, merely alleged. And if one considers the biggest threat to Europe Islamists, which Putin has publicly stated, then his support for leaders like Le Pen makes sense.
    Is Putin Thomas Jefferson, of course not. But FFS, he isn't Stalin reborn. And frankly, there is no reason why we shouldn't be able to work more closely with Russia on a number of issues.

  • Teddy Pump||

    The USA fomented the whole coup in Ukraine...Another American War Crime!!!!

  • Devastator||

    The only war crimes in the Ukraine are the ones being committed by Russian commies.

  • Delicieuxz||

    Ukraine doesn't exist anymore, its constitution was overruled and rendered null and void in February 2014. West Ukraine / Neo-Ukraine can call itself whatever it likes, but it isn't the state to which former Ukraine's constitution, laws, treaties, and territorial boundaries applied.

    So, Russia isn't committing any crimes in a Ukraine that no longer exists.

    And it is West Ukraine that is unilaterally attacking East Ukraine, in an effort force the residents of East Ukraine to submit to a government that they never voted for, and which overthrew the government that they voted for. Therefore, it is West Ukraine that is committing crimes in the former Ukraine region. And if East Ukraine wants Russia's help in defending them from attack by West Ukraine, then that's all that's needed for Russia's presence in East Ukraine to be moral and legitimate.

  • mtrueman||

    "Is Putin Thomas Jefferson, of course not. But FFS, he isn't Stalin reborn. And frankly, there is no reason why we shouldn't be able to work more closely with Russia on a number of issues."

    If Trump can control his military and his cease fires in Syria are really cease fires, unlike Obama's, we may avoid war. Or he may plunge us into war over some pretext. Anyhow, it's Trump rather than Putin who is untried and untested.

  • Devastator||

    If Putin didn't have nukes pointed at him he would be the next Stalin. He just happens to use scalpel to end his enemies instead of a rocket launcher.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    I thought libertarians were the Orange Threat?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It's threats all the way down.

  • Devastator||

    Trump is the original Orange Threat

  • ||

    Russia does have a flag you know.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Yeah, but it's white, blue, and red, which might confuse our more nationalistic co-commenters.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    You know who else used a white, blue, and and red flag and interfered in our government?

    Get your muskets, it's 1776 all over again!

    *rummages in the cosplay chest for a tricorn hat*

  • DJF||

    """"That view manages to ignore not only Russia's coziness with Iran but the fact that one of Putin's staunchest domestic allies, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, runs a de facto sharia state within the Russian Federation. This spring, Kadyrov was in the news for throwing gay men in prison camps and threatening a fatwa on Russian journalists who exposed the persecution""""

    Or maybe Putin does not want a third Chechen war. I remember not many years ago the neoLib/Cons were supporters of those brave Chechen freedom fighters

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    War is the health of the state. Sooner or later, Putin will be back fighting Chechens.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    It's not an either or or one is more than the other situation; China is a threat, Russia is a threat, ISIS is [a mainly regional] threat, North Korea is a psycho puppet threat that is doing precisely what it's sponsors want it to: upping the ante so we will peacefully and reasonably come to the proverbial table and give something up in exchange for nuclear non proliferation [like abandoning the Korean Peninsula as has already been poffered]. If the Russians helped Trump and LePen, as the article strongly suggests, they did so to simply further their own interests on the world stage through respective domestic sympathy and/or distraction.

  • WakaWaka||

    Unfortunately for Young, there is less proof about Russian support for Trump or Le Pen than there is for her being an idiot

  • loveconstitution1789||

    China is absolutely a threat and I tend to think that Russia is a convenient distraction from China. China is building man-made islands in the South China Sea. They are not doing that just because. It is a strategy of defense in depth and to push international territorial water (12 nautical miles) and exclusive economic zones (200 nautical miles). China has a huge problem in that any war with the USA, would allow America to cancel all debt with China.

    Russia is run by a ex-KGB officer who is a thug. Russia is fine with macho thugs in charge as long as they act tough. Russians also have a re-unite the Motherland thing, so any territory that used to be Russia is a target- Baltic states, Finland, Ukraine, Belarus, etc. Putin is not anti-West. He is trying to control the West while he does macho things to stay in power.

  • Anti_Govt_Rebel||

    Yeah, right. China and Russia are aggressively starting wars and taking over one country after another...NOT!
    Instead, this describes Washington' quest for world hegemony. It's Washington that is the world's greatest threat to peace, with its aggressive foreign policy and its threats to use nuclear weapons against countries that don't obey the great white father.
    The South China sea is a regional issue and none of Washington's business.
    If people can forgo the Russian name-calling, what has Putin or Russia actually done that is so bothersome?
    Ukraine? It isn't Russia that's waging war on and destroying those eastern provinces there. It's the US supported Kiev regime. There was no Russian invasion. In fact, if it wasn't for Russian humanitarian aid, the death toll there would be significantly greater.
    Crimea? The people there voted and literally begged to go back to being part of the Russian Federation. There was no invasion. The Russian base in Sevastopol was Russian under the Soviet Union, and still is Russia's only warm water port, currently under lease agreement with Ukraine until 2042.

  • DavidVazquez||

    Thank you Vlad, for sharing your thoughts. Or should I say spaciba?

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    China's up to no good. Russia's up to no good. Both would be foolish to start a war, but that doesn't mean they can't do something foolish. Especially if they've gotten away with it so far.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    You know, I can't help but wonder if Russia is going to move out of there after the "lease" expires.

  • Delicieuxz||

    You're right, Anti_Govt_Rebel. Good post.

  • DJF||

    """"Aside from a verbal commitment to liberal democracy """

    The problem with liberal democracy is that it only considers democracy to be legitimate when liberals win. And a certain group of liberals determine what is liberal.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    DJF apparently isn't familiar with the actual meaning of "liberal democracy." Sad!

  • DJF||

    I am using the definition of liberal democracy that the liberal democrats use in reality.

    They care nothing for elections unless they win

    They care nothing for freedom of speech unless its speech they approve of

    They care nothing for freedom of association since they want to force people together based on their beliefs

    Etc etc

  • Zeb||

    Huh? Liberal democracy has a specific meaning that has nothing to do with liberal politics.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    DJF doesn't read links, or articles, or much at all.

  • DJF||

    I deal with reality

    Theoretical policies are meaningless unless they are actually being followed

    You can come up with lots of theoretical polices that some people like but if they are not followed then its just a fraud.

    Liberal democracy is one of those frauds, its sounds nice but the reality is far different and the people who talk about it don't follow it. And the more power they have the less they support it since it might get in the way of the powerful using that power

  • Bruce D||

    I read the link. Under "Rights and Freedoms", I could not find the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It would have been simpler to type "No, i am not familiar with the meaning."

  • DJF||

    It would be even simpler if people did not use the words Liberal Democracy as if it had any bases in reality

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    It's an honest mistake. I mean, nobody talks about "conservative democracy", "reactionary democracy", or "authoritarian democracy".

  • Alan Vanneman||

    Nice!

  • BeamMeUp||

    Good article. Better than the paranoia you see from some folks inside the Beltway. Many anti-Russian pundits overlook the fact that the internet is making it more and more difficult for governments to control the flow of information. It's little wonder that the younger generation of Russians take half of what Putin says with a grain of salt.

    There was an interesting article about Russia and Trump last December on the Real Clear Politics site entitled "Our Frackers Beat Their Hackers." It described that if the Russians wanted Trump to be President, they were short-sighted since they didn't see that his planned energy policy would hurt their economy. Trump supports fracking and the Keystone pipeline (he approved it earlier this year). That means more oil and natural gas on the world market, which will hurt the Russian economy since it relies heavily on the export of those resources. Hillary, meanwhile, opposed the pipeline. While she didn't oppose fracking outright (Sanders did), she wanted it to be more regulated.

    More recently, there was an article on what the Russians will have to do if the price of oil drops below $40 a barrel. As the U.S. continues to become a bigger energy powerhouse, it'll be interesting to see what effect it has on the Russian economy and Russia's foreign policy.

  • Rhywun||

    Trump should tweet something about Cuomo supporting Russia with his fracking ban.

  • Uncommon sense||

    The price of oil collapsed under Obama not because of Obama and Trump's dithering on the edges of energy policy will not affect the price much either so there probably would not have been much difference for oil had Hillary won. And if Putin interfered in our election out of personal spite for Hillary than Putin is a fucking moron because Putin radicalized American opposition to his regime by interfering and even if a few retard Republicans like Putin more now that doesn't mean shit because Republican political leaders remain opposed to Putin.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Russia's hacking of America is the same as Chinese hacking of America and America's hacking of other countries.

    Every country with means does clandestine work in other countries, the huge difference is that now you never have to set foot in the country that you are targeting.

  • DavidVazquez||

    No, his "interfering" didn't "radicalize American opposition"... I'm not radicalized and I don't know anyone who is either. I really could not care less, and I expected it anyway, they've been doing it for decades.

  • Mark22||

    Democrats, many of whom believe that Russian interference was key to Donald Trump's unexpected victory last November, are now the ones sounding the alarm about the Russian threat

    Yet, Democrats collude with Russia in demonizing libertarians.

    I don't think anything has really changed: Democrats are still totalitarian assholes, Republicans are still confused and irrelevant, and both hate libertarians and liberty.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    I don't think all of them hate libertarians. But just about all of them love power, government pensions, selling influence, and your money.

  • Anti_Govt_Rebel||

    Oh good grief....Reason has neocons on its staff now? This writer sounds like she could be writing for the Washington Post or the NY Times! What a shock and disappointment to see Reason putting this neocon drivel out.

  • DavidVazquez||

    Is "neocon" codeword for Jewish?

  • mtrueman||

    A notorious codeword for 'self-loving Jew.'

  • wootendw||

    Is (neocon) McCain Jewish? Is Lindsey Graham Jewish? (Well, they do support the Netanyahu regime.)

  • Dalmazio||

    Pure nonsense.

    "What Is To Be Done?
    What should American policy be toward Putin's Russia? The answer to that question depends, above all, on your view of America's role in the world and of how broadly America's national interest should be defined."

    And you call yourselves Libertarians? Me thinks Reason.com has been infiltrated.

    The answer is simple: Mind our own business and stop trying to dominate the world. Just look at a map of NATO bases/installations. It's beyond ridiculous.

    "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none." – Thomas Jefferson, 3rd US President

  • Anti_Govt_Rebel||

    Right on.

  • DavidVazquez||

    How are NATO bases nonsense again..? Can you explain that one?

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Now I understand. Putin is trying to drum up support for NATO among libertarians, and that will in turn incite a backlash and increase divisions among libertarians, undermining their political movement. Putin must be even more clever than Karl Rove.

  • Amogin||

    As long as the question of the extent and effects of Russian interference in our elections remains unknown-rampant speculation, conspiracy theories and violent over-reaction will continue. The country needs an independent investigation -along the lines of the Warren Commission- to determine exactly what happened, why and how we can prevent it. The orange menace is currently president and nothing short of blatant cooperation between him and the Russian government will lead to his impeachment but the subject transcends this election. The very fabric of our democracy was attacked and whether or not you are a Trump supporter, that fact alone is frightening and a danger to our democratic institutions. Instead of looking for imaginary illegal aliens voting, the special commission should be checking the security of our electoral system from outside hacking and our voting machines from tampering. Next time the victim could be a Republican or many Rep0ublicans.

  • DavidVazquez||

    No, the "fabric" wasn't attacked, just some American political party called "Democrats" and their personal emails were hacked. That's not fabric, and I could not care less. If it happened, more power to whoever did it.

  • Sevo||

    "...The very fabric of our democracy was attacked..."

    Those voices in your head? They're not real.

  • IMissLiberty||

    Or, maybe the recent rise of libertarianism, especially starting with the Internet (decentralization) and Ron Paul campaigns, has started a shift, from left-right to libertarian-authoritarian, and soon you won't be able to "win" unless you run as a libertarian or as a statist (e.g. Bernie). In the U.S., I hope, the Libertarians will have the edge--as they should in any diverse country, because it's the only system diverse cultures can agree on if they aren't in the majority. Politics may be turning to a new axis.

  • DavidVazquez||

    The problem is, a country with "diverse cultures" is ultimately doomed, so it's a moot point.

  • Griff||

    This article is a word salad. It sounds to me like any attempt to spend money, effort and attention on controlling affairs outside the U.S. is a waste. Avoid foreign entanglements indeed.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Being the shining city on a hill works. But a policy of buying friends and trying to assassinate all your enemies usually backfires.

  • Underzog||

    The most odious of Jews are not the self hating Jews who cheer the Arab terrorists in Reason magazine's Hit and Run pages' it is people such as Cathy Young. Cathy Young, writing in "Newsday": (I believe), tried to locate Pamela Geller's location for her ISIS pin ups. Cathy Young is an informer against the Jews for the purpose of having the Jewess Geller decapitated. There is no more odious Jews than the informer. The Rabbis stated that "may the informers have no hope." In their remark they meant Cathy Young as well.

  • Lester224||

    What the F*ck? Most of the Jews don't give a damn what the Rabbis say. Most of the Jews are non religious and are marrying non-Jews as fast as they can.

  • Justin Raimondo||

    Naturally, Cathy "There are no true libertarians in times of terrorist attacks" Young didn't bother contacting me: only confirmed Russophobes like Tim Snyder, porn aficionado John Schindler, and Tom Palmer (whose "Atlas Network" gets plenty of neocon dineros) are cited. I'm "pro-Russian" -- because I oppose the current anti-Russian hysteria. She writes: "Meanwhile, Ron Paul–style libertarians are inclined to see Russia as a check on U.S. foreign adventurism and Russia hawks as hardcore proponents of the American imperial leviathan." This is nonsense bordering on libel: Ron opposes a new cold war against Russia. That's a far cry from *championing* Russia as any kind of check on anything, never mind endorsing unnamed "Russia hawks." But that's the Cathy Young method, i.e. the method of a third-rate smear-monger.

    It isn't "Ron Paul-style" libertarians who oppose the liberal-left's new cold war hysterics -- it's most libertarians. And to see a "libertarian" magazine publishing an article advocating economic sanctions -- it's an absolute disgrace.

  • Joe Ureneck||

    Young can't be as naive about geo-politics and US hegemony as she implies in this article, can she?

  • Room 237||

    I think we all need some sanity on Russia. Yes they are not our friend and they are a threat to the Baltic states and maybe Poland. But Russia has lost her empire as well as something like 1/3 of her population and 1/4 of her territory.

    The threat to Europe would be easily dealt with if European NATO nations would just meet their 2% GDP requirement.

    I would like better relations with Russia, as long as we go into with with open eyes as to what Putin really is.

  • Delicieuxz||

    I don't think that Putin has shown any interest in invading or acting hostile towards the Baltics, or Poland. The hysterical notion that Putin, or Russia has any imperialistic goal is a bit misguided, considering that the only conflict in the region, in the former Ukraine regions, was created by the USA's own imperialistic goals to subvert the government in Ukraine and bring Ukraine, along with Crimea, into NATO, to box Russia in and gain access to the Black Sea naval base.

  • Better Failling||

    "Aside from a verbal commitment to liberal democracy and the rule of law, what can Western countries do to curb Russia's anti-liberal influence without risking military conflict? Economic sanctions—particularly when they target the Russian political elite and its properties abroad, as opposed to targeting ordinary Russian consumers—can be more effective than they are often believed to be".
    Understanding that Russia is nowhere a democracy - Putin does more or less what he wants, while the proverbial 'man in the street' has little to say about many things, specially about Russia's foreign policy, would be a good start.
    Every time the Western media says something like 'Russia did this bad thing' Putin's propaganda machine will twist it into 'See, the West hates us and would do anything to destroy us. We need to stick together - meaning 'you need to follow my lead' - if we want to survive'.
    Targeted economic sanctions may help.
    A genuine effort to bridge the 'understanding gap' would be even more helpful. Russia is just another country, whose people happened to had almost exclusively authoritarian leaders. Blaming the ordinary people, and speaking disparagingly about them, won't do any help. On the contrary.

  • Better Failling||

    'What's behind Putin's actions' and 'If Putin did help elect Trump, it seems so far to have been a spectacularly bad investment.'... Yes, Trump might prove to be a harder nut to crack than Hillary... or not.
    What Putin needs most is 'acknowledgement'. He needs to prove to his followers - and to himself - that he counts on the world stage. He needs to make his presence felt. And spoken about.
    By meddling into the American electoral process he got what he wanted, with a vengeance.
    Why chose Trump? The way I see it, they are so similar that Putin might actually like him. On the other hand, unchecked, Trump is liable to make way bigger mistakes than Hillary.
    But he is also liable to convince America to clean up its act.
    In the end, it is very possible that Trump might, even if unwittingly, bring about the undoing of Putin.

  • Carter Mitchell||

    Could the publication of this piece by long-time Russophobe Young be fueled by the fact that Reason gets so much money from Charles Koch - who stands to make enormous profits if Russian energy imports are blocked by government action?

    The editors of Reason need to apologize to those of us who spend our subscription dollars on your magazine (for now) for giving space to this piece of work which is, as Justin Raimondo put it so eloquently, "Young's farrago of falsehood, innuendo, and neo-McCarthyite rubbish."

    If I see more crap like this, when it's time to renew, I'll send my dollars to antiwar.com instead. If I wanted neocon trash, I'd subscribe to The American Conservative or Washington Post.

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    Prolly not.

  • wootendw||

    "...there is a real Russian effort to counter American—plus NATO and E.U.—influence by supporting authoritarian nationalist movements and groups, such as Le Pen's National Front, Hungary's quasi-fascist Jobbik Party, and Greece's neo-Nazi Golden Dawn."

    What evidence is there of this other than the fact that these groups are not hostile to Russia as NATO and the politicians in Washington? None. So what if Le Pen got a loan from a Russian bank? Would EU banks loan Le Pen money? As for 'fascist', it happens to be the dominant form of government on the planet including the EU and the US now. The US income tax system is about as fascist as you can get. Russia has flat tax.

    Here are the numbers:

    Russia population (2013) 143 million
    NATO population (CIA) 906 million
    US population (2015) 321 million

    Russia GDP (2013) 2 trillion (USD)
    NATO GDP (CIA) 36 trillion (USD)
    US GDP 16 trillion.

    With numbers like these, even if Russia wanted to impose some kind of authoritarian order, there is no way it can do so. The 'Western' record on war and people's rights during the past quarter century is horrible - millions dead all over the ME for NOTHING.

  • ||

    The worst threat to humanity is faith in politicians which imbues them with a moral blank check. We are not protected by that delusion. It will destroy us as individuals and a country or culture. It is the source of war, poverty, and domestic strife.

    Do not let fear of foreigners or fear of neighbors induce you into endorsing any politician, or govt. That is an old trick used to control and exploit since the beginning of recorded history. Don't believe the fear mongers, the political hacks, and the self deluded. Don't fall for the oldest trick and adopt the world wide superstition of statism. If you do, then you really will have something to fear.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: Russia's Global Anti-Libertarian Crusade

    Russia has a long history of authoritarianism and totalitarianism.
    So this should come as no surprise.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    This article is rather outlandish. Not because Putin isn't a murderous thug and one of the world's biggest assholes. He is. It's just that there's been a rumor of a "libertarian moment" for months now. Since the election, Democrat politicians have been the ones most likely to blame Putin for their lack of popularity. Still silly, but not as implausible as libertarians griping about it.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Why is a Reason magazine contributor suddenly so concerned about the prospects for enlarging NATO?

  • nicmart||

    It's not sudden. Young would fit right in at American Enterprise Institute. She has sneered at my "classical liberal" views on Twitter. (She put the two words in quotes.) For ardently pro-peace articles you can't do better than The American Conservative. The Internet has made Reason expendable.

  • ||

    Reason: the Libertarians' CNN.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Maybe this article is actually some sort of elaborate trap for paid Putin trolls. I don't see how they could undermine Reason magazine by blaming the US for civil war in the Ukraine and the usual blather, but perhaps they could flood the comment section with "work at home" spam.

  • nicmart||

    Cathy Young has never been a libertarian, and ridicules libertarian views in other venues. So why has she often been given space to vent anti-libertarian views in Reason?