Should We Be Providing ‘Charity’ to Ukraine?

 

In a recent speech, Rand Paul gave a powerful presentation regarding the millions of dollars we are giving to Ukraine. He likened our situation to a conundrum that Davy Crockett faced when he served in Congress. (Most of us perceive Crockett as an iconic symbol of the West, but he also served in Congress from 1827 to 1835.) And Paul told a story that speaks to our continual donation of funds and military equipment to Ukraine and how it extends a long, expensive, and debilitating process of trying to be generous to other countries under the guise of national security.

Although Crockett’s original speech was not transcribed, his ideas were captured in an 1867 article written by Edward Ellis and published in Harper’s Magazine, called, “Not yours to Give.” And the conclusions that Crockett reached challenged Congress’ intention to donate charity to the widow of a distinguished naval officer. He took his position from an encounter with a citizen who called him out for a similar funding decision that Crockett made in another devastating occurrence. Crockett was credited with the following description of the situation:

Several years ago, I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless, and besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.

Later, when Crockett was out on the campaign trail, he encountered a citizen who had once supported him, but was going to withdraw future support for the recent action that Crockett had supported in Congress. The man, Horatio Bunce, shared his reasoning:

The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports to be true, some of them spend not very credibly; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation and a violation of the Constitution. So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger for the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned and you see that I cannot vote for you.

Crockett took Bunce’s counsel to heart, thus denying Congress’ later efforts to provide charity to the naval officer.

*     *     *     *

To be clear, I am ambivalent about our involvement in the Russia-Ukraine war. At this writing, our national debt is at $31,457,4472,102,309, or $94,292 per person. In how many different ways have we used federal funds to ingratiate ourselves to other nations, or to strengthen relationships with our allies, and managed to violate the Constitution? How many times have our intentions to be charitable to those in our own country violated the Constitution? Does our sympathy for the Ukrainians and the war inflicted on them by the Russians justify our apparent limitless funding to assist them? Is there any point where we have gone too far? Does the possibility of stricter oversight justify our borrowing even more money to fund our contributions to Ukraine?

Davy Crockett’s story begs the question: Do we know what we are doing in Ukraine?

[photo courtesy of Getty Images]

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  1. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):
    The question is whether the US (and its NATO allies) should expend blood and treasure to stop Russia from seizing the territory of its neighbours, even when the country in question is not a member of NATO.

    Yes, seems to me we could ask ourselves, the US, what would we being doing differently if Ukraine were a NATO member?

    I’m still of the opinion that Russia would not have dared to invade if Ukraine had been a NATO member. The fact that NATO kept obstructing Ukraine’s admission, even after the annexation of Crimea, sent Putin a strong signal about the West’s (lack of) commitment to defend Ukraine directly.

    I though one of the prerequisites for NATO admission was a stable corruption free government. I’m not sure Ukraine has had this.

    The process for the enlargement of NATO is defined by Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty. The only official prerequisite is the unanimous approval of all existing NATO members. That current members insist on a “stable, corruption-free government” before they will vote to accept a new member is entirely their prerogative, but it is not an official prerequisite according to the treaty.

    • #61
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):
    The question is whether the US (and its NATO allies) should expend blood and treasure to stop Russia from seizing the territory of its neighbours, even when the country in question is not a member of NATO.

    Yes, seems to me we could ask ourselves, the US, what would we being doing differently if Ukraine were a NATO member?

    I’m still of the opinion that Russia would not have dared to invade if Ukraine had been a NATO member. The fact that NATO kept obstructing Ukraine’s admission, even after the annexation of Crimea, sent Putin a strong signal about the West’s (lack of) commitment to defend Ukraine directly.

    I though one of the prerequisites for NATO admission was a stable corruption free government. I’m not sure Ukraine has had this.

    The process for the enlargement of NATO is defined by Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty. The only official prerequisite is the unanimous approval of all existing NATO members. That current members insist on a “stable, corruption-free government” before they will vote to accept a new member is entirely their prerogative, but it is not an official prerequisite according to the treaty.

    Except for Turkey. Erdogan insists that we pretend we like him.

    • #62
  3. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Zafar (View Comment):

    People might say that it’s in the US’ interests to promote freedom and democracy everywhere.

    Or that it’s in the US’ interests to hobble Russia, which is an intrinsically malevolent force in the world.

    Or to stop Russian-European economic integration because then why would they need you?

    Or that special interests in the US have enough institutional capture going on that they consistently turn a private profit from public expenditure on war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine….)

    Or….I guess many other options.

    Which of these is a vital national interest of the U.S., and when was the debate on them held?

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Plus – there are competing interests in the US.  So saying ‘the US’ or ‘Ukraine’ or even ‘Russia’ when talking about interests and agendas in this context is inherently inexact

    We have representatives in government who are supposed to come to a consensus among the competing interests. I follow the news (not as closely as some of y’all though) and can’t recall a robust debate on this in the Congress, nor can I recall an address to the nation outlining the case for supporting UKR in their war against RUS.

    • #63
  4. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Percival (View Comment):

    I though one of the prerequisites for NATO admission was a stable corruption free government. I’m not sure Ukraine has had this.

    The process for the enlargement of NATO is defined by Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty. The only official prerequisite is the unanimous approval of all existing NATO members. That current members insist on a “stable, corruption-free government” before they will vote to accept a new member is entirely their prerogative, but it is not an official prerequisite according to the treaty.

    Except for Turkey. Erdogan insists that we pretend we like him.

    I think the stable, corruption free govt thing is for joining the EU.

    NATO requires (de facto if not in the treaty?) that the applicant not have any territorial disputes going on.

    From the website:

    To join the Alliance, nations are expected to respect the values of the North Atlantic Treaty, and to meet certain political, economic and military criteria, set out in the Alliance’s 1995 Study on Enlargement. These criteria include a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy; fair treatment of minority populations; a commitment to resolve conflicts peacefully; an ability and willingness to make a military contribution to NATO operations; and a commitment to democratic civil-military relations and institution.

    And from the 1995 Study:

    States which have ethnic disputes or external territorial disputes, including irredentist claims, or internal jurisdictional disputes must settle those disputes by peaceful means in accordance with OSCE principles. Resolution of such disputes would be a factor in determining whether to invite a state to join the Alliance.

    So weirdly NATO’s involvement in Ukraine is maintaining a situation which technically precludes Ukraine from joining NATO.   If the words mean anything.

    • #64
  5. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    To my mind we are hurting Russia by hurting ourselves. As with Reagan’s build up, to which the fall of the Berlin Wall and the loss of Russian satellites are attributed, it costs money to cost to make others pay.

    My larger concern is that an open checkbook policy for a non-ally who is being usurped is endlessly repeatable.

    The story is slightly different from past situations, but how often are we going to engage in other countries with no end in sight to our detriment?

    Susan, you need to edit your post so that it reads “billions” – not millions.

    Some critics say we have already offered up some 500 billions of dollars, which is a half trillion bucks. I suppose it depends on whether or not you count in the semi-obsolete weaponry we have given them already.

    The WOKE believe that we are only providing fuel, food, medicine and other necessities.

     

    • #65
  6. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    The big push to join NATO hasn’t come from us. It has come from countries whose misfortune it is to have been part of the Russian Empire.

    There’s a danger to bringing a bunch of little countries into NATO, who then decide that they can be belligerent and demand that we bail them out with our own blood and treasure.

    The NATO treaty does not state that NATO members commit to assist other NATO members when they initiate military action. For example, NATO members were not obligated to help the US in Vietnam, or Grenada, or Iraq.

    (One could argue that NATO members were obligated to help Britain in the Falkland Islands, since Argentina was the aggressor in that case. Luckily, Britain did not request such assistance, probably because they knew it wouldn’t be forthcoming.)

    I’ve heard that we didn’t initially request assistance after the attack on 9/11. Some of the NATO members came to the US leaders and said, “Remember Article 5? You guys thinking about invoking it?”

    According to this article:

    “Most witnesses agree that it was the Canadian dean of NATO ambassadors, David Wright, who in a conversation with the US permanent representative, Nicholas Burns, brought the idea on the table to invoke Article 5 of the North Atlantic Charter that would call for collective defence. The NATO ambassadors soon agreed on this initiative and reached back to their capitals to receive authorisation.”

    • #66
  7. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    The big push to join NATO hasn’t come from us. It has come from countries whose misfortune it is to have been part of the Russian Empire.

    There’s a danger to bringing a bunch of little countries into NATO, who then decide that they can be belligerent and demand that we bail them out with our own blood and treasure.

    The NATO treaty does not state that NATO members commit to assist other NATO members when they initiate military action.

    What if they’re just poking the bear over and over and over . . . and then bear decides it’s had enough. And then they come running to the Big Dog demanding we act?

    How the heck have the Baltic countries, let along Ukraine, been poking Russia “over and over and over”?

    It may well be argued that NATO and/or the US have been poking the bear, but I see no evidence of Russia’s neighbours doing so.

     Well, Russia’s neighbors dress provocatively so they probably deserve it. 

    • #67
  8. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):
    The question is whether the US (and its NATO allies) should expend blood and treasure to stop Russia from seizing the territory of its neighbours, even when the country in question is not a member of NATO.

    Yes, seems to me we could ask ourselves, the US, what would we being doing differently if Ukraine were a NATO member?

    I’m still of the opinion that Russia would not have dared to invade if Ukraine had been a NATO member. The fact that NATO kept obstructing Ukraine’s admission, even after the annexation of Crimea, sent Putin a strong signal about the West’s (lack of) commitment to defend Ukraine directly.

    Or is it that Nato wanted Russia to invade? Considering what Merkel, Hollande, and Poroshenko have said about Minsk, the shelling of the breakaway areas of Ukraine, and the slaughter of Russian-speaking Ukrainians, I’m increasingly convinced that has been the plan. It has been a passive-aggressive policy. Great way to make money for American political elite.

    I think that comes very close to violating the Ricochet CofC’s prohibition on conspiracy theory.

    • #68
  9. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    People might say that it’s in the US’ interests to promote freedom and democracy everywhere.

    Or that it’s in the US’ interests to hobble Russia, which is an intrinsically malevolent force in the world.

    Or to stop Russian-European economic integration because then why would they need you?

    Or that special interests in the US have enough institutional capture going on that they consistently turn a private profit from public expenditure on war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine….)

    Or….I guess many other options.

    Which of these is a vital national interest of the U.S., and when was the debate on them held?

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Plus – there are competing interests in the US. So saying ‘the US’ or ‘Ukraine’ or even ‘Russia’ when talking about interests and agendas in this context is inherently inexact

    We have representatives in government who are supposed to come to a consensus among the competing interests. I follow the news (not as closely as some of y’all though) and can’t recall a robust debate on this in the Congress, nor can I recall an address to the nation outlining the case for supporting UKR in their war against RUS.

    I’m not disagreeing, I think you are entitled to that public debate, but I don’t think you’ll ever get it.  Not on Ukraine and in fact not on many areas of your foreign policy.

    • #69
  10. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):
    The question is whether the US (and its NATO allies) should expend blood and treasure to stop Russia from seizing the territory of its neighbours, even when the country in question is not a member of NATO.

    Yes, seems to me we could ask ourselves, the US, what would we being doing differently if Ukraine were a NATO member?

    I’m still of the opinion that Russia would not have dared to invade if Ukraine had been a NATO member. The fact that NATO kept obstructing Ukraine’s admission, even after the annexation of Crimea, sent Putin a strong signal about the West’s (lack of) commitment to defend Ukraine directly.

    I though one of the prerequisites for NATO admission was a stable corruption free government. I’m not sure Ukraine has had this.

    I’m not sure our own government is a stable corruption free government.

    • #70
  11. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    Percival (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):
    After reading some of the previous posts I was thinking how we are reliving the 1930’s with Russia standing in for Germany and China taking the place of Japan (yet much more dangerous).

    I can maybe see the parallel between Russia and 1930s Germany, but comparing China to 1930s Japan feels like too much of a stretch.

    The Empire of Japan had been invading its neighbours and expanding its territory for decades prior to the 1930s. By contrast, China hasn’t invaded any of its neighbours in over 70 years (i.e. when it annexed Tibet).

    And we tried “soft power” by embargoing the raw materials Japan needed for their China war. So they invaded the western Pacific and bombed Pearl Harbor.

    Arguably, Japan was mostly ticked off because the West had largely supported its military activities on the mainland up to that point. e.g. Europe and the US fought in concert with Japan to put down the Boxer Rebellion.

    Indeed, one might note that the US, Britain and the Netherlands only imposed economic sanctions after China had occupied French Indochina in 1941. The sanctions were NOT about Japan’s activities in China.

    • #71
  12. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Zafar (View Comment):

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    People might say that it’s in the US’ interests to promote freedom and democracy everywhere.

    Or that it’s in the US’ interests to hobble Russia, which is an intrinsically malevolent force in the world.

    Or to stop Russian-European economic integration because then why would they need you?

    Or that special interests in the US have enough institutional capture going on that they consistently turn a private profit from public expenditure on war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine….)

    Or….I guess many other options.

    Which of these is a vital national interest of the U.S., and when was the debate on them held?

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Plus – there are competing interests in the US. So saying ‘the US’ or ‘Ukraine’ or even ‘Russia’ when talking about interests and agendas in this context is inherently inexact

    We have representatives in government who are supposed to come to a consensus among the competing interests. I follow the news (not as closely as some of y’all though) and can’t recall a robust debate on this in the Congress, nor can I recall an address to the nation outlining the case for supporting UKR in their war against RUS.

    I’m not disagreeing, I think you are entitled to that public debate, but I don’t think you’ll ever get it. Not on Ukraine and in fact not on many areas of your foreign policy.

    I hate to agree with you on this point, Zafar, but I don’t think we’ll ever get that debate.

    • #72
  13. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):
    Abandoning Ukraine to Russia sends a huge signal that America’s promises of protection mean nothing

    When did the U.S. promise to protect UKR? It wasn’t the Budapest Memorandum; I can’t recall a treaty requiring us to do so. When did this happen?

    • #73
  14. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):
    There’s a danger to bringing a bunch of little countries into NATO, who then decide that they can be belligerent and demand that we bail them out with our own blood and treasure.

    The NATO obligation is can be ignored at our choosing by providing trivial assistance. 

    • #74
  15. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    MiMac (View Comment):

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    I believe that Ukrainian independence serves the interests of NATO and the United States. Vladimir imagines himself tzar.

    What also serves the United States is keeping our money and having Russia as an ally against China.

    Small problem- it is clear Russia doesn’t want to be our ally. Other than that it a great plan…

    That is not clear at all.  I am sure we broker a deal where Russia gets some oblasts and agrees to pay to clean stuff up. 

    • #75
  16. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    I’m not disagreeing, I think you are entitled to that public debate, but I don’t think you’ll ever get it. Not on Ukraine and in fact not on many areas of your foreign policy.

    I hate to agree with you on this point, Zafar, but I don’t think we’ll ever get that debate.

    To be honest (?) it’s the end point of a period where discussion on many different issues has been essentially shut down in the public sphere – or at least so severely constrained to ‘acceptable’ opinion that it has become the norm.  True across the West (the East? Fuhgedaboutit, it was always that way) – and it’s something we’ve all gone along with when the opinions being suppressed were not ones we were in sympathy with.  We gave it away, incrementally.

    Edited to add:

    This is for much much longer than the COVID info thing.  Think McCarthy, or perhaps there are examples that precede his era?

    • #76
  17. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    Percival (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):
    The question is whether the US (and its NATO allies) should expend blood and treasure to stop Russia from seizing the territory of its neighbours, even when the country in question is not a member of NATO.

    Yes, seems to me we could ask ourselves, the US, what would we being doing differently if Ukraine were a NATO member?

    I’m still of the opinion that Russia would not have dared to invade if Ukraine had been a NATO member. The fact that NATO kept obstructing Ukraine’s admission, even after the annexation of Crimea, sent Putin a strong signal about the West’s (lack of) commitment to defend Ukraine directly.

    I though one of the prerequisites for NATO admission was a stable corruption free government. I’m not sure Ukraine has had this.

    The process for the enlargement of NATO is defined by Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty. The only official prerequisite is the unanimous approval of all existing NATO members. That current members insist on a “stable, corruption-free government” before they will vote to accept a new member is entirely their prerogative, but it is not an official prerequisite according to the treaty.

    Except for Turkey. Erdogan insists that we pretend we like him.

    There are several countries that joined NATO that can hardly have been described as having “corruption-free” governments at the time of their admissions. Is Ukraine’s government really that much more corrupt than were those of Greece in 1952, Spain in 1982, Bulgaria in 2004, or Albania in 2009?

    I wager that NATO’s hesitance about admitting Ukraine had way more to do with Ukraine’s stability than with the alleged corruption of its government. Too much of Ukraine’s own population simply could not be relied upon to join in Ukraine’s own defence.

    • #77
  18. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    I believe that Ukrainian independence serves the interests of NATO and the United States. Vladimir imagines himself tzar.

    What also serves the United States is keeping our money and having Russia as an ally against China.

    Small problem- it is clear Russia doesn’t want to be our ally. Other than that it a great plan…

    That is not clear at all.

    Russia did ask to join NATO, after all.

    I am sure we broker a deal where Russia gets some oblasts and agrees to pay to clean stuff up.

    I’m not so sure.  I don’t  see them agreeing to pay.

    • #78
  19. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Is it really charity?

    I think it’s more like bribery.

     

    Or blackmail.

    Just like the Iraq war was nothing but a way to funnel contracts to Halliburton?

    Let’s say that all wars contain the possibility of mission creep in that direction right from inception. I think that’s what happened in Afghanistan, and that’s why it went on so long. Whether it’s part of the original mission – well, probably partly at least. And to be fair, that degree probably varies from war to war. It seems prominent – to my untutored eye – in the US’ involvement in Ukraine.

    But like Ukraine, Afghanistan wasn’t a “war’ and it certainly had no defined mission.  At least with Russia, the US has one stated mission, to depose Putin (and to stay in there “no matter how long it takes” or what the cost).

    • #79
  20. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):
    The question is whether the US (and its NATO allies) should expend blood and treasure to stop Russia from seizing the territory of its neighbours, even when the country in question is not a member of NATO.

    Yes, seems to me we could ask ourselves, the US, what would we being doing differently if Ukraine were a NATO member?

    I’m still of the opinion that Russia would not have dared to invade if Ukraine had been a NATO member. The fact that NATO kept obstructing Ukraine’s admission, even after the annexation of Crimea, sent Putin a strong signal about the West’s (lack of) commitment to defend Ukraine directly.

    I though one of the prerequisites for NATO admission was a stable corruption free government. I’m not sure Ukraine has had this.

    The process for the enlargement of NATO is defined by Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty. The only official prerequisite is the unanimous approval of all existing NATO members. That current members insist on a “stable, corruption-free government” before they will vote to accept a new member is entirely their prerogative, but it is not an official prerequisite according to the treaty.

    But do you see that for NATO it would be a whole lot of trouble to admit a country that is politically unstable?

    • #80
  21. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    I though one of the prerequisites for NATO admission was a stable corruption free government. I’m not sure Ukraine has had this.

    The process for the enlargement of NATO is defined by Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty. The only official prerequisite is the unanimous approval of all existing NATO members. That current members insist on a “stable, corruption-free government” before they will vote to accept a new member is entirely their prerogative, but it is not an official prerequisite according to the treaty.

    Except for Turkey. Erdogan insists that we pretend we like him.

    I think the stable, corruption free govt thing is for joining the EU.

    NATO requires (de facto if not in the treaty?) that the applicant not have any territorial disputes going on.

    From the website:

    To join the Alliance, nations are expected to respect the values of the North Atlantic Treaty, and to meet certain political, economic and military criteria, set out in the Alliance’s 1995 Study on Enlargement. These criteria include a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy; fair treatment of minority populations; a commitment to resolve conflicts peacefully; an ability and willingness to make a military contribution to NATO operations; and a commitment to democratic civil-military relations and institution.

    And from the 1995 Study:

    States which have ethnic disputes or external territorial disputes, including irredentist claims, or internal jurisdictional disputes must settle those disputes by peaceful means in accordance with OSCE principles. Resolution of such disputes would be a factor in determining whether to invite a state to join the Alliance.

    So weirdly NATO’s involvement in Ukraine is maintaining a situation which technically precludes Ukraine from joining NATO. If the words mean anything.

    Note: That study is only, well, a study. The treaty itself does not include any such requirement. Technically, NATO members are free to vote according to their own interests. Practically, it doesn’t even get to a vote unless there’s already unanimous agreement between the existing members. It’s a very backroom sort of process.

    • #81
  22. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):
    The question is whether the US (and its NATO allies) should expend blood and treasure to stop Russia from seizing the territory of its neighbours, even when the country in question is not a member of NATO.

    Yes, seems to me we could ask ourselves, the US, what would we being doing differently if Ukraine were a NATO member?

    I’m still of the opinion that Russia would not have dared to invade if Ukraine had been a NATO member. The fact that NATO kept obstructing Ukraine’s admission, even after the annexation of Crimea, sent Putin a strong signal about the West’s (lack of) commitment to defend Ukraine directly.

    Or is it that Nato wanted Russia to invade? Considering what Merkel, Hollande, and Poroshenko have said about Minsk, the shelling of the breakaway areas of Ukraine, and the slaughter of Russian-speaking Ukrainians, I’m increasingly convinced that has been the plan. It has been a passive-aggressive policy. Great way to make money for American political elite.

    I think that comes very close to violating the Ricochet CofC’s prohibition on conspiracy theory.

    No, that only applies to fruitcakes.

    • #82
  23. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Flicker (View Comment):
    But do you see that for NATO it would be a whole lot of trouble to admit a country that is politically unstable?

    I don’t think it’s been an issue with Turkey.  I guess it’s a matter of having the country’s army in the tank.

    • #83
  24. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    I liked Paul in 2002, in his protests against the coming war in Iraq.

    And continue to find solace in his pronouncements today:

    I’ll add this: if a person is under the age of 40, in good health and patriotic enough that they feel the need to support a war with a decal of an American flag on their car, then the individual should be immediately conscripted to fight in the war which they so heroically support.

    The same goes for those individuals who are supporting Ukraine with the blue and yellow flags on their homes or cars.

    If not able to physically be in the military, then let them donate 2/3rds their income and wealth to support the war.

    The costs of  these  multi- trillion dollar “investments” in war always end up being passed along to our kids and grand kids. Inflation is another offering that comes the way of the working class, due to wars we’re not really paying for yet but which demand the printing presses at US Treasury churn out these vast sums.

     

    • #84
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    I liked Paul in 2002, in his protests against the coming war in Iraq.

    And continue to find solace in his pronouncements today:

    I’ll add this: if a person is under the age of 40, in good health and patriotic enough that they feel the need to support a war with a decal of an American flag on their car, then the individual should be immediately conscripted to fight in the war which they so heroically support.

    The same goes for those individuals who are supporting Ukraine with the blue and yellow flags on their homes or cars.

    If not able to physically be in the military, then let them donate 2/3rds their income and wealth to support the war.

    The costs of these multi- trillion dollar “investments” in war always end up being passed along to our kids and grand kids. Inflation is another offering that comes the way of the working class, due to wars we’re not really paying for yet but which demand the printing presses at US Treasury churn out these vast sums.

     

    You realize I was referring to Rand Paul. . .

    • #85
  26. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    I though one of the prerequisites for NATO admission was a stable corruption free government. I’m not sure Ukraine has had this.

    The process for the enlargement of NATO is defined by Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty. The only official prerequisite is the unanimous approval of all existing NATO members. That current members insist on a “stable, corruption-free government” before they will vote to accept a new member is entirely their prerogative, but it is not an official prerequisite according to the treaty.

    Except for Turkey. Erdogan insists that we pretend we like him.

    I think the stable, corruption free govt thing is for joining the EU.

    NATO requires (de facto if not in the treaty?) that the applicant not have any territorial disputes going on.

    From the website:

    To join the Alliance, nations are expected to respect the values of the North Atlantic Treaty, and to meet certain political, economic and military criteria, set out in the Alliance’s 1995 Study on Enlargement. These criteria include a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy; fair treatment of minority populations; a commitment to resolve conflicts peacefully; an ability and willingness to make a military contribution to NATO operations; and a commitment to democratic civil-military relations and institution.

    And from the 1995 Study:

    States which have ethnic disputes or external territorial disputes, including irredentist claims, or internal jurisdictional disputes must settle those disputes by peaceful means in accordance with OSCE principles. Resolution of such disputes would be a factor in determining whether to invite a state to join the Alliance.

    So weirdly NATO’s involvement in Ukraine is maintaining a situation which technically precludes Ukraine from joining NATO. If the words mean anything.

    NATO isn’t involved in Ukraine. According to its website, NATO isn’t even currently conducting exercises in its Baltic or Balkan members’ territories.

    Some of NATO’s members happen to be providing financial and military aid to Ukraine, but that ain’t NATO itself.

    • #86
  27. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    People might say that it’s in the US’ interests to promote freedom and democracy everywhere.

    Or that it’s in the US’ interests to hobble Russia, which is an intrinsically malevolent force in the world.

    Or to stop Russian-European economic integration because then why would they need you?

    Or that special interests in the US have enough institutional capture going on that they consistently turn a private profit from public expenditure on war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine….)

    Or….I guess many other options.

    Which of these is a vital national interest of the U.S., and when was the debate on them held?

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Plus – there are competing interests in the US. So saying ‘the US’ or ‘Ukraine’ or even ‘Russia’ when talking about interests and agendas in this context is inherently inexact

    We have representatives in government who are supposed to come to a consensus among the competing interests. I follow the news (not as closely as some of y’all though) and can’t recall a robust debate on this in the Congress, nor can I recall an address to the nation outlining the case for supporting UKR in their war against RUS.

    Any thinking person can find so many objections to the way the US citizenry is being led into this war against Russia via our allying with the Ukraine that it is mind boggling to realize so many support this.

    I am glad you are making these statements.

    The only winner in any  of this are the top two nations in the world: China and India.

    Both  nations are staying out of the fray. Both realize that if nations Number Three and Number Four weaken each other, and destroy the actual nation of Ukraine in the process, they will be stronger.

     

    • #87
  28. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):
    After reading some of the previous posts I was thinking how we are reliving the 1930’s with Russia standing in for Germany and China taking the place of Japan (yet much more dangerous).

    I can maybe see the parallel between Russia and 1930s Germany, but comparing China to 1930s Japan feels like too much of a stretch.

    The Empire of Japan had been invading its neighbours and expanding its territory for decades prior to the 1930s. By contrast, China hasn’t invaded any of its neighbours in over 70 years (i.e. when it annexed Tibet).

    And we tried “soft power” by embargoing the raw materials Japan needed for their China war. So they invaded the western Pacific and bombed Pearl Harbor.

    Arguably, Japan was mostly ticked off because the West had largely supported its military activities on the mainland up to that point. e.g. Europe and the US fought in concert with Japan to put down the Boxer Rebellion.

    Indeed, one might note that the US, Britain and the Netherlands only imposed economic sanctions after China had occupied French Indochina in 1941. The sanctions were NOT about Japan’s activities in China.

    The Boxer Rebellion was forty years before. In 1939, the embargo was for airplanes, parts for airplanes, aviation fuel, and machine tools. In 1940, that was expanded to oil, steel and iron scrap, and other stuff. In June 1941, Roosevelt froze all Japanese assets in the US. I think the UK and the Netherlands joined the oil embargo then.

     

    • #88
  29. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):
    But do you see that for NATO it would be a whole lot of trouble to admit a country that is politically unstable?

    I don’t think it’s been an issue with Turkey. I guess it’s a matter of having the country’s army in the tank.

    Wasn’t Turkey stable when it was inducted into NATO?  I don’t know but I thought is was always fairly stable, up until fundamentalist islamization.

    • #89
  30. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy has never (View Comment):
    The question is whether the US (and its NATO allies) should expend blood and treasure to stop Russia from seizing the territory of its neighbours, even when the country in question is not a member of NATO.

    Yes, seems to me we could ask ourselves, the US, what would we being doing differently if Ukraine were a NATO member?

    I’m still of the opinion that Russia would not have dared to invade if Ukraine had been a NATO member. The fact that NATO kept obstructing Ukraine’s admission, even after the annexation of Crimea, sent Putin a strong signal about the West’s (lack of) commitment to defend Ukraine directly.

    Or is it that Nato wanted Russia to invade? Considering what Merkel, Hollande, and Poroshenko have said about Minsk, the shelling of the breakaway areas of Ukraine, and the slaughter of Russian-speaking Ukrainians, I’m increasingly convinced that has been the plan. It has been a passive-aggressive policy. Great way to make money for American political elite.

    I think that comes very close to violating the Ricochet CofC’s prohibition on conspiracy theory.

    No, that only applies to fruitcakes.

    Specifically, it’s a prohibition on conspiracy theories about fruitcakes.  Big Fruitcake has got a team of lawyers like you wouldn’t believe.

    • #90
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