Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Thoughts on a Libertarian Solution to the Crisis in the Crimea — Fred Cole

 

 I have to take issue with Ron Paul’s extolling the virtues of the recent independence vote in the Crimea. While independence may be the mood of the citizens of the Crimea, a vote to join the country that has just invaded and occupied you, while the troops are still there, is illegitimate. The Crimea vote a scam. Self-determination is great thing. More places should declare their independence from far-away capitals, as Venice has recently done. But such a vote should never be done at barrel of a gun.

Russian actions during the current crisis are unacceptable.

However…

Despite heated rhetoric coming from interventionists, it is necessary to remember two important facts:

1. Russia is not Nazi Germany.

2. Russia is not the USSR.

Nazi Germany was a world power with a fully modern military, a highly organized society, and a specific ideology (Nazism) that included foreign conquest. The Soviet Union was a superpower with a modern military, a highly organized society, and a specific ideology (communism) that included foreign domination.

Russia is not a world power, the modernity of its military is dubious, it is not highly organized, and it does not have any specific ideology. It is a corrupt kleptocracy living off the ruins of a formerly highly organized state. It is a third world country, the decaying ruins of a superpower. Vladimir Putin is not Hitler or Stalin; he is just a corrupt thug. He is a highly intelligent and wily thug. He is a skillful and dangerous player of the game of power politics. But he’s just a thug.

This isn’t to say that this crisis in the Crimea should be taken lightly. I only mean to throw the cold water of reason onto the fires of rhetoric I have heard recently about the potential of Vladimir Putin to retake the Baltic states, reclaim Finland, and overrun Eastern Europe. He’s not about to do that.

He’s not about to do that because it would mean going to the mattresses. It would mean an all-out war. And that would mean a nuclear war, the apocalypse, the end times, and all that accompanies it.

But let’s suppose it doesn’t get as far as a nuclear war. It would certainly mean a Red Storm Rising scenario, a full scale conventional war. But Vladimir Putin would not risk that either (not because he isn’t a jerk, he is) but because he knows that Mother Russia would get the worst of that.

Despite its size, Russia has the same GDP as Italy. A war would mean Russia takes a massive hit economically. Putin can’t afford that, because his legitimacy and his power structure relies on a functional and growing economy. Because of the rapid increase in energy prices during the last decade, he’s had that. Russian GDP growth had already stalled before this game with Ukraine started costing Putin money and therefore legitimacy. The value of the Ruble and his own stock market have taken hits. Foreign capital is divesting, not wanting to be associated with this regime and its thuggery.

But still, Russia had annexed the Crimea and even John McCain admits there’s no military solution to the current crisis. So what is to be done about it?

Toward a Solution

To understand the solutions to the situation, one must first understand how we got to this point. How is it that Russia has a free enough to march into the Crimea and not provoke a second Crimean war? Aren’t the Europeans willing to put up a fight?

No, they’re not. Because Russia has a ring in their nose. Russia supplies natural gas to Western Europe and it can be very cold in Western Europe without natural gas. And the Russians aren’t shy about playing that card.

Why does this situation exist? Why not just buy from the United States? It’s a source of reliable energy and it doesn’t come with the moral or political complications of dealing with Russia.

Because the United States government stands in the way of exporting energy. Crude oil produced in the United States cannot be exported by law, a ban passed four decades ago, after the Arab oil embargo. And exporting liquid natural gas requires expensive and time-consuming permits. This situation, the lack of a reliable alternative, is what put that Russian ring in Europe’s nose.

A Libertarian Solution

First, I need to address something. It seems to be the trend lately to refer to libertarian foreign policy as “isolationist.” This is, at best, an incorrect usage of the word. At worst, it is a deliberate attempt to slur people.

In order to be an “isolationist,” you need to advocate two things:

  1. Non-interventionism

  2. Protectionism

If you only favor non-interventionism, you’re a non-interventionist. If you only favor protectionism, you’re a protectionist. Unless you have both elements, it is not “isolationism.”

Plenty of libertarians are non-interventionists; very few are isolationists. Isolationism includes an disposition toward forced disconnection from the rest of the world. Protectionism means using government force to impede or prevent people from peaceful free exchanges of goods, capital, people, or ideas for mutual benefit. Such use of force is the antithesis of libertarianism.

So what would a libertarian solution to the crisis in the Crimea be?

First: An understanding and an acceptance of the fact that, in life, sometimes there isn’t a solution to every problem.

Second: The same libertarian solution to every other problem: more freedom.

I sometimes worry that “more freedom” is too simplistic an answer to problems, so let me elaborate what that would mean as applied to US foreign policy, especially in this particular situation.

A libertarian favors free trade and free immigration. The free movement of goods and people across national boundaries, but also the free movement of two other very important things: capital and ideas.

The free movement of capital is a very powerful weapon that decent people can use against indecent people. And to be clear: what has happened in the Crimea recently is an indecency perpetrated by indecent people. Free movement of capital means that I’m free to invest where I like and, if I don’t like what happens in the country I’m invested in, I can pull my money out.

Free trade and free movement of people, capital, and ideas means closer ties between nations. If the United States had unrestricted free trade with Ukraine, not only would Ukraine be richer and therefore in a more powerful position, with the means to defend itself, it would be oriented westward instead of eastward. Free immigration means people would be free to come and go, back and forth, visiting, traveling, teaching, sharing ideas, techniques, technology. And it would mean that, if Ukraine is invaded, they know they can flee to safety and freedom in the United States.

All of this means closer ties with the west and less dependence on Russia. So when Russia shakes its stick in Ukraine’s direction, they can collectively tell Russia to go to hell, and trade and exchange freely with nations and people who respect them and their freedom.

Free trade would also mean a lifting of the United States’ nonsensical crude oil export prohibition and an end to its cumbersome and expensive liquid natural gas exportation permit process. In the absence of such restrictions, Western Europe can freely import American energy and Americans can get fat and rich selling to them. Russia would no longer have that ring to lead the Europeans around by.

The overall result is a freer, richer, and more interconnected world. That means a more peaceful world. (Does that sound like “isolationism” to you?)

Would this be an immediate solution to the situation in the Crimea? No. But the situation was decades in the making, so it will not be rectified overnight. But the sooner liberty-enhancing policies are enacted, the sooner the situation can begin to right itself.

In the absence of force as an option, I hear calls for broad economic sanctions against Russia coming from the interventionists. This is also the wrong solution. Why should my freedom, my natural right to trade freely, be restricted because of bad actors in Moscow?

The solution to this situation — the libertarian solution — is more freedom, not less.

There are 63 comments.

  1. Carey J. Inactive

    The best clue stick to use on Putin & Co. is oil prices. Bring down the price of oil and natural gas and Russia takes one in the shorts, because they have nothing else to sell the rest of the world.

    • #1
    • April 2, 2014, at 9:07 PM PST
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  2. DocJay Inactive

    Carey J, you clearly haven’t met their hookers. I kid. Yes let’s pump our fuels, get us independent from other folks and kick some economic bootie.

    • #2
    • April 2, 2014, at 10:53 PM PST
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  3. Brian Watt Member

    “2. Russia is not the USSR.”
    I would simply add…”yet again”.

    Let’s see if Putin stops with the Crimea or calculates that he can annex even more former Soviet states. The rest of the world seems content to give Crimea to Putin. I don’t hear declarations out of the White House or other western capitals that this annexation will not stand and will be reversed… unlike GHWB’s statement after Hussein (the other Hussein) took Kuwait. If sanctions don’t prove effective in halting the Russian Army in its tracks then we have to understand whether NATO is willing to meet force with force at some point based on its treaty obligations.

    • #3
    • April 3, 2014, at 12:15 AM PST
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  4. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    The question I have that remains unanswered is this: which empire is Putin attempting to rebuild, the Soviet Empire or the Russian Empire? I lean more toward the latter. The Soviet Empire was motivated by an ideology whereas the Russian empire was motivated by plain old greed (land, power, resources, etc.) As Putin is a thug, not an ideologue, I think he seeks to enrich himself and his nation via expansion and conquest.

    As to your solutions, I agree on the economics of it, but I remain confused on how movement of bodies across borders really plays a role.

    • #4
    • April 3, 2014, at 5:39 AM PST
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  5. Son of Spengler Contributor

    Fred Cole: Why does this situation exist? Why not just buy from the United States? It’s a source of reliable energy and it doesn’t come with the moral or political complications of dealing with Russia. Because the United States government stands in the way of exporting energy. Crude oil produced in the United States cannot be exported by law, a ban passed four decades ago, after the Arab oil embargo. And exporting liquid natural gas requires expensive and time-consuming permits. This situation, the lack of a reliable alternative, is what put that Russian ring in Europe’s nose.

     I don’t fully agree with the diagnosis, and consider the prognosis to be somewhat more threatening. But I couldn’t agree more with the prescription. Drill, baby, drill!
    Kudos on identifying the overlap on the Venn diagram where hawks and libertarians ought to be agitating for policy together. The GOP needs to push loudly and forcefully for the administration to unleash our country’s energy supplies and increase free trade. I expect it would yield political benefits as well as being the right thing to do.

    • #5
    • April 3, 2014, at 5:48 AM PST
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  6. Albert Arthur Thatcher

    First, let me say where I agree with Fred: We should get rid of the ban on crude exports, and free trade is important.

    Fred Cole: Despite heated rhetoric coming from interventionists, it is necessary to remember two important facts:

    1. Russia is not Nazi Germany.

    2. Russia is not the USSR.

    This is a straw man. Of course Russia is not Nazi Germany. Of course Russia is no longer the USSR. Literally no one claims that Russia is Nazi Germany or the USSR. Call to remember the consequences of inaction to German annexation of neighboring countries in the 1930s are not meant as a way to say that Russia is Nazi Germany, but that the situations are similar.

    It seems to be the trend lately to refer to libertarian foreign policy as “isolationist.” This is, at best, an incorrect usage of the word. At worst, it is a deliberate attempt to slur people.
    In order to be an “isolationist,” you need to advocate two things:

    Non-interventionism

    Protectionism

    If you only favor non-interventionism, you’re a non-interventionist. If you only favor protectionism, you’re a protectionist. Unless you have both elements, it is not “isolationism.”

    No, Fred, this is your definition of isolationist. While many people may share your definition, the term isolationist is commonly understood to mean non-interventionist.

    All of this means closer ties with the west and less dependence on Russia. So when Russia shakes its stick in Ukraine’s direction, they can collectively tell Russia to go to hell, and trade and exchange freely with nations and people who respect them and their freedom.

    And how are the Ukrainians going to do that with Russian troops within their borders?

    Free trade is important. But Russia doesn’t give a fig about that. Russia hasn’t gotten the memo that “there is no military solution.”

    • #6
    • April 3, 2014, at 6:06 AM PST
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  7. Aaron Miller Member

    Fred Cole: Nazi Germany was a world power with a fully modern military, a highly organized society, and a specific ideology (Nazism) that included foreign conquest. The Soviet Union was a superpower with a modern military, a highly organized society, and a specific ideology (communism) that included foreign domination.

    It’s a strange notion that conquest is driven only by ideology. Also, who is more frightening with nukes: an idealist or an ex-KGB thug who apparently cares only about himself (from a nihilist culture, no less)? 

    Putin’s estimation of his own country’s military potential isn’t very relevant if he thinks he can annex former Soviet territories without a direct military confrontation with major powers. However much Russia has weakened, he knows that no Western power has the stomach for war with them right now. Perhaps he does fear some sanctions, but I doubt he fears war.

    Free trade of petroleum products or anything else is a pipe dream while Obama is in office. Putin’s intentions and our potential countermeasures will be more clear in a couple years.

    • #7
    • April 3, 2014, at 6:14 AM PST
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  8. Mike H Coolidge

    The King Prawn:
    As to your solutions, I agree on the economics of it, but I remain confused on how movement of bodies across borders really plays a role.

     Because people are an economic entity as well as an entity endowed with human rights and thus if we really believe in and want free trade we should allow people not only to trade goods the way they see as most beneficial, but to go where they see their existence as most beneficial.

    If Russia is beating down their door it’s immoral to tell them they have to hope for the best, become a political activist, or die futilely when they could simply move to a more friendly country.

    • #8
    • April 3, 2014, at 6:14 AM PST
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  9. Albert Arthur Thatcher

    The King Prawn: As to your solutions, I agree on the economics of it, but I remain confused on how movement of bodies across borders really plays a role.

     Fred: Do you believe in national borders?

    • #9
    • April 3, 2014, at 6:22 AM PST
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  10. Fred Cole Member
    Fred Cole Post author

    Albert Arthur:
    No, Fred, this is your definition of isolationist. 

    And Webster’s definition and Wikipedia’s definition.

    And no, I’m not interested in re-litigating your incorrect usage ad nueaseum yet again.

    • #10
    • April 3, 2014, at 6:35 AM PST
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  11. Fred Cole Member
    Fred Cole Post author

    Albert Arthur:
    Russia hasn’t gotten the memo that “there is no military solution.”

    Actually, the solution would be one to their actions. So I think they very much have gotten the memo.

    The claim is too often that libertarians want a weak response or a non response to this kind of foreign aggression (we’re “isolation” after all). This claim is false. My point was to suggest a libertarian alternative policy to the interventionist and hawks [re-establish the Cold War] and the Obama administration’s solution [????] and I think I’ve done that.

    I’m also engaged in a long term project to slay that “isolationist” slur, because say what you will about my proposed solution, there’s nothing isolationist about it.

    • #11
    • April 3, 2014, at 6:41 AM PST
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  12. Valiuth Member

    A few observations:

    I am not sure that Putin really isn’t willing to risk more to take more. When the protesters started wining back during the Olympics I predicted Putin would retaliate in some nasty fashion. I though had no idea it would be to invade and annex Crimea. Did anyone? The old Russian Imperialism may not have had the strong ideology of the Nazi’s or Communists, but it had pride which drives men to do foolish things. Having tested us once and finding us unprepared I think he will test us again. Si vis pacem, para bellum. 

    I agree with you Fred that spreading freedom and trade will be good for us and the Ukraine. The thing is this is precisely what Putin objected to. The protesters rose up when their crony president scuttled closer economic and trade ties to Europe in favor of Russia. Their win meant closer ties and more open exchange with the west. Your plan is to keep challenging Putin on this by doubling down on trade, won’t he just double down on violence? Will we go to war over Eastern Ukraine if we did not for Crimea?

    • #12
    • April 3, 2014, at 6:49 AM PST
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  13. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Albert Arthur: No, Fred, this is your definition of isolationist.

    I’m really at a loss to explain the hostility toward Fred’s definitions on this. He’s got at least as good an etymology as those on the other side, and the definitions he cites/argues for are much clearer and less prone to cause confusion.

    • #13
    • April 3, 2014, at 6:51 AM PST
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  14. Neil Hansen (Klaatu) Inactive

    Fred Cole: Despite heated rhetoric coming from interventionists, it is necessary to remember two important facts:

    1. Russia is not Nazi Germany.

    2. Russia is not the USSR.

    Nazi Germany was a world power with a fully modern military, a highly organized society, and a specific ideology (Nazism) that included foreign conquest.

    The Soviet Union was a superpower with a modern military, a highly organized society, and a specific ideology (communism) that included foreign domination.

    Russia is not a world power, the modernity of its military is dubious, it is not highly organized, and it does not have any specific ideology.

    The assertion Russia is not a world power is nonsensical. Russia maintains a large strategic nuclear arsenal, modern and well trained conventional forces including a navy capable of operations well beyond its own shores, air forces capable of projecting power across the world, and one of the largest land forces in the world.

    The primary motivating factor influencing the leadership’s actions may not be a global ideology but is instead nationalism. Russian nationalism has always included an element of expansion and belief in Russia’s legitimate domination of the ‘near abroad’ from the Baltics, through Poland, Ukraine, the Caucuses, central Asia, and the Pacific.

    Fred Cole: First, I need to address something. It seems to be the trend lately to refer to libertarian foreign policy as “isolationist.” This is, at best, an incorrect usage of the word. At worst, it is a deliberate attempt to slur people.

    In order to be an “isolationist,” you need to advocate two things:

    Non-interventionism

    Protectionism

    If you only favor non-interventionism, you’re a non-interventionist. If you only favor protectionism, you’re a protectionist. Unless you have both elements, it is not “isolationism.”

    This does not become true just because you continue to repeat it.

    The word ‘isolationist’ is currently used and understood to reflect beliefs comparable to those who opposed US intervention in the Second World War exemplified by Charles Lindbergh and the America First Committee. Protectionism did not play a role in this movement. If you believe the term is a slur it is only because history shows the reasoning of this group to have been badly flawed and ultimately dangerous.

    • #14
    • April 3, 2014, at 6:53 AM PST
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  15. Valiuth Member

    To me it seem that what we should more directly seek to hurt the Russian economy, not just through our own increased production of carbon fuels, but by actively excluding Russia from access to our markets, products, and innovations. Putin is turning Russia into a rouge state, they should be treated as one. We need to move to isolate Russia on all fronts and cut off their geopolitical advances. I think we should abandon all plans for cooperation with the Russians for the foreseeable future, and move against their allies abroad in Europe and the Middle East. Being a friend to Russia should cost nations dearly. 

    • #15
    • April 3, 2014, at 6:55 AM PST
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  16. Neil Hansen (Klaatu) Inactive

    Fred Cole: Would this be an immediate solution to the situation in the Crimea? No.

     Then why title your post, Thoughts on a Libertarian Solution to the Crises in the Crimea?

    • #16
    • April 3, 2014, at 6:58 AM PST
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  17. Mike H Coolidge

    Valiuth:
    I agree with you Fred that spreading freedom and trade will be good for us and the Ukraine. The thing is this is precisely what Putin objected to. The protesters rose up when their crony president scuttled closer economic and trade ties to Europe in favor of Russia. Their win meant closer ties and more open exchange with the west. Your plan is to keep challenging Putin on this by doubling down on trade, won’t he just double down on violence? Will we go to war over Eastern Ukraine if we did not for Crimea?

     I can’t see it being worth going to war. Ukraine was already under implicit rule by Russia, why is the change to explicit rule worth risking lives and destabilization? Is there much difference between Russia and Ukraine now? Russia is ranked 140 and Ukraine 155 in terms of freedom. Does it really matter who you’re being oppressed by?

    • #17
    • April 3, 2014, at 6:59 AM PST
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  18. Valiuth Member

    Tom Meyer:

    Albert Arthur: No, Fred, this is your definition of isolationist.

    I’m really at a loss to explain the hostility toward Fred’s definitions on this. He’s got at least as good an etymology as those on the other side, and the definitions he cites/argues for are much clearer and less prone to cause confusion.

     I think the problem comes from the fact that in American history our most “isolationist” periods where not exactly devoid of foreign trade, and while we had protectionist tariffs they were not out of line with what other industrial countries practiced. Thus at our worst we were never like Tokugawa Japan or modern North Korea. So American Isolationism if we can so define it has always been more about avoiding entanglement in alliances and foreign wars. Trying to remain neutral and trading with both sides, basically a large Switzerland. 

    So I think Fred is technically correct in his definition, but not willing to acknowledge the words more vernacular meaning in the American context. In reality debating about the word in light of the policies is very tangential. 

    • #18
    • April 3, 2014, at 7:05 AM PST
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  19. Randy Weivoda Moderator

    What is especially unfortunate is that the Germans intend to decommission all their nuclear power plants, which will make them even more dependent on natural gas from Russia.

    • #19
    • April 3, 2014, at 7:07 AM PST
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  20. Neil Hansen (Klaatu) Inactive

    Tom Meyer:

    Albert Arthur: No, Fred, this is your definition of isolationist.

    I’m really at a loss to explain the hostility toward Fred’s definitions on this. He’s got at least as good an etymology as those on the other side, and the definitions he cites/argues for are much clearer and less prone to cause confusion.

    Because it is historically inaccurate. He is attempting to distinguish his beliefs from those associated with the term ‘isolationist’ but that association does not include protectionism. The term ‘isolationism’ is discredited not because of any relationship with protectionism but with its relationship to the America First movement in the US opposing anything which could lead to US involvement in WWII.

    • #20
    • April 3, 2014, at 7:11 AM PST
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  21. Valiuth Member

    Mike H:

    Valiuth: Your plan is to keep challenging Putin on this by doubling down on trade, won’t he just double down on violence? Will we go to war over Eastern Ukraine if we did not for Crimea?

    I can’t see it being worth going to war. Ukraine was already under implicit rule by Russia, why is the change to explicit rule worth risking lives and destabilization? Is there much difference between Russia and Ukraine now? Russia is ranked 140 and Ukraine 155 in terms of freedom. Does it really matter who you’re being oppressed by?

     And this is why Fred’s plan will not work. We will try to foster trade and freedom in Ukraine, Russia will invade, we will do nothing. On to the next ex-Soviet Republic. 

    To answer you Mike, the difference is that a western allied government has a chance at improving things because we will encourage to do that. Russia does not want a free Ukraine, they want a province or a puppet. So they actively supported oligarchic rule and corruption. To be blunt the difference is between hope and despair. That is why they revolted to begin with.

    • #21
    • April 3, 2014, at 7:12 AM PST
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  22. Neil Hansen (Klaatu) Inactive

    Fred Cole: I only mean to throw the cold water of reason onto the fires of rhetoric I have heard recently about the potential of Vladimir Putin to retake the Baltic states, reclaim Finland, and overrun Eastern Europe. He’s not about to do that.

    Was it a crystal ball or tarot cards that led you to make this definitive assertion?

    Putin has already used military force twice to redraw borders, what makes you so sure he will not do so in the Baltics or anywhere else?

    The real question is, what are you willing to have us do about it if you are wrong?

    • #22
    • April 3, 2014, at 7:17 AM PST
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  23. Mike H Coolidge

    Valiuth:

    And this is why Fred’s plan will not work. We will try to foster trade and freedom in Ukraine, Russia will invade, we will do nothing. On to the next ex-Soviet Republic.
    To answer you Mike, the difference is that a western allied government has a chance at improving things because we will encourage to do that. Russia does not want a free Ukraine, they want a province or a puppet. So they actively supported oligarchic rule and corruption. To be blunt the difference is between hope and despair. That is why they revolted to begin with.

     So, do you believe we shouldn’t try to strengthen ties with Ukraine because that might provoke Russia into invading? Instead we should just hope Russia doesn’t have enough interest in Western Ukraine? Or should we roll the dice on war where no one knows what will happen?

    • #23
    • April 3, 2014, at 7:20 AM PST
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  24. Fred Cole Member
    Fred Cole Post author

    Klaatu:

    Fred Cole: I only mean to throw the cold water of reason onto the fires of rhetoric I have heard recently about the potential of Vladimir Putin to retake the Baltic states, reclaim Finland, and overrun Eastern Europe. He’s not about to do that.

    Was it a crystal ball or tarot cards that led you to make this definitive assertion?
    Putin has already used military force twice to redraw borders, what makes you so sure he will not do so in the Baltics or anywhere else?

    The answer is in the next paragraph.

    In terms of expansion, he’s picked low hanging fruit. The Baltics or Finland would be a big war. Especially the Baltics.

    • #24
    • April 3, 2014, at 7:31 AM PST
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  25. Neil Hansen (Klaatu) Inactive

    Fred Cole:

    Klaatu:

    Fred Cole: I only mean to throw the cold water of reason onto the fires of rhetoric I have heard recently about the potential of Vladimir Putin to retake the Baltic states, reclaim Finland, and overrun Eastern Europe. He’s not about to do that.

    Was it a crystal ball or tarot cards that led you to make this definitive assertion? Putin has already used military force twice to redraw borders, what makes you so sure he will not do so in the Baltics or anywhere else?

    The answer is in the next paragraph. In terms of expansion, he’s picked low hanging fruit. The Baltics or Finland would be a big war. Especially the Baltics.

    Are you saying you would be willing to make it a big war? Certainly Finland, Estonia or Lithuania are incapable of making it a big war on its own. Who do you expect to make it a big war and why there if not the Ukraine?

    • #25
    • April 3, 2014, at 7:35 AM PST
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  26. Fred Cole Member
    Fred Cole Post author

    Well, the Baltics are part of NATO. Their territorial integrity is guaranteed by NATO. So invading the Baltics means NATO would go to the mattresses.

    Finland isn’t a member of NATO, but it’s a member of the EU.

    • #26
    • April 3, 2014, at 7:44 AM PST
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  27. Carey J. Inactive

    Mike H:

    Valiuth: I agree with you Fred that spreading freedom and trade will be good for us and the Ukraine. The thing is this is precisely what Putin objected to. The protesters rose up when their crony president scuttled closer economic and trade ties to Europe in favor of Russia. Their win meant closer ties and more open exchange with the west. Your plan is to keep challenging Putin on this by doubling down on trade, won’t he just double down on violence? Will we go to war over Eastern Ukraine if we did not for Crimea?

    I can’t see it being worth going to war. Ukraine was already under implicit rule by Russia, why is the change to explicit rule worth risking lives and destabilization? Is there much difference between Russia and Ukraine now? Russia is ranked 140 and Ukraine 155 in terms of freedom. Does it really matter who you’re being oppressed by?

     A Ukrainian might answer, “They may be sons of bitches, but they’re our sons of bitches.” A lot of Americans resent the intrusions of our own Federal government into matters better handled by State governments.

    If I were Ukrainian, I’d want the Russians out, and they could take their Russophile traitors with them when they left.

    • #27
    • April 3, 2014, at 7:52 AM PST
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  28. Neil Hansen (Klaatu) Inactive

    Fred Cole:
    Well, the Baltics are part of NATO. Their territorial integrity is guaranteed by NATO. So invading the Baltics means NATO would go to the mattresses.
    Finland isn’t a member of NATO, but it’s a member of the EU.

     The US, UK, and Russia also guaranteed the territorial integrity of the Ukraine. Are you saying the NATO commitment is one you are willing to go to war with Russia over but the Budapest Memorandum is not?

    It really is a simple question, are you willing to go to war against Russia if it moves against a NATO member?

    What are you willing to do to demonstrate that commitment?

    Would you support reactivation of a US heavy division in Europe, possibly with a brigade combat team based in each of the Baltic states? Reactivation of sufficient air assets in Europe to attain air superiority (remember when you thought that was a thing of the past?) over the Baltics?

    • #28
    • April 3, 2014, at 7:55 AM PST
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  29. Mike H Coolidge

    Carey J.:

    Mike H:

    I can’t see it being worth going to war. Ukraine was already under implicit rule by Russia, why is the change to explicit rule worth risking lives and destabilization? Is there much difference between Russia and Ukraine now? Russia is ranked 140 and Ukraine 155 in terms of freedom. Does it really matter who you’re being oppressed by?

    A Ukrainian might answer, “They may be sons of bitches, but they’re our sons of bitches.” A lot of Americans resent the intrusions of our own Federal government into matters better handled by State governments.
    If I were Ukrainian, I’d want the Russians out, and they could take their Russophile traitors with them when they left.

     If it were only that simple. But I think nativism is often a dangerous human instinct when you’re not on a lifeboat.

    • #29
    • April 3, 2014, at 7:58 AM PST
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  30. Albert Arthur Thatcher

    Tom Meyer:

    Albert Arthur: No, Fred, this is your definition of isolationist.

    I’m really at a loss to explain the hostility toward Fred’s definitions on this. He’s got at least as good an etymology as those on the other side, and the definitions he cites/argues for are much clearer and less prone to cause confusion.

     That’s fair, Tom. Fred is welcome to his definition. I’m not even saying his definition is wrong. But he is attempting to assert that his definition is the only definition, because he does not like being called an isolationist. Well, tough. He is an isolationist who has stated that he wouldn’t consider using military force against Russia unless, maybe, they invaded the United States.
    I believe there is a common understanding of “isolationist” as someone who doesn’t want to get involved militarily overseas. 

    It’s not Fred’s definition of words that I object to, it’s his foreign policy views that I object to. 

    But in many other subjects, I agree with Fred. 

    • #30
    • April 3, 2014, at 9:07 AM PST
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