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.

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  1. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

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

     Fred has stated previous that he would not be willing to do anything militarily unless, maybe, if Russian troops showed up in New York.

    • #31
  2. Roberto Inactive
    Roberto
    @Roberto

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

     How many tank divisions does the EU have again?

    • #32
  3. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Mike H:

    Valiuth:

     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?

    I think we have to be prepared to go to war with Russia. If we aren’t there is no sense leading the Ukrainians on. I would not only open more trade with them I would actively offer them help in arming and defending themselves. I would also move more troops into Easter Europe.  In nations bordering Russia and the Ukraine. Frankly I would offer them NATO membership too if we could do it quickly before Russian’s have time to react. So They join NATO and a minute later NATO force enter Ukraine. So I guess you can say I would roll the dice on war, because I do think Putin is more bluff than substance. 

    • #33
  4. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Fred Cole: 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.

     Fred, your opinion is not the “cold water of reason.” Neither is mine (that’s an understatement). They’re just opinions. I happen to think your opinion is out of touch with reality. But I may well be wrong.

    Related, from CNN:

    Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) — Russia recalled its ambassador to NATO for consultations Thursday, two days after NATO member countries suspended cooperation with Russia over the Ukraine crisis, Russian state media reported.
    Col. Gen. Valery Yevnevich will return to Moscow in light of NATO’s actions, official news agency ITAR-Tass said, citing Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov’s remarks to journalists.
    “The policy of (deliberately) whipping up tensions is not our choice. Nonetheless, we see no possibility to continue military cooperation with NATO in a routine regime,” Antonov is quoted as saying.
     
    He accused NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen of making “confrontational statements” at the meeting of NATO foreign ministers early this week and questioned NATO steps to bolster its presence in Eastern Europe.

    • #34
  5. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    Side Note: As a not-quite-a-Libertarian-yet (NQALY?) I have to wonder why argue Fred’s definition of Isolationist. I can see it being worth a different topic, but hashing out the definition of the word does nothing to advance the argument about what to do about Crimea.

    Personally, I believe the economics of Fred’s argument are sound. We’ve needlessly restricted our energy exploration and needlessly restricted our exports. At the very least we can free Europe from having to fear reprisals from Russia. Generally speaking we are a less demanding trade partner than many nations.

    I do think we need to renew our effort to bring missle defense to former Soviet bloc nations — a promise the present president broke. We needn’t get directly involved, but we needn’t leave allies defenseless.

    Heck, I liked that idea a few weeks back suggesting we take those A-10s the Air Force dislikes and sell them to Poland.

    • #35
  6. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    C. U. Douglas: Personally, I believe the economics of Fred’s argument are sound. We’ve needlessly restricted our energy exploration and needlessly restricted our exports. At the very least we can free Europe from having to fear reprisals from Russia. Generally speaking we are a less demanding trade partner than many nations.

     I do not believe anyone questions the merits of Fred’s proposal from an economic standpoint, it is their efficacy relative to the Crimea situation I doubt.

    From a long-term perspective, I think the Israelis are a better supplier of natural gas to Europe than we are.

    • #36
  7. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    It is quite conceivable that Russia’s history may never allow her to recover from a despotic monarchy, Communism, and an autocracy run by a former KGB agent. We are now referring to over a century of sociopathy; how much optimism can we allow ourselves?

    • #37
  8. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Klaatu: I do not believe anyone questions the merits of Fred’s proposal from an economic standpoint, it is their efficacy relative to the Crimea situation I doubt.

     I think there’s broad agreement that we should export more natural resources.

    C. U. Douglas: I have to wonder why argue Fred’s definition of Isolationist. I can see it being worth a different topic, but hashing out the definition of the word does nothing to advance the argument about what to do about Crimea.

     Well, first of all, why discuss it in this thread? Because Fred brought it up. Therefore it’s open for discussion here. Second, Fred’s been trying to assert for several months now that you can’t be an isolationist unless you’re a protectionist. The reason, in my opinion, that Fred wants to insist on this definition is that he does not like to be called an isolationist. Well, when you care so little about foreign policy that you think the American Intelligence apparatus created Islamic bogeymen post-9/11, when you think the Muslim Brotherhood is the legitimate government of Egypt, when you wouldn’t consider military action against Russia unless they invaded the United States…then in my opinion you are an isolationist.

    • #38
  9. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    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.

    Fred’s etymology is terrible. He does have a just so story and a couple of citations he can use, but he has to regularly say “there is a century of history behind the widespread use of this word, and that century is entirely wrong”. That’s just not how English works.

    He then says that people who disagree with him are at best liars and at worst engaging in slurs. From the hierarchy, I imagine that he means that they are dishonest slurs. If not, I will accept that when I liken people’s foreign policy to Ron Paul’s and to sympathizers with the Germans, I do not intend it to be a compliment.
    I’m also not fond of the “libertarians believe” formulation. Was Ron Paul, who consistently voted against trade treaties and agreements, not libertarian?

    • #39
  10. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    EThompson:
    It is quite conceivable that Russia’s history may never allow her to recover from a despotic monarchy, Communism, and an autocracy run by a former KGB agent. We are now referring to over a century of sociopathy; how much optimism can we allow ourselves?

     There are plenty of countries that have had autocratic governments for far longer than that, but have become free. The Dutch were the heralds of modern political and economic freedom, and they became free essentially immediately after millennia of unfreedom.  The Russians aren’t going to look for freedom any time soon, but eventually, when the Ukrainians integrate with Europe and become wealthier (20 years? 30? 50?), defending autocracy will become impossible. 

    • #40
  11. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    EThompson:
    It is quite conceivable that Russia’s history may never allow her to recover from a despotic monarchy, Communism, and an autocracy run by a former KGB agent. We are now referring to over a century of sociopathy; how much optimism can we allow ourselves?

     I reject that.  There are plenty of examples for this, but I think Japan is an excellent one.  Japan, despite its history, has a functioning democracy.  There are others.  Turkey’s was created by one amazing guy.  South Korea is an example.

    Russian aren’t that special.  There’s nothing about them that means they have to be ruled by tyrants for all of history.  

    • #41
  12. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Fred Cole:

    EThompson: It is quite conceivable that Russia’s history may never allow her to recover from a despotic monarchy, Communism, and an autocracy run by a former KGB agent. We are now referring to over a century of sociopathy; how much optimism can we allow ourselves?

    I reject that. There are plenty of examples for this, but I think Japan is an excellent one. Japan, despite its history, has a functioning democracy. There are others. Turkey’s was created by one amazing guy. South Korea is an example.
    Russian aren’t that special. There’s nothing about them that means they have to be ruled by tyrants for all of history.

     I’m shocked and disappointed to hear you coming out in favor of Ataturk, Fred. If only you were more libertarian….

    • #42
  13. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Fred Cole: There are plenty of examples for this, but I think Japan is an excellent one. Japan, despite its history, has a functioning democracy. There are others. Turkey’s was created by one amazing guy. South Korea is an example.

     The gig is up, Fred. You lose. Japan is a functioning democracy because we went to war with it. We completely destroyed their military infrastructure, at great loss of American life, and then we left troops in Japan for 70 years and counting. South Korea is a functioning democracy because we went to war with the communists. Turkey is a functioning democracy because…oh, wait. Is it? Maybe we should have put troops in Turkey.

    • #43
  14. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    There is one reason only that South Koreans have not suffered like the North Koreans under the Kim dynasty for the past 65 years: The American military.

    • #44
  15. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    James Of England:

    Fred Cole:

    EThompson: It is quite conceivable that Russia’s history may never allow her to recover from a despotic monarchy, Communism, and an autocracy run by a former KGB agent. We are now referring to over a century of sociopathy; how much optimism can we allow ourselves?

    I reject that. There are plenty of examples for this, but I think Japan is an excellent one. Japan, despite its history, has a functioning democracy. There are others. Turkey’s was created by one amazing guy. South Korea is an example. Russian aren’t that special. There’s nothing about them that means they have to be ruled by tyrants for all of history.

    I’m shocked and disappointed to hear you coming out in favor of Ataturk, Fred. If only you were more libertarian….

     And the Turks are pretty much dismantling Kemalism in favor of Islamism, anyway.

    • #45
  16. Isaiah's Job Inactive
    Isaiah's Job
    @IsaiahsJob

    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.

    On a side note: not everyone who uses the handle “libertarian” is in favor of “free immigration” BTW. Many of us rather like boarders: the more, the better. On the whole, smaller units of democracy enable individual freedom in accordance with the tastes, wishes, and traditions of those who vote within them. Larger units dilute the value of the individual vote and favor the creation of voting blocks based on race, religion, and class, as members of those groups feel more disempowered and threatened, reacting as human nature dictates.

    • #46
  17. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Klaatu:

    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?

     Fred,

    I can’t help but notice you have not answered this fundamental question.  Are you willing to go to war against Russia if it moves against a NATO member?  

    • #47
  18. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Klaatu: Fred…  Are you willing to go to war against Russia if it moves against a NATO member?  

     
    He has stated elsewhere that he is not willing.

    • #48
  19. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Mike H:

    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.

     When you’re invaded by a foreign power and “citizens” of your enemy’s ethnic group are supporting the enemy, they’re traitors. If you don’t like the country you’re in, pack your comic books, find another country that will take you, and leave. Aiding and abetting a foreign invader is treason.

    I feel pretty much the same way about American Muslims who support Islamist terrorism.

    • #49
  20. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Albert Arthur:

    The gig is up, Fred. You lose. Japan is a functioning democracy because we went to war with it

    You missed the entire point.  I was rejecting the idea that some peoples can’t handle democracy.

    • #50
  21. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Fred Cole:

    Albert Arthur:

    The gig is up, Fred. You lose. Japan is a functioning democracy because we went to war with it.

    You missed the entire point. I was rejecting the idea that some peoples can’t handle democracy.

    And my point was that Japanese democracy came about because we dropped nuclear bombs on them.

    • #51
  22. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    The economic arguments made here by Fred are not exclusive to libertarians. Apart from the Pat Buchanan protectionist minority among us, most conservatives agree that economic freedom between and among nations helps militate against violence. Therefore, the solution proferred is not “libertarian.”

    Noted Libertarian(?) VP candidate, Sarah ‘Drill Baby Drill’ Palin, belies the (conservative) reluctance to exploit our energy resources to profit ourselves and benefit European stability. Who’s against this on our side of the debate? Please stand up and be counted.

    I think it’s naive in the extreme to believe that Putin will stop with the Crimea, or even that NATO will go to the mat for NATO members. What recent evidence is there for either? Putin smells blood in the water. He knows the West is weak and its “leadership” feckless. Hillary’s “Reset” and Obama’s “flexibility” are amateur tells that cardshark Putin has rightly read as his opportunity to move in for the kill. And that’s precisely what he’s doing. Who or what will stop him?

    • #52
  23. Guy Incognito Member
    Guy Incognito
    @

    Fred Cole:

    I reject that. There are plenty of examples for this, but I think Japan is an excellent one. Japan, despite its history, has a functioning democracy. There are others. Turkey’s was created by one amazing guy. South Korea is an example.Russian aren’t that special. There’s nothing about them that means they have to be ruled by tyrants for all of history.

     Maybe not “all of history”, but not any time soon, I would say.  Russia, after all, is an incredibly unfortunate place.  It is cold, dark, and vast.  Everybody is drunk.  No one is hopeful.  No one is happy.  Corruption is expected.  Misfortune is expected.  Tyranny is expected.  It is just about the most depressing country on Earth.

    Maybe some day it will know what freedom is and embrace it, but it’s an open question whether or not any of us will live to see that day.

    • #53
  24. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Guy Incognito:

    Fred Cole:

    I reject that. There are plenty of examples for this, but I think Japan is an excellent one. Japan, despite its history, has a functioning democracy. There are others. Turkey’s was created by one amazing guy. South Korea is an example.Russian aren’t that special. There’s nothing about them that means they have to be ruled by tyrants for all of history.

    Maybe not “all of history”, but not any time soon, I would say. Russia, after all, is an incredibly unfortunate place. It is cold, dark, and vast. Everybody is drunk. No one is hopeful. No one is happy. Corruption is expected. Misfortune is expected. Tyranny is expected. It is just about the most depressing country on Earth.Maybe some day it will know what freedom is and embrace it, but it’s an open question whether or not any of us will live to see that day.

     Expectation is key. Changes in espectations change countries.

    • #54
  25. Guy Incognito Member
    Guy Incognito
    @

    I believe that Fred’s biggest blind spot, that Russia will not invade more countries, is not only unrealistic, but actually works against the greater Libertarian foreign policy theory.

    The reason Russia has invaded two countries, and will likely invade more, is because they rely on alliances for protection, and their allies are fickle cowards (such is the nature of democracies).

    A truly Libertarian foreign policy would prevent this by requiring every country to be the one primarily responsible for their protection.  In the case of poor countries, this means one thing: nuclear weapons.

    I find it highly unlikely that Russia would have invaded Ukraine if it had even a few nuclear weapons, if simply because the Western World would have taken a greater interest in keeping things from escalating.

    You will notice that, because Russia is unable to use military force to intimidate, it must rely on economic forces, which is where it is weakest.

    In summary, the US needs to secretly ship a few dozen nuclear weapons into Eastern Europe and then reveal this to the World once they are in place.  At that point, we can begin negotiations with Russia about its borders.

    • #55
  26. user_358258 Member
    user_358258
    @RandyWebster

    I haven’t read all the comments, so pardon me if someone has already made this point.  At the time of the absorbtion of the Rhineland, the Sudetenland, and the Anschluss, Germany was NOT a world power.  The German generals were terrified that the allies would fight.  I would argue that Putin has a lot less to fear than Hitler did.

    • #56
  27. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Spot on analysis, Fred. Putin would never do anything crazy to provoke a war like give surface to air missiles to his flunkies the “pro-Russian separatists” that they could then use to shoot down a passenger plane.

    • #57
  28. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Albert Arthur:

    Spot on analysis, Fred. Putin would never do anything crazy to provoke a war like give surface to air missiles to his flunkies the “pro-Russian separatists” that they could then use to shoot down a passenger plane.

     I missed where Fred claimed Russia would never do anything else bad ever.

    • #58
  29. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Mike H:

    Albert Arthur:

    Spot on analysis, Fred. Putin would never do anything crazy to provoke a war like give surface to air missiles to his flunkies the “pro-Russian separatists” that they could then use to shoot down a passenger plane.

    I missed where Fred claimed Russia would never do anything else bad ever.

     Do you genuinely not see any impact from the SAM on the revealed wisdom of Fred’s hands off position?

    • #59
  30. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    James Of England:

    Mike H:

    Albert Arthur:

    Spot on analysis, Fred. Putin would never do anything crazy to provoke a war like give surface to air missiles to his flunkies the “pro-Russian separatists” that they could then use to shoot down a passenger plane.

    I missed where Fred claimed Russia would never do anything else bad ever.

    Do you genuinely not see any impact from the SAM on the revealed wisdom of Fred’s hands off position?

     Hands off leads to one set of unpredictable consequences and hands on would lead to another.

    • #60
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