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Is Rand Paul's current position on Russia radically wrong?

Vladimir Putin just made what perhaps will go down as a historic speech. It included some scathing critiques of US foreign policy. I openly admit, that I think he raises a number of interesting questions and makes some valid critiques.

Only place I could find a translation is here (not yet completed though):

Look at this excerpt for example:

"...what do we hear from our colleagues in Western Europe and North America? They say we are violating norms of international law. Firstly, it’s a good thing that they at least remember that there exists such a thing as international law – better late than never."


Or consider this one:

"Our western partners, led by the United States of America, prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies, but by the rule of the gun. They have come to believe in their exclusivity and exceptionalism, that they can decide the destinies of the world, that only they can ever be right. They act as they please: here and there, they use force against sovereign states, building coalitions based on the principle “If you are not with us, you are against us.” To make this aggression look legitimate, they force the necessary resolutions from international organisations, and if for some reason this does not work, they simply ignore the UN Security Council and the UN overall."

Ouch again...

It actually is a very interesting question, I think, if the Ukraine referendum is in accordance to international law. There seem to be stronger argument, in terms of international law which both sides are referencing, that is was legal. I have not looked into enough... nevertheless, the US has some explaining how they justify other similar cases as "legal".

That brings me to Rand Paul.

First of all, I am certainly not a "Rand Paul hater." I feel, on the whole, that Rand has exceeded expectations in many areas. He has been impressive as a senator. A senator, however, can become very different person if they reach the White House. They can go back on their promises, or for example not have the backbone to stand up to the military industrial complex.

I have written in the past how I feel Rand as president has real risks for the liberty movement. We should not just ignore what appear to be character warning signs. Critiquing Rand's stated position does not mean one has "Rand Paul blinders on". If someone supports Rand without thinking for themselves, then it is they who are perhaps wearing blinders. Furthermore, it would be a shame if libertarians throw out reason just to support the motto "I stand with Rand."

The whole philosophy, as Mises makes clear, is intimately connected with the free exercise of our reason.

You can see a comment I made last year about it here with subject "Maybe Rand Paul in the White House"

Nevertheless, I remain reluctant to be persuaded that Rand in the White House would be wonderful for the liberty movement. My doubts became stronger after reading his Times piece, "Sen. Rand Paul: U.S. Must Take Strong Action Against Putin’s Aggression"

Thus the question, is Rand Paul radically wrong about his current position on Russia? How is Rand Paul's position not entirely contradictory to a fundamental tenet of libertarianism?

I am not giddy to to critique Rand... far from it... however, some of his statements are concerning to say the least.

Consider Rand's opening two quotes in his piece:

"Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is a gross violation of that nation’s sovereignty and an affront to the international community. His continuing occupation of Ukraine is completely unacceptable, and Russia’s President should be isolated for his actions."

"It is America’s duty to condemn these actions in no uncertain terms. It is our role as a global leader to be the strongest nation in opposing Russia’s latest aggression."

He ends the piece with:

"The real problem is that Russia’s President is not currently fearful or threatened in any way by America’s President, despite his country’s blatant aggression.

But let me be clear: If I were President, I wouldn’t let Vladimir Putin get away with it."

So Rand, the real problem here is that Putin simply does not feel currently fearful or threatened by our president? What other leaders do we need to make sure feels the fear and threat of our president? What exactly would you do, Rand, so that Putin would not "get away with it"? And if your initial plan did not work, then what would you do to ENSURE Russia was punished?

Or, concerning markets:

"I would do everything in my power to aggressively market and export America’s vast natural gas resources to Europe."

What does the office of the president have to do with marketing a product? Certainly they can use their influence to push for free market principles, but that is not solely what Rand's wording suggests. Is it a president's role to do "everything in their power" to market a product? What does that entail?

I am not going to dispute that this piece just increased his chances of a shot at the white house. It certainly might have to a great degree. It perhaps the most political move I have seen Rand take. My concern, however, is just that, i.e., that we have another politician on our hands. His piece sounds very close to exactly the point that both democrats and republicans agree on in terms of foreign policy... the point that is contradictory to the whole Libertarian philosophy.

Some folks will want to mention that this is part of the reality of what it takes to achieve political victory. Well, his father, even with commitment to principle changed the face of politics in this country, and beyond. That was even with him presenting a philosophy which was very much at that time against the status quo... and those same ideas are still spreading. So it's hard for me, for a number of reasons, to take this "political reality" justification too seriously. Besides, talk of war is hardly something ever to take lightly.

If someone has a way of justifying Rand Paul's position regarding Russia, as written in his recent piece, then please comment.

Specifically, however, I am interested in hearing a libertarian justification for his position not merely a political justification, which is not hard to see. Some fundamental aspects of his presentation appear to fly in the face of Misean style libertarianism. For starters, the principle of "non-intervention".

Any thoughts from the community?

After writing this, I just read Ron Paul's piece in USA Today (it has it's own post):

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The man has Ron Paul's ear

At this point I don't care what differences in opinion I might have with Rand Paul, he still has the ear and mind of Ron Paul to consult at a moment's notice.

If you ever felt like Ron Paul was speaking for you, just imagine your own son being president and the wealth of knowledge and advice you could offer him.

With Rand Paul as president, Ron Paul is our direct voice. That alone is reason enough to prefer a Rand Paul presidency.

I have been looking into the situation

I have been watching Vice documentaries about Crimea recently. At first I was watching the protest footage from Kiev, and it was pretty intense. I have to say, the Ukrainian protesters seem like they're far more rational and tolerant than the Russians in Crimea. The Russian protesters seriously look like jack booted thugs. They recently killed two Ukrainian protesters in a disgusting incident. I think Putin and Russia are acting like a bunch of thugs, but it isn't really any of our business. I hope the best for the Ukraine in their dispute with Russia, but I don't support using our military or tax payer money to support it.


Here is the link to the rest of Vice's coverage

To: Ghostbuster----a few suggestions

To use the word "thug" is a word I've heard the neocons use on TV, so right there you are revealing your true thoughts.

My suggestion is this-----READ----if you have the time----

the Russian Populist by Matthew Johnson, PhD.

He is an expert historian whose book was recommended on Lew Rockwell's website. He talks about Putin's ideas on the economy, how he envisions Russia, what his ideas on humanity are, and the history and relationship of Russia & Ukraine.

It was an eye-opening book, and I highly recommend everyone read it. You will begin to understand why Putin has an approval rating of about 75-85% consistently over the past 4 years.

Did you SEE what the neocons were talking about?

Did you see the THUGS? Or did you just hear nwocons talking about it but didn't bother to see what they were talking about because they are neocons and it's not what you actually see, but what you hear?

What I saw was what looked like the Russian prison population of hardened criminals hanging out in neighborhoods in black and threatening people because they knew the people did not have the arms to protect themselves. It was bullying. If you were a Ukrainian and said "Long Live the Ukraine", they would beat you. That's what I saw.. abnd then I saw Putin put the military on the border and the Russians laugh.

Putin's approval rating is because of the UN treaties of communication and the RT and Press TV on the internet that pound BAD AMERICA BAD ISRAEL.. GOOD Russia GOOD Iran.. neither Iran or Russia are GOOD by WESTERN CULTURE.. I'm western culture. I like western culture. Many Americans are war tired and blaming America so America has an inner struggle.. but I would say, and I hope I'm wrong, but I would say with the economic collapse will come a new government, and maybe it will be Putin who will represent Americans, because Putins nation building and invasions, arming dictators like Assad who has purged his population and murdered 200K of his people.. what's not to like eh? All for ports.

Anti-war has become not anti-war, but anti-America.

Thank you!

If people actually took the time to see what's really going on in Ukraine, they would not be praising Putin.

They are acting like a bunch of thugs.

The Ukrainians ousted their pro-Russian president. Then Russia tried to take Crimea. Now, the former rioters are joining the military to defend themselves from Russia. It definitely looks like Russia is the bad guy here. And I'm not sure how you could defend Putin's economic views. He's an even bigger socialist than Obama and Bush combined. And please don't compare me to neocons. I actually took the time to research this subject. I'm not just repeating partisan talking points.


Where does Governor Ventura stand on Russia & Ukraine

. . . inquiring minds want to know

{ Red Dawn was a metaphor based on existing tech . . . see also "Terminator" }

You prefer the pristine Rand Paul who could never be president

to the Rand Paul who might actually one day be president. Fair enough

You may be forgetting that the choice will not be Rand or Ron. It will be Rand or Hillary. Or perhaps Rand or Chris. Or maybe Rand or Jeb.

So when you say, "I remain reluctant to be persuaded that Rand in the White House would be wonderful for the liberty movement", I wonder if that means you think Hillary or Chris or Jeb would be better?

I think he is trying to win. I know that just bothers the hell out of many of you.

The world will not end over a few symbolic sanctions on Russian. Nor will it end if Rand plays the political game a bit.

He is ahead in the polls by the way. He might actually be able to DO something for the movement one of these days... as opposed to just emitting more hot air.

Ron Paul did not "win",

Ron Paul did not "win", however, just about everyone would agree that he was great for the liberty movement. How do you account for that?

The whole political landscape changed in this country, even though he did not "win". Getting those ideas out in the public space as a competing alternative changed people's minds on a whole range of issues... is that not DOING something? Ideas of non-interventionism certainly was a major factor that literally kept this country out of another war.

The political landscape is changing all the time, to such an extend that Ron Paul can genuinely and accurately say, that the people are coming our way on these issues.

Where the political balance on this question I suppose is a decision everyone must make for themselves. Though, we also should keep in mind that a large part of the strength of conservative libertarianism is in the consistency of its message. It's principals would not be consistent if, for example, interventionism was dropped as one of it fundamental tenets.

Leaving aside the question of what is the right balance between sticking to principals and playing the "political game", can you nevertheless tell me how to make Rand's statements consistent with the libertarian principle of non-interventionism?

By the way, if his position here can not be made consistent does not mean I would not vote for him. That in the end will have to be a judgement call. Regardless, should I not be free to critique what appears to be an inconsistent position of his?

Sadly, Politics in America is an Incremental Game of Deception

Agenda's must be pushed over decades. The masses must be moved with subtly and intrigue... not persuasion.

I have no doubt that the power elite was what I would consider facist in 1970. But they didn't run as facist.... at least not in name. They use opportunism and obfuscation and bureaucracy and deception and ignorance and "education" and conditioning and media to implement a plan. It was all very singleminded and ruthless and tireless. It was anything but honest and forthright. And politics was the major consideration all along.

You don't have to approve of dishonesty to understand that had they declared themselves fascists, from the outset, on the hope that "the people" would come around to their way of thinking... then they would never have won a single election.

Ron Paul persuaded most of the people who have been truly paying attention and truly understand and love freedom. That got him approximately 10%. Don't for a moment suppose that it will be easy to go from that 10% to a majority of this electorate. A good portion of that 41% needed are more likely to radicalize to the left in the coming years of misery. People in dispair will not radicalize towards freedom, but away from it. The oppressed unaware will not radicalize from Government, but towards it.

I wish it were not so, but in this arena, change must happen from the top down. We cannot simply rely on the power of ideas. We cannot continue a strategy of "crying in the wilderness". If we try that, we may maintain our purity, our integrity, our philosophical consistency, but we will lose everything else.

Do you honestly think the majority will take to reading Austrian Economics instead of watching the boob tube?

And the elite? They like winners and they respect power. They can be persuaded... but only by the winner. They will give their treasure, but only to the powerful.

No my good friend. The time has come to take power The time has come to put one of our own in the White House. Have your misgivings. Lament the inconsistencies. Fret over the apparent betrayals. But in the end, have the good sense to recognize that we need power. The only way to get it is craftiness.

Thank-you, sincerely, for

Thank-you, sincerely, for your comment and your strong points which are well taken.

Though, I ask that you to re-consider a few things as it certainly is not a position without real risks.

First, it seems you are very close to equating the battle of ideas with that of historical political battles. Because someone tries separate the two does not mean they are necessarily ignorant of the reality of politics. I have seen some of it firsthand. I believe Ron Paul saw clearly the distinction. That is why it is that much more impressive that he chose, nevertheless, to take the battle of ideas directly to Washington (mess and all).

Some aspect of your position reminds me of an assertion made by Marx:
"Hitherto, philosophers have sought to understand the world; the point, however, is to change it."

Or, if we consider Mises's summary:
"The essence of Marxian philosophy is this: We are right because we are the spokesmen of the rising proletarian class. Discursive reasoning cannot invalidate our teachings, for they are inspired by the supreme power that determines the destiny of mankind. Our adversaries are wrong because they lack the intuition that guides our minds. It is, of course, not their fault that on account of their class affiliation they are not equipped with the genuine proletarian logic and are blinded by ideologies. The unfathomable decrees of history that have elected us have doomed them. The future is ours."

Personally, I have more hope in a pristine 10% that is gaining momentum then a 51% in two years that euphorically jumps on an ideology bandwagon which has a blatant contradiction. Non-intervention is hardly a principle that we can feel comfortable diminishing. Even talk of war is not something to take lightly.

There is nothing perhaps inherently wrong with political craftiness. Though, in the end, we should have the good sense to recognize the difference between truth and untruth.

"Logical thinking and real life are not two separate orbits. Logic is for man the only means to master the problems of reality. What is contradictory in theory, is no less contradictory in reality. No ideological inconsistency can provide a satisfactory, i.e., working, solution for the problems offered by the facts of the world. The only effect of contradictory ideologies is to conceal the real problems and thus to prevent people from finding in time an appropriate policy for solving them.... Man has only one tool to fight error: reason." Ludwig Von Mises discussingthe role of ideas:


It's as if there is no choice.......

Wait.....isn't that the same as the last 30 years? No change in policies? No change to the Polit Bureau? Slaves to the FED and the Empire?


"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."--Mark Twain

If we can't elect a pristine Rand Paul, What's the point?

If we can only elect a neocon Rand Paul, we have failed. Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.

Leges sine moribus vanae

Channeling Reagan....

Rand Paul has been making many references to Ronald Reagan in recent weeks because I believe he correctly senses that there is still a vast reservoir of legacy support among Republicans for Reagan that Paul can tap into. Reagan is best known for taking on and bringing down the Soviet Union without firing a shot. It makes sense at a time like this that Rand Paul would respond to the Ukraine/Crimea crisis by talking tough with Russia. However, to see him being a mouthpiece for the neocon agenda is very dispiriting and disturbing. Reagan was not a neocon. I hope Rand Paul comes to his senses before he goes any further down this path and I hope he finds a way to start back tracking from this dangerous foreign policy posturing.

Ed Rombach

I don't think it's that difficult.

Of course I am not an American but it sounds to me like Rand supports the Empire. That is what Ron hates and what he spent his entire political life, and afterwards, opposing.

The End the Fed movement has faded into oblivion and that was critical. The Audit the Fed action is going nowhere and even it became law there is no guarantee it would be acted on honestly.

The critical policy for me was the End the Empire one, to close the overseas bases and dismantle the entire ugly structure of military aggression. That the President CAN do and if Ron had been elected that is what he would have done.

I am sorry to be blunt but Rand does not understand foreign affairs. He is an average American who still accepts the American Dream is alive and well and it is his country right or wrong.

If his statements about Russia are just political to gain votes then he is untrustworthy and not worth voting for. If he means them then he is not worth voting for, if one is a non-interventionist who wants to dismantle the Empire.

There are those who support Rand and believe that what he is doing is to gain support in the Republican Party, win the nomination and the Presidency, then turn into another Ron Paul. If that is the case then they are deceiving themselves. I have seen people do this time after time and I have done it myself with other politicians. It's not worth lying to oneself.

Face the truth about Rand. On the really BIG issues he is just another politician. He does not understand, as his father does, that all these things are inextricably connected. It is impossible to oppose the Surveillance State, support the Empire and go softly on the Fed. They are all one and the same. THAT is what Ron Paul understood and his son does not.

"Jesus answered them: 'Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'" (John 8:34-36)

Rand on foreign policy.

Rand's done himself no good here. Should it be party-line policy he's echoing, then with the able assistance of Cruz and Rubio, he's firmly placed himself in the knee-jerk reacting, neo-con camp. The only thing missing from the rhetoric, reminisent of the Bush era, is the reference to WMD's. And if that is the case, the Repulicans have simply shown themselves, once again, as the other side of the same coin.
Should Rand be adopting his own policy on Russia's actions in Crimea, then he's totally jumped the gun, misinterpreted reality and failed to assess public perception. Obviously he's not learned a thing from the Syrian debacle and is in fact supporting the administration stance, only claiming 'he'd get the job done'.
A wiser man would have let the dust settle and taken a more informed stance. Should he actually believe his own rhetoric, then he's simply shot himself in the foot.

"Hell is empty, and all the devils are here" (Shakespeare)
RP 2012~ Intellectual Revolution.

I Agree.....

Rand was prematurely shooting from the hip and only succeeded in shooting his foot. I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt that if he had a chance to do it over, he would be much more cautious and circumspect. He has some explaining to do.

Ed Rombach

What is radically wrong

is a system and a electorate that pretty much puts good folks like Rand in a situation that he has to take a position to appeal to a bunch of brain dead voters to advance our cause...THAT is what is radically wrong. Exactly what ISN'T radically wrong in this country right now anyway?

"If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."
Samuel Adams

I will tell you this

if Rand gets in The White House, which I will do everything I can to help him achieve such, if he totally goes against everything we think he is, then I will know we are screwed, and I will drop out of the system completely. Rand comes from Ron, we all for the most part agree with Ron, so if his son ends up being a neocon, do you all think we have anything left? We won't. That is how I feel about it, I will give Rand all the room he needs and all the moves he needs to make and will not hold him to any fire, and this will be my last hurrah to see if we have a chance at saving this place by voting. Thats my two cents. We certainly have bigger fish to scrutinize at this time.

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must. like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.-Thomas Paine

The R3volution requires action, not observation!!!!

This, this and more this

I'll do my best to help Rand get elected. If he fucks us, well we were fucked anyway, nothing changed. Maybe, just maybe he won't, but he is my last effort at the voting booth.

You won't have to wait that long..to know..

You will not have to even wait that long to determine whether Rand Paul will become, or already is, a "neocon" (or at least neocon-lite).

People never evaluate politicians correctly, because they're too busy paying attention to what a politician says in public speeches (and other theatrics).

But you always judge a politician by two important factors:

1. Policy Votes:
If they vote for Sanctions, support CIA Covert Criminal activity, conflate "being tough" with Military violence, etc. --- then this is exactly the kind of tyranny you will get when they get to the White House as well.

2. Who are their inner circle of advisors, and assistants?
If any of their advisors are Neocons, then count them as a Neocon as well.
Garbage in....Garbage out!


It's that simple.

As it should be.tog.

Rand isn't his father but for people to think for a second he landed THAT far away from the tree is absurd. He grew up watching his father. He knows what works and what doesn't work...cut the guy some slack people and let him play his game of Chess. Think any of you could do better in the environment he is in ? I think not..His father sure didn't. You cant achieve change if you cant get anybody in the position to bring it...

"If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."
Samuel Adams

It's becoming evident

who "#2 works for".

I Question Rand on this One

I am not so sure Rand made the right move on this one, especially since it almost a opposite stance from what Ron Paul has been saying.

I really don't know if in his careful treading of the waters to play the game, he accidently overstepped on this one or was given bad advice. I really can't see Rand being on the side of the fence that he finds himself on on this one.

I agree... I am not sure

I agree... I am not sure either.

However, it is clear that this piece is related with the White House in mind... just look at the last two sentences:

"The real problem is that Russia’s President is not currently fearful or threatened in any way by America’s President, despite his country’s blatant aggression.
But let me be clear: If I were President, I wouldn’t let Vladimir Putin get away with it."

It looks to me that he must have gotten a huge amount of flak, from somewhere, for his original interview regarding Russia. Which he even seems close to a non-interventionist stance.

You can see that short interview here:

He seems here to be relaxed and saying what he thinks... apparently, however, there were folks who really did not like hearing Rand speak about Russia in that way.

The piece he wrote, almost seems to suggest that he thought a lot was on the line in terms of chances for the nomination... but who knows.

Either way, there is a problem here... what happens if he is in the White House and certain powerful lobbyist groups can pressure him, in a similar way, into starting a war? What if he did it then without congressional authority?

Well, if that happens, I imagine the folks over at the Weekly Standard will all happily be signing their names under "In Liberty".

I want someone to convince me how that is not a real risk for the liberty movement.

It takes a tremendous amount of character to stand on principle in the face of that kind of pressure... and the pressure it could even be much greater than we know. I actually think Ron had a good chance of withstanding that pressure... he proved that he could handle a great deal of it and still stand on principle.

They wouldn't let

Ron near the WH, let alone Tampa Convention. The voting neo-cons still don't want to hear that message.

If Rand were to win, he could then set the tone and bring Taft roots back to the people who voted him in. At that point the "R" wins and the voters will be happy.

"What if the American people learn the truth" - Ron Paul



Rand is disappointing me more and more every week that goes by...