Everyone should know by now that the entire Ukraine - Russia food fight (in the MSM) is definitely not about freedom, democracy, or any other supposed American value. It’s about empire and aggressive propagation of Progressive values. Western aggression is fueled in significant part by Sorosian Globalist antipathy for traditional Western values, which Putin, sincerely or not, espouses—but which modern America definitely does not espouse. Current America ain’t your mother’s America.
Brief excerpts from two articles will amply illustrate the point.
Ted Galen Carpenter is a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, so I take it that he’s a Libertarian of some sort—I quote anyone who makes sense. Today Carpenter takes issue with Neocons and others who fail to distinguish between the USSR and Russia. To note just one of his examples of why this is so wrongheaded, that’s rather like failing to distinguish between the modern Federal Republic of Germany and the Third Reich (we prescind from further complications re NATO and Germany). Here’s Carpenter, riffing off something written by Michael Rubin at the American Enterprise Institute:
Rubin asserts that the "real problem is deeper. Russia’s aggression and sense of impunity did not begin with Georgia, but rather with Japan. In the tail end of World War II, Russia seized southern Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands from Japan."
There’s just one problem with his thesis: The seizure of territory from Japan was made by the Soviet Union. There was no independent "Russia" in 1945, and it reflects extreme intellectual laziness to use the terms interchangeably, as Rubin and some other analysts do. During the Soviet era, Russia was just one component of the USSR, albeit the largest one. Moreover, it is incorrect to assume that ethnic Russians always ran the communist state. The longest-tenured Soviet dictator (who ruled for nearly 3 decades) was Joseph Stalin – a Georgian, not a Russian. Nikita Khrushchev, who led the USSR for more than a decade, was ethnically Russian but grew up in Ukraine and was culturally Ukrainian. Indeed, according to his great-granddaughter, Nina Khrushcheva, he was exceptionally fond of Ukraine. It probably was not a coincidence that Khrushchev was the person who made the decision to transfer Crimea, which had been part of Russia since 1782, to Ukraine.
There are other reasons why a sharp distinction needs to be made between the Soviet Union and the noncommunist Russia that emerged when the USSR dissolved in December 1991. Today’s Russia is markedly different from the Soviet Union economically, politically, and ideologically. At the end of the Cold War, the USSR had the world’s second largest economy; Russia in 2020 ranked eleventh – just behind South Korea. The Soviet Union embraced Marxist-Leninist economics, whereas Russia is very much part of the capitalist world. Granted, the capitalism it practices is an extremely corrupt variety characterized by cronyism, but it still a far cry from the rigidly centralized, government-run economy of the Soviet era. Politically, Putin’s rule embodies a conservative authoritarianism, not the outsized, revolutionary ambitions of the USSR’s communist rulers.
Militarily, there also is a massive contrast between the Soviet Union and Russia. The former sought to keep up with the United States in terms of both military spending and capabilities. The strain of that quest was a major reason for the country’s eventual implosion. Moscow’s current annual military outlays are less than one-tenth of U.S. expenditures, and the budget is comparable to those of Britain, France, Japan and other regional powers.
The bottom line is that the Soviet Union was an expansionist, totalitarian great power with superpower pretentions. Today’s Russia is a conventional regional power trying to preserve a sphere of influence in its immediate neighborhood against encroachment by an extraordinarily capable U.S.-led military alliance. I’m astonished at how often supposed military or foreign policy experts on television news shows make no distinction between the Soviet Union and Russia in their presentations. Some even misspeak and refer to "Soviet" actions or goals, when it’s apparent that they mean "Russia."
Citing Soviet misconduct as a justification for adopting a hostile policy toward Russia is not only inappropriate, but outrageous. Germany in the 21st century is not to blame for Nazi Germany’s awful depredations. Democratic Japan is not responsible for the Nanjing massacre and other crimes that Imperial Japan committed. Turkey is not to blame for the Armenian genocide waged during the final years of the Ottoman Empire. And today’s Russia should not be held accountable for either the human rights abuses or the acts of aggression that the Soviet Union committed. America’s political and policy elites need to change their thinking.
OK, Carpenter, in my opinion goes overboard toward the end. There is, in my opinion, such a thing as national cultures—a reality that Libertarians very much tend to deny. They prefer to babble about ideological constructs such as “proposition countries”, a commitment to abstract “values” or “rights” replacing normal human emotions based on culture. From my point of view one still does well to be wary of modern German or Japanese humanitarianism—regardless of the undoubted fact that the modern versions of those countries are not legally complicit in past atrocities. Turkey, of course, doesn’t really make much of a pretense. And any country would also do well to be wary when Americans arrive bearing gifts of “rights” and “values”. This is the real world. Trust but verify. The same goes for Russia, but that doesn’t make a foreign policy based on equating Russia with the Soviet Union makes a lot of practical sense. Anyone who insists on that needs to be in a position to enforce that view—which we’re not.
Another point on which Carpenter arguably goes overboard is Russian corruption. That is, if he’s suggesting that America isn’t massively corrupt, as well—complete with a collusive, crony driven, ruling oligarchy composed of media, government circles, Big Tech, and the military - industrial complex. If you think I’m exaggerating, I can’t help you—you probably believe that our elections are free and fair, too. But even those who aren’t terminally naive really do need to think a bit harder about the American values that we seek to export to the world.
Steve Sailer also weighs in on this whole issue—WaPo: Has Putin Invaded Ukraine or Not?
That’s an interesting question. Don Surber says that Russia has “rolled into” Ukraine, but the Establishment isn’t so sure about that. Stay tuned, while someone tells Zhou what to say:
Putin announced he is sending troops into Russian-backed separatist regions within Ukraine. Opinions differ on whether that is an invasion of the country.
After the call, a different administration official defined a Russian invasion that would prompt a clear U.S. response as crossing into Ukrainian territory that Russia has “not occupied since 2014.”
Not everyone agreed. Donetsk and Luhansk are not generally recognized as independent countries, and some experts suggested that sending troops to them amounted to dispatching a military force into Ukraine itself.
Michael McFaul, the U.S. ambassador to Russia under President Barack Obama, tweeted that “Russia is invading Ukraine right now.”
Higher math for geopolitics? Call in the lawyers of international law to decipher it—for a fee?
Sailer goes on to offer a few examples of American approved invasions and/or annexations, presumably for comparison:
This reminds me of the various brouhahas over the last 55 years regarding the varying official status of the various chunks of land — East Jerusalem, West Bank, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, and Syria — militarily conquered by Israel in 1967.
After the 1940s’ series of unfortunate events, the world more or less decided that it doesn’t approve of military conquest anymore, so that those who does conquer some place don’t get to have the rest of the world recognize their conquest. Which sounds insignificant in practical terms, but can matter a lot in the long run since that can wind up being the re-dividing line.
Trump’s recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights to help Bibi out in his 2019 election doesn’t help right now. And then in 2020, Trump and Kushner recognized Morocco’s control over the old Spanish Sahara colony of Western Sahara in return for Morocco recognizing Israel.
Now, Israel says it has to hang onto those areas for security reasons—and I can buy into the general principle that if a country feels legitimately threatened some flexibility regarding just how permanent and sacrosanct borders actually are. Next question: Does Russia feel legitimately threatened by American activities in Eastern Europe? And the Baltic countries? And Central Asia? And the Balkans? And the Caucasus? And the Black Sea area generally?
Let’s take one prominent example—Poland. I don’t want to get into Polish military capabilities. Suffice it to say that their hardware is some of the most advanced in NATO. It’s supposed to be defensive. So, for example, no one expects to see Polish M-1 tanks (which will be our most advanced version when they take delivery) rolling across Belarus and heading toward Moscow.
Polish F-16s (soon to be complemented by F-35s) are a somewhat different matter. Again, these are about the most advanced F-16s in NATO:
In 2002, the F-16C/D Block 52+ from the American company Lockheed Martin was chosen as a new multirole fighter for the WLiOP, ... The Polish Block 52+ F-16s are equipped with the latest Pratt and Whitney F-100-229 afterburning turbofan engines, and the avionics suite includes the APG-68(V)9 terrain mapping radar system and the ALQ-211(V)4 electronic warfare suite. All Polish F-16s can carry modern US precision ordnance, ranging from the JDAM/JSOW to the latest in export-certificate-authorized air-to-air weaponry (including the AIM-120C-5 and AIM-9X).
On 11 December 2014 Polish officials signed a contract with the United States for the purchase of 70 AGM-158 Joint Air to Surface Stand off Missile, for US$250 million. Also contained in the contract are upgrades to the fleet of Polish F-16s to be completed by Lockheed Martin
I invite you to read up on the capabilities of the AGM-158. This article will give you some idea of how extensible this stealth cruise missile might be:
by Manlio Dinucci
While it is wholly legitimate for Nuclear Powers to engage in training on using atomic weapons, the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) prohibits them from conducting exercises with non-Nuclear Powers. However Nato members are flouting their treaty obligations and doing exactly what the NPT tells them not to do.
Don’t get me wrong. The outcome of WW2 notwithstanding, I’m entirely sympathetic to the anxieties of any countries situated between Russia and Germany. Still, none of these moves are designed to allay Russian fears, either. In particular, should Ukraine join NATO, who is to say that America would not equip the Ukraine military with weapons similar to those we have bestowed on Poland? I doubt that Russia anticipates the Polish military striking out for the Urals any time soon—no, it’s the US that concerns Russia, because Putin knows that it’s the US behind all these threatening developments. No wonder he wants to draw a line right now. Putin would be a fool to believe that Russian security isn’t threatened by US geopolitical strategy—and he isn’t a fool.
But here’s my real point. Americans can have an empire or they can have a republic. They can’t have both, and I leave it to others to argue over which we have. The national security state that we currently live under—complete with designation of basically half of all Americans as potential domestic terrorists and/or foreign agents—is exactly the type of state one would expect under an empire. For those who cherish the idea of a republic that bears some resemblance to what we used to have, I suggest that such a regime will never return unless the empire is reigned in. If Americans buy into the current iteration of the Russia Hoax rather than demanding accountability for our foreign policy, the imperial national security state will be emboldened to tighten the domestic screws further. That, I believe is what is really at stake in the latest ginned up Ukraine crisis.