Author Topic: Tune out the War Party! By: Patrick J. Buchanan  (Read 670 times)

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Tune out the War Party! By: Patrick J. Buchanan
« on: March 05, 2014, 09:44:04 AM »
http://www.humanevents.com/2014/03/04/tune-out-the-war-party/

By: Patrick J. Buchanan   
3/4/2014 09:54 AM



With Vladimir Putin’s dispatch of Russian troops into Crimea, our war hawks are breathing fire. Russophobia is rampant and the op-ed pages are ablaze here.

Barack Obama should tune them out, and reflect on how Cold War presidents dealt with far graver clashes with Moscow.

When Red Army tank divisions crushed the Hungarian freedom fighters in 1956, killing 50,000, Eisenhower did not lift a finger. When Khrushchev built the Berlin Wall, JFK went to Berlin and gave a speech.

When Warsaw Pact troops crushed the Prague Spring in 1968, LBJ did nothing. When, Moscow ordered Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski to smash Solidarity, Ronald Reagan refused to put Warsaw in default.

These presidents saw no vital U.S. interest imperiled in these Soviet actions, however brutal. They sensed that time was on our side in the Cold War. And history has proven them right.

What is the U.S. vital interest in Crimea? Zero. From Catherine the Great to Khrushchev, the peninsula belonged to Russia. The people of Crimea are 60 percent ethnic Russians.

And should Crimea vote to secede from Ukraine, upon what moral ground would we stand to deny them the right, when we bombed Serbia for 78 days to bring about the secession of Kosovo?

Across Europe, nations have been breaking apart since the end of the Cold War. Out of the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia came 24 nations. Scotland is voting on secession this year. Catalonia may be next.

Yet, today, we have the Wall Street Journal describing Russia’s sending of soldiers to occupy airfields in Ukraine as a “blitzkrieg” that “brings the threat of war to the heart of Europe,” though Crimea is east even of what we used to call Eastern Europe.

The Journal wants the aircraft carrier George H. W. Bush sent to the Eastern Mediterranean and warships of the U.S. Sixth Fleet sent into the Black Sea.
But why? We have no alliance that mandates our fighting Russia over Crimea. We have no vital interest there. Why send a flotilla other than to act tough, escalate the crisis and risk a clash?

The Washington Post calls Putin’s move a “naked act of armed aggression in the center of Europe.” The Crimea is in the center of Europe? We are paying a price for our failure to teach geography.

The Post also urges an ultimatum to Putin: Get out of Crimea, or we impose sanctions that could “sink the Russian financial system.”
While we and the EU could cripple Russia’s economy and bring down her banks, is this wise? What if Moscow responds by cutting off credits to Ukraine, calling in Kiev’s debts, refusing to buy her goods and raising the price of oil and gas?

This would leave the EU and us with responsibility for a basket-case nation the size of France and four times as populous as Greece. Are Angela Merkel and the EU ready to take on that load, after bailing out the PIIGS — Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain?
If we push Russia out of the tent, to whom do we think Putin will turn, if not China?

This is not a call to ignore what is going on, but to understand it and act in the long-term interests of the United States.
Putin’s actions, though unsettling, are not irrational.

After he won the competition for Ukraine to join his customs union, by bumping a timid EU out of the game with $15 billion cash offer plus subsidized oil and gas to Kiev, he saw his victory stolen.

Crowds formed in Maidan Square, set up barricades, battled police with clubs and Molotov cocktails, forced the elected president Viktor Yanukovych into one capitulation after another, and then overthrew him, ran him out of the country, impeached him, seized parliament, downgraded the Russian language, and declared Ukraine part of Europe.

To Americans this may look like democracy in action. To Moscow it has the aspect of a successful Beer Hall Putsch, with even Western journalists conceding there were neo-Nazis in Maidan Square.

In Crimea and eastern Ukraine, ethnic Russians saw a president they elected and a party they supported overthrown and replaced by parties and politicians hostile to a Russia with which they have deep historical, religious, cultural and ancestral ties.

Yet Putin is taking a serious risk. If Russia annexes Crimea, no major nation will recognize it as legitimate, and he could lose the rest of Ukraine forever. Should he slice off and annex eastern Ukraine, he could ignite a civil war and second Cold War.

Time is not necessarily on Putin’s side here. John Kerry could be right on that.

But as for the hawkish howls, to have Ukraine and Georgia brought into NATO, that would give these nations, deep inside Russia’s space, the kind of war guarantees the Kaiser gave Austria in 1914 and the Brits gave the Polish colonels in March 1939.

Those war guarantees led to two world wars, which historians may yet conclude were the death blows of Western civilization.

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Offline Oceander

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Re: Tune out the War Party! By: Patrick J. Buchanan
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 11:25:16 PM »
Mr. Buchanan misperceives a number of things.  First off, particularly during the Cold War, a direct military confrontation with the Soviet Union in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, or Poland could have easily led to a nuclear exchange; I trust that Eisenhower and Kennedy realized that, I am quite sure that Reagan realized that.  Nonetheless, the last, Reagan, is most instructive because Solidarnosc still ended up winning, even without a direct US military intervention, which suggests that either the US wasn't needed at all (unlikely) or that the US was exerting enough pressure elsewhere to push things over the edge (more likely).

Ukraine and Crimea are not direct vital US interests - i.e., they don't have any sort of an existential dimension for the US (at this point) - so there is little to be gained and much to be lost if the US simply hops in with boots-on-the-ground and guns blazing.  Putin cannot afford to lose face with the Russian public, especially as against the US, and so Russia would almost certainly hit back hard - and most likely would hit back at the rest of Europe in retaliation.

That being said, there are US interests in Ukraine, and certainly in the ex-SSRs taken as a group; for one thing, an aggressive Russia eating up its neighbors without consequence does not bode well for peace in Europe in the short or middle term and if Europe falls into conflict again, the US will end up being hip-deep in it.  For another, it is in the US interest to have other countries moving toward being a Western democracy - the greater the number of them, the less the odds of there being another world-wide conflict - and right now Russia is threatening that interest.

The issue isn't whether there are US interests in Ukraine/Crimea or not - there definitely are - the issue is determining the appropriate level of response to the interests that are being threatened - proportionality is key - and figuring out what tool(s) will be most likely to get Russia out of Ukraine/Crimea if those tools are used.  In this case, military force is almost certainly not a useful tool; by contrast, very aggressive economic sanctions, and steps taken to threaten Russia's oil and gas exports - allowing the export of US natural gas to Europe would put a severe hurt in Russia's finances and help to stiffen the collective European spine - along with aggressive freezes on assets held by Russians offshore (i.e., outside of Russia) would be most useful.

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Re: Tune out the War Party! By: Patrick J. Buchanan
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 12:44:30 AM »
How about we let Germany and their neighbors take the lead, decide what policy they prefer?

We should focus on our own energy self-sufficiency and fiscal measures, to balance our budget. It was after all, fiscal problems which broke up the USSR, not military actions.

If Crimea and eastern Ukraine desire to be aligned with Russia, so be it. Let's advocate for free elections.

Europe gets Russia's natural gas exports, and would not like us mucking that up for them.

And finally we should not lessen our military capabilities, so Obama can pass our more EBT cards. Keep the guns, but cut the butter.

No need to escalate it, beyond the current situation. Obama would like nothing better than a possible war, to distract from his miserable performance on all fronts; economic, international relations, etc.

Offline olde north church

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Re: Tune out the War Party! By: Patrick J. Buchanan
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 05:49:10 AM »
Better still, start supplying Ukrainian "Freedom Fighters" with weapons and funding and CIA training until the body bags of Russian soldiers start returning to Moscow and Red Army is forced to withdraw.  It worked so well in Afghanistan.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2014, 05:49:34 AM by olde north church »
Why?  Well, because I'm a bastard, that's why.

Offline Politics4us

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Re: Tune out the War Party! By: Patrick J. Buchanan
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 09:23:12 AM »
Pat has no expertise in foreign policy.

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Re: Tune out the War Party! By: Patrick J. Buchanan
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2014, 10:18:23 PM »
From the article:
[[ And should Crimea vote to secede from Ukraine, upon what moral ground would we stand to deny them the right, when we bombed Serbia for 78 days to bring about the secession of Kosovo? ]]

Very good point by Mr. Buchanan.

Let's suppose the Crimeans (ethnic Russians) -do- try to secede from Ukraine (proper).

Is that necessarily bad in itself?
Isn't it the right of a people in opposition to a government (in this case the Crimeans who do not believe the Ukrainian government is representing them) to form a new government?

Didn't Thomas Jefferson say something about that 'way back in '76?
(as in -1776-)

And transpose such issues to right here in the USA, another country that has become fundamentally "divided" -- almost as much so as is the Ukraine.

As the blue states tilt towards socialism and a "new slavery", wouldn't it make sense for the red states to "secede" as well?
Are we not actually seeing some actual attempts (such as in Colorado, California and even New York) at breaking apart state entities and boundaries that no longer actually represent the beliefs and mores of those who are confined within?

If it's good enough for us to think about here, why isn't it good enough for the ethnic/Russian Crimeans to think about it?

Offline Oceander

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Re: Tune out the War Party! By: Patrick J. Buchanan
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2014, 10:56:10 PM »
From the article:
[[ And should Crimea vote to secede from Ukraine, upon what moral ground would we stand to deny them the right, when we bombed Serbia for 78 days to bring about the secession of Kosovo? ]]

Very good point by Mr. Buchanan.

Let's suppose the Crimeans (ethnic Russians) -do- try to secede from Ukraine (proper).

Is that necessarily bad in itself?
Isn't it the right of a people in opposition to a government (in this case the Crimeans who do not believe the Ukrainian government is representing them) to form a new government?

Didn't Thomas Jefferson say something about that 'way back in '76?
(as in -1776-)

And transpose such issues to right here in the USA, another country that has become fundamentally "divided" -- almost as much so as is the Ukraine.

As the blue states tilt towards socialism and a "new slavery", wouldn't it make sense for the red states to "secede" as well?
Are we not actually seeing some actual attempts (such as in Colorado, California and even New York) at breaking apart state entities and boundaries that no longer actually represent the beliefs and mores of those who are confined within?

If it's good enough for us to think about here, why isn't it good enough for the ethnic/Russian Crimeans to think about it?


A necessary predicate to your argument is sadly missing here:  any referendum right now in Crimea on annexation to Russia would not be free or fair by any stretch of the imagination; when you have Russian soldiers in mufti running around shutting things down, any vote on secession - which will necessarily entail annexation by Russia - will almost by definition be coerced and not free or fair.

Offline Oceander

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Re: Tune out the War Party! By: Patrick J. Buchanan
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2014, 10:58:10 PM »
How about we let Germany and their neighbors take the lead, decide what policy they prefer?

We should focus on our own energy self-sufficiency and fiscal measures, to balance our budget. It was after all, fiscal problems which broke up the USSR, not military actions.

If Crimea and eastern Ukraine desire to be aligned with Russia, so be it. Let's advocate for free elections.

Europe gets Russia's natural gas exports, and would not like us mucking that up for them.

And finally we should not lessen our military capabilities, so Obama can pass our more EBT cards. Keep the guns, but cut the butter.

No need to escalate it, beyond the current situation. Obama would like nothing better than a possible war, to distract from his miserable performance on all fronts; economic, international relations, etc.

Because we don't really want to leave it to the Germans to decide if we're going to end up getting sucked into a war in Europe if Russia next goes after a NATO member and that NATO member calls on the other members to defend it.  The odds that the US would turn its back on its NATO obligations because Russia went after Latvia or Lithuania are so small one would have a better chance of winning both the megamillions and the powerball on the same night.

Offline Politics4us

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Re: Tune out the War Party! By: Patrick J. Buchanan
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2014, 11:28:54 AM »
Wasn't out involvement in Vietnam about a domino effect?


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