QL President John Clifton’s analysis of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, adapted from a recent email libertarian discussion:
Stolen elections have consequences. The Russian invasion is the outcome of years of it not reaching security agreements with NATO, ongoing bombings of a Russian population in eastern Ukraine, and Vladimir Putin perceiving ‘weakness’ in Biden, following the (ahem) somewhat questionable circumstances of the November 2020 election, and his disastrous withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. Putin thinks, probably correctly, that the current occupant of the White House will not risk full out war over a country in eastern Europe.
By contrast, Trump threatened to bomb Moscow if Russia invaded Ukraine, and has called Putin’s current actions “smart.” Putin sensed Biden did not have the stones to say that, let alone do it, so he has proceeded, based on a long term frustration about failed negotiations in the region. Given the US and NATO expanding up to Russia’s doorstep since the end of the Soviet Union, even though they verbally promised they would not do this, Putin wanted a formal written assurance they would not try to make Ukraine a member of NATO.
Russia also wanted Western powers to recognize the autonomy of the Donbass region (in accordance with the Minsk peace accords) as the US (again) said they supported. They have done neither. Putin is at the end of his patience with US/NATO saying one thing, but doing the opposite. Even given that, Russia was not deciding to invade, until the emergency meeting held two weeks ago, where US/NATO indicated they would not give whatsoever on these issues. That forced Putin’s hands, into starting this military op. Trump simply notes this is what Putin’s motives are, and that he has been smart about it.
Russia is not slowing down its invasion as of this writing, but they are taking their time on seizing the major cities. Putin has probably war gamed the op down to this and other scenarios. He has taken out the Ukrainian military’s communications and command and control with the Donbass region, which is where their biggest military presence is. But there has been almost no damage done to the nation’s civilian infrastructure, compared to, say, the “shock and awe” number the US Empire did to Iraq (further evidence this is a controlled, restrained operation). They ultimately don’t want to play endless occupy-the-country games, they just want the West to back off further militarization of that country at their border.
Russia failed to knuckle under to NATO, in a situation where their security concerns were ignored or never formalized, and where millions of Donbass Russians were already under attack. While the hawks have one-sidedly characterized their invasion as ‘aggression,’ a war crime, or other forms of indecency, Russia has actually asserted the same self defense rights in 2022 that the US did in the Cuban missile crisis in 1963. Then, the US objected to Russian missiles being placed on our doorstep, and we were not going to budge. Now, Russia objects to more NATO forces being placed on their doorstep, and they are not going to budge. The reason 1963 was a crisis was if Russia hadn’t conceded, we weren’t going to budge, and war WOULD have erupted. If the US had militarily escalated in such a crisis, would that have been ‘aggression?’ If not, then neither is it aggression if another country does so. Russia has budged on NATO expansion to its doorstep for decades, and it will budge no farther. Russia gets to have sovereign security interests too.
NATO has not been constrained to abide by its own (again verbal) promises to Russia, for decades on NATO expansion, and for 8 years in both Minsk agreements. Russia will not accept a one way situation where only it is supposed to abide by agreements the other party is disregarding. Certain neo-liberal, globalist figures and pro-NWO groups (like WEF, Soros etc), who believe in a perpetual situation where they call the shots, while all other nations must comply, are of course upset by this. This does not change the reality, in full context and with cooler heads, that Putin’s actions appear to be a legitimate, self-defense response to protect Russia’s security interests. I agree with Ron Paul, Tucker Carlson, Pat Buchanan, and numerous other libertarians and paleocons in opposing hot war escalation with Russia, feeling that this entire matter could have been avoided by formally giving Russia the security guarantees, and abiding by them. Shopworn jingoism and demonizing the other side as “indecent” will not resolve the impasse.
According to Paul Craig Roberts, “the days of baiting the bear are over. As I have reported for some time, Russia has had enough of the West’s lies, deceptions, insults, and provocations. Henceforth, when Russia tells them something, they would do well to turn their ears on. Putin has said that Russia will not permit Ukraine to develop nuclear weapons, and he has said that Russia will not tolerate US/NATO bases on her borders. The US and NATO had better believe it. Putin said Russia has no intention to occupy Ukraine. Russia does not want Ukraine, but Russia will not permit the continued militarization of the country by the US and NATO or the Ukrainian attacks on the Donbass Russians. The West had better understand this.”