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Bryan Preston

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March 18, 2014 - 8:50 am

Writing in USA Today, former Rep. Ron Paul (TX) shows that he will continue to be a problem for his son. Paul expresses a view of the Crimean “referendum” that is childish and foolish.

Residents of Crimea voted over the weekend on whether they would remain an autonomous region of Ukraine or join the Russian Federation. In so doing, they joined a number of countries and regions — including recently Scotland, Catalonia and Venice — that are seeking to secede from what they view as unresponsive or oppressive governments.

These latter three are proceeding without much notice, while the overwhelming Crimea vote to secede from Ukraine has incensed U.S. and European Union officials, and has led NATO closer to conflict with Russia than since the height of the Cold War.

That’s his lead, and if readers knew nothing about Crimea but Paul’s presentation, they would likely come away thinking that NATO started the problems. Reality, of course, is that Russia unilaterally invaded Crimea with about 16,000 troops wearing unmarked uniforms. Paul’s lead aligns well with Putin’s anti-NATO point of view.

What’s the big deal? Opponents of the Crimea vote like to point to the illegality of the referendum. But self-determination is a centerpiece of international law. Article I of the United Nations Charter points out clearly that the purpose of the U.N. is to “develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”

What has happened in Crimea cannot be understood strictly as the peninsula expressing its self-determination. The “big deal” is that Russia, having lost its puppet president in Kiev, moved to take Crimea not to protect any ethnic Russians living there, but to ensure that it kept hold of its navy base at Sevastopol. Russia appears to be pursuing two aims in Ukraine, neither having anything to do with self-determination. The first objective was to keep the aforementioned port, Russia’s only warm-water navy base. The second is energy, and achieving that objective will require Russia to move into eastern Ukraine, probably sooner rather than later.

Paul should be asked directly, why doesn’t he see Russia’s invasion of Crimea and its massing troops on Ukraine’s border as a “big deal.” He should also be asked to explain why, in his view, ethnic Ukrainians might have a problem or two with Russian troops occupying Crimea and threatening the rest of their country. There’s quite a bit of history between Ukraine and Russia. Does Paul understand any of it?

Critics point to the Russian “occupation” of Crimea as evidence that no fair vote could have taken place. Where were these people when an election held in an Iraq occupied by U.S. troops was called a “triumph of democracy”?

Here Paul runs to his usual “But America is even worse!” trope. The Crimea and Iraq situations are vastly different. Russia seized Crimea to own it. The US really did liberate Iraq from a madman; the elections there were truly Iraqis’ first taste of real democracy. Russia wanted to annex Crimea and is in the process of doing that. The US wanted a free Iraq to become an ally. Unfortunately, the power of Islam may overwhelm Iraq’s nascent secular democracy. Time will tell. If Iraqis choose poorly, that will not be America’s fault.

The fact that Ron Paul cannot tell the difference between the situations in Crimea and Iraq shows that he just does not understand the world and lacks the ability to discern anything that doesn’t fall neatly into his blinkered worldview. Ron Paul is dangerously naive. If Rand Paul wants to become a viable presidential candidate, he’ll have to figure out how to keep Dad’s views from becoming a massive problem for him.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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Top Rated Comments   
I was in Iraq when the surge began. It did work. We have thrown that victory away in the years since.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Someone might want to ask The Paul Klan...if the Jews wanted to hold a vote on self-determination grounds and annex all of the historic Holy Land, can we count on them to come rushing to Israel's defense?

I happen to think a one state solution is the ONLY available option that makes any sense.

It's good to see the Paul Klan on board.

Israel should mass at the borders, crush the Palestinians and be done with it. We have the Paul Klan to thank for the advance piece on that strategy. Mazel Tov, Ron!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Russia wanted to annex Crimea and is in the process of doing that. The US wanted a free Iraq to become an ally."

And the Iraq elections were not a referendum on whether to be annexed by the United States immediately, or sometime in the future, with no "No annexation" option on the ballot.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (27)
All Comments   (27)
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Theres' nothing batty about. We should stay out because we are responsible for overthrowing the Democratically elected government of Uraine


Russia annexing Crimea is the cost of U.S.-EU intervention in Ukraine

http://non-intervention.com/1181/russia-annexing-crimea-is-the-cost-of-u-s-eu-intervention-in-ukraine/
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
It would be great if you could show any evidence we can take any credit for the overthrow of the Yanukovich government in the Ukraine. We should be proud of being in any way associated with the removal of someone acting so illegitimately in the eyes of his own people and against our interests.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Romney has a great op-ed in the WSJ today. I hope everybody here reads it.

As for Paul, BEHOLD: the future of neo-isolationism!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
You don't know what isolationism means.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Luap Nor has always been isolationist. You don't have to put "neo" in front of every word. Despite what you might believe from watching the "Matrix" movies, it doesn't indicate something you don't like.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The fact that Ron Paul cannot tell the difference between the situations in Crimea and Iraq shows that he just does not understand the world and lacks the ability to discern anything that doesn’t fall neatly into his blinkered worldview."

Seriously Mr. Preston, considering your commentary on Iraq dating back to the marketing campaign to gain popular support for the invasion, right up to the "surge worked" propaganda to try to make us feel better about just how disastrous and costly the policy always was, you have no business accusing Rep. Paul of lacking understanding of what's going on in the world. None.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
The surge worked just fine, excellently, even to the point that we went months without losing a soldier to the enemy, if I recall.

Your a historical revisionism is as bad if the results are not yet as grotesque as the Democrats not taking responsibility for throwing away the victory in Vietnam.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
What's the difference. The Iraqis didn't ask us to invade and occupy their country.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
What the hell do you think that has to do with iy? Thieves and murderers don't often ask to get caught either!!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was in Iraq when the surge began. It did work. We have thrown that victory away in the years since.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
It really worked. All we did is pretty much destroy one of the oldest Christian civilizations in the world and increase Iran's influence in the country.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
No that's what Obama did by leaving Iraq instead of establishing a Status of Forces Agreement and long term reinforcement for say two or three generations time, of a more clasically liberal democracy then the region had ever previously seen.

It worked in Japan Korea Taiwan and Germany. There's no reason to think that there's anything different about Iraq.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
It worked until it didn't work. And then it didn't work anymore.

We can't adopt these countries like sad nephews and nieces from broken family.

Barbaric peoples are barbaric for a reason - they are barbaric. You can't fix stupid and you can't fix barbaric.

We need better solutions.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
It worked until we abandoned it. There is no difference in your having no faith in the concept of Liberty there and you're having no faith in the concept of Liberty here human nature is a universal constant. There are no barbarians there are only people. Liberty is what works best for people: the few individual exceptions are why we have laws, locks, prisons, firearms, and armies.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ron is a problem for Rand not because Ron's foreign/nat. security policies are "childish and foolish" but because this encourages close scrutiny of Rand's own position.

Such scrutiny shows isolationist and foolish positions by Rand such as his being one of only two Republican senators to not support the recent (unsuccessful) legislation to threaten Iran w/new sanctions (Cruz supported). Another "foolish" (or cynical) act was the focus of long parts of his 13 hour filibuster on the fantasy-threat of imaginary armed FBI drones over the US.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Funny how the people condemning Rand Paul because of Ron Paul's opinions never find anything in Rand Paul's opinions to itemize as being a problem.

You are having to work also hard to pretend that Ron Paul's fire is Rand Paul's smoke.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ron Paul is batty.

So is Barack Obama. And so is Romney. And so are the neo-cons like William Kristol.

There are bad reasons for giving Putin a pass on Crimea. But then there are the good reasons for not getting involved.

I say go with the good reasons. No boots on the ground. No war.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Libertarians of the Paulian school don't seem to be capable of articulating any position between direct military intervention and complete non-engagement. Even if that's not the intent, it makes every discussion of foreign affairs an exercise in disabusing the Paulians of their straw men, and no constructive debate occurs.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
We're being punked...It's ALL about oil and gas pipelines...duh? http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/06/ukraine-crisis-great-power-oil-gas-rivals-pipelines
Who really cares about Ukraine's political aspirations??? Not Banksters for sure.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
You know how I know you're a clown? "Banksters".
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Someone might want to ask The Paul Klan...if the Jews wanted to hold a vote on self-determination grounds and annex all of the historic Holy Land, can we count on them to come rushing to Israel's defense?

I happen to think a one state solution is the ONLY available option that makes any sense.

It's good to see the Paul Klan on board.

Israel should mass at the borders, crush the Palestinians and be done with it. We have the Paul Klan to thank for the advance piece on that strategy. Mazel Tov, Ron!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
So that is what you are really about bleachers. You are going on the record as stating Israel should commit genocide and that we should help them.

You are silly and insane.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ukraine is to replace Russian Puppet for a 'Western Puppet'...great. Paul is not the problem. Either Paul really. Both are smarter than the clowns running the show now...from either Party. OR in Europe. Putin is just having a grand time confounding the clowns and their Bankster masters... Who could blame him? One thing we should all remember...None of this scat is about Ukrainian aspirations for freedom. Seriously? Get real. It's about OIL Pipelines and MONEY. Wake up people...Or get punked again. Hard.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yesh, how, could it be about freedom! The only people talking about that dross are the Ukrainians!

Besides, someone who thinks "Banksters" is witty and wise got Leetrav to dance to their tune, so we should ignore the people gunned down by the Russians.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
He couldn't reason his way out of a wet paper sack.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Russia wanted to annex Crimea and is in the process of doing that. The US wanted a free Iraq to become an ally."

And the Iraq elections were not a referendum on whether to be annexed by the United States immediately, or sometime in the future, with no "No annexation" option on the ballot.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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