Those who claim to love freedom should not attack those who defend their homes as “pawns” and should never defend the actions of the invader.
To do so completely rejects the fundamental principle of property rights on which libertarianism is based. Either the Ukrainian people have the right to defend their homes against invasion, or we completely reject the principle of non-aggression.
Merely showing a desire to sign a defensive treaty is not a threat, so any idea that this invasion was caused by NATO must be dismissed out of hand. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Norway were all member states neighboring Russia without threatening it. NATO was a real threat to Russia only in imagination; blaming NATO is nothing more than a convenient way to excuse the Russian invasion.
Ukraine has spent the last decade trying to create and maintain its independence, first from a Russian puppet government and then from the US puppet government that replaced it. Independence candidate Zelenskyy was elected with 77% of the vote after years of foreign-controlled governments.
To say now that they have become a puppet again completely negates the reality: a super majority of Ukrainians voted for an independent Ukraine. If and when the war ends and Ukraine remains independent, there is no doubt that the Ukrainian people will be done with foreign interference.
The Russian regime is every bit the evil invader it claims to be. Just ask Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Artsakh, Belarus, Chechnya and North Caucasus to look only at the last 30 years. They intentionally, and even openly, demanded and advanced towards the re-establishment of the Soviet Union.
Currently, there are few direct threats against the United States, and the responsibility for Ukraine’s defense should therefore be left to European countries. If Ukraine loses to Russia, that puts Europe, not America, in a much weaker defensive position. Europe’s dependence on America to subsidize its defense has led to its current vulnerability. It is time for Europe to be able to defend itself. Ukraine is not Canada, America has no real defensive military strategy that relies on the defense of Ukraine.
Many libertarians are rightly reluctant to show support for Ukraine’s defense because they are afraid to support US involvement. But the real danger of using neoconservative arguments like “Russia is just defending itself” or “Ukraine is just a pawn” is that they will be used against us.
How many American wars have been sold with “America only defends itself”? It’s time to stop using Russian neoconservative arguments to counter American neoconservative arguments. If you want your arguments to stand the test of time, use pro-freedom arguments.
A libertarian’s opposition to US military involvement in this war should not be due to edgy nonsense about Russia’s provocation, or the historically ignorant idea that Ukraine is only defending itself because it receives orders from the West. Our opposition to military involvement is because we oppose the expansion of the American empire and the risk of escalation is high with potentially extinction-level consequences.
Some of the loudest voices rightly condemning Saudi Arabia’s invasion of Yemen do not speak out against the Russian invasion. These voices are not guided by pro-freedom principles.
We don’t choose sides based on who the US government is funding or not. To be anti-war is not only to oppose the outbreak of a war, but also to oppose the aggressor after the outbreak of a war. Russia is clearly the aggressor and, like Saudi Arabia, the responsibility for the regime’s actions rests entirely with Russia. We weaken our anti-war arguments when we claim otherwise.
The Ukrainian people are fighting for their freedom, and we are not advancing freedom by denying this reality.
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This piece expresses the opinion of the author only and not necessarily the organization as a whole. Students For Liberty is committed to facilitating a broad dialogue for freedom, representing a variety of opinions.