Students for Liberty vs. Ron Paul on Crimea

In case you haven’t been following this, there has been a bit of a dust up in non-interventionist circles. Students for Liberty President Alexander McCobin publically criticized Ron Paul over his statements on the Crimean situatuion. Since then, it has been time, as they say, to “get the popcorn.” I’m working on a longer response to this. As you probably guess, I side with Ron Paul. But I figured I need to cover this situation so here is a list of links.

Here is the original McCorbin post that got it all started.

Here is the original, as far as I can tell, reaction from BuzzFeed.

The (anti-Paul) Washington Free Beacon quickly picked up the story.

Reason chimes in.

Ron Paul’s Institute responds. (Perhaps too harshly?)

McCorbin replies.

Dave Weigel of Slate opines. (Weigel is interesting in cases like these. Weigel currently has anti-paleo biases, but because he once traveled in our circles before going a different dirrection, he gets the subtext better than most.)

Justin Raimondo is his typical firey self at

John Glaser says not so fast.

Raimondo steps on the gas.

Anthont Gregory calls for a truce.

Robert Wenzel sides with Ron Paul at

Whew! See what I mean about getting the popcorn?


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Crimea Votes to Secede and Join Russia … America and Europe Call it Illegal

The Crimean vote is illegal … but the coup against the duly elected* President in Kiev was legal?

Fireworks exploded and Russian flags fluttered above jubilant crowds Sunday after residents in Crimea voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. The United States and Europe condemned the ballot as illegal and destabilizing and were expected to slap sanctions on Russia for it.

*As duly elected as any person in that region can be given rampant corruption and outside meddling.

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Neocon Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

As a Southern paleocon who has often argued with Unionist neocons over the virtue of the Union invasion of the South and the merits of Lincoln, the current events taking place in Ukraine and the neocons’ reaction to it has me scratching my head. Let’s see…

Neocons, especially those of the Straussian variety, allegedly oppose secession. They oppose the historic secession of the South and reject secession as a legitimate political option for US states at present.

As a result of their inherent nationalism and opposition to secession, neocons venerate Abraham Lincoln above any other American.

Ukraine is a product of a quiet recent, historically speaking, secession from the former Soviet Union.

Putin is reoccupying part of Ukraine.

Therefore, if neocons are to be intellectually consistent, shouldn’t they support Putin as a Lincolnesq figure attempting to restore a political entity, the USSR, that traitorous upstart secessionist in Ukraine have recently ripped apart? And just as they should view Putin as a modern day Lincoln, shouldn’t they view the Russian Army as a modern day equivalent of the Union Army, and the Ukraine military as a modern equivalent of the Rebel Confederate Army?

But instead, the neocons are supporting the former secessionist Ukrainian revolutionaries and opposing Lincolnesq Putin’s attempt to reoccupy a former Soviet territory.


In a similar situation, Bill Clinton’s ordered American troops to intervene in the Balkans.

In the Balkan intervention, American troops were facilitating the secession of Bosnia from part of the former Yugoslavia.

If neocons are to be intellectually consistent, shouldn’t they have opposed the secession of Bosnia? Shouldn’t they have likened the US forces in the Balkans to the Confederate Army for facilitating secession and Clinton to Jefferson Davis?

Instead, neocons enthusiastically supported Clinton’s Bosnian intervention even while many conservatives at the time were returning to their non-interventionist roots and opposing the action.


Perhaps it isn’t really secession that neocons oppose. They seem quite happy with secession when it is breaking up countries that they view as challenging US hegemony. Perhaps the real problem they have with the secession of the South or the modern secession of US states is that it challenges their (mistaken) conception of America as a unitary modern state with a special mission to spread the values of liberal democracy across the globe.


Update: Posted at Intellectual Conservative

Also posted at

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Is Rand Paul the Best Non-interventionists Can Hope For?

Lately, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has been playing the hawkish foreign policy and security state yang to Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) realist foreign policy and libertarian civil liberties yin. King has even floated his name out there as a possible 2016 GOP presidential candidate specifically to counter the rising influence of more “isolationist” Republicans like Sen. Paul. King makes it clear that others have approached him about running due to their concerns that no one is talking about national security to their satisfaction.

Another potential national security presidential candidate whose name has been floated is former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. As the National Review article linked above indicates, Bolton is also being encouraged to run by hawks who want a champion to counter what they perceive to be the libertarian drift on foreign policy within the Republican Party.

While these hawks are the kind of foolish that a foolish ideology makes men, they cannot all be stupid or without political savvy. I’m sure they understand that neither Bolton nor King have much of a chance of winning the GOP nomination, but they also seem to understand the importance of having someone clearly making their case so that it is not lost in the noise of a presidential campaign season. Some foreign policy non-interventionists could learn a thing or two from these King and Bolton boosters.

Bolton and King are clearly attempting to counter Rand Paul and his perceived libertarian tendencies, but this says at least as much about the paranoia and absolutism of the uber-hawks as it does about Rand Paul. Among non-interventionists, Rand Paul is widely viewed as a disappointment. The reasons for this warrant a separate article, but suffice it to say that while Rand Paul is better on foreign policy than your average Republican, he is not his father by a long shot.

Principled non-interventionists are often lectured by more pragmatic types that Rand Paul is the best we’ve got so we should make the best of it, but if the uber-hawks want a clear messenger like King or Bolton for their hawkishness despite the presence of more credible candidates who are mostly with them, why shouldn’t non-interventionists yearn for a clear messenger for their cause? While I think the super hawks are dangerously wrong, I admire that they are pro-actively seeking a spokesman to their liking for their message.

Despite the paranoia of the hawks, while skepticism of particular interventions may be growing, interventionism remains the default underlying premise of almost all elected Republicans at the national level. If it weren’t so, then why would non-interventionists be told that Rand is the best we should hope for?

But it is precisely because this interventionist premise is virtually unchallenged outside paleoconservative and libertarian circles that we so desperately need a principled non-interventionist to challenge the status quo and clearly articulate an alternative vision. Someone who could truly be a real non-interventionist yin to Bolton’s and/or King’s hyper-interventionist yang rather than Rand’s weak sauce. We need someone to carry on the non-interventionist message articulated by Rand’s father in 2008 and 2012. The current iteration of Rand Paul, despite the panic of King and Bolton and their ultrahawkish allies, is not it.

Who some potential standard-bearers for principled non-interventionism in 2016 might be will be the subject of a future column.

This article originally appeared at Intellectual Conservative on 26 Jan 2014.

Note: The version above is very slightly different than the version that appeared at IC. I made a couple of minor revisions after I had already submitted it.


Filed under Election 2016, Foreign Policy, Interventionism, Non-interventionism, Rand Paul, Ron Paul

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Hello, and welcome to

My name is Dan Phillips, and I blog and write about politics, culture and religion from a paleoconservative perspective. I created this blog as a home base of sorts for my work. My work has appeared at various sites on the internet (Lew Rockwell and Intellectual Conservative for example) in the past, but I wanted to create a site where I can post new work and store my old work for safe keeping. One site that published several of my articles in the past was the victim of two severe hacking attacks, and some of my work was lost as a result. I don’t want that to happen again, so hopefully having my own personal blog will provide a safe home for my articles. I still intend to submit my columns to other sites, but will post all of them here as well. Some I may not post for a few days after they are published at another site to give them a period of exclusivity, but eventually they will make their way here.

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