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Conservatives of the “Far Right” for Putin?

“To combat petty larceny as a crucial danger, at a time when murder is being committed, is to sanction the murder.” – Ayn Rand

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Trump on Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine: Sarcasm or Approval?

From a radio interview with Clay Travis & Buck Sexton:

BUCK: Mr. President, in the last 24 hours we know Russia has said that they are recognizing two breakaway regions of Ukraine, and now this White House is stating that this is an “invasion.” That’s a strong word. What went wrong here? What has the current occupant of the Oval Office done that he could have done differently?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, what went wrong was a rigged election and what went wrong is a candidate that shouldn’t be there and a man that has no concept of what he’s doing. I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, “This is genius.” Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful. (sarcastic)

The word “sarcastic” was included in the written transcript by the interviewers but is not included in those who use the quote to condemn Trump. Was Trump being sarcastic? Much of those condemning Trump’s statements quote it as if Trump was not being sarcastic.

Trump continues:

So, Putin is now saying, “It’s independent,” a large section of Ukraine. I said, “How smart is that?” And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s strongest peace force… We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right. No, but think of it. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy… I know him very well. Very, very well.

The “No, but think of it” indicates Trump does not believe Putin’s hype about independence.

Trump then goes on to say that Putin would never even think of invading Ukraine if Trump were in office:

By the way, this never would have happened with us. Had I been in office, not even thinkable. This would never have happened. But here’s a guy that says, you know, “I’m gonna declare a big portion of Ukraine independent,” he used the word “independent,” “and we’re gonna go out and we’re gonna go in and we’re gonna help keep peace.” You gotta say that’s pretty savvy. And you know what the response was from Biden? There was no response. They didn’t have one for that. No, it’s very sad. Very sad.

If Putin’s moves were so “savvy” and “smart”, why would they be “not even thinkable” under a Trump administration? This is because Putin’s, “smart,” “savvy” and “genius” for sending military forces into Ukraine, is not that he invaded Ukraine (which would not be “smart” in Trump’s estimation if done during his term in office), but that Putin did so under a Biden administration.

This is because, as many others have noted, Biden projects weakness. (See The Hill: 62 percent polled say Putin would not be moving against Ukraine if Trump had been president).

On a fundamental level Putin, by invading Ukraine is not “smart”, or more precisely, is not rational. Where he is “smart” to do so, is to select the timing of the invasion: under a Biden administration. This is like a thief who has made the irrational decision to rob a bank but uses his engineering “smarts” to successfully do so.

As Niall Ferguson has noted, “Biden is the idiot.”:

In Russian literature, there is a great novel: Dostoevsky’s The Idiot.

Biden is the idiot.

The reason this happened is because the Biden administration slowed down deliveries of armaments to Ukraine, lifted the sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that was supposed to bypass Ukraine, signaled to Russia that the U.S. would not support Ukraine militarily, and therefore made it clear to Putin that he had an opportunity to take military action with only sanctions to fear.

In regards to Biden in Afghanistan, Trump states:

[…]

After 21 years, I wanted out of Afghanistan.

We were gonna be out. I got it down to 2,000 we were getting ready to pull them out, but we were pulling them out with very great strength. We were gonna keep Bagram, not because of Afghanistan. We spent billions building this base, has the biggest and longest runways in the world, and it’s one hour away from where China makes its nuclear weapons. So I was keeping that and keeping it in full force.

But I was getting out of Afghanistan, and we would have gotten out with tremendous strength and dignity and power and respect. Instead, we look like we surrendered — and you know we didn’t lose an American soldier in Afghanistan for 18 months. I had a talk with Abdul, who’s the leader — the current leader also. He was the leader and now he’s current leader.

And we had a very strong talk. And from the time I had that talk, not one American soldier was killed. And it was an amazing thing. Biden actually said that. He said not an American soldier was killed in 18 months, and his people were screaming at him, “Well, keep going! Find out something that was wrong,” and he didn’t do that. No, I was…

We were gonna pull out with great strength, we were gonna keep Bagram, and we were pulling out of other locations, too, where there’s no reason for us to be there. They hate us. We don’t particularly like them.

In regards to NATO, Trump says:

And you look at NATO, I called it a paper tiger. I said, “As soon as a problem comes up, you’re gonna have people that pull away,” and I got them to pay $400 billion. You know they were all delinquent.

Not all. There were eight countries out of 28 that were paid up, including us. We were paid up. We were more than paid up. We were making up the difference. But we have 28 countries, and eight were paid up, and you had 20 countries that were not. And I was asked a question by one of the presidents of one of the countries in a closed meeting, “Does that mean…?”

And the press goes wild over this: “Does that mean that something happened and Russia…?” ‘Cause it used to be the Soviet Union, but Russia. It’s close enough in terms of militarily (chuckles), as you’ve probably noticed this weekend, but, “Do you mean to say that you wouldn’t protect us?” And I said, “You mean you’re not paid up and you want us to protect you?” I said, “That’s right. We will not protect you if you’re not paid up.” You know what happened? The next day, billions of dollars flowed in.

On Biden sending Troops to Eastern Europe:

Well, I’d rather see them send soldiers to our southern border. I’d rather see them… In three weeks, you could finish it. They won’t even let Texas use our military, which is all bought, sitting there waiting to be put up. It could have been erected in less than three weeks. It could have been two and a half years to get started ’cause we had to win 11 lawsuits. I’d rather see our southern border protected. But I don’t like the idea he’s sending a small number of troops.

It’s a joke compared to what the other side does. You know, he sends 3,000 troops I heard this morning, 3,000 troops. What’s that gonna do except get in trouble? No, I would like to see our southern border protected and they are handling Ukraine so badly.

On Biden’s anti-oil policies benefiting Putin:

Remember — I put something out this morning — Russia is becoming very rich because the oil price has been driven up so much and that’s their primary source of income.

So much that those army tanks you see going back and forth all over the place, that’s peanuts compared to the amount of money they’re making: $40 a barrel when I was there, $1.86 a gallon of gasoline and now you have some places where it’s over $7, and it’s going up a lot higher.

This has been Trump’s foreign policy thought since his Presidency, notes Michael Shellenberger:

For all his fawning over Putin, Donald Trump, back in 2018, defied diplomatic protocol to call out Germany publicly for its dependence on Moscow. “Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is captive to Russia because it’s getting so much of its energy from Russia,” Trump said. This prompted Germany’s then-chancellor, Angela Merkel, who had been widely praised in polite circles for being the last serious leader in the West, to say that her country “can make our own policies and make our own decisions.”

The result has been the worst global energy crisis since 1973, driving prices for electricity and gasoline higher around the world. It is a crisis, fundamentally, of inadequate supply. But the scarcity is entirely manufactured.

Europeans—led by figures like Greta Thunberg and European Green Party leaders, and supported by Americans like John Kerry—believed that a healthy relationship with the Earth requires making energy scarce. By turning to renewables, they would show the world how to live without harming the planet. But this was a pipe dream. You can’t power a whole grid with solar and wind, because the sun and the wind are inconstant, and currently existing batteries aren’t even cheap enough to store large quantities of electricity overnight, much less across whole seasons.

In service to green ideology, they made the perfect the enemy of the good—and of Ukraine.

[…]

The reason Europe didn’t have a muscular deterrent threat to prevent Russian aggression—and in fact prevented the U.S. from getting allies to do more—is that it needs Putin’s oil and gas.

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It’s important to note that Trump is not the only one who makes fawning statements about dictators. For example, COVID fascist Justin Trudeau’s praise of the Chinese dictatorship:

“There is a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime…having a dictatorship where you can do whatever you wanted, that I find quite interesting.”

(For more on Trudeau I refer you to Free Society vs Authoritarian State: Trudeau’s Canada Reveals the Core Conflict of Our Age.)

This is not to approve of Trump’s fawning language over dictators which gives them moral sanction.

Compare this to Ronald Reagan’s condemnation of the communist Soviet Union, or Bush’s identification of the “axis of evil”, though I wonder how sincere it really is, given Trump’s policies, left Putin at a distinct disadvantage. Putin only had to wait for a Biden administration, to implement EU “green” energy policies, that crippled U.S. energy and filled up Putin’s coffers. One also notes, with Putin’s evasion, the EU has changed course and is implementing policies that “dumb” Trump was advocating during his Presidency as Germany-sans Merkel is dramatically increasing military spending.

As Barr notes in his book “One Damn Thing After Another,” Trump could’ve beaten Joe Biden in 2020 if he had “just exercised a modicum of self-restraint, moderating even a little of his pettiness.” Trump tends to be a “stream of consciousness” speaker, which at times means he can be interpreted in many different ways. This is his own fault.

Unfortunately, others are the so-called nationalist, “right” are not open to such a charitable reading.

Pat Buchanan: Putin “the Patriot”

Writes nationalist Pat Buchanan in “Did We Provoke Putin’s War in Ukraine?“:

“Whatever we may think of Putin, he is no Stalin. He has not murdered millions or created a gulag archipelago. Nor is he “irrational,” as some pundits rail. He does not want a war with us, which would be worse than ruinous to us both. Putin is a Russian nationalist, patriot, traditionalist and a cold and ruthless realist looking out to preserve Russia as the great and respected power it once was and he believes it can be again.”

Putin is no “patriot” — a lover of freedom. His idea of nationhood is one where he can use his political power – the power to legally use force – to extract billions from the Russian people: crony politics (falsely identified as “crony capitalism.”) His tradition, are the methods he learned as a KGB agent for communist Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. His anti-free market, highly regulated state is setting the Russian economy back a century. His great fear is that the countries that “border” Russia will undermine his iron-fisted rule. Writes Buchanan:

When Russia’s Vladimir Putin demanded that the U.S. rule out Ukraine as a future member of the NATO alliance, the U.S. archly replied: NATO has an open-door policy. Any nation, including Ukraine, may apply for membership and be admitted. We’re not changing that.

On what grounds, or principle, can the Russian de facto dictator, dictate the foreign policy of another country? There is none. Yes, Putin is not Stalin, in practical result (Stalin and Lenin killed far more people than Hitler), but operates under the same principle: observe Putin’s absolute devastation of Ukrainian cities, and the killing of men, women, and children.

Putin is no creator like American businessman Elon Musk but is a destroyer.

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Unfortunately, a similar tact to Buchanan is taken by Candace Owens (whose views on domestic policies, though not perfect, are far better):

Candace Owens: NATO At Fault

Writes Ms. Owens in a tweet:

“I suggest every American who wants to know what’s actually going on in Russia and Ukraine read this transcript of Putin’s address. As I’ve said for months—NATO (under direction from the United States) is violating previous agreements and expanding eastward. WE are at fault.”

Again NATO’s “expansion” is only possible by mutual agreements between nations. A foreign leader has no say in what a sovereign, semi-free country like Ukraine, agrees to. That they wish to form closer alliances with Europe, as opposed to Putin’s Russia, is no grounds for invasion.

Bob Moran cartoonTucker Carlson: Why Do You Hate Putin?

Ask Tucker Carlson, on his number one political TV show:

“Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him? Has he shipped every middle-class job in my town to Russia? Did he manufacture a worldwide pandemic that wrecked my business and kept me indoors for two years? Is he teaching my children to embrace racial discrimination? Is he making fentanyl? Is he trying to snuff out Christianity?”

Much as the “left” is using Putin’s aggression to deflect from their domestic failures (such as COVID fascism of government vaccine mandates and scientifically unjustified lockdowns of the healthy), Carlson’s argument ends up deflecting blame for Putin to attack those failures. The Putin-lite failures of COVID fascists are something that needs to be attacked, but not at the expense of attacking Putin as the two are not mutually exclusive, but are manifestations of the same, anti-freedom, statist principles.

Tucker Carlson is right in condemning rights-violating actions (to the extent they are rights-violating) on the domestic front, but his line of thought is no defense of the dictator Putin.

What Putin did do is kill/imprison people who disagreed with him, rob Russians of billions of dollars through political cronyism, and annihilate entire cities in Ukraine.

One wonders if Mr. Carlson is in fact the one on fentanyl.

As Ayn Rand observes:

To combat petty larceny as a crucial danger, at a time when murder is being committed, is to sanction the murder.

The otherwise intelligent Carson should know better. Thankfully in later shows he has shifted from condemning “petty larceny” and is using his platform to go after the “murderer.”

Mark Levin: Putin is a murdering, genocidal maniac

As conservative-constitutionalist, Mark Levin, author of American Marxism (recommended by Leonard Peikoff) notes:

Isolationists believe that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine doesn’t affect us. Nothing could be farther from the truth. As Putin storms Ukraine, history teaches us that appeasement of madmen like Putin only encourages more genocide. And as Mark illustrates, evil exists in more places than just in Russia. And America’s security starts overseas.

 

(Though I agree with Levin on the U.S. being involved in battling dictatorships, this should not involve shedding American blood in other countries where the U.S. has no self-interest. Levin does not advocate sending troops into Ukraine.)

Correction: Voice of Capitalism Newsletter

Our February 13th, 2002, newsletter Voice of Capitalism inaccurately credited Ayn Rand with the following quote:

“I believe that totalitarianism in the form of some kind of national socialism is on its way. That the Democrats are pushing for it and the Republicans are impotent – they’re not strong enough – they don’t fight it the right way.”

The actual source of the quote is the heir of her estate, Leonard Peikoff, author of Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.