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Removed (Banned)Mar 2, 2022
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Please expound as even your 2 day old comment didn't elicit a single response, likely due to the nearly complete opaqueness of your implications.

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I genuinely can't decide which one you're attributing to Russia and which to Iran.

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He's not suggesting showing less strength, he's saying that if you want the iranians to not try to build nukes, you can't have a ring of bases around them. It's one or the other. Naturally leaving them completely alone won't necessarily lead to them not building nukes, but if you put yourself in a threatening posture and there's a way to make you stop people will seek that way, inevitably.

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You could have made your point without gratuitously insulting Freddie with an ableist slur.

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Two wrongs don’t make a right. That we invaded Iraq doesn’t make it OK for Putin to invade Ukraine.

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How about Iraq plus Kosovo plus Libya? It's not just one example, it's a pattern of behavior that signals to countries like China and Russia that the US is not on the up and up in foreign affairs.

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What about Kosovo?

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Google is your friend.

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So you got nothin’

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I'm your history teacher now? Do you mean that you're not aware of what Kosovo is or you're not aware of its relevance to the current kerfuffle?

Either way, google is your friend. Here's a hint though: Putin cited Kosovo a few days ago when he gave his speech announcing the Ukraine invasion.

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Of course it serves out self-interest. There is nothing wrong with that. Every country pursues their own self-interest but when the U.S. does, it's a horrible injustice and travesty. Yes, the U.S. has done some terrible things and yes Iraq was an injustice and travesty (same for Afghanistan, but different scenario as they were shelling bin Laden and al-Qaeda), but the U.S. is mostly a force for good in the world. Not perfect, but good.

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deletedMar 1, 2022·edited Mar 1, 2022
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Thank you for some sanity

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Have you noticed this blog attracts a significant number of people who love Freddie's critiques of liberals, wokeness, media, the coastal elite etc. but otherwise disagree with everything he believes? Those sorts don't abide criticism of American foreign policy.

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From what I can tell most of the angst here is from establishment liberals who are full throated supporters of the Biden administration.

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You're right, he's riled up the majority of the political spectrum with this one. Scary.

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Don't abide? When I became a paid subscriber to this substack it was in the full knowledge that I have significant disagreements with Freddie about a whole range of issues, but I have always enjoyed reading him because his writing is inspired and a joy to read. I strongly disagree with the thrust of this post, but I am not going to unsubscribe, because I do actually support the principle of lively debate on foreign policy and pretty much anything else. I protested both Iraq wars and thought that the second one was a terrible mistake and was appalled as the neocons made a completely nonsensical and utopian case for a war that it was absolutely foreseeable would just cause more suffering and provoke sectarian civil war. But when I lugged my very pregnant body and my toddler son to those protests, I did not have any fear that I would be arrested or that I would face any negative career impacts from participating. And so while I don't think we are good and they are bad, I am a believer in compared to what, and in this case I don't see how the wrongness of the Iraq War can possibly justify what Putin is doing and I feel no shame in rooting for liberal Enlightenment values to triumph over Slavophile Imperialism. Perhaps it is awkward for Freddie to make his living from folks like me -- I confess if I was Bari Weiss I would be horrified by the folks I was attracting but then in fairness she has always rubbed me the wrong way -- but nothing about this post is surprising to me, it doesn't change my view of Freddie and it's not going to make me regret reupping my subscription.

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people are allowed to subscribe to his blog and also disagree with him about certain topics I think. This is a weak, poorly reasoned column, some people are pointing that out

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Mar 1, 2022·edited Mar 1, 2022

not sure if you're joking but yeah that's true. he took a topic on which he disagrees with most of the audience and wrote a poor, provocative column. now he's being somewhat childish in the comments about it.

it's an exercise to the reader as to whether it's a coincidence his least reasoned opinions are the ones he's most emotional about

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I like Freddie and am proud to be a subscriber. I don't think throwing a tantrum in your comment section because your audience disagrees with you for once is a great look, but it's not going to ruin my day or anything.

As for the opinion, I think his utter inability to defend it in the comments kind of speaks for itself

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"America is evil villain on par with third reich" is not reasoned critique of foreign policy.

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"but it's weird to suggest that Russia/China are entitled to manage independent countries foreign policy choices"

This is just the kind of moral claim deBoer is asking us to set aside.

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author

I'm an American. My responsibility is to my country's behavior. And my country "manages the foreign policy choices" of the entire Western Hemisphere and much much more. So: what is the coherent moral basis for fighting for self-determination for those constrained by other governments but not for those constrained by your own?

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Why not fight for both?

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I deleted my poorly written comment, sorry.

I agree that it's fair to take an American-centric view, just like Ukrainians, Chinese and Russian should look to their own interests. My favorite thing from this mess is that the EU seems to be pressing an EU-centric view; really amazing to see Germany, Sweden, Switzerland (!), etc. ramping up their response.

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"Why the United States has the right to cozy its military up to Russia’s doorstep where Russia does not have the right to do the reverse is a question that has still not been coherently answered, certainly not by the many new liberal hawks who have come out of the closet in recent days."

Because we (cough cough) are the good guys. How come they don't know that?

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author

I honestly respect people more when they just come out and say things like that. At least it's coherent.

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Mar 1, 2022·edited Mar 1, 2022

Oh, they say it AND believe it too, unironically. That's the wonderous part.

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You respect it because its what you want to conclude. :(

Do you really think all the cool, smart people that comment here, that are disagreeing with you, are a bunch of deluded, corrupt people that lie to themselves about America being the good guys?

I don't think you are deluded, or stupid, but I can't figure out why you are so sure about this thing. Why you hate America just so very, very much and can't see that other places also have massive flaws and evil histories as well. Really, not everything is about us.

I really hope you don't kick me off this blog.

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It's a variation on the theme of "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others."

It may be that a world dominated by the US is the worst possible world, except for all the hypothetical worlds dominated by Putin's Russia, Xi's China, or a bunch of equally matched rivals fighting among themselves.

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would we allow it? probably not.

would we be correct for not allowing it? probably not.

but it certainly seems like something you would accept given your views on our place in history.

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or maybe they've made a pragmatic, rationally self-interested calculation that it serves their interests. some decisions are amoral, and foreign policy generally falls into that category, despite the desire here to imbue it with manichaean moral dimensions. when you buy into the high-minded rhetoric, you might miss the fact that most contests are just plain darwinian. this one's not about "rights", it's about winning. it's nice to imagine everyone gets a trophy at the end of the game whatever the score, but the US strategy is about making sure it's not even close.

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If Ukraine wants to ally with us, we should let them. And if Cuba wants to ally with Russia, we should let them. We are hypocrites for not respecting the self-determination of nations in our hemisphere and abroad.

But that doesn’t mean that what the Ukrainian people want doesn’t matter, or that it was wrong to welcome them (or anyone else) as they sought closer ties with the West. Supporting Ukraine’s right to self-determination may be hypocritical, but that doesn’t make it wrong, or provide any justification for Russia to invade it.

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Regional spheres of influence are historically stable. Have been for thousands of years.

Every major power having major bases [with nuclear armaments] adjacent to every other major power, in the name of a radically innovative ideology of "national self determination" is literal insanity.

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Mar 1, 2022·edited Mar 1, 2022

I agree with all this, but I don’t think this summary gives other countries enough agency. Why did the Baltic states want to be part of NATO? Not to be a tool for imperialism. Rather, they had an incredibly unstable and dangerous neighbor and wanted protection, in the same way that Ukraine and Georgia (edit: and now Finland!) want protection from their neighbor.

I get that Russia reasonably may not want to tolerate NATO as a neighbor. But part of the response is to transform yourself into the kind of country that people aren’t afraid of being invaded by!

I’ve been a total anti-imperialist ever since the Libya “decapitation,” and suspicious of American force since well before that. But I can still pull out my “American democracy hegemon” cap out when needed, and when I do, the question “Should we deny assistance to a liberal democracy who comes seeking protection from a dangerous authoritarian neighbor?” is a pretty tricky one.

Of course, Ukraine isn’t really a liberal democracy yet, and so incorporating them feels more like aggression against Russia. But I think that, as global citizens, we should at least be considering these countries’ needs and desires as well in making our calculations.

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author

"Not a liberal democracy yet" is quite an understatement. The Ukrainian nationalist project is largely advanced by hard-right antisemitic lunatics.

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“Largely?” I’ll have to research that. My understanding is that they are definitely part of the project but not the guiding factor. I’m fully prepared to be wrong, though.

At any rate, now we have Finland considering NATO membership, which definitely doesn’t provoke the same questions that Ukraine does in terms of being a liberal democracy.

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Doesn't Zelenzky's Jewish heritage put the "Ukrainians are all Nazis" claim to bed? Do the Ukraine have some crazy right wing racists in their ranks? I'm sure. Don't most armies? Including the States?

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That’s like saying that Obama’s election proved Americans aren’t racist, isn’t it?

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Well, it kinda did.

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In fact, the majority of US voters haven't elected two white males in almost two decades. No one seems to talk about that. 2004 was the last time that happened.

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Not all Americans, at least.

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author

"The Ukrainians are our kind of people, therefore we should expect the Russians to accept more American troops at their door" is so bizarre to me

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I'm just responding to the "The Ukrainian nationalist project is largely advanced by hard-right antisemitic lunatics." That just seems to be a stretch from what I've read. I don't have an opinion on NATO. Or troops at Russia's door yet. I don't know enough about it. I might agree with you on that.

But Putin does seem like a lunatic. And whatever the ills of Ukraine they seem to be a much more legitimate government who are actually backed by the people. And I haven't seen evidence that Putin wouldn't have invaded if we promised not to have Ukraine become a member of NATO. It seems like that would have emboldened his move. Being a member of NATO seems to be the only deterent.

I could be wrong. I'm trying to read other views like you. RT News. Glenn Greenwald. It's clearly not a simple situation. But the blame seems to land way more on Putin's doorstep than anyone else at the moment.

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How about, “If you threaten other nations, you should expect them to go to third parties for protection.”

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Exactly. Lost in this is the question of why so many countries in Eastern Europe feel motivated to join NATO. The reason Canada would never join the Warsaw Pact, e.g, is because Canada isn't concerned that we might one day decide to roll tanks into Toronto. Russia faces at least some culpability here. The narrative seems to be "bad West keeps pushing NATO expansion on guileless Eastern European nations." That isn't accurate or fair.

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That is certainly the Russian argument, and why they thought the government would quickly fall and the people welcome them with open arms. Turns out a whole lot of ordinary, non-antisemitic, non-lunatic Ukrainians want to be Ukrainian and are willing to die for it.

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Huh? Zelinski is Jewish.

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Yes, Ukraine has its Azov Battalion, and Russia has its own rising neo-Nazi movements, including among the military and its contractors. There seems little reason for confidence that Russian control of Ukraine would result in *less* power to neo-Nazi movements.

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Zelinsky married a non-Jew and had his kids baptized in a Christian church. His genes are Jewish, but he's disowned the culture.

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That doesn't matter to Nazis.

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Mar 1, 2022·edited Mar 1, 2022

One of the worst parts of today's media environment is it strongly encourages everyone to model their ideological opponents as bizarre simplistic caricatures. If you assume your enemy is a cardboard cutout with no capacity for nuance or even basic thought, you will be unable to predict their actions correctly, and they will be that much more dangerous to you. [And it goes without saying that anyone ascribing nuance and actual cognition to the un-people across the river is obviously one of them.]

Not caring about genetic Judaism vs. cultural Judaism was certainly true of the historical Nazis, to be sure, but isn't actually true of many contemporary white supremacists. I've seen numerous actual religiously Christian antisemites who will rail for hours and hours against "godless" Jewish bankers and producers and actors - every antisemitic trope in the book - add a nuanced carveout to their hatred for religious Orthodox Jews, when only slightly pressed.

Many of them respect sincere religiosity, even if they disagree with the theology, and this is an important fact to know about them. They hate secular Jews [largely for political opinions and projects that they see as unique and specific to secular Jews], not a gene-complex. Historical nazis actually hated the gene complex.

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There are, in fact, a lot of Nazi's and right-wingers in Ukraine including paramilitary forces like the Azov battalion that are aligned with the government. The fact that Zelenskyy is Jewish doesn't change this fact.

We had, for example, a black President here in the US for eight years. Having a black President didn't make all the right-wing racists in America disappear. The same goes with Ukraine except the right wing is much worse and much bigger there than it is here.

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This is a great example of the historical blindness in the West. In WW2 the Nazis killed Jews, Poles, Slavs and Russians, to name some. The ideology is more dynamic than you may think. Reminder that Hitler made a non-aggression pact with Soviets for tactical reasons.

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Nazis? Well, then, I guess Putin was right and we should invade and take them all down.

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It's odd that so many ordinary Ukrainians have volunteered to pick up arms and risk their lives fighting for these hard-right antisemitic lunatics. Are you saying they are all brainwashed?

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Their current president is a Jew…

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Mar 1, 2022·edited Mar 1, 2022

In the 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election, a coalition of far-right parties only got 2.15% of the vote, and won no seats. The far-right is actually weaker in Ukraine than it is in much of the rest of Europe

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Interesting to see you buy blatant bullshit while denouncing others for it.

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That Chinese quote is a weird claim that forcible invasion is a justifiable response to NATO expansion, because (I suppose) those independent countries' "free choices" are just "false consciousness". If you credit agency to the actors, though, the Chinese quote is ridiculous.

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Is "no true agency" a "no true Scotsman" argument :-)

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"There is no ethical consumption under capitalism" is to "There is no ethical negotiation under nuclear hegemony" as "Still, people gotta eat, or the entire question of capitalism-vs-whatever rapidly becomes moot." is to _________.

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I suppose "everybody should starve themselves to death" is /technically/ an ideology, but it doesn't usually get a seat at the big academic conferences.

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Mar 1, 2022·edited Mar 1, 2022

The analogous statement to "Even capitalists have to eat something, or else choose to starve" is "Every nuclear power has at least some conflicting interests with its neighbors, and needs to negotiate sometimes [where 'negotiate' is an extremely broad term that certainly can encompass armed conflict], or else choose to unilaterally surrender its nuclear weapons."

The current unpleasantness is a clear textbook study on precisely how bonkers and suicidal Ukraine surrendering its status as a nuclear power was. No one will make /that/ mistake again.

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Putin and his government bear the ultimate responsibility for Russia's behavior, but I think you can acknowledge the agency of individual actors while also understanding that they don't make decisions in a vacuum.

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The real reason not to put your "American hegemon" cap on is that makes you a dinosaur. The era of unipolar American dominance is over. Anybody who doesn't understand that needs to watch a few Chinese press briefings on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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Agreed, but a lot of people do indeed come from the understandable moral perspective that we have a duty to protect liberal democracy, and it’s useful to imagine that perspective when trying to understand the narratives about the invasion.

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That is obsolete thinking. In a Cold War environment realpolitik means that the US takes on as allies authoritarians like Saddam Hussein. Human rights abuses are irrelevant in the face of potential shared interests.

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Sure, a lot of countries, particularly small countries like the Baltics, very much want to become American protectorates. And that's fine as long as one understands the tradeoffs.

And sure, in an ideal world we might want Russia to ignore the last 30 years of us (the US) shitting on their strategic interests and hope they transform into a country that "people aren't afraid of." Unfortunately, geopolitics doesn't work that way.

Here's George Kennan, architect of the of the Soviet "containment" strategy writing in 1997:

"But something of the highest importance is at stake here. And perhaps it is not too late to advance a view that, I believe, is not only mine alone but shared by a number of others with extensive and in most instances more recent experience in Russian matters. The view, bluntly stated, is that expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire pos-cold-war era.

"Such a decision may be expected to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militarist tendencies in Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, and to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.

"It is, of course, unfortunate that Russia should be confronted with such a challenge at a time when its executive power is in a state of high uncertainty and near-paralysis. And it is doubly unfortunate considering the total lack of any necessity for this move. Why, with all the hopeful possibilities engendered by the end of the cold war, should East-West relations become centered on the question of who would be allied with whom and, by implication, against whom in some fanciful, totally unforeseeable and most improbable future military conflict?

"I am aware, of course, that NATO is conducting talks with the Russian authorities in hopes of making the idea of expansion tolerable and palatable to Russia. One can, in the existing circumstances, only wish these efforts success. But anyone who gives serious attention to the Russian press cannot fail to note that neither the public nor the Government is waiting for the proposed expansion to occur before reacting to it.

"Russians are little impressed with American assurances that it reflects no hostile intentions. They would see their prestige (always uppermost in the Russian mind) and their security interests adversely affected. They would, of course, have no choice but to accept expansion as a military fait accompli. But they would continue to regard it as a rebuff by the West and would likely look elsewhere for guarantees of a secure and hopeful future for themselves."

https://www.nytimes.com/1997/02/05/opinion/a-fateful-error.html

He wasn't alone, here are a number of luminaries over the last few decades correctly predicting the effects we are seeing today from NATO expansion.

https://twitter.com/RnaudBertrand/status/1498491107902062592?s=20&t=MX0yz1ii8q8MJGSBImHU_g

Freddie is exactly right that we have not given sufficient weight to cause-and-effect, instead preferring to assume that our hegemonic status will always ensure we don't have to consider tradeoffs. And the tradeoffs for NATO expansion are the war in Ukraine and the US committing to defending de facto protectorates that can contribute nothing to collective defense yet will remain enduring strategic liabilities.

Finally, it's very weird to now see people cheerleading NATO and NATO expansion who also want to eviscerate the US defense budget to spend that money on domestic social programs. Well, one can't have it both ways. The credible ability to protect tiny distant nations from hostile adjacent neighbors takes a massive investment in maintaining enduring and global military capabilities

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I agree with all of that.

And yet.

I have to admit a certain pull towards the idea that liberal democracies should feel free to band together agains authoritarian aggression.

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This becomes a problem when liberal democracies act as authoritarian aggressors.

While nation states are analyzed like they’re individual actors, they are not individual people. They are ideological constructs constrained by their nature of being a collective humanistic social extension.

Once nations start acting like they’re individuals with self-determination and self-interest, thought, they will always be threatened by the fact that at any moment a different ideological-national construct could usurp the land space that they occupy.

This is a threat to both the new “external” nation and the preceding “internal” nation, despite this having no bearing on the actual people occupying the land itself - only the ideological space with which a people wish to wield against “others”.

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founding

As your post points out, people are drawn to stories, not to facts. And the story of Ukrainian resistance and heroism has been a great one so far, IF you ignore all the death and destruction of this war.

I feel as if it is unseemly to root for anything involving a war except its end. I have the creepy feeling that when people are posting the Ukrainian flag or wearing Ukrainian colors, they are using the same parts of their brains that root for their favorite sports teams.

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They are. War propaganda is the most intoxicating propaganda because it targets that sports team part of your brain, with much higher and more meaningful stakes.

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Ukraine was never going to join NATO as long as Russia held Donbass and Luhansk and Crimea; NATO doesn't accept countries with disputed borders. Russia knew this, it had what it wanted from the status quo. Nothing you wrote explains/justifies the recent additional invasion and bombardment of large civilian population.

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My partner before the invasion was sure that it would happen because Putin was "just like Hitler and Stalin." I guess geopolitics will always sell better when it comes in the form of moralized personal drama.

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Even if you're going to do what the US has there's a much more intelligent approach that we've declined, I assume due to being on our own supply. In that regard I'd quibble a bit with the assertion about what exactly NATO has placed in former Warsaw Pact countries. It hasn't been nearly enough to threaten Russia conventionally (or at least no one thought it was until we saw the mediocre performance Russia has put on over the last week). What we were doing was setting up just enough tripwire forces to claim that those new countries were now under our nuclear umbrella. The problem is that without the conventional forces there we created a credibility gap begging to be probed.

So while I disagree in principle with the America world police idea, if we were going to do it anyway, this was a terrible approach that set the stage for the kind of security crisis it was supposed to prevent.

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Your moral relativism could not come at a worse time. These are exactly the arguments Hitler used, and the appeasers touted, when invading the Sudetenland. Why is it ok for NATO to put troops on Russia's borders? Because the guy on the other side is a murderer, a meglomaniac bent upon destruction, death and domination. He has a history of not following the global rules, taking what he feels he and his country are entitled to without cause. He kills his opposition, stifles free thought and speech and runs a corrupt regime benefiting him and his oligarchs alone. Fuck the people.

the Europeans get this - even big oil is departing Russia. You should be smart enough to get it too - but I guess you're too young. Shame. Shame. Shame.

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author

The United States is the greatest source for evil and destruction since the fall of the Third Reich. Ask the Iraqis, the Iranians, the Congolese, the Hondurans, the Vietnamese, the Laotians, the Cambodians, the Nicaraguans....

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When our borders are choked with people desperate to leave, the evil America fantasists will have a point. Until then, they’re simply embarrassing themselves.

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Which ones though? I really have no solid understanding of geopolitics at all. So I’m asking as a normal person with full credulity for your opinion. There are many people from those nations who have emigrated west. Why would they head into the belly of the beast if they felt the US was evil?

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I think Freddie is positing the opposite ideological orientation to traditional “American Nationalism is the Good World Police” here. The point is: these two opposing types of thought will NEVER be reconcilable, because they both wield moralistic and impractical arguments in unhelpful ways, and that this is the problem.

It would require rejecting this kind of simplistic reasoning entirely to move beyond this type of terrible geopolitics, but there are many who do not wish to let go of the dream of nationalism, ethnicity, race, etc.

In other words - there will always be folks from any country who either view The West or America as “good” and “evil”, and this will not go away as long as people continue to toil in this rhetoric. Unfortunately, this rhetoric does not resolve core issues of conflict presented by the real (and conflicting) actions taken by geopolitical leaders and governments BECAUSE nationalist countries are always acting in self-interest.

(Disclaimer: I have some mild/background experience in geopolitical study - undergraduate degree - and enjoy keeping up on events and developing my analysis and theory on this subject matter. I also strongly dislike “Realist, Pragmatic Realpolitik” geopolitics, so I try to understand it as thoroughly as possible)

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"Reversed stupidity is not intelligence" is the problem here

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America's a nice place to live (so I hear and believe!) That's plenty of reason for people from other countries to go live there (like all other Western countries). Ordinary people don't really factor "is this nation being good and moral in its international relations?" into their emigration choices.

You can believe both "the US is pretty good to its own citizens" and "the US is too aggressive towards other people's citizens" at the same time

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I have Chairman Mao on line 2.

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And Pol Pot on 3.

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Mar 1, 2022·edited Mar 1, 2022

Please do the math on the USSR and Chinese communism causing needless deaths and then reassess your analysis.

But sure, if you define "evil" and "destruction" narrowly enough you can make the US look real bad and ignore the obvious counterarguments.

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Class warfare is best warfare

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Ok, you've finally made me laugh.

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Ask the Czechs, the Poles, the Lithuanians, the Georgians, the Ukrainians, the East Germans.....

Ask the South Koreans how they feel about America as the greatest source of evil. Ask the Tibetans. Ask the Uyghurs.

This kind of rhetoric doesn't do you any credit at all. You have legitimate arguments against U.S. foreign policy -- there's no need to overreach like this.

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author

That is, indeed, perhaps my core political belief of all, and it always has been I'll gladly refund you or anyone else here. I have no time for this childishness.

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Who's asking for a refund? I'm asking for you to do the kind of intelligent, thoughtful analysis I know you're capable of.

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"My core political belief is that the US is the greatest source of evil because I'm begging the question of how to properly evaluate evil and no I will not be willing to reconsider because my religious, er philosophical, commitments preclude it."

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you're entitled to it, and nobody (I don't think) is asking for a refund. Its just a tremendously unpopular opinion.

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Yeah, well said. It's a good reminder that even really thoughtful intelligent people can get tunnel vision on a topic due to ideology, partisanship, religion, etc. I don't think anyone's totally immune to it. For Freddie, it feels like anti-Americanism and the closely related pro-socialism are two of his tunnel vision topics.

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Yes very well put. The “America is the Great Satan” is oddly one dimensional given Freddie’s writing about agency on so many topics.

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yeah you really put your finger on it. very facile

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Wait, your core political belief is US/NATO bad? It's geopolitical? How is that Marxist? Or do you only come to the Marxism downstream of your geopolitical campism? This would sort of explain, well, 99% of the DSA and similar leftoids.

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I have no interest in a refund, I'll keep reading every column. But this is a really dumb opinion from a very smart person, and you might consider whether it's more of a religious belief than dispassionate analysis.

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I'll preface this by saying that I apparently look far more favourably on your article above than it seems most of your readers do.

Having said that, by any conceivable metric this is an unsupportable position. Even if one decides to take the most extreme views on the results of US involvement in the countries listed above - and sure, I'll agree with you, all of those examples are indeed bad and evil - the death and destruction still pales in comparison to that inflicted by the various communist regimes post-WWII.

There's a strong relationship between your worst, least convincing ideas and your insistence that you've "always" had them. You say this about communism too - that you will "always" be a communist. This isn't a reasoned position, it's a religious one.

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As a Korean American, support for the US is generally strong, unless you’re from the region where my family is from, where the US-backed dictator Chun Doo-hwan, slaughtered a couple thousand of people that rose up against the dictatorship. I assure you their views of the US is not as rosy

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Freddie - you are wrong. There is likely no way to convince you of this, yours is a standard liberal construct of false equivalency that you probably have been hand fed since you were 5 years old. but you are wrong. We are better - and I do not have the time, nor do you have the stomach to hear me explain it. You can point out every US horrific involvement overseas that cost lives and resources to me, and still, I will maintain that we ARE the better choice. I enjoy your columns greatly. But you are wrong on this. Putin is Hitler. He looks to reinstall the old Russian empire, which will -- at least at first -- border France. I am heartened by the lessons that Europe learned and are not waiting to see where he goes from Ukraine. They know. Listen to them, they have better historical perspective than you. Regards.

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Don't do "Putin is Hitler" please.

Putin is more like an old timey conqueror with imperial desires.

In contrast, Hitler had a very particular ideology driving him to particular forms of evil, which included conquests. (As did Lenin/Stalin/Mao of course.)

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Yes. "Putin is Tony Soprano" is a better formulation.

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he's just another Tsar. there have been plenty of them

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Just as a point of order, if you write a heated response to a post, ending in "SHAME. SHAME. SHAME," and the author deigns a response actually backing up their argument, you should be prepared to defend your shaming with something more than, "I'm right, I just can't explain it right now." Your suggestion, that Freddie is simply "too young to understand" and the unfortunate result of being spoon-fed liberal doctrine, is not only rude and childish, it doesn't even pass the sniff test. Why would you assume that Freddie is unable to think critically about liberal rhetoric when so much of the column is dedicated to critiquing and deconstructing it?

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> Why would you assume that Freddie is unable to think critically about liberal rhetoric

I know Freddie is able to think critically about liberal rhetoric, he does it all the time. This column doesn't seem to be doing that though.

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I think Soviet and Chinese Communism have a far higher body count.

Also, you should use "some" instead of "the" when talking about a large group of people. In this example, SOME Iraqis, Iranians, Congolese, Hondurans, Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians, Nicaraguans opposed US intervention and some supported it.

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holy shit. i had no idea you were this radical.

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I think it's unjust to focus on all the evil the United States has committed and none of the good. What about the Marshall Plan, turning our former enemies into not only allies, but also peaceful, prosperous democracies?

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It's not moral relativism, it's reality. Vladimir Putin is the bad guy. He is the aggressor. This is not in dispute. Knowing this, America still turned Ukraine into a client state, whose sole raison d'etre was to be an instrument of anti-Russian statecraft.

This strategy might be ok if Ukraine were not literally on Russia's border, or if Ukraine had not dismantled its nuclear arsenal after the breakup of the Soviet union, or if America or NATO could offer protection (they never could, since the possibility of a shooting war with a nuclear power is not ever going to happen) ...then this might work.

This was quite LITERALLY the most obvious foreseeable outcome of this stupid, insane policy, and it happened! Who but everyone should have seen that coming?

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I can not like this comment enough. Though I’m not sure I recognized it at the time it was happening (I just never had the need to think about it deeply or research it before).

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How does this argument differ from appeasement? Ukraine is its own country, not part of NATO or the EU, and nobody was forcing Ukraine to join either entity? Who has the agency here?

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author

Who had agency when the United States invaded Iraq? Who has agency when we help the Saudis crush dissidents? Who has agency when we starve Cuba? Why did Cuba not deserve the agency to determine its own economic system and form of government?

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This is a whatabout response rather than addressing my point, my man. Ukraine and Russia have complete independent agency here. Or was the point of your post merely “US bad”?

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Mar 1, 2022·edited Mar 1, 2022

I am pretty sure the Cuban people would eventually like a say in their government too but they have not been allowed that for 60 years. The idea the US sanctions and embargo have "starved" Cuba is ridiculous. No other nation in the world has these sanctions. They are free to trade with anyone else and in fact were subsidized the USSR and now Venezuela. Castro led communism starved Cuba just as it did everwhere else it has existed.

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The invasion of Iraq was based on bad intelligence about Saddam having an active WMD program, poor risk calculus, and the delusional idea that a liberated Iraq would be easily established.

It was not an obvious war of conquest based on clearly fabricated pretenses.

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As someone who opposed the war at the time, I think I disagree with this statement. There clearly wasn’t enough evidence to justify an invasion, and without that our motives were clearly in question.

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The US IC unironically believed Saddam had some level of a WMD program. The Bush admin unironically believed the risk from such was unacceptable and justified taking out Saddam.

Did the Bush admin exaggerate the evidence? Yeah. Was there a lot of motivated reasoning? Yep. Did the IC fail to push back sufficiently given the weak confidence in available intel? Also yes.

Did the Bush admin simply want to lie to conceal their motives? No.

Best book on this is: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GPKT831/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

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You see, it’s the motivated reasoning that gets me. In terms of morality, having a government decide what they wanted to happen and then finding evidence for it, even if they sincerely believed it, is equivalent to intentional deception. They just chose to deceive themselves as well.

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Note too that other European nations thought Saddam had WMD, acting on their own intelligence. Germany in particular claimed it fairly forcefully. Not saying the intelligence should not have been examined more critically--it should have--but there were a number of credible intelligent people writing about his WMD program in the years before the war. Hell, The New Yorker did a huge piece about it a year or so before the invasion.

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In America, the president cannot dictate what outcomes the intelligence community finds. The IC did not do a good job but it was not forced to find false evidence.

Furthermore, congress blessed off on the invasion and has an oversight role of the IC.

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But what about The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo?

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Cuba does deserve the agency to determine its own economic system. So does Ukraine.

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Host really just shitposting through his own comments today.

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Exactly. Freddie recently wrote an excellent column about how black people are insulted and infantalized by Wokism, a movement which frames them only as innocent victims acted on by other people, incapable of their own agency. Yet he seems to view all international politics in those same terms.

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