Tag Archives: putin

I wonder what NATO should have done to prevent the advent of Putin?

I remember back in the 1990’s when history books and articles ended the cold war on a triumphant tone. There was a widespread expectation among victorious Americans that when Russia switched from a command economy to capitalism Russia would be forced to become a democracy. Many liberals and libertarians believed their economy would catch up, and then there would be shared interests that would cause them to become allies to NATO, and possibly against China. But of course Russia failed to change, and we must lay some of the blame on NATO for failing to coax Russia in a different direction when Mikhail Gorbachev was the leader of Russia.

What could America have done to prevent the advent of Boris Yeltsin, the corrupt oligarchy, and then Vladimir Putin in Russia? It’s clear that America didn’t finish off the wicked dragon when it was beading on the ground, and the consequence is a resurgent Russia.

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Kyle Kulinski is too soft on Russia

Kyle Kulinski is a progressive Democrat who runs a political channel on Youtube called “Secular Talk” where he gives his opinions on current news and political rhetoric. I sometimes tune into his channel and agree for a while, but except when he takes a utopian position on how we should speak kindly with dictators.

“Female Trump Voters Say Silly Things on CNN”

At 12 minutes in Kyle Kulinski says he wants to have a good relationship with Russia “to prevent world war 3.” I see this as a slippery slope, and find it rather disgusting. No matter what happens, there would still be a red telephone, just as there always has been. We can afford to take more confrontational stances than we already have, and to not appease thuggish dictators with gentle rhetoric without causing another Cuban Missile crisis.

Liberal democracies shouldn’t get along with Putin, anymore than liberal citizens should get along with fascists. I want condemnation of Putin, and I feel proud when my leaders do it. Furthermore, I consider it necessary and useful for America to lay out our ideological opposition to totalitarianism all the time, because our country believes in democracy and self-determination. It is in also in America’s geopolitical best interest to speak that way, as a voice of moral clarity, and then to strive for a liberal world order.

Appeasement can be just as dangerous of a slippery slope as saber-rattling. Our politicians can manage to criticize Russia or North Korea honestly, and even put sanctions on them without worrying that it’s going to bring about a war. Russia deserves to be credited with some trust; after all, they did possess enough rationality to not start WW3 during or since the cold war!) Kulinski doesn’t have to be so dogmatic about pacifism. He is free to position himself as an isolationist who opposes American intervention abroad, and who still expects his leaders to stand up for democracy abroad by criticizing Russia–which is the minimum liberal politicians can do.

While Kulinski has not been consistent about standing up for liberty throughout the word, he has been consistent over time about taking a cultural relativist position on liberty. I mean to say that he has been too willing to compromise his “liberal” principles for my liking, like when he had to attack Christopher Hitchens, (something I’ve already rambled about earlier.)  At one point in the video titled “What’s Your Take On Christopher Hitchens?,” he accused Hitchens of “losing his mind near the end and siding with the Neo-cons,” which he emphasized as though it were a swear word. To me it sounded almost like an ad-hominem attack, and like something you’d say to appeal to partisan viewers. (The fair thing to do would be to approach Hitchens’s position in the spirit of charity, avoid cheap attacks on his association, and to more directly attack his position.)

It’s very difficult to argue against Hitchen’s idealism. You can oppose the war in Iraq for many pragmatic reasons, but Hitchens’ position is the more moral one because its foundation is universal liberalism, which Kulinski still hasn’t realized.

Sorry Kulinski, but the best interests of America’s citizens requires moral idealism, and not just fluid diplomacy and free markets. If you want there to be good countries even if America falls then you have to fight for democracy everywhere you can. I say this under the presumption that “the veil of ignorance” should be a principle guide for how all citizens on Earth consider politics.