MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Laurels for Sanity on Ukraine – The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on January 25, 2023

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/laurels-for-sanity-on-ukraine/

sohrab

Sohrab Ahmari

The world is fast approaching the one-year anniversary of Russia’s—awful, no-good—invasion of Ukraine. The tragedy was soon compounded by Western leaders and media warmongers taking a highly simplistic ideological approach to a complex conflict. Sobriety and restraint went out the window, as foreign policy establishments soon forgot the wreckage of Afghanistan and Iraq, and set out on a new proxy war—this time against the country with the world’s largest nuclear arsenal and most valuable energy reserves.

Readers of this column, and this magazine, have already been treated to plenty able critiques of this approach. So it is worth taking a different tack now: by handing out laurels to the few dissident voices who, resisting enormous pressure to the contrary, have spoken out for realism and restraint and against mindless escalation over the past year.

First up, a laurel to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, for recently hitting the breaks on deliveries of advanced artillery—specifically, the Leopard 2 tank—to Ukraine. Yes, it is true that Berlin won’t get in the way of others, such as Poland, dispatching the same hardware to the battle zone. But even this minor, and mostly symbolic, dilatory gesture on Scholz’s part suggests that there is some limit to how far the most important country on the Continent will go in fueling a Russo-European war.

And let us hand one to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, for pursuing a nimble strategy when his neighbors have given in to hysteria. Orbán and his nation are as wary as anyone else in Central and Eastern Europe of Russian imperialism. But Orbán doesn’t believe that the West can or should transform an intra-Slavic conflict into an all-out, ideological war. He has also warned that Europe can’t win an energy war against Russia—not without devastating her own industrial base and working class. As he told me in an interview in September, “If someone believes you can beat Russia, and change things in Moscow, it is a pure mistake.”

Closer to home, a laurel to Senator Josh Hawley, for questioning the seemingly limitless amounts of U.S. taxpayer dollars his fellow lawmakers are prepared to spend on a proxy war against Moscow. In May, the Missouri populist voted no on a $40 billion package (since then the total aid has added up to some $100 billion). “This package,” he explained, “treats Ukraine as a client state of America, a fraught relationship that will put us on the hook for financing the war and then the reconstruction. If this isn’t a classic case of misplaced priorities, I don’t know what is.”

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