Power & Market

The War in the Ukraine in Libertarian Perspective

My speech last year here in Bodrum on Germany’s role in the ongoing war between Russia and the Ukraine, or better and more accurately: between Russia on the one hand and the US, as the boss of NATO, its various European vassals and in particular Germany, and the Ukraine and the Ukrainians as their proxy: as their dispensable tools, useful idiots and sacrificeable lambs on the other hand, has not gone over too well with many supposedly libertarian folks from the former so-called East-bloc countries.

While there had been always participants from Eastern Europe coming to our conference, in fact, often quite a few of them, there are very few here this time. I find this disappointing of course, but I do not regret what I said last year on this subject or find any serious fault with my analysis. To the contrary, if anything, later events such as the destruction of the North-Stream pipeline by, according to all indicators and indications, the US or in close cooperation with the US, and the frank and captivating admission of Merkel, Holland, Macron and Selenskij that the Minsk agreements had never been meant seriously by them but solely served the purpose of buying more time for the Ukraine to get armed for a military confrontation with Russia, further strengthened my arguments.

The indignant rejection by the typical Eastern-European (but also many a Western European) “libertarian” of my speech on the topic presented here last year has little if anything to do with erroneous explanations or faulty analyses of the horrifying events still going on before our very eyes in the Ukraine, then, but it is owed instead to their very own superficial or fake understanding of libertarianism and the requirements of libertarian – and more generally: revisionist – historical research, judgement and evaluation. In fact, it is the result of nationalist, collectivist and statist sentiments overtaking and trumping all calm and sober libertarian thought and analysis in the face of war.

(But maybe states resort to war precisely for this reason: that people tend to “lose their mind” in wartimes?!)

The claims made by my various critics, that I just don’t sufficiently know Putin, the Russians, the Ukrainians, the Poles, the Lithuanians, etc. even the Germans and the Americans and their various particular histories, typically appear little more than regurgitations of some official, national or nationalistic, and invariably statist, school-book history and historical narrative as it is taught and promoted everywhere, at all times and in all countries. Some even accused me of insufficient understanding of the Soviet system and the history of the former Soviet-Union, notwithstanding the fact that I have actually extensively written on this very subject and the horrors of socialism. And on a more personal note: my motherly grandparents were expropriated by the Soviets in 1946 and my grandfather was killed by them in a forced labor camp.

That being said, what, then, was the central thesis of my speech of last year? And why, and in what regard, does its rejection by many supposed or presumed libertarians, especially from Eastern Europe, indicate a deficient understanding of libertarian principles on their part?

First and foremost: States are not productive enterprises. Rather, states are criminal gangs, protection rackets, or Mafias writ large, taxing or otherwise ripping off productive people to their own advantage and that of their members, friends and supporters – and they must be recognized as that. With this fundamental and sobering insight under the belt much mental fog and confusion is cleared up immediately.

Gang wars, then, typically involving some territorial issues, are always wars conducted by rival gang leaders with other people’s money, machines and manpower (just think of taxation and compulsory conscription!). The cost of war, whether conducted in an offensive or in defensive mode, then, is socialized (while prospective gains are privatized), thus making war more likely and lengthy.

In a nutshell, the scenario currently unfolding in the Ukraine is this: The Selenskiy gang has deliberately and continually provoked the much bigger next-door Putin gang, and it has been actively encouraged and supported in its provocations by the leaders of the world’s biggest, if far-away gang of all, the US-Biden gang (assisted by its NATO-vassals and associate gang leaders in Europe), that views (and pressures its allied gangs to likewise view) the Putin gang as “the enemy:” as one of only two remaining stumbling blocks on the way toward global hegemony and world domination, as its very own explicitly and repeatedly stated ultimate goal.

At some point, in February 2022, the Putin gang did what it had repeatedly warned it would do if Selenskij and his gang were to continue with certain explicitly stated provocations. The Selenskij gang, propped up by the mighty but far-away Biden gang, defied such warnings, and the Putin gang consequently invaded and occupied territories previously controlled and claimed as its own turf by the Selenskij gang.

Standing alone, based solely on their own relative powers and resources in terms of population size, military strength and economic wherewithal, the Putin gang would have quickly, long-ago, defeated the Selenskij gang and installed another, Putin-gang-friendly associate gang leadership. That the war still drags on instead and has in the meantime cost hundreds of thousands of lives, millions of refugees and mass destruction is solely the result of the massive financial, logistic and military aid continuing to flow to Selenskij and his gang from the Biden gang and its subordinate, minor league gangs and gang leaders in Germany, France, Britain, etc.. The Selenskij gang would be long broke, if it had not been bailed out, and is still being kept on life-support, by the US-NATO gangster-association. The US-NATO gang does the funding, and the Selenskij gang does the actual fighting, the shooting and the killing, in a joint war against the Putin gang. The US-NATO gang pays for the war against the Putin gang essentially in the form of money (that it can ultimately just print up), and Selenskij and his gang do the nasty and dirty job, i.e. they pay for the war in the form of conscripted lives (from the outset of the war, males from age 18 to age 60 were prohibited from leaving the gang territory…except, of course, for special gang-leadership friends and family), of human suffering, of sacrifice, death and destruction.

How, in view of this constellation, is a libertarian to position himself? The answer I gave last year still holds today. Faced with inter-state wars, i.e. wars between rival gangs sustained by taxation, confiscation and conscription, a libertarian should stay “neutral.”

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Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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