Trevor Loudon Lunch followup

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As you can see from the picture above, it was a full house. We actually had to bring in extra tables from  the main section of the restaurant.

Trevor Loudon was our guest speaker.  He did a great job of delivering his message of danger and hope.

Danger in that the forces of totalitarianism – while small in number – were extremely powerful, coordinate, and dedicated to far more than the next election.

Hope in that lots of people seem to be waking up to the dangers of Big Government.

Did I think his message of the conspiracy of the Left was a bit a bit overstated: yes.  My disagreement is in degree but not in substance.  The Left self-organizes as libertarians also do.  It’s just that they seem to be better able to take the levers of government than we are.  They want power and we don’t want them to have it.  We act in almost pure altruism.  They consider themselves altruistic (“I’m forcing other people to be as good as I am.”) but, of course, their altruism involves the power of coercion.

Simply, they are more motivated than we are as any casual understanding of Public Choice Theory makes clear:

Second, public and private choice processes differ, not because the motivations of actors are different, but because of stark differences in the incentives and constraints that channel the pursuit of self-interest in the two settings.

http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/PublicChoice.html

Basically, each individual libertarian has little to gain from squelching the Left’s grab for power.  Each Leftist who takes control has a huge amount to gain, for instance, as much as 1/6 of our national economy in the case of ObamaCare.

And, yet, we’re mad as hell and if enough of us are then the political center shifts towards libertarian ideals.

Trevor Loudon also pushed on the idea that libertarian isolationism would eventually lead to the destruction of the United States.  In this I stand apart from most libertarians and agree with him.  As far as I am concerned it’s a matter of freedom of contracts and breach of contracts.

If my friend and I have been having a mutually profitable endeavor, there is nothing wrong with me making an additional contract with her that says “If you are attacked I will defend you.  In fact let’s tell all our associates that that is what we will do.”

In such a world, violence is decreased because the cost of violence increases.

I believe this contract can and should extend to nations as well.

We briefly discussed the “Treaty of Budapest” (It’s not really a treaty but a set of memorandums.)  ( http://www.cfr.org/arms-control-disarmament-and-nonproliferation/budapest-memorandums-security-assurances-1994/p32484 ) .

The U.S. agreed to:
2. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and
the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use
of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and
that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence
or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;

That sure looks like a breach of contract to me by the Russian federation to which we have a moral and legal obligation to respond with the use of force.

It was a great lunch.

Ralph Shnelvar
Chair, Libertarian Party of Boulder County
www.lpboulder.org www.facebook.com/lpboulder

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4 Responses to Trevor Loudon Lunch followup

  1. qmmckenna says:

    Ralph you make a good moral point to come to the defense of the Ukraine but we don't appear to be contractually obligated to do so even though Russia is in clear violation on several points with the Budapest agreement.

    According to the memorandum, Russia, the U.S., and the UK confirmed, in recognition of Ukraine becoming party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and in effect abandoning its nuclear arsenal to Russia, that they would:

    Respect Ukrainian independence and sovereignty within its existing borders.
    Refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine.
    Refrain from using economic pressure on Ukraine in order to influence its politics.
    Seek United Nations Security Council action if nuclear weapons are used against Ukraine.
    Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against Ukraine.
    Consult with one another if questions arise regarding these commitments.

    ….So according to this read of the agreement (Wikipedia) we are only obligated to seek United Nations Security Council action if nuclear weapons are used against Ukraine.

  2. 123CommonSense says:

    I just wanted to point out that despite the post coming from a local LP chair, many in the Libertarian Party consider Trevor Loudon to have very little useful to say, disagreeing with his views and conspiracy nonsense in many ways, and considering him to be a poor spokesperson for the areas where we do agree. The libertarian movement has far more productive things it should be focused on than wasting time with that. The national LP for instance tells people not to post links to nonsense like Treovr Loudon on their facebook page, so the views in this piece should be taken as in no way typical of the Libertarian Party, even if some subset of its members waste time on such things.

  3. 123CommonSense says:

    re: " we have a moral and legal obligation to respond with the use of force"

    No we don't since they are memorandum, not treaties. The president can't unilaterally effectively declare war via signing a memorandum not approved by Congress and implying that requires us to use force. Perhaps it means Bill Clinton who signed it should feel compelled to go an fight with the Ukrainians, but the country has no obligation
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest_Memorandum_
    "The Budapest Memorandum was negotiated as a political agreement. It refers to assurances, not defined, but less than a military guarantee of intervention.[2][8] According to Stephen MacFarlane, a professor of international relations "It gives signatories justification if they take action, but it does not force anyone to act in Ukraine."[7] In the U.S. neither the George H. W. Bush administration nor the Clinton administration was prepared to give a military commitment to Ukraine, nor did they believe the U.S. Senate would ratify an international treaty, so the memorandum was agreed as a political agreement.[8]"

    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/04/opinion/pifer-u
    "Words matter, and a big question at the time arose over whether to use the term "guarantees" or "assurances" in the memorandum. The United States provides guarantees to allies, such as NATO member states; the term implies a military commitment. In the early 1990s, neither the George H. W. Bush administration nor the Clinton administration was prepared to extend a military commitment to Ukraine— and both felt that, even if they wanted to, the Senate would not produce the needed two-thirds vote for consent to ratification of such a treaty.

    The Budapest Memorandum thus was negotiated as a political agreement. It refers to assurances, not defined, but less than a military guarantee. U.S. negotiators —myself among them — discussed this point in detail with Ukrainian counterparts so that there would be no misunderstanding."

    The memorandum doesn't indicate enforcement action except in the case of (quoting from the memorandum the blog post above refers to):

    "reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used;"

    It seems that the strongest response indicated (but only mentioned in the context of nuclear threat) is seeking UN action, not unilateral action. It doesn't express any other enforcement ability, merely:

    "6. Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America will consult in the event a situation arises that raises a question concerning these commitments."

    Presumably a big question arose concerning Russia's commitment to them so they are consulting. The intent of the actual treaties (as opposed to a memo) was presumably to head off a nuclear war, but they realized Congress wouldn't go further to back in advance something that could too easily lead to a war with another nuclear superpower. I suspect most people in their right minds realize there needs to be a huge barrier to risking any direct military engagement between superpowers.

  4. 123CommonSense says:

    http://www.day.kiev.ua/en/article/close/assurance
    "We are presenting the viewpoint of Prof. Volodymyr Vasylenko who was Ukraine’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Benelux and representative of Ukraine at NATO and took part in drawing up the conceptual principles and specific provisions of the Budapest Memorandum…
    The only specific obligation that the three nuclear states – the US, Russia, and the UK – took was that they “will consult in the event a situation arises which raises a question concerning these commitments.”
    http://www.wnd.com/2014/03/is-u-s-committed-to-ac
    "The memorandum, however, isn’t a treaty but a diplomatic document that does not obligate the U.S. or Britain to go to war against Russia to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

    There was no U.S. Senate action on the memorandum, which would have been required had the document been a treaty obligating the U.S. to undertake military action.

    The memorandum only agrees to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. There is no enforcement mechanism to it."

    Here is the speaker of the Ukraine Parliament explaining a couple of years ago that the memorandum has no teeth , since wished to push for one that did:
    http://en.for-ua.com/news/2011/04/04/125519.html
    "Ukraine shall demand Budapest Memorandum of 1994 should become Legally Binding – Speaker

    V. Lytvyn reminded that the Memorandum on Security Assurances due to Ukraine´s accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty only envisages obligation of Russia, Great Britain and the USA (later they were joined by France and China) to guarantee security together with the United Nations Security Council if Ukraine becomes a victim of aggression with the use of nuclear weapon, as well as obligations to hold consultations in case of threats to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. "However, these agreements are not legally binding and capable. I am convinced that Ukraine shall demand that the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 should become legally binding", he stated"

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