President Biden has just announced a US ban on Russian oil and other energy supplies, suggesting that now is the time to accelerate the transition to "clean energy." As gas prices reach uncharted territory, are Americans being asked to commit economic suicide for Ukraine's "democracy"? Also: More insane "no fly zone" talk from Congress.
By Ron Paul
President Biden’s “maskless” State of the Union signifies the near-end of the COVID tyranny we have lived under for the past two years. Fortunately for Congress, the President, and the Federal Reserve, the Ukraine-Russia conflict is replacing COVID as a ready-made excuse for their failures and a justification for expanding their power.
Even before politicians began declaring the end of the pandemic, polls showed that rising prices were the people’s top concern - particularly the increase in gas prices. Since Russia is one of the world’s leading energy producers, sanctions imposed on Russia, as well as Germany’s decision (made under pressure from the US) to shut down the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, provide a convenient excuse for rising gas prices. This is the case even though the US, citing the “instability” in world energy markets created by the Russian-Ukraine conflict, has yet to officially ban imports of Russian oil.
The Federal Reserve has been planning several interest rate increases this year, even though some fear that rate increases could decrease growth and increase unemployment. The Russian crisis allows the Fed to either postpone rate increases or blame Russia for any unemployment that accompanies the rate increases. Either way, the Fed can use the crisis to deflect attention away from its responsibility for our economic problems. As of now, it appears the Fed will go through with at least a modest rate increase this month, but because of the Ukraine crisis, the increase will be smaller than previously expected.
The Ukraine crisis also provides an excuse for Congress to do what Congress does best: increase federal spending. President Biden has requested Congress provide an additional $10 billion in emergency military aid to Ukraine. Congress will likely quickly approve the President’s request. This will not likely be the last time Congress rushes billions of “emergency” money to Ukraine.
It is also certain that lobbyists for the military-industrial-complex are already “explaining” to a very receptive Capitol Hill audience why the Ukraine crisis justifies increasing the military budget to “counter the threats” from Russia, China, and whoever else can serve as a convenient boogeyman. It is unlikely there will be much resistance in Congress to a further increase, even though the US already spends more than the combined defense budgets of the next nine biggest spending countries.
Over the past two years, many leading Internet companies did the government’s bidding by “de-platforming” anyone who expressed skepticism of vaccines or promoted alternative treatments — even when they presented evidence to support their claims. These companies are once again helping the government by de-platforming those who question, or are suspected of questioning, the official narrative regarding Ukraine. Yet these companies’ concerns with “fake news” have not led them to stop people from sharing widely debunked stories supporting the US-backed Ukrainian government.
The lockdown and mandates did more harm than the coronavirus itself. They were based on lies promoted by the government and its allies in the “private” sector. Yet too many Americans refuse to even question the US government’s claims regarding the Ukraine crisis or question whether Russia is really responsible for our economic problems as opposed to a spendthrift Congress, successive spendthrift Presidents, and an out-of-control Federal Reserve. The only way to stop authoritarians from using crises like these to grow their power is to make enough people understand a simple truth: authoritarian politicians will always lie to the people to protect and increase their own power.
Americans face unprecedented economic fallout from the Biden Administration's continuing intervention in the Russia/Ukraine conflict. Gas prices are reaching record highs. Commodity priced, including wheat, are soaring. The US (and global) economy is teetering toward disaster. What should we do? Are we on the right path? Today we offer some admittedly unsolicited advice to a floundering Biden Administration.
Economic sanctions seek to impoverish and sicken the civilians of the sanctioned nation. They also place heavy economic costs on the civilians of nations imposing the sanctions. To add insult to injury, the track record of sanctions forcing political change is disgracefully bad as well.
Politico today reports on how a "reluctant" big tech has decided to abandon its pro-free speech approach and take the side of the US government as the Russian war in Ukraine begins its second week. Are they kidding us? Also today, Biden Administration demands ten billion dollars for Ukraine and 20 billion for COVID. Free money! What could go wrong? And Massie stands up to the Washington war machine.
Despite assuring Americans last night that no troops would be sent to fight in Ukraine, President Biden assured the country that it would stand by its NATO allies. Many argue that this is a good argument against Ukraine's NATO membership in the first place - as then the US would be obligated to fight. What other moves might the US/EU make? No-fly zone? More weapons? Total oil embargo?
By Ron Paul
When the Bush Administration announced in 2008 that Ukraine and Georgia would be eligible for NATO membership, I knew it was a terrible idea. Nearly two decades after the end of both the Warsaw Pact and the Cold War, expanding NATO made no sense. NATO itself made no sense.
Explaining my “no” vote on a bill to endorse the expansion, I said at the time:
NATO is an organization whose purpose ended with the end of its Warsaw Pact adversary… This current round of NATO expansion is a political reward to governments in Georgia and Ukraine that came to power as a result of US-supported revolutions, the so-called Orange Revolution and Rose Revolution.
Unfortunately, as we have seen this past week, my fears have come true. One does not need to approve of Russia’s military actions to analyze its stated motivation: NATO membership for Ukraine was a red line it was not willing to see crossed. As we find ourselves at risk of a terrible escalation, we should remind ourselves that it didn’t have to happen this way. There was no advantage to the United States to expand and threaten to expand NATO to Russia’s doorstep. There is no way to argue that we are any safer for it.
NATO itself was a huge mistake.
When in 1949 the US Senate initially voted on the NATO treaty, Sen. Roberg Taft – known as “Mr. Republican” – gave an excellent speech on why he voted against creating NATO.
Explaining his “no” vote, Taft said:
… the treaty is a part of a much larger program by which we arm all these nations against Russia… A joint military program has already been made… It thus becomes an offensive and defensive military alliance against Russia. I believe our foreign policy should be aimed primarily at security and peace, and I believe such an alliance is more likely to produce war than peace.
If we undertake to arm all the nations around Russia…and Russia sees itself ringed about gradually by so-called defensive arms from Norway and Denmark to Turkey and Greece, it may form a different opinion. It may decide that the arming of western Europe, regardless of its present purpose, looks to an attack upon Russia. Its view may be unreasonable, and I think it is. But from the Russian standpoint it may not seem unreasonable. They may well decide that if war is the certain result, that war might better occur now rather than after the arming of Europe is completed…
How right he was.
NATO went off the rails long before 2008, however. The North Atlantic Treaty was signed on April 4, 1949 and by the start of the Korean War just over a year later, NATO was very much involved in the military operation of the war in Asia, not Europe!
NATO's purpose was stated to "guarantee the safety and freedom of its members by political and military means." It is a job not well done!
I believe as strongly today as I did back in my 2008 House Floor speech that, “NATO should be disbanded, not expanded.” In the meantime, expansion should be off the table. The risks do not outweigh the benefits!
As the Russian attack on Ukraine continues, there are more and more moves in the US to weaponize banking and money itself in an attempt to "punish" Russia for its aggression. Some cooler heads are recognizing that the "sanction everything" hot heads may be producing some unintended consequences back home. Crypto users and fans should also be worried.