Ron Paul’s Putinistas

Head of Ron Paul Institute blasts criticism of Russian aggression
Ron Paul / AP

Ron Paul / AP

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The Ron Paul Institute is accusing the president of a prominent libertarian youth group of “neocon warmongering” and being “in bed with [the National Endowment for Democracy]” after he publicly objected to the Russian government’s invasion of Crimea.

The feud started Tuesday when Students for Liberty president Alexander McCobin released a statement opposing Russia’s annexation of Crimea and criticizing failed presidential candidate Ron Paul’s recent defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Former Congressman Ron Paul, whose views are interpreted by many as wholly representative of the libertarian movement, gets it wrong when he speaks of Crimea’s right to secede,” wrote McCobin in a statement published by BuzzFeed. “Crimea was annexed by Russian military force at gunpoint.”

McCobin’s statement prompted a heated response from the Ron Paul Institute, a libertarian think tank founded by Paul after he retired from Congress in 2012.

RPI executive director Daniel McAdams dismissed talk of Russia’s invasion of Crimea as a “wild conspiracy theory” and claimed McCobin was using an “old neocon trick” to attack Ron Paul.

Paul has been a vocal opponent of U.S. and NATO response efforts, and recently said Putin had legal justification for his actions in Crimea.

McAdams also accused McCobin and other SFL leadership officials of being associated with the National Endowment for Democracy, a U.S. government agency that promotes human rights and democracy abroad.

“The president of the Students for Liberty is also a member of Young Voices Advocates, an organization that has been honored by the US government’s chief regime change factory, the National Endowment for Democracy,” wrote McAdams.

“Imagine the disappointment when the rank and file of the Students for Liberty find out that their leadership attacks Ron Paul, embraces neocon warmongering rhetoric, and is in bed with NED!”

McAdams said RPI leadership “welcome the exodus of peace and prosperity-minded SFL members and will provide a happy home at the Ron Paul Institute.”

The Washington Free Beacon recently reported on RPI’s vocal pro-Kremlin stance.

McCobin said he was disappointed by RPI’s hostile response to his statement. He said most libertarians he has spoken to share his concerns about Russia’s actions in Crimea.

“Most people I talk to in the libertarian movement agree that Russia is the aggressor here,” McCobin told the Washington Free Beacon. “What’s happening is very much a threat to liberty.”

McCobin also responded on the SFL website to McAdams’ criticism and said he had “nothing but good wishes for the success of the [Ron Paul] institute.”