The president of a young libertarian group is rebuking former Rep. Ron Paul over his support for Russia’s annexation of Crimea, according to a statement posted by BuzzFeed on Monday.
Students for Liberty co-founder and president Alexander McCobin issued a statement calling Russian President Vladimir Putin "the aggressor in Crimea" and saying Ron Paul "gets it wrong when he speaks of Crimea’s right to secede."
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Paul and his think tank, the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, have been defending Putin’s annexation of Crimea and opposing U.S. efforts to punish Russia economically.
Paul has no direct affiliation with Students for Liberty.
A spokesperson for SFL also told BuzzFeed that his group recently organized a protest outside the Russian embassy in Berlin.
SFL noted on its Twitter feed that the comments from McCobin and the group’s spokesperson were "just a statement by individuals – SFL doesn't have an official stance on foreign policy."
From McCobin’s statement:
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. Make no mistake about it, Crimea was annexed by Russian military force at gunpoint and its supposedly democratic "referendum" was a farce. Besides a suspiciously high voter turnout with legitimate international observers, the referendum gave Crimeans only two choices — join Russia now or later.
It’s much too simplistic to solely condemn the US for any kind of geopolitical instability in the world. Non-interventionists that sympathize with Russia by condoning Crimea’s secession and blaming the West for Ukrainian crisis fail to see the larger picture. Putin’s government is one of the least free in the world and is clearly the aggressor in Crimea, as it was even beforehand with its support of the Yanukovych regime that shot and tortured its own citizens on the streets of Kyiv. …
In contrast to his father, Senator Rand Paul gets it right by condemning Russian aggression while not subscribing to hawkish calls for military intervention at the same time. It is one thing to not intervene; it is another thing to applaud an autocrat for the sake of blaming our own government.