Discover more from The Cosmopolitan Globalist
Ramaswamy's X Telegram
The Ukraine War, Chris Christie, and Vivek Ramaswamy. Part III.
Although the Soviet Union collapsed, the KGB did not. Renaming itself the FSB, it reorganized, expanded, and absorbed Russia’s organized crime networks.
In 1999, Vladimir Putin was installed. Using as a pretext the Moscow apartment bombings—almost certainly carried out by the FSB—he launched a war of total destruction on Chechnya. As Molly McKew put it in 2017,
Even Russian policy hands, raised on the Western understanding of traditional power dynamics, find the implications of this hard to understand. This Russia does not aspire to be like us, or to make itself stronger than we are. Rather, its leaders want the West—and specifically NATO and America — to become weaker and more fractured until we are as broken as they perceive themselves to be. No reset can be successful, regardless the personality driving it, because Putin’s Russia requires the United States of America as its enemy. (My emphasis.)
Putin’s objectives are not an enigma, a mystery, or a riddle. As McKew emphasizes, they have been spelled out again and again in speeches, books, editorial, official documents, journal articles, conferences, interviews, and even in fiction. They have also been written in blood.
As I’ve argued here before, the West must listen to what Russians are saying. Far too many have refused, perversely, to recognize that modern Russia is not a normal state, but an imperial power in the grip of an ideology as dangerous as Soviet communism. As McKew puts it:
Putin tries to define recent history as an anomaly—where the world built with American sweat and ingenuity and blood and sacrifice, by the society founded on American exceptionalism, is a thing to be erased and corrected. The Russian version of exceptionalism is not a reflection of aspirational character, but a requirement that Russia remain distinct and apart from the world. Until we understand this, and that America is defined as the glavny protivnik (the “main enemy”) of Russia, we will never speak to Putin’s Russia in a language it can understand.
In the wake of the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, the United States and its allies constructed a new security order, ushering in a period of explosive economic growth and, if not peace, vastly more peace than the world had previously known.
Most Americans know little about life before or beyond the Long Peace, and as a result believe it to be an inherent property of the world, not an order we deliberately created out of chaos and madness. The Long Peace—otherwise known as the Pax Americana—rests chiefly upon two principles. These words from the Nuremberg tribunal suggest the first:
To initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.
The second is that this principle does not enforce itself. Two world wars demonstrated beyond doubt that the natural state of the world is violent, not peaceful. The tendency of states to go to war must, therefore, be countermanded by a Leviathan: a hegemon so powerful it is capable of overawing all others and making it clear that aggression, against the hegemon or one another, is futile.
That is why our postwar foreign policy was designed to ensure our permanent military domination of the Continent, and this is how American power put an end to centuries of European war. It is not incidental that Americans, more than any other country, thrived in this order. Our resolve to keep the peace in Europe did not emerge from charity, but from experience. We had come to understand that we required for our own peace and prosperity a world of reasonable order.
On February 24, 2022, the land, naval and air forces of the Russian Federation suddenly and deliberately attacked Ukraine, igniting the largest and by far the most dangerous European conflict since the Second World War. Russia openly declared its intent to commit genocide in Ukraine, and has made good on this promise by committing the most shocking war crimes Europe has seen since the Second World War.
On June 6, Russia blew up the Kakhovka Dam, causing economic, agricultural, and ecological devastation. As Ukrainians, their homes, their villages, their pets, and even the animals in their zoos drowned, Vivek Ramaswamy published his plan to surrender Ukraine to Russia on Twitter. I’ve copied it in full below:
This requires a detailed response.
First, it’s not, actually, shocking that many of the GOP field seek to uphold the international order from which Americans have so profoundly benefited while grinding up the Russian military without the loss of American life. What is utterly shocking is that some don’t.
“As US President, I will end the war by ceasing further support for Ukraine … ”
That wouldn’t end the war. Ukrainians would not stop fighting. It would result in the death of every Ukrainian who refused to surrender, which would be most of them. Russia would then pause to rebuild its military, after which, it would invade a NATO country.
“…. and negotiating a peace treaty with Russia.”
So you’ve negotiated a peace treaty with Russia. Here are some things you should know about Russia and peace treaties:
In the 1920s and 1930s, the Soviet Union signed non-aggression pacts with Lithuania, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland. It then invaded them all.
In 1932, Poland and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact. In 1939, it invaded Poland.
In the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, Russia committed “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine” and “to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.” In exchange, it received all of Ukraine’s nuclear weapons. It then invaded Ukraine.
In the 1995 Sochi Accord, Russia confirmed that Crimea was part of Ukraine. It then seized Crimea.
In the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership, Russia recognized Ukraine as an “equal and sovereign state,” and committed to respect its “territorial integrity and the inviolability of existing borders,” to “the peaceful settlement of disputes,” and to “the non-use of force or threat of force, including economic and other means of pressure.” You know where I’m going by now, I assume.
Meanwhile, Russia leveled Chechnya and Syria and invaded and occupied Moldova and Georgia.
Before invading Ukraine, Russia spent months building up its military on Ukraine’s border while insisting to the rest of the world it had no intention of invading Ukraine. It invaded Ukraine.
Proposing a peace agreement with a party who views such agreements not as binding commitments, but periods in which to rearm is delusional.
Allowing Russia (or any country, for that matter) to keep territory it has seized by force is an invitation for it to seize more. The past twenty years of American and European efforts to ignore Russian expansion and aggression demonstrates this as clearly as anything can be demonstrated in international affairs. You’re hardly the first to think “a peace agreement with Russia” would be terrific. Remember Wandel durch Handel? The Reset? No, I suppose you’re too young. With whom would you negotiate, by the way? Lavrov? Polyanskiy? The ones who with a straight face lied to the whole world about Bucha?
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying it’s impossible to negotiate with bloodthirsty maniacs. We’ve negotiated with many of them. The problem is that this particular bloodthirsty maniac never, ever keeps his word. It’s his signature on all of those peace treaties with Ukraine. He breaks every promise he makes. There are no institutions in Russia, like an independent parliament, with the power to insist he fulfill his promises. They don’t even dare remind him of them. Putin’s promises are worth even less than your peace proposal.
Russia must be contained by force. Military force, not the force of your very active imagination. Your plan to capitulate to Russia and ratify its outrageous behavior would encourage more of it, not deter it, and encourage similar behavior worldwide.
“ … that achieves a vital US security objective: ceasing Russia’s growing military alliance with China.”
This is literally impossible. Here’s what would happen: You would withdraw our support for Ukraine and make it clear NATO intervention is off the table. Russia may or may not promise whatever you want to hear. Then Russia will steamroll through Ukraine, rest and rearm, then continue to the Baltics. You will do nothing and NATO will collapse. In the certain knowledge that an alliance with the United States is worthless, China will invade Taiwan, North Korea will invade South Korea, and from there—God, I don’t even want to think about it.
America’s network of alliances would disappear. Our former allies will be forced either to appease the belligerent powers or act on their own, almost certainly by racing to acquire nuclear weapons. We would lose the value of our allies to our economy and our military power. Without allied bases, we won’t be able to leave our hemisphere. We will lose the power our alliances to deter conflict. The American-led world order will disintegrate, faster than you can imagine, along with the peace and prosperity it has generated, not least for Americans. The world will enter a long, dark night of war and global tyranny in which democracy and human rights become a distant memory. “Ramaswamy” will become a name to which odium is forever attached.
Russia won’t stop cooperating with China because they have no incentive to stop. Offering them Ukraine is a carrot without a stick. It’s like suggesting that we could have ended the cooperation between Germany and Japan by giving Hitler Czechoslovakia. You’re imagining a magical world in which things you want happen for no reason at all.
“This strategy is the mirror-image of President Nixon’s diplomatic maneuver that distanced China from Russia in 1972, except this time Putin is the new Mao.”
Give me a break. I’ve spent long hours in the Nixon archives. I wrote chapters of my doctoral thesis about Nixon’s foreign policy. You, Mr. Ramaswamy, are no Richard Nixon. This is an especially unserious touch.
For one thing, it’s historically illiterate. You appear to know nothing about the Sino-Soviet split. We did not cause the Sino-Soviet split. It emerged from doctrinal debates about the proper interpretation of orthodox Marxism and de-Stalinization; it progressed to a near-nuclear war, and it took two full decades before Nixon was able to capitalize upon it. When that happened, it was because it was in China’s interest. They opened to us because they believed it would further their superpower aspirations—as indeed it did, because as you note, China is now our adversary.
Also: “Putin is the new Mao?” I guess you could also say he’s the new Queen of England. Or the new Michael Jackson. The comparison would be about as apt.
There’s not a damned thing the West can do to break up the Sino-Russian alliance. Your plan is not a reverse-Nixon, it’s a reverse-Reagan: “They win. We lose.”
“In 2001, Russia and China entered their Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation and in February 2022 Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a more expansive “no-limits partnership.” Collectively, these agreements effectively commit each country to defend the other militarily if either is attacked.”
No, they don’t. Did you even Google this? The treaty says,
When a situation arises in which one of the contracting parties deems that peace is being threatened and undermined or its security interests are involved or when it is confronted with the threat of aggression, the contracting parties shall immediately hold contacts and consultations in order to eliminate such threats.
And the “no limits partnership” says nothing. As Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said clearly, friendship is not equal to an “alliance.” China knows perfectly well that Putin’s word to China is not worth more than his word to anyone else. There’s no imaginable scenario in which Russia would waste ammunition defending China. And Chinese contempt for Russia is limitless, as it is for you.
“The Sino-Russia alliance presents the greatest military risk the US has ever faced.”
Let me see if I understand. The Sino-Russian alliance is the greatest military threat we’ve ever faced, so you want to stop supplying the Ukrainian military, which is bleeding the Russians and tying up their conventional forces. Great thinking, Sun Tzu.
“Russia and China together outmatch the US in every area of great power competition … ”
No, they don’t. If you add American allies—which in my plan, stay our allies—we dwarf them.
“ … geographic footprint … ”
I’m not sure you can find China and Russia on a map, so let me help: They’re the countries on the right. (Remember: Most of Russia is useless and uninhabitable.)
“ … economic potential … ”
What are you on about? Russia has no economic potential. A quarter of Russian homes have no indoor toilet. China’s birth rate just fell to 1.09, its property market is an epic disaster zone, and its youth unemployment rate may be as high as 50 percent. Its private entrepreneurs live in terror that the state will expropriate their assets. Consumers have stopped spending. You think this outmatches the West?
“ … industrial manufacturing might … ”
China’s economy is still only two-thirds the size of the US’s, in nominal terms.
“ … conventional military power … ”
“ … and nuclear weapons … ”
Yes. You know what deters a nuclear attack? The triad. You might want to learn about that.
“… including super-Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons … ”
Trust me, if China decides to detonate one of these, it won’t be because it feels secure that Russia has its back.
“… which could destroy critical US infrastructure resulting in hundreds of millions of American civilian casualties.”
It could! Good thing we have the triad to deter that.
“Beijing’s alliance with Russia provides China with sufficient strategic depth to chance direct conflict with the US in the context of Taiwan … ”
Do you understand what “strategic depth” means? Or where Taiwan is?
“ … on the credible belief that the US would not dare risk a simultaneous war with two allied nuclear superpowers.”
Sure. The best way to terrify the Chinese is by surrendering to a less formidable aggressor and offering him our allies on a plate.
“Russia is armed with the largest nuclear stockpile in the world and supersonic ballistic missiles well ahead of US capabilities.”
“Supersonic ballistic missiles?” C’mon, man: You’ve got a STEM degree from Harvard. An ICBM flies at about 15,000 miles per hour. Sound travels at 700 miles an hour.
You mean hypersonic missiles. I’ve got good news for you: The US and Japan just agreed to jointly develop a hypersonic missile interceptor. Unlike anything in Russia’s arsenal, it will work. (By the way, remember that AUKUS pact? Probably not. You’re too young.)
“But in absence of Russia’s support, China would have to think twice before risking war with the US over Taiwan.”
No it wouldn’t.
“President Biden’s ongoing support for Ukraine is pushing Russia into a closer military alliance with China”
This is ridiculous. Russia and China were cooperating long before the war. Xi and Putin met at least forty times before it even began. It is so obvious that Russia’s defeat in Ukraine would be a massive blow to the Sino-Russia alliance and strengthen deterrence in Taiwan. If you don’t believe me, ask Taiwan. (Or Japan.) It is likewise so obvious that if the United States abandons Ukraine—an internationally recognized sovereign state—China will conclude there is no way we’ll defend Taiwan, which is not, with our own blood.
Back in the real world, China is contemplating Russia’s military humiliation and the economic noose the West has put around its neck with immense dismay. But all of this is a moot point, because separately, you’ve also pledged to abandon Taiwan:
So you’re truly just bullshitting.
“ … which increases the risk of nuclear war: Russia has nuclear capabilities in Poland-adjacent Kaliningrad and soon in Belarus too, and China is bound by treaty to back Russia.”
How did we end up talking about Kaliningrad’s proximity to Poland? I think you’re just putting words together at random, now.
“My top US national security objective is to disrupt this Sino-Russian alliance in a manner that weakens China without war.”
Because all of history shows that capitulating to an autocrat will achieve lasting peace.
“Specifically, the US can offer a Korean war style armistice agreement that codifies the current lines of control which would cede most of the Donbas region to Russia.”
Korean-war style armistice? So now you’re planning to put in US troops to enforce this? I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t we offer them Guatemala? Guatemala is nothing but trouble, anyway. Or maybe the Channel Islands? Oh, wait. They’re not ours to offer. That’s actually the problem with Ukraine, too.
“The agreement would suspend any further US military assistance to Ukraine and a permanent moratorium on Ukraine joining NATO. Further, the US and western NATO countries would end the Western sanctions regime against Russia, restore normal diplomatic relations with Russia with mutual security commitments, withdraw all troops from Ukraine.”
You’re out of your mind. NATO doesn’t have troops in Ukraine. And do you seriously think the rest of NATO would be complicit in this betrayal? You imagine the “western NATO countries” will force the eastern ones to end sanctions and restore … oh, I’m not even going to bother. That’s not how any of this works.
“ … and close all their bases in Eastern Europe—”
What?!!! Did you think I wouldn’t notice this?
“—returning to the reality that existed before the July 2016 Warsaw Summit.”
What are you talking about?
“These concessions to Russia are significant.”
“In return, Russia would completely exit its military alliance with China, ending the 2001 Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation and the 2022 no-limits partnership.”
Hey, why not give them Alaska, too? That will really teach him not to ally with China. I truly can’t tell if you’re just putting words together in a way that you finds pleasing, pandering to idiots, or if you really believe this.
“Russia would permanently suspend all military-technical cooperation and joint military exercises with China.”
Sure they would.
“Russia would agree to re-enter the pre-2023 New Start nuclear non-proliferation treaty with the US that Russia abandoned earlier this year in the context of the Ukraine War.”
Why would it do that?
“In addition, Russia would withdraw all nuclear weapons and delivery capabilities from Belarus, Kaliningrad, and all Russian-annexed regions of Ukraine, as well as all military forces from Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua—effectively eliminating Russia’s nuclear threat to the US and Europe.”
Have you Googled “range of an ICBM?” You should, if you want to be the Commander-in-Chief.
“The US would continue its security commitment to NATO”
Which would be?
“ … while accepting Russia into the security infrastructure of Europe … ”
Wait, you’re forgetting something: Shouldn’t Ukraine pay reparations to Russia, too?
“ … reducing future catalysts that Russia could use as pretexts to invade its neighbors”
You think Russia needs a pretext? Could you actually think this? Where are you learning about Russia? Look, one more time: The Russian Federation, like Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union before it, pursues periods of détente with its adversaries while it regroups prior to waging war against them. It doesn’t need a pretext. It invaded Ukraine on the grounds that it was fighting the Nazis, for God’s sake!
“This strategy trades the current bilateral international order which strongly favors China for a new trilateral international order in which none of the three nuclear superpowers are allied together, liberating the US and its allies to focus on deterring Chinese aggression.”
We won’t have any allies. Nor will there be any international order. Also, the current order doesn’t “strongly favor” China. Apart from that, sounds great.
“The US should pre-specify that if Putin reneges and restarts its military cooperation with China, the US will immediately support admitting Ukraine to NATO and reinstate all economic sanctions against Russia.”
There won’t be any NATO left. Nor will there be any Ukraine.
“This would leave Russia in an even weaker position than prior to the Ukraine War.”
No it wouldn’t.
“Putin will also have less reason to renege because he would be less dependent on China if the West restores economic relations with Russia.”
And if we give him Poland and the UK, he’ll have even less reason. So let’s do it! Say, should we give him Vermont? That way we can be double-sure he won’t rely on China.
“Russia hawks argue that Putin does not want peace.”
Actually, Russia argues that Russia doesn’t want peace.
“Facts suggest otherwise.”
I don’t know which facts you’re looking at.
“In March 2022, the terms Russia offered were sufficiently reasonable for Ukraine to reach a tentative peace agreement with Moscow for Russian troops to withdraw from the vast majority of Ukraine’s territory, before former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pressured Ukraine to abandon it.”
Wrong. Ukraine offered a public renunciation of its NATO aspirations. Then it discovered what Russia had done in Bucha. You’re reading some really idiotic websites, I can tell. Is this from Gateway Pundit?
“Putin’s apparent willingness last year to negotiate a peace agreement which addresses Russia’s security concerns suggest that he is open to a deal and provides the US with negotiating leverage to bring him back to the table.”
“It’s true that Ukraine gave up its nuclear capabilities in exchange for security guarantees from the US and the UK in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky may accuse the US of reneging on its prior commitments.”
Because we would be.
“In reality, the Budapest Memorandum merely reaffirmed the commitments of the US, the UK, and Russia to ‘respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.’”
“The US has more than fulfilled this promise.”
Ukrainians were led to believe that the US would be as serious about its security as Ukrainians were about nuclear nonproliferation. Do you think we’ve fulfilled our end of the deal in a way that will convince other countries they’re better off trusting the United States than building their own nuclear arsenal?
If you sell Ukraine down the river, that’s it for the NPT.
“Since 1994, the US has armed and trained Ukraine.”
No it hasn’t. Come on. You can Google this.
“In the current war against Russia, the US has already provided nearly US$200 billion in military aid to Ukraine”
“ … nearly twenty times more than Ukraine’s own annual military budget and approximately equal to Ukraine’s entire GDP—which helped Ukraine successfully fight the Russian invasion to a standstill.”
And I understand you’re against this, because you believe it has pushed Russia into China’s arms? What’s your point?
“With China’s growing military support of Russia in the war … ”
“Ukraine will not defeat Russia militarily in absence of extraordinary US intervention.”
That’s why we need to step it up. At last, we agree.
“Such intervention would badly deplete US military resources needed for land conflict in Taiwan … ”
Land conflict in Taiwan? You really can’t find it on a map, can you.
“ … which may itself be China’s objective in backing Russia.”
“Under my peace plan, Ukraine will still emerge with its sovereignty intact and Russia permanently diminished as a foe.”
Under my peace plan, too. But the difference is mine would work.
“Ukraine’s best path to preserving its own security is to accept a US-negotiated agreement backstopped by Russian commitments to the US.”
Under the circumstances you describe, Ukraine’s best path to security is to rebuild the nuclear weapons we forced it to give up.
“Opponents of US engagement in Ukraine should embrace the possibility that we can accomplish more than just saving money by ending the war.”
Delusional. Withdrawing support would further betray Ukraine after our failure to uphold Budapest Memorandum, give China permission to invade Taiwan, ensure massive nuclear proliferation, and teach every dictator and thug in the world that the Pax Americana is over and from now on, might means right.
“We can also achieve the most vital US security objective of the 21st century: deterring Chinese aggression.”
Peace in our time.
“If elected, I will lead accordingly.”
This is why you must never be elected.
To sum up: While Ukrainian men, women, and children are dying in agony, desperately fighting against a better-armed and bloodthirsty enemy that is leveling their cities, burning their fields, kidnapping and raping their children, destroying their economy, blowing up their hospitals, and even stealing their goddamned toilets, your plan is to abandon an ally in duress, make a treaty with the aggressor, trust Putin to keep his word, and bring upon us a thousand years of shame and ignominy.
Most people don’t aspire to be the next Neville Chamberlain.
You may wonder why I’ve devoted so much time to writing about Vivek Ramaswamy, who in all likelihood will disappear from our public life as quickly as he entered it.
I’m doing it because I fear he has a path. Americans can’t stand the frontrunners of either party—one because he’s a sociopath and a felon, the other because he reminds them of their very elderly uncle, the one who takes out his teeth before sitting down for dinner.
I see the growing enthusiasm for Ramaswamy. I understand why people are drawn to him. He’s not a billion years old, he’s got lots of energy, and no one knows enough about him yet to be sick of him. Standing beside the frontrunners on the debate stage, he would look as refreshing to voters as a spring wildflower next to a box of used nasal swabs and the corpse of a rat.
Ron DeSantis is already drenched in the flop sweat. Donald Trump is going to the Big House. (Who knows whether the latter will dissuade GOP voters. There’s no precedent to which we can appeal.) This means Ramaswamy has a non-zero chance.
Ramaswamy’s ideas are delusional—on the order of buying Greenland or nuking a hurricane. But he published them and went up in the polls, not down. This means that much that should be understood about Russia, China, NATO, and the conflict in Ukraine is not widely understood, and needs to be spelled out. So I spelled it out.
Please, America, don’t put this guy anywhere near the triad.