Those who claim to love liberty should not be attacking those who are defending their homes as “pawns”, and should never defend the actions of the invader. 

To do so completely rejects the foundational principle of property rights that libertarianism stands on. Either the Ukrainian people have a right to defend their homes from invasion, or we reject the non-aggression principle entirely. 

To merely show a desire to sign a defensive treaty is not a threat, so any notion that this invasion was caused by NATO must be rejected outright. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, and Norway were all member states neighboring Russia without posing any threat to it. NATO was a true threat to Russia in imagination only; blaming NATO is nothing more than a convenient way to excuse the Russian invasion.

Ukraine has spent the past decade trying to create and maintain its independence, first from a Russian puppet government, and then from the American puppet government that replaced it. Pro-independence candidate Zelenskyy was elected with 77 percent of the vote after years of foreign controlled governments. 

To now say that they have become a puppet once again completely denies the reality: a super majority of Ukrainians voted for an independent Ukraine. If, and when, the war ends and Ukraine remains independent, there is little doubt that the Ukrainian people are done with foreign interference.

The Russian regime is every bit the evil invader it is claimed to be. Just ask Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Artsakh, Belarus, Chechnya, and the North Caucasus, to only look at the past 30 years. They have intentionally, and even openly, called for and moved towards the re-establishment of the Soviet Union. 

Currently, there is little direct threat to the United States, and so the responsibility for the defense of Ukraine should be left up to European countries. If Ukraine is lost to Russia, it places Europe, not America, in a much weaker defensive position. Europe’s reliance on America to subsidize its defense has led to its current vulnerability. It’s time for Europe to be in a position to defend itself. Ukraine is not Canada, America has no real defensive military strategy that relies on Ukraine’s defense.

Many libertarians are understandably hesitant to show support for the defense of Ukraine, because they are afraid of supporting American involvement. But the real danger in using neocon arguments, such as “Russia is just defending itself” or “Ukraine is just a pawn”, is that they will be used against us.

How many American wars have been sold with “America is just defending itself”? It’s time to stop using Russian neocon arguments to counter American neocon arguments. If you want your arguments to stand the test of time, use pro-liberty arguments. 

A libertarian’s opposition to American military involvement in this war should not be because of edgy nonsense about Russia being provoked, or the historically ignorant idea that Ukraine is only defending itself because it’s taking orders from the West. Our opposition to military involvement is because we are opposed to expanding the American empire and the risk for escalation is high with potentially extinction level consequences.

Some of the loudest voices rightly condemning Saudi Arabia’s invasion of Yemen, fail to speak out against the Russian invasion. These voices are not guided by pro-liberty principles. 

We do not choose sides because of who the American government is or is not funding. Being anti-war isn’t just about opposing a war starting, but also about opposing the aggressor after a war has started. Russia is clearly the aggressor, and just like Saudi Arabia, responsibility for the regime’s actions falls squarely on its shoulders. We weaken our anti-war arguments when we claim otherwise.

The Ukrainian people are in a fight for their freedom, and we do not advance liberty by denying that reality.

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This piece solely expresses the opinion of the author and not necessarily the organization as a whole. Students For Liberty is committed to facilitating a broad dialogue for liberty, representing a variety of opinions.