The crisis between Russia and Ukraine has continued and a lot of people are wondering what the U.S. should do about it.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Brittany: Hi, Emma.
Emma: Hi, Brittany.
Brittany: So, we talked about the Russia situation a few weeks ago and things have really only gotten worse. And you know, we record these usually a couple of weeks in advance before our listeners hear them. But we’re gonna try to bump this one up because as I was telling Emma right before we press record, things could change. Things could change by the time this airs, you know, the next few days. So the situation is crazy, but, you know, Tuttle twins and all that stuff we’ve talked about here deals with foreign policy. It is a very important topic and as I’ve said a lot, I like to take things that are happening now in the news that you’re hearing about with your parents and really use that to talk, to tie back into the things we talk about here. So this is a really scary situation. We don’t know what’s gonna happen, but I wanted to talk today, more about what we should do. So last time we talked a little about what was going on, I wanna like, tackle the question, what should we do about Russia? Because I think everybody thinks when something bad happens, we have to do something right? That Yeah, like when anything happens, they’re like, oh, the government needs to do something. We, you know, we, and when I say we, I mean like the government, like, what does the US need to do? And that tends to get us into more trouble. So just a brief little update. So since we talked last, Russia has invaded Ukraine, so they did go into the land. So the interesting part about this though, and this is the part of the story I really like, is that you know, Putin, the president of Russia, it is the president, right? Is that what he calls himself? Yes. Other than, I mean, he’s a dictator technically, but, So he thought that this was gonna be really easy to do and it wasn’t because Ukraine has actually been putting up a really big fight and we’ll get into a little bit more of why that is later and why that actually to me reminds me of the American Revolution a little bit. So a lot of Americans right now are changing their social media profiles, you know, to have like the little Ukraine flag on the bottom and, you know, they’re posting their support. And this always makes me laugh, to be honest, cause it’s not doing much, but I understand that people want to do something right. They wanna feel like they’re doing something. So what can we really do and what should we do? So first let’s talk about the most obvious thing, you know, people assume is should the US send troops in, into, you know, Ukraine and Russia. Emma, what do you think? I’m gonna throw up to you for a minute.
Emma: Yeah, I mean, my right off-the-bat response to that would be no, I’m someone who tends to think that us getting involved in other countries affairs and especially their conflicts, and especially if there’s actually a hot war going on, people actually firing weapons at each other unless it’s absolutely necessary for the survival of the United States that we be involved, no matter how much I’m sympathetic to, you know, another country’s situation or maybe the people there, this isn’t me saying, well, you know, it’s not that big of a deal. Let them just figure it out. It’s actually, it’s a lot more than that. And there’s this concept of blowback that Ron Paul has talked about a lot where getting involved in other people’s affairs is always a lot more complicated than it seems. It’s, easy to be in our position and think, well, if we just went over there, we have a really great military and we could, we could fix it all really easily. But that’s not always true. And sometimes you can actually make it worse for the people in the other country that everyone wants to help. So, kind of a long answer to a short question there, but I tend to say no unless it is absolutely necessary.
Brittany: No, I think you’re absolutely right. And I mean, we can just look at history, recent history, we can look at Afghanistan. We did a couple of episodes on that where we went in, you know, to take out the was it Al-Qaeda? Taliban? I don’t even remember at this point. It was both, I think. But we went in there to take out, you know, the bad guy and then to help bring democracy as they were telling us and bring freedom to the people of Afghanistan. Well, maybe we got rid of the bad guys for a little bit, but a few other things happened. One, we became the bad guys to a lot of people over there cuz we were droning and killing civilians. People who just, you know, kids and parents that they weren’t doing anything wrong. Cause one thing to remember, when our government goes to war, it doesn’t go to war against people. It goes to war against the government of another country. So that’s really important to remember. Like right now some people are being rude to like rest Russian restaurant owners here in America. And it’s really important to remember that like the Russian people have done nothing wrong. This is a Putin thing, this is a government thing. But so back to Afghanistan. So as soon as we left, like we may have restored order, if you wanna say it that way, but not really in Afghanistan for a little bit of time. But when we left, it took like five minutes for the bad guys to come back again. I’m saying bad guys in quotes cause we’re coming with bad guys too. But, you know, so it didn’t do anything. We didn’t help anybody. It ended up getting worse. There was another war that we’ll talk about in more detail another time, but it was the Vietnam War and that was a mess too. And the United States government went over and we installed a dictator meeting. We messed in their election cycle and we put in a new president that they did not like, and had nothing to do with the people. He was Catholic, and the rest of the whole country was Buddhist. And so it just, there was no similar value structure. So we messed that up pretty badly because we intervened somewhere we shouldn’t have. And then we actually lost that. People don’t like to acknowledge that, but yeah, the US had to pull out of Vietnam cause it was so bad. So we’ve done similar things in a lot of other places. So I think the moral of the story is we can’t fight other people’s wars for them. And when we get in these wars that are not directly related to us, like right now at least Russia has not done anything to us. We could say that we are in, you know, you talked about a hot war, Emma, we could say that we’re always in like some sort of cold war. I mean there’s no weapons fired with Russia, but we’re not in a war with them right now. So if we went in or we sent troops in, we would be protecting or go trying to protect, you know, I always call it the Ukraine but side note it’s just Ukraine. So we’ve done this before, it doesn’t work. So, that’s one thing I think we need to keep in mind. But I also think there’s something really cool about this cuz what we are seeing, Emma, are the people of Ukraine like really taking up arms to protect their country? And I don’t know, have you seen any of this, Emma? And we can talk back and forth about this, but I wasn’t sure if you saw any of this going on and what you thought about it.
Emma: Absolutely. It’s, crazy to see. And like you mentioned, it does sort of remind me in some ways of the American Revolution. It’s not a totally identical situation. There’s a lot of different things going on in a totally different history, but I do see a lot of people who are being oppressed and they’ve been oppressed for a long time by this other country that wants to control them and wants them to be part of their empire. Because when you look at the history of Russia and Ukraine, Ukraine used to actually be a part of the USSR, which we learned meant United, oh that’s, sorry, we just said this last time. Republic. Republic, yes. That’s what it is. And when the USSR fell apart, Ukraine became an independent country. But, Vladimir Putin is someone who a lot of people think basically wants to restore the USSR before he dies. He’s getting older.
Brittany: How old is he? Do you know?
Emma: Gosh, I don’t know. He’s been in power for a really long time though. Yeah, I’m actually gonna look it up right now. Vladimir Putin’s age, let’s see, he’s 69 years old. So getting up there in age and a lot of people who, who know their history on this stuff and kind of have some information think that he basically wants to have this legacy of rebuilding the USSR, which I think could be possible. We don’t really know what’s going on in his mind. He’s a dictator and he kind of just does whatever he wants. But, that’s sort of the history. And Ukrainians are very much opposed to this idea. And in fact, there are a lot of Russians as well in Russia who don’t understand why Putin is doing this because they see themselves as a separate country from Ukraine. They don’t understand why they need to go in and fight and control them. And not only have we seen Ukrainians taking up arms, normal people just saying, Hey, I’m going to get a gun or get some weapons and defend myself and defend my country. And because of that, the Ukrainians have put up such a fight. It’s been going on at this point as we record for, I wanna say five or six days now.
Brittany: Yeah, not quite a week about right?
Emma: Yeah. Not quite a week. And a lot of people thought that it was going to be immediate Russian victory, Ukraine surrenders, but Ukrainians have been putting up such a fight and I, think that really tells you that these people want to be free, they want to be independent of Russia, they don’t wanna be controlled by a dictator in another country. And that’s something that, you know, you can’t go in as America and engineer that and force other people to feel that way. And it’s something that we’ve tried for a long time in the Middle East, if you’ve ever heard someone say the phrase nation building, that’s something that we’ve done a lot of where we go in and we kind of try to set up these perfect conditions and sometimes people would call in like the two thousand they said we were spreading democracy or spreading freedom. but it doesn’t really work that way. I think it has to come through like we’re seeing in Ukraine right now, people who actually are so fired up, they’re so tired of being pushed around that they say, I’m willing to die for liberty and for my country’s liberty. And I think that’s really, that’s what makes this such a unique and such an interesting situation and it captures our attention so much is because it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a conflict like that, especially in Europe. So very, very fascinating to see. And I’m hopeful that the Ukrainians will be able to fight back.
Brittany: Yeah. And it’s funny cuz you see them a lot of like, you know, on social media where they’re just saying like, send us guns, like send us weapons. Like we’re ready to fight. And there’s one interesting thing I wanna touch on is that there’s a difference, from Americans, from Europeans. Well, there’s a lot of differences, but in one way is, you know, our nation is one founded by people who were displaced from a lot of different places, right? And so our country and our like patriotism and our identity is very much focused on ideas, right? These ideas of life, liberty, and property, these amazing ideas, you know, classical liberalism as we call them. But there is something different that I think we don’t understand about Europeans, and this explains the Ukraine thing, wich is that they are very attached to their land cuz that’s been there for so long. European, you know, Europe is so old, it’s so much older than us. So, you know, a lot of people when we think about like, why don’t the Ukrainians just leave? And you have to remember that this is their homeland they’re fighting for, right? They’re, they’ve been there for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years. So it’s really interesting because for them it is a lot different than I think it would be here. Not that you don’t like your home states or where you’re living, but it’s just a different kind of mentality. So to go back to the question I originally asked, what should America do? the answer is nothing. We should do nothing. And I know that sounds like, you know, how could you let people die? But every time you mention blowback, Emma, every time we go into a country when it is not our fight to be fighting in the first place, we make it worse and we get into more trouble and we spend money here, the taxpayers have to pay for everybody loses, nobody wins. So I would say if individuals want to help, there’s a bunch of like individual groups in Ukraine who are like, send us Bitcoin, send us money. Like I think that that’s kind of a cool, if you really wanted to do something, you know? Yeah. But I think it’s also important to remember that while it is fun to watch them, you know, kind of do what’s called gorilla warfare, you know, pick up arms, that it’s still a government fighting against a government. I, think we should also remember that Ukraine is not a perfect, you know, government that’s never done me throughout the end of the, these are still two, you know, countries warring with each other. And if we learn anything from the government from this show, you know, that government is not always the greatest thing. So keep that in mind. But again, our hearts are with the people of both Russia and Ukraine because yes, nobody deserves to be in the middle of work.
Emma: Absolutely. I think you bring up a really great point here as we wrap this up, that governments are the ones that pit us against each other as people and as citizens. And you look at the people of Russia, and by a great majority, they do not want to take part in this war. They see Ukrainians as their neighbors as their friends, and sometimes even as relatives. And it’s the same thing with many of our conflicts that we’ve had. It’s governments and it’s these people up at the very top fighting each other or sometimes it’s even one-sided, you see Russia really trying to pick this fight with Ukraine. And I think it’s a good reminder that war is not always all of one country versus all of another country. It can be a lot more complex than that. And that’s why we need to be so careful about when we get into these conflicts. So we’re gonna wrap it up here today, guys. Thank you so much for listening, Brittany and I will talk to you all again soon.
Brittany: Talk to you soon.