Is every war about America acting in self-defense and protecting itself? Or does the government start wars for other reasons?

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Emma: Hi, Brittany.

Brittany: Hi, Emma.

Emma: So, today I wanted to talk about something that has been in the news a ton lately, and if you pay any attention to sort of what’s going on around the world, you’ve probably heard a lot about Russia and Ukraine lately. A lot of people say the Ukraine, I believe it’s just Ukraine.

Brittany: Yes. I was having this conversation with someone the other day. It is just Ukraine. Yeah, but it’s a weird thing.

Emma: I Don’t know why that is, but my brain always wants to say The Ukraine.

Brittany: Same, Yeah.

Emma: I don’t know if I had a teacher that said it that way or something. But anyhow, we are gonna give a really quick rundown on sort of what’s going on there. I will say it’s a very complicated situation and there’s a lot going on. And in this podcast, even if we took the whole 15 minutes, we wouldn’t be able to accurately explain every single thing going on there. So I’m gonna give my best version, but we’re also gonna link a couple of news stories that give a good description of what’s going on. So if you wanna get more of the facts and dive in a little deeper, please just give those a read. But today we’re gonna talk just a bit about what’s going on. So Ukraine used to be a part of the USSR, which stands for, oh goodness gracious, Brittany, what does USSR for?

Brittany: I know for, I was just trying to do that. Well, okay, so.

Emma: I’m gonna just USSR. Here we go. United Socialist, Soviet Republic.

Brittany: There it is. It’s funny. I’m like, I don’t think I knew that.

Emma: I was like, I know it’s the Socialist Soviet Republic, but I didn’t know what the U was, so.

Brittany: I knew what it was. I couldn’t tell you what the letters stand for, that’s funny.

Emma: Yeah. So it was this socialist, basically empire that encompassed a lot of different people, groups, nationalities, and places that are now their own independent countries. And basically, this was the Soviets, trying to really spread their socialist ideas and overtake other countries that had natural resources like oil and things that could bring in money. And today Ukraine is recognized as independent from Russia, but Russia really wants it back. And they basically believe that Ukraine belongs to them. And Vladimir Putin, who’s the president of Russia and has been for a while, wrote this long, basically this long piece about a year ago, about how Ukraine belongs with Russia. They are one in the same, they’re part of the same country. But if you talk to Ukrainians, most of them would feel very strongly that is not true. They feel like they’re independent, they don’t wanna be a part of Russia. They don’t wanna be a part of Russia’s, basically socialist system. And the United States and Russia have had a very rocky relationship since the Cold War, which went on for quite a while. And that was when we’ve talked about the Cold War before, but that was when basically the United States and Russia were paying other countries to fight in other places. So there were wars all over the world being fought by our allies versus Russia’s allies. And we had races to build certain technologies like the space race and the moon landing, and nuclear technology and nuclear bombs and stuff like that. So it was a really crazy time where we were competing with Russia, but we weren’t necessarily actively fighting with them. And it had a lot of people really on edge for a while that we were gonna go to war with Russia. So right now, fast forward to today under Vladimir Putin, who once again is the president of Russia, there are rumors that Russia is going to invade Ukraine and try to take it back and basically try to take it over and bring it back in as part of Russia. So they’re saying right now that there’s an estimated 150,000 Russian troops positioned close to Ukraine’s borders. It’s hard to say if that’s accurate or not because this is, we’re hearing that from the news. We’re hearing that from reports on the ground. But that’s what people are saying. And Russia keeps telling people it’s not going to invade. They keep saying, oh no, we would never invade Ukraine. And we don’t know if that’s necessarily true or not, but the American military has actually started preparing for potential conflict in Europe. So we’ve deployed thousands of troops, multiple warships that carry things like supplies and weapons, and sometimes even airplanes. And we’ve also evacuated our diplomats from Ukraine, and we have a bunch of our military in Poland right now basically getting ready to back up Ukraine if this becomes a war. And, you know, it’s interesting hearing about all of this stuff. And of course, you might be feeling like, well man, we don’t want Ukraine to become part of Russia. Again, I feel badly for them, but I think the main question that we have to ask ourselves is, what are we doing getting involved with a war that’s thousands of miles away between two countries that really don’t have very much to do with us right now, and that really are not threatening us at this moment? So, it’s a very interesting question. And Brittany, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts, on how this sort of relates to what happened with the Middle East in the 2000s and even in the nineties where, you know, we were involved in all, all sorts of things over there, and no one could really explain why.

Brittany: Not even the nineties. We, you know, we look at Iran where we installed, the Shah, like we Yeah. We got involved in there in their politics. And in Vietnam, we did the same thing before the Vietnam War. We put in a very Buddhist country, we put a Catholic man in power, and it’s like, oh, I wonder why this isn’t working. So, and it’s very, so I wanna preface this by saying it’s very, it’s kind of hard for some people cause it’s like, all right, a lot of times we started the conflict that people are now fighting over. Yeah. We had a role in it. And so people think like, well, we have to get involved, but, you know, that just makes the problem worse. So, yeah. In the Middle East, in fact, this is where American Russia has been competing for world power forever. And, you know, Russia was actually an Afghanistan first training fighters, and then, and then we, like we snuck in there and did that. So it’s funny to me, like you said, we are getting involved in these countries that have nothing to do with us that we would be better off just trading with, right? If we were just trading with them and we had a good friendship with them, that would be good. But instead, we told ourselves that we needed to go over there and basically forced democracy on them, that we had the right system. And so, therefore, it was our patriotic duty, or even worse that It was like our duty as, you know, humanitarians meaning, you know, people who want the best people to go in there and bomb our way to freedom. You know, and it’s really sad because I’m not saying that they’re not people who understood that they needed a different kind of government, that the Taliban was very, you know, dictatorial and very bad in a lot of the things they were doing, but it’s up to the people to fight their own wars. In fact, look what happened. Afghanistan, we may have scared off the Taliban for like five seconds for the years we were there. Right. As soon as we left, even before we left, they were back. And the problem is because if you don’t have people fight their own wars, they’re not gonna be able to sustain it. Right. So when the Americans fought the revolution, we did have help from the French, oddly enough, we did have help from them, and probably, I think, oh, well we had the mercenary or the Haitians, but that’s, or was it, who were they called? Yeah, the mercenaries. That’s a different story. Yeah. But, so we did have help, but we were largely. We fought this on our own, and we had to do that because if we didn’t, it wouldn’t have been sustainable because as soon as people would’ve left like the other armies, we would’ve been doomed again. So I think that’s a really important thing to remember, that you have to let people fight their own wars. In fact, if you have a bully on the playground, if you stand up for your friend who’s being bullied, that’s great. That might be fine, but that bully is still gonna come get your friend when you are not there, right? Yeah. So we have to empower these people to take care of themselves.

Emma: Yeah, exactly. And it’s interesting to what happens to people who openly talk like this about war. You’re very quickly branded as this isolationist. Yep. And you think that we shouldn’t help people. And what kind of allies are we? And it’s really interesting. We’ve talked about different logical fallacies, and I think a lot of times that becomes an ad hominem attack where you start attacking the person rather than the actual idea that they’re talking about saying, well, you don’t wanna help our friends and, you know, you’re this isolationist and that actually happened with Ron Paul really badly. Yes. All throughout his campaigns, and especially in sort of 2014, 2015 Ukraine was in the news back then as well. Yeah. This has been an ongoing thing between Ukraine and Russia. And he said that he was neutral on Russia, which was a very bold thing for him to have said at that time because, for context, everyone wanted us to go get involved in that. It was almost like people who grew up during the Cold War and were sort of afraid of Russia, saw this opportunity to go in and actually, you know, get in this conflict with them. And it’s almost like they wanted to get it out of their system or something or were hungry for this war to happen. And it’s crazy what happened to him. They called Putin, or they called Ron Paul rather Putin’s best friend in The Atlantic, which was a very popular magazine. They do news articles and stuff. And it was crazy the response that got just because he said, I’m neutral on Russia. He said, you know, I’m not Putin’s friend, I just don’t see why we need to be getting involved in this conflict. And this is far from the only war that happened with Ron Paul, where he, you know, made a statement that made a lot of sense and that a lot of people agreed with, including a lot of people in the military. And he got called crazy for it. And I think when that happens, you really need to look at people’s motives for saying things like that. And where is this information coming from that we need to go to war? And what could possibly be the motives behind those sources? And a lot of the times, the people that wanna go to war the most are the ones that are the most entrenched in government and in bureaucracy and people that we would call the establishment where they’ve been in politics forever. They’re kind of a part of this old system, and they’re looking out for their own interests rather than the interests of voters and what people want. And they are the ones who very often are pushing the hardest to go to war. And it’s people like Hillary Clinton. She was very, we call her a Warhawk. Yes. Where, you know, you’re just always talking about how we need to be around the world and occupying these places. And Biden, you know, he’s had certain things that he’s said that seem a little less hawkish on war and a little less hungry to go to war. But then also at the same time, he’s deploying people to go to Europe right now for this conflict. So he’s all over the place. He’s kind of like this wet noodle going back and forth, doesn’t really know what he believes. But there are a lot of Republicans and Democrats who have teamed up to basically push for us to go to war over and over. And unfortunately, this is, I believe this has a lot to do with something called the military-industrial complex. Which is a crazy term. But basically, it describes this band of a few really huge companies that, what do you know, they’re all based around DC most of them, that make a lot of money by selling things to the government, like weapons, like technology for war, those sorts of things. And it’s a huge, huge industry, billions of dollars. And they get so much money from the government when we go to war that of course, these companies are going to push really hard to keep us at war. And it’s interesting because, you know, we love free market companies, we love business on this podcast and at the Tuttle Twins. But what we don’t love is when the companies are, you know, working corruptly with the government to engineer things and to, you know, stop the free market from actually working. So that is something that I think has a huge effect on our pushes to go to war that we get from the government where these companies, obviously they need their money to keep coming in and they want their government contracts and if we keep going to war over and over, they’re going to keep getting those contracts and making a lot of money. And I wanna be careful here. There’s nothing wrong with profit motives, but when you have companies that are working so closely with the government, they’re not even really a free market company, it starts to get really corrupt really quickly. So it, Brittany, I know you’re up in DC you probably see all of those contracting buildings when you’re going around like Arlington. I know, they’re all based out there.

Brittany: Yeah. It’s funny. You become desensitized to it. I know that’s terrible. But you see like, oh, there’s Raytheon, when I first Yep. When I first moved here, it was very jarring. Cause I’m like, these are all the things I researched, you know, back when I still lived in Utah. And then now it’s kind of sad. You just drive by and you’re like, oh, there it is. Yeah, there it is.

Emma: That’s how being in DC kind of is. Yes. At first, you’re like, wow, I’m here in the middle of everything. And then you’re like. This is, it is what it is. But, any other thoughts you wanna add, Brittany, before we wrap it up today?

Brittany: No, I think you’re exactly right. You know, I think the whole one takeaway from this is again like there’s a very big difference between protecting ourselves, which arguably very few wars have done that. I think the American Revolution and this is a controversial topic, but I think the Civil War, you know, the South may be trying to protect, I’m not saying everything they did was right, but trying to protect themselves. I think it matters. The non-aggression principle applies here. You know if somebody. Absolutely. aggressive towards you have the right to reciprocate. But nobody has done that to us in this situation, so we don’t have the right.

Emma: Yes, exactly. And that’s kind of what Ron Paul’s point was all along too, is, you know, I support having a strong national defense, but it needs to be defense. It needs to be, we’re protecting ourselves from anyone that might threaten us, but we’re not out actively, you know, setting up military bases all throughout the world and making people hate us in the process. So, thanks for chatting Brittany, about that. We will talk to you guys all again soon and make sure that when crazy things are going on in the world that you think about what motives are. But anyway, talk to you all again soon.

Brittany: Talk to you soon.