Republicans Are Wrong About Ukraine Aid: Even before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky traveled to Washington to speak before a joint session of Congress, there was already simmering backlash over any future aid packages.
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Among the most vocal Republican lawmakers to push back was Rep. Andy Biggs, a conservative Republican who is challenging Rep. Kevin McCarthy for House Speaker.
“No more blank checks to Ukraine,” the Congressman tweeted, adding, “Zelensky says $45 billion in aid from the U.S. is not enough. Not enough? What is enough? Enough with all of this.”
He was hardly alone in expressing outrage that aid was being sent to aid Kyiv in its war against Russia. Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren also tweeted, “No more money to Ukraine!!! We can’t fight this war for you eternity!!!”
Lahren, like many critics of the aid package, is simply deluded.
The United States is by no means “fighting” the war for the Ukrainian people. Since February 24, Ukrainians have been fighting the war – and yes, with U.S. and other Western support. However, it should be seen as a wise investment, not a burden on taxpayers.
Aid to Ukraine doesn’t weaken the United States. It makes us stronger.
This is notable in the response from Russia to Zelensky’s address to Congress and his meeting with President Joe Biden on Wednesday. Moscow knows that Western support will ensure it can’t win in Ukraine.
That should matter to every American.
America First is Isolationism
It is all too easy to see how those on the far right are holding on to the promise that an America First policy would somehow “Make America Great Again,” but it overlooks lessons from history.
America became great in the first place by becoming a power on the world stage. America First was essentially the policy of “Progressive” President Woodrow Wilson, who campaigned to keep America out of the First World War.
American troops – soldiers and marines – went “Over There” and fought and died in the conflict.
The United States tried to stay out of World War II, yet, we still ended up being dragged into the fight. Throughout the Cold War, the policy was instead to stop the spread of Communism, and it even resulted in the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Our Greatest Adversary
Russia was the enemy then, Russia is the enemy today, and Russia will be the enemy tomorrow.
That is because Moscow will always see the west as its greatest enemy, and that’s the point these America First types fail to understand. Russia, along with China, remains America’s near-peer adversary of the 21st century.
As previously reported, in cold geopolitical terms, the war in Ukraine and American aid is a wise investment. Without a single U.S. boot on the ground, we’ve seen 100,000 Russian dead, nearly 2,000 of the Kremlin’s tanks destroyed, and hundreds of aircraft and other vehicles also left in ruins. Moscow has expended its stockpiles of ordnance, so much so that it had to go begging to North Korea for artillery shells.
Vladimir Putin’s Russia has been seriously weakened, perhaps for a generation. Again, without a single U.S. soldier doing any of the fighting.
It cost the United States around $100 billion, which is just a fraction of our defense budget. That should be seen as a massive return on our investment. During the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan brought down the Soviet Union by outspending them – but it cost trillions of dollars. We are now ensuing the Russian bear is declawed and for a lot less money.
What About China?
It could be argued China is playing a similar game to Reagan’s – trying to spend its way to victory. Beijing is now on a massive military built up that includes aircraft carriers, destroyers, aircraft, and tanks.
Yes, the United States absolutely needs to respond, but we should let Beijing waste its coin on those systems it doesn’t really need and can’t afford.
Beijing has also invested unwisely in new cities it doesn’t need, and it is building up a military to become a global power. But where is it going to use it? China like Russia is bringing its foes together through its actions.
A cynic wouldn’t worry that Beijing will invade Taiwan, but rather would hope it would happen tomorrow. It would result in massive Chinese losses, including likely several of those new warships, and at best, it would be a pyrrhic victory. China could certainly make Taiwan a desert and call it peace, but it would gain little and lose a lot.
Western Aid to Ukraine
Germany is now increasing its defense budget and plans to modernize its military, while Poland could become a true near-peer adversary to Russia.
Former President Donald Trump threatened to leave NATO because other nations didn’t pay their fair share. That nonsense wouldn’t have lessened any burden on the United States. In fact, if the U.S. left NATO, we’d like to have to worry about being dragged into regional conflicts to protect our interests and as a result, increase our defense spending even more.
Finally, yes, we should know where the money to Ukraine is going. It shouldn’t be a blank check, and it shouldn’t be endless.
Instead, we should invest a bit more – give Kyiv the weapons to actually drive out the Russians, and force Russia to the peace table. Yes, there is a fear of escalation but if we don’t support Ukraine and it falls, then the Baltic States could be next – and that will certainly drag NATO into the war.
Aiding Ukraine will ensure democracy prevails in the rest of Europe.
Author Experience and Expertise: A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.