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Liz Cheney Looks Lost

Liz Cheney
Liz Cheney on Fox News Sunday.

Former Representative Liz Cheney is back in the news, filling the niche she has carved out for herself – that is, criticizing fellow conservatives.

Cheney, who became something of a martyred figure through her efforts to rebuke former President Donald Trump, is now making headlines for rebuking Governor Ron DeSantis.

Specifically, Cheney said that DeSantis was “wrong” for saying that the Russo-Ukraine War was not in the “vital national interests” of the US but was rather a “territorial dispute” amongst European nations.

Liz Cheney Takes on Ron DeSantis

“This is not a ‘territorial dispute,’” Cheney wrote in a statement to The New York Times. “The Ukrainian people are fighting for their freedom. Surrendering to Putin and refusing to defend freedom makes America less safe.”

Cheney’s denouncement of DeSantis’s comments are consistent with her previous efforts to criticize members of the GOP who are opposed to the US aiding Ukraine.

Cheney, for example, once criticized Trump’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the praise would help the US’s “enemies.”

Cheney also said Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene was “against freedom” for attempting to end US aid to Ukraine. Cheney even has a nickname for Republicans who are not gung-ho about supporting Ukraine: the “Putin wing of the GOP.”

Cheney’s stance on the Russo-Ukraine War? Ukraine should not give up an inch of territory to Russia.

“Weakness is provocative and American officials who advocate this type of weakness are Putin’s greatest weapon. Abandoning Ukraine would make broader conflict, including with China and other American adversaries, more likely.”

A few points about Ms. Cheney

I’d like to provide some context to Cheney’s comments for the purpose of degrading her credibility. First, Cheney recognized by now that her best bet politically is to lean into criticism of the GOP.

The reason being: liberals love it.

Liberals, who are always on the lookout to amplify the voices of conservatives willing to criticize conservatives, have made Liz Cheney into something of a martyr after she denounced Trump, and was then trounced in her congressional reelection bid.

Cheney knows her best angle, politically and professionally, is to keep appeasing liberals. And since liberals are weirdly enthusiastic about supporting Ukraine, criticizing the occasional Republican (i.e., DeSantis) who advocates restraint is a political no-brainer for Cheney.

Second, Liz Cheney is the progeny of America’s most relevant war hawk: former Vice President Dick Cheney. Vice President Cheney’s most hawkish deed was instigating the Iraq War under the pretext that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction (he did not) and had formal ties with Al Qaeda (he did not).

The Cheney-promoted US invasion of Iraq was one of America’s most disastrous foreign policy decisions…ever. So while Liz Cheney is not Dick Cheney, it’s a little too close for my tastes; and any time a Cheney pushes to support war, my reflex is to oppose.

A few points about Ms. Cheney’s argument

Cheney’s statement to The New York Times was exactly what you’d expect. She rolled out a familiar lineup of platitudes, meant to justify US assistance in Ukraine without leaving room to argue.

If we don’t assist Ukraine, America will be less safe.

If we don’t assist Ukraine, it will help our enemies.

If we don’t assist Ukraine, we are against freedom.

If we don’t assist Ukraine, it will help China

It’s standard fare. It’s the non-specific, rote, tired, unimaginative standard fare that is typically used to justify foreign intervention.

I don’t like Ron DeSantis. His viability as a presidential candidate makes me uncomfortable.

But he is correct. By definition, the Russo-Ukraine War is a territorial dispute. You can assign greater meaning to the conflict if you like but the conflict is by definition territorial. And no, the US does not have vital strategic interests in the Ukraine. Certainly, these points are debatable. But let’s not place much weight on the platitudinal words of Dick Cheney’s daughter.

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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Greg mendell

    March 15, 2023 at 2:27 pm

    I think you got hit in the head by a hockey puck 1 too many times. Liz is her own person and not a carbon copy of her father.

  2. GhostTomahawk

    March 15, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    Until the US divulges is involvement in the events leading up to this territorial dispute, then the conversation can’t be had.

    After the fall of the USSR America committed to not expand NATO into Eastern bloc nations. We have violated that agreement completely. Having NATO in general is completely baffling at this point since it’s charter was to defeat the WARSAW PACT… which no longer exists and hasn’t for over 30 years.

    In 2014 Obama lead a coups of the Ukrainian govt. FACT.

    2015 Minsk accord comes out to stop shelling of ethnic Russians in Ukraine. Shelling continued via the Ukraine Nazis who “aren’t affiliated” with Ukraine????.

    Biden administration continues to talk about bringing Ukraine into NATO. Russia said this is a red line. Russian Red lines aren’t like US Red lines (which are crosswalks). The US crossed the line. Ukraine naked on Minsk. Russia invaded.

    Cheny is a war pig like her father because she’s invested in war literally. She can’t be taken seriously and should be ignored at all costs.

  3. OldSchoolGOPer

    March 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    The assertion, a common one among her right-wing critics, that Cheney is taking the positions she does on Ukraine and other issues just to curry favor with liberals is slanderous. For one thing, Cheney has always been a foreign policy hawk, just as most Republicans used to be. (How many Republicans in 2003 dissented from invading Iraq? Not many. It wasn’t just a few elitist neocons that supported that war — the rank and file were squarely behind it, and piled on to criticism of France and others for not being loyal allies and joining in.)

    Even today, support for arming Ukraine remains pretty strong, both among the GOP congressional caucus and in polls of voters broken down by party. Yes, there is division in the party about this, but you can’t say that Cheney is out of the Republican mainstream in expressing the views she does. And pretending to know that her “real” motives are something other than straightforward, despite the fact that she is being completely consistent with her own history? What are you basing that on? Your mind-reading abilities?

    I could play that game, too, as it happens. Opposition among Republicans to arming the Ukrainians, when most of them at the same time are hawkish toward China, makes no sense. China is a long-term threat, but Russia is an immediate one. And in a fight with China, we will be directly involved instead of just sending weapons. Americans will die, in substantial numbers, if war breaks out over Taiwan. Where in the Ukraine, we are in the position the Russians and Chinese were during the Vietnam War — sending weapons and a few advisors, but not combat troops, while watching our adversary bleed himself dry.

    The only explanation is that opposition to arming the Ukrainians is mostly based on the fact that Donald Trump doesn’t want to support them. And Donald Trump doesn’t want to support them because he holds a grudge against them for not cooperating with his wish that they investigate Hunter Biden. And if Vladimir Putin did something to offend Trump tomorrow — or the Ukrainians actually did come up with something damaging on Hunter — he could reverse course, declare that we should do all we can to back Ukraine, and then all of the GOP politicians currently talking about “no blank checks”, and at least 80% of the rest of you, would fall into line behind him.

  4. Powerfader

    March 20, 2023 at 7:08 am

    You’re right, the spawn of the devil is her own person.

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