September 21, 2023 | Fox News

Why it’s important to continue our support for Ukraine

Russian victory in Ukraine would give comfort and confidence to those who hate America
September 21, 2023 | Fox News

Why it’s important to continue our support for Ukraine

Russian victory in Ukraine would give comfort and confidence to those who hate America

As House GOP opposition to the latest proposed supplemental support for Ukraine shows, Republican support for aid to Ukraine as it fights naked Russian aggression on its territory continues to weaken. This is a dangerous trend – and some Republicans don’t appreciate the strategic and political risks they are taking.

Diminishing Republican support for Ukraine is rooted in skepticism of President Biden’s leadership on this matter. Such skepticism is warranted. 

In the year that transpired between Biden’s inauguration and Putin’s invasion, this administration appeased Russia on energy policy, arms control policy, and on Ukraine. Its withdrawal from Afghanistan telegraphed profound weakness and unseriousness. The president even suggested he could tolerate a “minor incursion” by Russia in Ukraine. 

A major invasion is what he in effect greenlit. As it began, the same intelligence agencies that failed to predict the speed of the Taliban victory in Afghanistan confidently asserted that Putin would take Kyiv in a matter of days, and so this administration withdrew our diplomats and prepared to accept another defeat. 

As it became obvious the Ukrainians would fight, the administration grudgingly came around to providing them with support. Unnecessary debates – most recently regarding ATACMS missiles – over whether providing this or that kind of weapon would further provoke the Russians have weakened the impact of assistance at each stage. The result in Ukraine has been stalemate.

Why Republicans would survey this record and attack President Biden for being too strong is mysterious to us.

No one knows when and how the war in Ukraine – or this phase of the war in Ukraine – will end. But any outcome that plausibly constitutes a victory for Russia would be catastrophic for American security. 

A Russian victory would raise the chances of expanded war in Europe, with Putin contemplating the seizure of more lost elements of the Russian empire, whether in whatever is left of Ukraine or beyond. It would be taken as proof by the Chinese Communists eyeing Taiwan that America is unserious, making a war in the Pacific more likely.

In general, a Russian victory would give comfort and confidence to those who hate America, not just in Moscow and Beijing, but also in Tehran and Pyongyang. Putin’s recent summit meeting with Kim – the North Korean dictator’s first foreign trip in four years – is the latest indication of a solidifying Eurasian axis hostile to America’s interests and those of our friends. 

Our friends, including in places like Canberra, Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei, all of whom support Ukraine with aid, would rightly see our abandonment of Kyiv as notice that they are on their own.

The Republican Party won the Cold War and earned the trust of generations of Americans by pressing the case that freedom and prosperity at home are linked to the security of Europe and Asia. 

Succumbing now to the isolationist temptation, or to the related temptation that we can simply wash our hands of European responsibilities in order to focus on Asia, despite the advertised collusion of Russia and China, will make Americans less safe. It will also convince Americans that our party is unfit to govern, hurting Republican candidates in general elections.

Isolationism is starting to infect our party’s rhetoric and policy, further risking the consignment of our party to political irrelevance. As realists who are aware of the responsibility to safeguard our nation and its interests in a dangerous world, we should reject the trope of “endless wars” as the naïve invention of the left that it is. 

Republicans should also be skeptical of the notion that the fighting in Ukraine is making Americans “war-weary,” given that it is Ukraine, and not America, that is at war.

Ukrainians are fighting and dying for their freedom, all the while degrading the power of a hostile Russia that aspires, in open cooperation with China, to establish a new world order in which America’s freedom and prosperity are radically diminished. Not one American serviceman has been a casualty in Ukraine’s war of self-defense, which we are supporting with a tiny percentage of our overall defense spending. 

We urge Republicans to support the continued provision of aid now so that our party might avoid political irrelevance – and so that our country might avoid tragedy. 

Aaron MacLean, a Marine veteran and Senate aide, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Mike Pompeo, a distinguished fellow at the Hudson Institute, served as the 70th U.S. secretary of State (2018-21) and director of the Central Intelligence Agency (2017-18). Follow Aaron on X @AaronBMacLean. FDD is a Washington, DC-based, nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.


Military and Political Power Russia U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy Ukraine