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GOP must back Ukraine to defeat Putin


What’s going on with the Republicans?

Only a decade ago there was a time when the Republican Party was full of war hawks. A little too full, in fact. After 9/11, it became a point of patriotism to be behind American military actions around the world. Part of the burden of being a superpower was that America also had to control the world.

This period did not end well. In fact, a correction was overdue. The failure of state building in Iraq and Afghanistan must be followed by a period of reflection. What she didn’t need to follow was a retreat into isolationism.

Yet it is something that seems to be brewing in the current Republican Party. And on a war in which no American soldier fights.

I am of course referring to the war in Ukraine, which I have just seen.

There are many criticisms people on the right and left can level at the Ukrainian government, about corruption in the country and more. But when Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine earlier this year, he did something completely unacceptable. He sent his tanks to a sovereign country to occupy it and replace its rulers. All under a false claim that he was “denazifying” the government of Volodymyr Zelensky. Who must be one of those “Jewish Nazis” you hear so much about.

The whole war “a crime”

Putin’s whole war is a war crime. It’s not just that his armies have committed atrocities. His whole war is an atrocity. Nothing about this can be excused. Nothing Putin has done is for a noble reason.

Of course, the democracies of the world had to take a stand on this. Of course, the world’s first democracy could not stand idly by.

Ukrainian firefighters respond to a fire at the scene of a Russian shelling in a town outside Kyiv on November 23, 2022.
Ukrainian firefighters respond to a fire at the scene of a Russian shelling in a town outside Kyiv on November 23, 2022.
AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

To give them credit, the Biden administration has realized this. They rightly did not want to put down American boots. But if you’re not going to put your own army in danger, the least you can do is arm our allies and make sure they’re properly equipped for a war they’ve been forced to fight.

It is perhaps because the arms were given to Ukraine under a Democratic regime that some Republicans turned against it. Maybe they are fed up with the demagogy of Pelosi and Biden. Maybe they are fed up with being made to believe that Ukraine is “the cause of this month”. But whatever the reasons, some members of the Republican Party have put themselves in a very troubling position.

For example, earlier this week, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz proudly tweeted, “I will NOT vote for one more dollar for Ukraine.

Representative Matt Gaetz has vowed not to vote for more support for Ukraine.
Representative Matt Gaetz has vowed not to vote for more support for Ukraine.
Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Other Republicans joined him. Including bigger figures like Kevin McCarthy, who said Republicans would make sure Ukraine didn’t get a “blank check” from America. As if someone had already said they should.

Now that Republicans enjoy a slim majority in the House, even the most fringe members of the Republican Party could have a significant impact on world events.

If they decide to make arming Ukraine a partisan issue, they could wreak havoc. And what exactly are these anti-Ukrainian Republicans hoping to achieve?

It is understandable to learn the lesson from Iraq and Afghanistan that America should not be in the business of state building. Although this is something America was perfectly good at decades ago. But hey, a backlash is underway.

Support from the United States and other allies helped Ukraine successfully repel Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion.
Support from the United States and other allies helped Ukraine successfully repel Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
avel Bednyakov, Sputnik, Kremlin swimming pool photo via AP

arms worked

Yet what is more likely to protect American troops than to ensure that a vicious adversary of the United States cannot win a war it has started? Arming the Ukrainians to repel Putin is not just a bet, it has already worked. This is one of the reasons the Ukrainians have been so successful on the pitch and why Putin is retreating. A retreat I saw.

In February, when this war started, the civilized world agreed that Putin could not get away with his actions. Countries that were weak on the issue were shamed. The Germans, for example, were initially reluctant to help Ukraine because Germany is so dependent on Russian gas.

Since then, the question has been which European power would weaken first. Would it be Germany, France or Italy? Surely one of them would break the line that the West holds?

What is strange is that it now seems that it is America that could falter in this war. Thanks to a group of Republicans who seem to have embroiled Zelensky and Ukraine in a culture war and a political war going on here at home.

I hope they won’t succeed. Of course, there should be scrutiny and scrutiny of every American taxpayer dollar spent anywhere. But America needs a foreign policy as well as a domestic policy. Reagan’s party used to recognize that. And also knew that when Russian tanks enter a country, the job of the United States is not just to sit and watch.

Want real sports heroes? Try the Iranian football team

When Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel during the national anthem at NFL games, he was immediately celebrated for his “bravery”. Because protesting against America is such a dangerous thing to do in America, isn’t it?

Inevitably, Nike hired him and used his new position as a “civil rights activist” to sell his sneakers. Because that’s what real civil rights activists do, too. Who doesn’t have a pair of Rosa Parks shoes or MLK gym shorts?

Iran's national football team chose not to sing their country's national anthem ahead of their World Cup match against England.
Iran’s national football team chose not to sing their country’s national anthem ahead of their World Cup match against England.
AP Photo/Martin Meissner

Well, if companies like Nike really cared about human rights, they would immediately hire the entire Iranian soccer team. Because there is a group of men with real bravery.

Ahead of their first World Cup match this week, the players refused to sing their own country’s national anthem. The government of the Islamic Republic is currently kidnapping and murdering its opponents. Including women who refuse to cover their hair in public.

I fear deeply for these men, and what will be done to them when they return home. But wouldn’t it be nice if all those companies that like to cash in on fake heroes did something to support a few real ones?

New York Post

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