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Horowitz: Why are Republicans going along with the blank check for Ukraine?

Op-ed
Leestat/Getty Images

Over the past two generations of foreign policy blunders, our government has failed to formulate an exit strategy. Now, as it relates to the endless transfer of cash and arms to the capricious Ukrainian government, we don’t even have an entry strategy. Nobody could explain in a few coherent sentences what exactly we hope to accomplish, how our sacrifice will sustain anything in the face of inveterate ethnic conflicts in eastern Ukraine, or why it’s worth exacerbating the worst supply chain crisis in our lifetime. All Republicans know is that they want to trip over themselves to outbid Biden’s virtue-signaling on the dime of American taxpayers and consumers.

We thought Republicans learned their lesson from COVID legislation not to jump on expensive, civilization-changing legislation just to be on the “right side” of the new, ephemeral “current thing,” but we were wrong. When Biden pledged his original cash payments and weapons to Ukraine’s fractured civilization, Republicans demanded that he spend even more money. We got $13.6 billion out of that deal. Then all but 10 Republicans in the House just voted for an unconditional “lend-lease” weapons transfer program. Now Biden is demanding another $33 billion in spending, $20 billion of which will be more arms. Those are Iraq/Afghanistan level numbers.

There are certain basic questions anyone should be asking at this point. Republicans should start demanding answers to the following:

  • Where are the money and arms going, and how are they not going toward the neo-Nazi Azov brigade that will, in the small chance they defeat the Russians, continue persecuting the ethnic Russians and fuel an intermittent conflict with Russia in perpetuity?
  • Why has our government, and the Biden family in particular, been so obsessed with Ukraine for years, and how do we know this money is not going to fund the very same grifting elements behind the Russia collusion story?
  • Don’t we first want to investigate why the same players involved in the Wuhan research have been involved with the bio-labs in Ukraine and how this funding is affecting those endeavors and the corrupt people behind them?
  • Ukraine is on Russia’s border, and in the eastern part of the country, Ukrainians are Russian kinsmen. Especially after the sacrifice of the past few months, Russia is not budging. There is no way arms and cash will ever deter or dissuade the Russians. All they will accomplish is to continue to fuel the macro-war and more internal ethnic bloodshed with an uncontrolled flow of weapons. Short of a full-scale allied invasion against Russia, this “middle ground” of cash and weapons will actually fuel the worst outcome. How will this not result in more needless bloodshed?
  • Then again, forgetting about commitment of troops, the other European countries have barely devoted a fraction of the funding that we have. If the Europeans clearly aren’t worried about this being the “Poland and Hitler moment of 1938,” then why are we barreling head-first into the next Sunni vs. Shia-equivalent dumpster fire?
  • All the while, the more we fuel the war rather than encourage Zelenskyy to give up what is already given up, we will make Americans (and the world) suffer with endless supply shortages. The Western oligarchs have been open about the fact that prolonging the Ukrainian conflict will help transition us away from individual freedom and our abundance of fossil fuels. Diederik Samsom, chief of staff for Frans Timmermans, the European commission’s executive vice president responsible for energy policy, recently said that the “geopolitical imbalances” have made us realize “we have paid way too little” for food and fuel in the past 40 years.

As for the latter point, that might be an added feature to this strategy for the left, but conservative Republicans supposedly care about American taxpayers and consumers. So why are they, including Freedom Caucus members, unquestioningly joining this morass?

There is no greater ally to Ukraine than Israel, with tremendous cultural and economic ties. Israel has taken in a lot of refugees. But at the same time, the Israeli prime minister advised Zelenskyy to give in to Putin’s demands on the ethnic Russian territories and NATO membership. The Israelis understand that this cost is already sunk from years of weak NATO and U.S. policies that on the one hand poked the Russian bear relentlessly, but then weakened their own hard and soft power deterrents both on military power and energy independence – placing them at the mercy of the Kremlin’s demand.

Last Thursday, all but 10 Republicans voted for a bill (S.3522) that will allow the DOD to transfer any weapon of war aside from nuclear weapons to the tenuous Ukrainian government.

Do we even know where these weapons are landing? In a recent expose, CNN quoted a defense official who conceded, “It drops into a big black hole, and you have almost no sense of it at all after a short period of time."

"I couldn't tell you where they are in Ukraine and whether the Ukrainians are using them at this point," a senior defense official told reporters earlier this year regarding Mi-17 helicopters, 155 mm Howitzer cannons, Switchblade drones, and Javelin and Stinger missiles.

This after the Pentagon just admitted to leaving $7 billion in weaponry behind in Afghanistan.

So, after two decades of funding multiple sides of every Middle Eastern conflict, in which our weapons kept trading sides as quickly as Harper’s Ferry changed hands in the U.S. Civil War, we’ve learned nothing from our blunders? It’s no wonder the White House had to enlist the help of “TikTok stars” to propagate support for its Ukrainian escapade. Sadly, Republicans didn’t even need convincing.

And who are we supporting? Is the Ukrainian regime really worse than Putin? The civil rights violations are appalling. Have we even conditioned the aid to democratic reforms? Of course not.

Republicans and conservative media had a good laugh out of Biden’s horrifically incoherent, and essentially insane, statement attempting to articulate who and what we are fighting in Ukraine. However, the laugh is really on them, because their strategic thinking is just as gibberish. At least Biden can blame it on cognitive decline.

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