We all have our regrets.
When Donald Trump was president, I didn’t pay much attention to the Russia Hoax which dragged on for years because I thought it was stupid and boring conspiracy clickbait for establishment liberals. I was also so angry with Trump over other issues like his failure to withdraw troops from the Middle East that I didn’t pay much attention to Trump’s first impeachment over his hesitation to arm Ukraine.
In the 2020 election, I discounted the possibility that the insane Russiagaters in the Democratic Party would ride Joe Biden back to power and start World War III with Russia in payback for Hillary losing the 2016 election. Russia and Ukraine weren’t on my mind in the last presidential election.
“The scheme cut against decades of American policy promoting a free and united Ukraine, and a President Clinton would no doubt maintain, or perhaps even harden, that stance. …
Putin’s assault on Ukraine and his attack on American democracy have until now been treated largely as two distinct story lines. Across the intervening years, Russia’s election meddling has been viewed essentially as a closed chapter in America’s political history — a perilous moment in which a foreign leader sought to set the United States against itself by exploiting and exacerbating its political divides.
Yet those two narratives came together that summer night at the Grand Havana Room. And the lesson of that meeting is that Putin’s American adventure might be best understood as advance payment for a geopolitical grail closer to home: a vassal Ukrainian state. Thrumming beneath the whole election saga was another story — about Ukraine’s efforts to establish a modern democracy and, as a result, its position as a hot zone of the new Cold War between Russia and the West, autocracy and democracy. To a remarkable degree, the long struggle for Ukraine was a bass note to the upheavals and scandals of the Trump years, from the earliest days of the 2016 campaign and then the presidential transition, through Trump’s first impeachment and into the final days of the 2020 election. Even now, some influential voices in American politics, mostly but not entirely on the right, are suggesting that Ukraine make concessions of sovereignty similar to those contained in Kilimnik’s plan, which the nation’s leaders categorically reject. …
This second draft of history emerges from a review of the hundreds of pages of documents produced by investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and for the Republican-led Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; from impeachment-hearing transcripts and the recent crop of Russiagate memoirs; and from interviews with nearly 50 people in the United States and Ukraine, including four hourlong conversations with Manafort himself.
No figure in the Trump era moved more adroitly through that world than Manafort, a political operative known for treating democracy as a tool as much as an idea. Though he insists that he was trying to stanch Russian influence in Ukraine, not enable it, he had achieved great riches by putting his political acumen to work for the country’s Kremlin-aligned oligarchs, helping install a government that would prove pliant in the face of Putin’s demands. Then he helped elect an American president whose open admiration of the Russian strongman muddied more than a half-century of policy promoting democracy. …”
As I have explained, Russia had nothing to do with the way that I voted (or decided not to vote) in the 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections, but that has changed because of the actions of the Biden administration.
“A conflict that had been about the future of Ukraine has become for Mr. Putin an existential struggle for the future of Russia: “The battlefield to which fate and history have called us is the battlefield for our people, for great historical Russia, for future generations,” he declared.
Mr. Putin is raising the stakes and backing himself into a corner. Accordingly, the Kremlin’s resort to a nuclear weapon becomes a realistic option should Russian forces face full expulsion from eastern Ukraine and Crimea. If Mr. Putin crosses the nuclear line, NATO would almost certainly become directly involved in the war, with the potential for nuclear escalation.
Ukraine’s battlefield successes could go too far. If the defense of Ukraine is not worth U.S. boots on the ground, then the return of all of the Donbas and Crimea to Ukrainian control is not worth risking a new world war. Russia has already been dealt a decisive, even if not complete, strategic defeat in Ukraine. Given Ukraine’s battlefield advances, Kyiv and its NATO partners are understandably tempted to try to vanquish Russia and restore Ukraine’s full territorial integrity. But Mr. Putin’s effort to subjugate Ukraine has already failed, and pushing for Russia’s total defeat is an unnecessary gamble.
Against the backdrop of rising prices, Republicans appear poised to take control of the House in the midterms. The ranks of a new Republican majority in Congress would likely include a growing number of representatives hailing from the “America First” wing of the party. J. D. Vance, Ohio’s Republican candidate for the Senate, holds views of the war in Ukraine that may be emblematic of what is to come. “I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine one way or another,” Mr. Vance said in an interview in February. Although he later backtracked and insisted that “we want the Ukrainians to be successful,” Vance is not alone in having misgivings about the costs of supporting Kyiv; Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, recently said there can’t be a “blank check” for Ukraine if Republicans win control of the House. …”
Congress obviously needs more of these people.
“In Ohio, Senate candidate J.D. Vance (R) said the United States would have to “stop the money spigot to Ukraine eventually.” J.R. Majewski, a fellow Ohio Republican running for a House seat, has criticized President Biden for “[cutting] billion-dollar checks to Ukraine” during a time of inflation at home. In New Hampshire, Senate candidate Don Bolduc (R) said U.S. aid to Ukraine is “money we don’t have.”
Opposition to — or skepticism of — sending more U.S. money to Ukraine has accelerated within the GOP in recent weeks, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) signaling earlier this month that Republicans would end or limit spending on the war if they take control of the House in next week’s midterms.
The threat to cut funding marks a sharp turn for a party whose members almost universally embraced aiding Ukraine after Russia invaded in February. Over the past eight months, supporters of former president Donald Trump have joined with skeptics of military intervention and anti-Biden forces within the GOP to challenge traditionally hawkish Republicans. …
The sheer number of Republicans questioning the current U.S. role in the Ukraine conflict is a marked change for a party that has often been led by hawks who have fought to spend more money on military efforts. …”
The 2022 midterms are less than a week away.
I’m now fully convinced that establishment liberals are warmongers who can’t be trusted to be in charge of American foreign policy and that Trump was the lesser of two evils. 100% of House and Senate Democrats have voted to spend over $80 billion dollars so far on fueling this stupid war with Russia. In contrast, MAGA Republicans are alone in wanting to pull back from the brink of a hot war with Russia.
When the Democrats get their ass kicked next week, they can “stand with Ukraine” in the minority in Congress. As they have said themselves, the midterms are a referendum on Ukraine.
Note: As someone pointed out on Twitter last night, Trump assassinated that Iranian general and launched cruise missiles at an airstrip in Syria. While that is true, it is nowhere close to being as awful or as dangerous as Joe Biden’s foreign policy has been over his last two years in office.