Douglas Murray is wondering in National Review why his camp is losing the foreign policy debate on Ukraine on the Right.
“Why has the debate on the Ukraine–Russia war become so fetid, especially on the political right? Why are members of Congress from the Republican Party the ones most outspoken against support for Ukraine? Why is it the Right that has produced the most fervent anti-interventionists, when it used to be the political Left that did so? …
And then there is the other side, which is the changing way in which Russia has been viewed by the American Right in recent years. …
When MTG says that the money being sent to Ukraine should be going to the southern border, she is simply, like her hero Donald Trump, mistaking a Twitter take for a policy proposal. If, starting tomorrow, not one more dollar went to arming Ukraine, there would still be no scenario under the present government, any more than there was under the last Republican one, in which a wall would be constructed across the southern border. Donald Trump had his own chance to do that, while there was no war in Ukraine, and he noticeably failed at the task. …
So, as I say, what attitude would the Right like to take to this? If you oppose sending American troops around the world, and you oppose arming countries fighting for their own survival, then do you have any remaining foreign policy at all? And if not, for how long do you expect America to remain the dominant power in the world? It was always the expectation that Europeans would be the ones to go weak on the Russia question first. Who could have guessed that it would be the Americans, and the American Right at that, who would beat them to it?”
Murray is correct that age is the dividing line.
The people who support the war in Ukraine are Reaganites who were part of the pre-Trump GOP. They are older Republicans whose lives were defined by the Cold War and who still resent Russia.
The people who oppose the war in Ukraine were insurgents who came into the GOP during the Tea Party and Trump waves. They are younger than the Reaganites and their lives were defined by the War on Terror. Eventually, the older Reaganite faction is going to lose power to the younger faction. The ground is already shifting and a majority of Republican voters now oppose further aid to Ukraine. The composition of the House and Senate are changing in each election cycle and thinning the herd of elderly Republican globalists who are retiring and leaving Congress.
As for the failure of Congress to fund the border wall when Trump was president, it has not been forgotten that the very same people like Mitch McConnell who thought that was too expensive and who blocked it recently voted for the $1.7 trillion Porkulus which brought total spending on the war in Ukraine to over $100 billion dollars in less than a year. It has not been forgotten that those people also voted for Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill after opposing Trump’s infrastructure bill or that those people also opposed the plan to withdraw American troops from Syria and Afghanistan. They have consistently prioritized bloated military budgets, disastrous imperial interventions in Eurasia that cost trillions of dollars in places that no one cares about and neglecting the domestic priorities of their own voters.
It is this disconnect between the priorities of Republican voters and the priorities of the Republican establishment that generates populism. Mitch McConnell has said that funding Ukraine is the top priority of Senate Republicans. Ukraine is nowhere close to the top priority of Republican voters, but McConnell & Co. steer the GOP against the wind which creates mounting resistance. The Porkulus seems to have been the tipping point where governing against the voters turned them against Ukraine.
I have spent my entire adult life watching a series of endless imperial wars and interventions in Eurasia – NATO bombing Serbia over Kosovo and Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, Libya and Syria and now Ukraine – which have collectively transferred trillions of dollars in wealth from American taxpayers to the military-industrial complex while creating instability and mass death around the world. In all of that time, a single year hasn’t passed in which this country has been at peace and tending to our own problems like our own borders which have collapsed over the same period. The military budget has also grown by around $200 billion dollars over the past few years. Even during the Cold War against the far more powerful and menacing Soviet Union, Americans would have never dreamed of going to war with the Soviet Union over the status of the Donbas, but imperialists are restless and can’t stop themselves from expanding the American Empire into ever more far flung corners of Eurasia. Republican voters are expected to forget about their own priorities and assume the burden of all of these new commitments.
The imperialists won’t be satisfied even after Putin is toppled from power and the PRIDE flag and BLM flag are raised over the Kremlin. It will just be on to Beijing or somewhere else in Eurasia. The same people who in one breath call for total war against Russia in next breath also call for the full force of our own government to be turned against “MAGA Republicans” who are “semi-fascists” and “authoritarians.” Why should we support the foreign policy of a government that literally sees us as an internal enemy of the regime? Why should we be willing to go to war with Russia over a place like Donbas for all the various despotisms in the European Union like the German government where our views are illegal? What is “Liberal Democracy” in countries where “hate speech” is banned and political parties are banned? How are those countries not as authoritarian as the old Soviet Union or contemporary Russia?
In the UK, the PRIDE police will show up at your door and arrest you for making homophobic and transphobic tweets on the internet. They will then label you an “authoritarian extremist.”
I don’t want any kind of alliance with these countries.
I’m even less interested in defending what is called “Liberal Democracy” in Ukraine. I cling to the traditional view which Americans held for over two centuries like when our ancestors stayed out of the Crimean War which is that what goes on in Ukraine is none of our concern.
If the American Empire is spreading this kind of Satanic garbage around the world and crushing those who oppose it at home, maybe it shouldn’t be the dominant power in the world.