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The Week
The Week
The Week Staff

Are US Republicans going soft on Ukraine?

Recent polls show that 47% of Republicans think the US is doing too much

How far the Republican Party has fallen, said David French in The New York Times. Forty years ago this month, Ronald Reagan stood up for Western values in the face of “an expansionist, aggressive Soviet Union” by giving what became known as his “evil empire speech”. 

What a contrast between his “moral clarity” and Ron DeSantis’s craven statement last week about Ukraine. The Florida governor and presidential hopeful warned that “becoming further entangled” in the conflict was not in America’s “vital interests”. 

He described the war as a “territorial dispute”, which, as has been pointed out, is like characterising a bank robbery as a “financial dispute”. As usual, DeSantis was just aping Donald Trump, who has also criticised America’s support for Ukraine, claiming, absurdly, that he could end the war within 24 hours. 

DeSantis is right about Ukraine, said Kurt Schlichter on Townhall. He served in Iraq and knows what an unwinnable war looks like. It’s an “indisputable truth” that Ukraine is not of critical importance, and that the US should not be drawn into an escalating war with Russia. 

As a retired army colonel who once trained Ukrainian soldiers in their country, I have every sympathy with their cause, but it’s their fight, not ours. We can’t expend “endless treasure and maybe even blood”. 

The collision last week between a US drone and a Russian jet illustrates the risks of escalation. And whatever the hawks in Washington think, DeSantis is in line with many Republican voters, said Michael Brendan Dougherty in National Review

According to one recent poll, 47% of Republicans say we are doing too much to help Ukraine. Only 19% of them would like to do more. Still, much of DeSantis’s argument was “flat-out wrong”, said Dalibor Rohac in the New York Post

He warned that sending US troops there or pursuing “regime change” in Russia would be dangerous; nobody in power has suggested that. 

His Ukraine stance is “terrible foreign policy”, said Henry Olsen in The Washington Post. DeSantis says the real threat to the US today comes from China, but Europe is a crucial ally in that struggle. So abandoning Europe in its battle with Russia won’t help. 

His position is terrible politics, too. To win the nomination, he’ll need to win over a majority of Republicans, not just Trump’s base. His Ukraine policy will have alienated that group; it is a serious “blunder”.

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