There was a time only a decade ago when the Republican Party was full of war buffs. A little full, really. Patriotism became a rallying point behind US military actions in the world after 9/11. Part of the burden of being a superpower was that America also had to rule the world.
That period did not end well. Indeed, a reform was overdue. The failure of state building in Iraq and Afghanistan required a period of reflection. What did not need to follow was a retreat into isolationism.
Yet it is something that is brewing in the current Republican Party. And about a war no American soldiers are fighting in.
I am referring, of course, to the war in Ukraine, which I have just returned from seeing.
There are many criticisms that people on the right and left can make of the Ukrainian government, about corruption in the country, and much more. But when Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine earlier this year, he did something completely unacceptable. He sent his tanks to take over a sovereign country and replace its leadership. All under a false claim that he was “de-Nazifying” the government of Volodymyr Zelensky. Who must be one of those “Jewish Nazis” you hear about so much.
Total war ‘a crime’
Putin’s entire war is a war crime. It is not that his army has been committing atrocities. All his war is a tyranny. Nothing can be forgiven about it. Everything Putin has done is not for a noble cause.
Of course the democracies of the world had to take a stand on this. Surely the world’s leading democracy cannot sit idly by.
To their credit, the Biden administration realized this. They quite rightly did not want the American boots to be put on the ground. But if you’re not going to put your own military in harm’s way, the least you can do is arm our allies and make sure they’re properly equipped for the war they have to fight. They have been forced to.
Perhaps it is because weapons have been given to Ukraine under a period of Democrat rule that some Republicans have turned against it. Perhaps they are fed up with the bigotry of Pelosi and Biden. Perhaps they are fed up with being made to feel that Ukraine is “the cause of the month”. But whatever the reason, some members of the Republican Party have backed themselves into a very troubling corner.
For example, earlier this week Republican Representative Matt Gaetz boastfully tweeted, “I would not vote for Ukraine for one more dollar.”
Other Republicans have joined him. Including more prominent figures such as Kevin McCarthy, who said that Republicans would make sure that Ukraine would not receive a “blank check” from the US. As who ever said it must be done.
Now, with Republicans enjoying a slim majority in the House, even the smallest members of the Republican Party can have a significant impact on world events.
If they decide to make the armament of Ukraine a partisan issue, they can wreak havoc. And what exactly do these anti-Ukraine Republicans hope to accomplish?
Taking lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan, it makes sense that America should not get involved in the business of state-building. Although that was something America used to be perfectly good at decades ago. But well, there’s a reaction going on.
the weapons worked
Yet what is more likely to keep American troops out of harm’s way than to ensure that a vicious adversary of the United States cannot win a war it has started? Arming Ukrainians to push back Putin isn’t just a gamble – it’s already worked. This is one reason why the Ukrainians have had so much success on the ground and Putin is in retreat. A comeback that I have seen.
When this war broke out back in February, the civilized world agreed that Putin could not escape his actions. Weak countries were shamed on the question. For example, the Germans were initially reluctant to help Ukraine because Germany is heavily dependent on Russian gas.
Since then the question has remained which European power will weaken first. Will it be Germany, France or Italy? Surely one of them would break the line held by the West?
The strange thing is that it now looks like it is America that may falter in this war. Thanks to a group of Republicans who find Zelensky and Ukraine embroiled in a culture war and an ongoing political war at home.
I hope they don’t succeed. Surely every American taxpayer dollar spent anywhere must be monitored and scrutinized. But America needs a foreign policy as well as a domestic policy. Reagan’s party recognized this. And it also knew that when Russian tanks roll into a country, the United States’ job is not to just sit and watch.
You want real sports hero? try iranian soccer team
When Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel during the national anthem at NFL games, he was immediately celebrated for his “bravery”. Because opposing America is such a dangerous job in America, isn’t it?
Essentially, Nike signed her up and used her new status as a “civil rights activist” to sell their sneakers. Because that’s what true civil rights activists do. Who doesn’t own Rosa Parks shoes or MLK gym shorts?
Well, if companies like Nike had any real interest in human rights, they would have signed up the entire Iranian football team immediately. Because there is a group of men with some real bravery.
The players refused to sing their country’s national anthem before their first match at the World Cup this week. The government of the Islamic Republic is currently kidnapping and killing its opponents. These include women who refuse to cover their hair in public.
I fear very much for these men, and what will be done to them when they return home. But wouldn’t it be great if all those companies who love to profit from fake heroes did something to support the real ones?