Marco Levytsky, Editorial Writer.
On January 11, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives released a 28-page document titled “Proposed Plan for Victory in Ukraine,” outlining how the United States should assist Ukraine and criticizing President Joe Biden’s administration.
The plan was developed by three Republican-led committees in the House of Representatives: the Foreign Affairs Committee led by Michael McCaul, the Armed Services Committee led by Mike Rogers, and the Intelligence Committee led by Mike Turner.
As a proposal this document has considerable merit. For one thing it clearly states that this is a plan for victory. That stands in stark contrast to many “peace” proposals that require Ukraine to make territorial concessions. For another, it also states that the road to victory means providing all the weapons Ukraine needs to achieve that goal.
“Since the first day of the war, (U.S. President Joe) Biden’s debilitating hesitation to provide critical weapons to Ukraine has delayed a Ukrainian victory. Ukraine needs the longest-range variant of ATACMS, F-16s, and sufficient quantities of cluster munitions, artillery, air defenses, and armor to make a difference on the battlefield. This delay is costing Ukrainian lives and the American taxpayer,” reads the document.
“A path to victory for Ukraine will require (1) providing critical weapons to Ukraine at the speed of relevance, (2) tightening sanctions on the Putin regime, and (3) transferring frozen Russian sovereign assets to Ukraine. This will take congressional Republican pressure, which has been the key to unlocking every new needed weapon system to Ukraine since the start of the war. The bipartisan and bicameral bill, the REPO Act, will also require the Biden administration to lead a coalition of allies in transferring up to $300 billion in frozen Russian sovereign assets to assist Ukraine. This strategy will ensure Ukraine is able to make the needed advances on the battlefield to force Putin to the negotiating table. If Ukraine doesn’t negotiate from a position of strength, there can be no lasting peace,” it continues.
The report refers to Russia’s relationship with China as an “Unholy Alliance” citing Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s warning that “Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow” and Taiwan’s representative in the U.S. as stating “Ukraine’s survival is Taiwan’s survival… Our futures are closely linked.”
Regarding aid to Ukraine, the reports says House Republicans will continue to prioritize transparency and accountability. Significantly, it notes “to date, the Inspectors General of DoD, State, and USAID have not identified any significant diversion, theft, or misuse of U.S. assistance to Ukraine.”
It also notes that the war has spurred many NATO allies to finally increase their defense spending and take their own security more seriously, enabling the U.S. to shift more resources to the Indo-Pacific. It also means there will be more purchases of U.S. weapons by European states which will benefit American workers.
In answer to critics who complain about the amount of money being sent to Ukraine, the report emphasizes that U.S. support for Ukraine is not charity. “After President Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, supporting Ukraine to defeat Putin’s invading forces is critical to restoring American deterrence in Europe, the Middle East, and the Indo-Pacific. Our adversaries are watching, and this proposed plan for victory will ensure that Ukraine is able to make the needed advances on the battlefield to force Putin to the negotiating table. Otherwise, the power vacuum of a Putin victory in Ukraine would usher in a more dangerous world for the United States and our allies and partners.”
As an action plan this is a most comprehensive and valuable document. But will it be implemented, or will it just gather dust. The problem is within the Republican Party itself. There is a very strong current of isolationism within the party that threatens the security not only of Ukraine, but of the world in general. Due to Republican opposition, the new temporary budget does not include aid to Ukraine. Republicans have used aid to Ukraine as leverage to force the Democrats to take a harder line on securing their southern border from the flood of refugees from Latin America. Not only does this have nothing to do with Ukraine, but any delays run contrary to the document’s emphasis on ”providing critical weapons to Ukraine at the speed of relevance”.
Even more ominous is former President Donald Trump’s substantial lead for the Republican presidential nomination according to public opinion polls. With former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie exiting the race, former South Carolina Governor and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley remains the one candidate who remains unequivocable in her support for Ukraine. But even she is reluctant to take Trump on directly in view of the stranglehold he has upon registered Republicans. The 2024 Republican campaign is reminiscent of the 1952 campaign at the height of the Cold War when Internationalist Dwight Eisenhower edged Isolationist Robert Taft for the nomination setting a course for Republican policy that continued until Trump’s election.
Actions speak louder than words. Therefore, if the Republicans who authored the excellent “Proposed Plan for Victory in Ukraine,” are serious about stopping Russian aggression, then they have to start with their own party and ensure the Internationalist policy that has guided Republicans for the last 70 years will not be reversed. As they, themselves, put so eloquently:
“If the United States abandons our Allies like we did in Afghanistan, we will lose our trust and standing in the world as the leader of the free world. Our adversaries and enemies will be emboldened and empowered and the world will become more dangerous. Just as the greatest generation defeated the forces of evil, liberating Europe and the Pacific, we will protect their legacy. The United States can carry the torch of freedom, democracy, and human rights, or she can retreat into a false sense of security. The choice is ours, the time is now, history is on our side.”