If they win, Republicans in MAGA will push to abandon Ukraine and harm American security.
Publicity during the first game of the World Series between the Phillies and the Houston Astros was terrifying — and totally misleading.
He exposed Joe Biden for sending billions in aid and weapons to Ukraine as American cities were flooded with crime and undocumented immigrants. “Joe Biden says his fight in Ukraine could lead to nuclear Armageddon. World War III“, intoned the narrator of the ad. “I say no mas.”
More than 1.1 million viewers “liked” the announcement when it appeared on Twitter.
The sponsor of the ad was a violently anti-immigrant black money group called Citizens for reason, who is linked to Steven Miller, a close White House aide to former President Donald Trump and an anti-immigration czar. Yet the attack on US aid to Ukraine – in language that could have been taken from the Kremlin’s own playbook – was particularly disturbing.
The advertisement is a preview of what to expect if Tuesday’s election returns a GOP majority in the House of Representatives, let alone the Senate. And it’s a gift for Vladimir Putin, who hopes his battlefield losses in Ukraine will be matched by MAGA’s victories in the United States.
GOP anti-Ukrainian rhetoric is mounting, from likely next House speaker, Rep. Kevin McCathy, to the current 57 members of the GOP House, to the choices supported by Trump for the next Congress. (Last month, 30 naively liberal democrats wrote to Biden urging him to pursue a ceasefirethen withdrew the letter, but at least they never called for an end to Ukraine aid.)
Meanwhile, new Twitter boss Elon Musk came up with an extremely stupid proposal, four-point “peace plan” it would effectively destroy Ukraine. And Trump himself announced on Truth social media platform that – unsurprisingly – he is the man to get “a negotiated deal NOW”.
Traditional Republicans, like the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who asks for more help to Ukraine, may struggle to stem a GOP tide that is elevating Putin’s war plans. Venture capital backed by Trump JD Vance says, in his Ohio race for the Senate, “We’ve given Ukraine enough money.” Arizona Senate Candidate MAGA Blake Masters argues that the aid money should go to building a border wall.
These America Firsters blithely ignore the threat Moscow’s war poses to the United States.
Putin thinks he can annex Ukraine by force in Europe because the West is too weak to stop him. It doesn’t matter that it was a practice that supposedly ended after World War II.
The Russian leader claims the right to invade Ukraine because it was once part of historic Russia and then part of the Soviet Union. Through this illogicality, he could seize and annex Alaska, or seize pieces of other European countries that were once ruled by Moscow.
As for a nuclear World War III, the United States and our allies are more likely to face Armageddon if we abandon Ukraine.
Putin and his minions are constantly threatening to use nuclear weapons to see if they can scare the West into abandoning Kyiv. If this nuclear blackmail succeeds, Putin will be encouraged to try the tactic again in Europe or against the United States in a future conflict. In reality, US and UK intelligence agencies see no signs that Putin is ready to use a tactical nuclear weapon.
The Russian leader also claims that Ukraine is considering detonating a dirty bomb (conventional explosives mixed with radioactive material) in order to blame Russia and escalate the war. It’s ridiculous. It is Putin who continues to escalate this war.
Putin’s army is creating a nuclear risk by ignoring demands from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency to withdraw from Ukrainian nuclear power plants occupied. Russia targets Ukrainian civilians daily, with missiles destroying heating and water systems in major Ukrainian cities – a blatant war crime.
But why not dialogue with Putin on the end of the war, as Trump imagines himself doing? Why not press Kyiv to trade land for peace, as Musk has proposed?
The reason is simple: Ukraine wins on the field and Russia loses. So Putin promotes the idea of talks (to any leader he thinks is gullible enough to say yes) in order to salvage his failing war effort. A ceasefire and/or negotiations would only buy Putin time to rebuild his broken army and then resume the war.
“Putin only wants negotiations because he badly needs a break to pull himself together,” says Yevgenia Albats, one of Russia’s top investigative journalists, who left Moscow in August after the Kremlin shut down the latest independent media.
“The idea that Ukraine can get peace if it gives up some of its land is ridiculous,” she told me on Tuesday. “Putin is not going to stop. He cannot afford to stop, as his power is based on the belief of the people around him that he is capable of keeping what he has promised. His plan is to restore the territory of the Soviet Union. He thinks that Ukraine has no right to exist as a state.
Indeed, Russia has already “annexed” four Ukrainian provinces which it partly occupies, after having organized fictitious referendums there. Putin has made it clear that he will not abandon these provinces – unless he is expelled militarily. As long as Putin retains this territory – giving him control of the entire Ukrainian coastline – Ukraine will remain an economically basket case, unable to recover. This is Putin’s goal.
Yet Musk’s brain death plan asks Putin to keep Crimea, while the UN monitors new referendums in the four occupied provinces. Does Musk really believe that the Russian military would allow “fair” elections after torturing and murdering the inhabitants of these territories and expelling half of their population? Or did Putin dazzle Musk in a private conversation?
The pro-‘peace talks’ crowd ignore Putin’s story of breaking key deals. Ukraine voluntarily gave up its nuclear weapons – remnants of Soviet times – under a 1994 deal called the Budapest Memorandum, in which Russia pledged to respect Ukrainian sovereignty. We see how well this agreement has worked.
Moreover, Putin totally twisted the minsk agreements which Kyiv reluctantly signed with Moscow after the first Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014. Had Kyiv accepted Putin’s terms, the Ukrainian government would have lost control of its borders and national affairs.
In other words, Putin sees the peace talks as a step towards achieving his imperial goals.
Putin sees the peace talks as a step towards achieving his imperial goals.
As for the UN’s help in achieving peace, Putin has repeatedly shown his contempt for the world body. He regularly toys with a UN-backed agreementsigned in July, to lift the illegal Russian blockade of the Black Sea on grain exports from Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials told me in July, when I was in Odessa, that the Kremlin would inevitably use the grain deal to bludgeon Kyiv. To clarify this point, Russia attacked the port of Odessa with missiles the day after the agreement was signed. And, days later, Russia murdered Ukraine’s largest private grain merchant and his wife by firing a missile at their bedroom in the port city of Mykolaiv.
Moscow continued to limit grain exports, causing food shortages in Africa and blaming Ukraine for the crisis. Over the weekend, Moscow participation suspended in the deal – and blamed Kyiv for soaring world wheat prices. Then Russia announced on Tuesday that it was resumption of participation.
Who can take Putin’s signed promises seriously? For him, the signed agreements are malleable tools intended to to serve their own political purposes. But with the grain deal, Putin is also playing hunger games with the world’s poor.
Yet the bottom line when it comes to negotiations with Putin is that the West has no right to force a democracy to surrender to a dictator who will create a police state in Ukraine. “Peace talks” can only come if Putin backs down from his plan of conquest, and Ukraine’s sovereignty is guaranteed by Western nations.
Ukrainians are fighting and dying for their freedom, just as Americans did against a much less brutal enemy in the 1770s.
“I think it makes us stronger,” my former interpreter Lena recently texted me from Kyiv. She described searching for water and going without heating after Russian missiles hit the city’s infrastructure last month. “We are looking for ways to help each other,” she told me.
The test for America after Nov. 8 is whether sane Republicans and the Biden White House can coerce MAGA extremists — and warn the American public why supporting Kyiv is essential: Ukrainians are fighting Putin’s efforts to destroy their country so that we don’t. ‘t have to fight it a few years down the road.