Republicans Should Slowly Back Away From Ukraine - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Republicans Should Slowly Back Away From Ukraine

This is not an anti-Ukraine column and it certainly isn’t a pro-Russia column. What it really amounts to is a pro-life column, and particularly a pro-American people column.

And it begins with a recognition that the majority of Americans are pro-Ukraine. Most surveys show that as a people we are disgusted by Russia’s invasion of its neighbor and the atrocities committed there, and most of us want the Ukrainians to win that war.

Most of us would also like to see a world where Russia was run by someone less conniving, less brutal, and more interested in cooperation with the rest of Europe than Vladimir Putin. It’s pretty clear that he’s the bad guy here. For whatever provocations might have been dangled in front of his face, and there have surely been some, launching an offensive war against a sovereign country was a far more savage response than could ever have been warranted.

So all of that has been said. But as the last column in this space noted, this Russia–Ukraine war has outlived its usefulness, and it’s going to become an albatross around the necks of its supporters. Some of those people are Republicans, and they’re going to need to quietly back away from the unquestioning support with billions of dollars we don’t have for the meat grinder in Eastern Europe.

Yes, we want Ukraine to win. What does that look like? Apparently, according to Joe Biden — echoed now by the uber-predictable warmonger John Bolton — the Washington establishment is committed to the idea that winning the Russia–Ukraine war entails regime change in Moscow.

This is something that Hitler and Napoleon couldn’t pull off. Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelenskyy will?

“Why the angst? There is no long-term prospect for peace and security in Europe without regime change in Russia,” Bolton says.

Well, the angst is that Russia has the world’s largest nuclear weapons stockpile, and Putin keeps threatening to use it. If that doesn’t give you angst, you probably shouldn’t be involved in making decisions of this magnitude.

Do I believe Putin will use nuclear weapons against Ukraine or the West? No. Am I absolutely positive in that belief? Also, no.

A good rule is to take your enemies seriously when they say things. Even Joe Biden tells the truth from time to time, though his people often walk back his statements when he does. So when Vladimir Putin says he will drop the hot rocks as part of his war effort, it shouldn’t be discounted as a possibility.

And if he thinks nukes are a valid option to prosecute an offensive war, what do you think he’d say to the idea that we’ll take him out?

If Putin is the megalomaniac our elites continue to paint him as, the only prudent assumption is that he would use nukes to stay in power.

John Bolton does not represent the thinking of the majority of Republican voters. We tend to be a fairly bellicose lot, and on balance we’re willing to send in the troops. But most of us have learned, thanks to the abject failure of our globalist projects in Afghanistan and Iraq, to temper that jingoistic instinct — and watching the woke and vaxxed Biden military turn into a hyper-expensive health plan for the trans crowd has taken a major toll on our interest in deploying it to foreign shores.

The great Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu is said to have advised, “Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.” A wise American leadership would be building that golden bridge for Putin, not openly plotting his downfall.

Which is the direction this thing seems to be going. Every other day Biden is firing off checks for more billions to support the Ukrainians, without a whole hell of a lot of accountability behind the destination of that cash. We already know Ukraine is the laundromat for the globalist gang, and particularly the Biden crime family. It’s impossible not to realize the certainty a great deal of that aid is being stolen.

And should the war escalate, we’re going to eventually come to a choice.

Putin says he’s going to call up and send in 300,000 reserve troops to press an offensive in Ukraine. The problem is that his front-line divisions, the best and brightest who spearheaded the invasion, have mostly been worn to the nub by the Ukrainians using a lot of American surplus gear based on 20- to 30-year-old technology. There is zero reason to believe the 300,000 replacements, fresh out of boot camp, are anything other than cannon fodder.

Of course, the Ukrainians are pretty beat up, too. They’ve got to be more or less at the end of their rope as a cohesive army after their own losses. And there are nowhere near as many reserves Zelenskyy can call up. Though Ukraine is currently on the offensive in Kharkiv and Kherson and might well retake much of those territories. Russia has annexed four of the Donbas regions in eastern Ukraine; the West has rejected the announcements.

Some 12 million Ukrainians have already hit the road as refugees from the war. More are going to leave. The rest of Europe, already in the midst of a massive energy crunch and economic nosedive, isn’t in the best condition to take them in.

Worse, in 2021 Ukraine harvested some 32 million tons of wheat. This year it will harvest 19 million tons. Next year the estimate has it that no more than seven to 10 million tons will be harvested. That country is the bread basket of Europe, but it’s hard to farm effectively in a war zone.

The war will likely fall into a stalemate this winter. If Bolton is correct that there are forces inside Russia willing to move on Putin because the war has gone badly, then Putin will seek to break that stalemate. Either there will be peace talks and a negotiated settlement or things will escalate because he can’t afford for Ukraine to be his Vietnam (or Afghanistan, perhaps more pointedly in both Russia’s case and ours).

Which means nuclear weapons.

And what’s worse is that of late, Putin is not as bellicose as our own government. (READ MORE from Scott McKay: Consequences, Consequences Everywhere)

When Elon Musk tweeted a few days ago the outline of a peace settlement, one which was probably friendlier to Russia than Ukraine and the West would or should agree to, the Russians responded favorably. Ukraine’s leaders reacted with vituperation. And Zelenskyy is now saying he’ll sit at the peace table, but not until Putin is removed.

Nobody really believes Zelenskyy speaks alone. He says what he’s told to say by our government. And that means Vladimir Putin must believe that it’s American policy not to end this war until he is deposed or dead.

Ask yourself this: is the territorial integrity of Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO, worth the loss of an American city to a nuclear strike? If you’re a Republican member of Congress, would you support such a price to be paid?

This is not running from a bully. We’ve proved over the past six months that we could bloody Putin’s nose and leave him staggering. To date the Ukraine war has been a brilliant success from an American military standpoint — we’ve essentially unloaded second-line gear on a proxy and watched them wear out the largest army in Europe.

If the war were to end today, we would have won it decisively. Almost regardless of what settlement is made.

The great Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu is said to have advised, “Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.” A wise American leadership would be building that golden bridge for Putin, not openly plotting his downfall. Sun Tzu warned an opponent with his feet in the river will fight to the death.

When this war escalates, as it likely will without efforts made at building the golden bridge, the politics will turn in both Europe and America. They’ll turn ugly. Should Putin, his power and life threatened by loose talk of regime change, opt to use nukes, an armageddon beckons. No American interests in this war justify such a risk.

We’re less than five weeks from the midterm elections, which seem every bit as existential as the Ukraine mess could be, and the issues on the table cut decisively for the GOP. There is no reason to raise this war up to the public’s conscience as an electoral issue now.

But when the midterms are over, the Republican majority which I predict will arise in both houses of Congress will need to act as a brake to both the Biden administration’s words and actions, and it must serve as a limiting force to escalation of this conflict.

A twofold goal should guide our actions. We should seek a negotiated settlement to the Ukraine war preserving as much territorial integrity as possible for the Ukrainians, and we should offer up a denial of Ukrainian entry into NATO as a consideration for ending that war — something we can do, since we’ve already set a precedent that we would supply Ukraine with military aid as needed if they’re attacked. But if there are areas of the Donbas where the populace actually does want to join Russia, letting those go rather than seeing the war escalate is a sensible decision. Perhaps Putin would be willing to buy Ukraine out of those areas.

And second, given the instability of the Russian energy supply to Europe, the interruption of which by the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines has made clear regardless of who the culprit may have been, it should be American policy that a far larger percentage of the natural gas supplied to Europe than currently flows should come from the United States. We’ve spent more than $65 billion to back the Ukrainians in the war; we should be paid back at a profit by selling LNG to the Europeans.

And this should become Republican policy vis-à-vis Russia and Ukraine. Not regime change in Moscow à la John Bolton’s demand. Lest we forget, our record in installing friendly potentates to replace the ones we depose is not the best, and what comes after Putin could be someone even more unstable, more hostile to America, and quite likely in bed with the Chinese. If that should happen, Russia then becomes North Korea on steroids.

And let’s not doubt that possibility, particularly given the propensity, as Barack Obama noted, of Joe Biden to “f**k things up.”

Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is a contributing editor at The American Spectator  and publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics, and, a national political news aggregation and opinion site. Additionally, he's the author of the new book The Revivalist Manifesto: How Patriots Can Win The Next American Era, available at He’s also a writer of fiction — check out his three Tales of Ardenia novels Animus, Perdition and Retribution at Amazon. Scott's other project is The Speakeasy, a free-speech social and news app with benefits - check it out here.
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