The Ukraine crisis is bring out a serious divide within Republicans over how the US should respond, and it is being fought out day by day in the Ohio Senate race. The two leading candidates are Jane Timken, a more establishment figure supported by Mitch McConnell, and J.D. Vance, who is taking a Trumpist, "American First" line. (New York Times) On Monday Timken put out a statement
supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and calling for sanctions on Russia, while condemning Biden for what she called “weak and feckless leadership.”Vance responded
I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine one way or another.Then retired Army general and defense consultant Barry R. McCaffrey tweeted
JD Vance is a shameful person unsuitable for public office. His comments are those of a stooge for Russian aggression..
To which Vance replied:
Your entire time in military leadership we won zero wars. You drank fine wine at bullshit security conferences while thousands of working class kids died on the battlefield. Oh, by the way, how much do you stand to gain financially from a war with Russia, Barry?
One of Vance's advisers, Ryan James Girdusky, said,
The G.O.P. base were the ones who saw their kids from red states die and get wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. How many Ukrainians would lay their life down to protect the U.S.?
On the one hand I want us to have a serious debate about any war before we throw ourselves into it, and I like the honesty of people who say, "I don't care enough about Ukraine to fight Russia over it." Some of these folks also worry a lot about China and would prefer to keep the peace with Russia and focus on what they see as our real enemy.
But the way Trump and his cronies talk up Putin and reflexively take his side bothers me. The man is a vicious, murderous liar who makes no secret of his desire to restore the Russian empire. What should we think about people who admire him so much? Can they be trusted about anything?
I find myself wondering a lot about how to balance the horrible cost of a US-Russia war against the cost to humanity and civilization of surrendering Ukraine to a vicious dictator, and hoping we don't have to choose.