If you had any doubts that Ron DeSantis is living rent-free in the minds of many, the reaction to his recent statement on Ukraine should quell them. The Florida governor has been taking incoming from all sides because he had the audacity to say that becoming “further entangled” in the conflict by sending long-range weaponry doesn’t constitute a “vital” national interest.
Few stopped to ponder the nuance of his position, which did not call to suspend all aid or abandon Ukraine. Instead, the Ukraine-flag-wearing brigade jumped into action to let it be known that DeSantis was a “Putin puppet.” Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham went to the old well of bringing up Nazi Germany.
You know, because every single conflict is just like Hitler’s conquest of Europe, and anyone who isn’t enthusiastic about any of those conflicts must be Neville Chamberlain (The New York Times).
Lindsey Graham is not taking DeSantis’s Ukraine statement well. “The Neville Chamberlain approach to aggression never ends well,” said Graham, comparing DeSantis to the British prime minister who appeased Adolf Hitler. w @maggieNYT https://t.co/njtD1SBAcB
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) March 14, 2023
Before we get to Graham, though, here’s a comment by Liz Cheney from the same article.
“DeSantis is wrong and seems to have forgotten the lessons of Ronald Reagan,” said former Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who led the House select committee investigating Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
This drives me insane because it’s such a ridiculously dishonest rewriting of history. Ronald Reagan was not a died-in-the-wool neoconservative who went full-bore into every conflict he faced, directly or indirectly. In fact, the neoconservative wing spent much time during Reagan’s two terms criticizing the president as an appeaser. Michael Brendan Doughty recently chronicled some examples, including headlines like “The Neo-Conservative Anguish Over Reagan’s Foreign Policy” and “Appeasement By Any Other Name.”
Nicholas again lets moralizing get In the way of history. Long before the arms treaties and “summitry” they accused Reagan of helping Moscow stabilize the Soviet system after the challenge from Solidarity. https://t.co/tJPVFyEHC9
— Michael Brendan Dougherty (@michaelbd) March 17, 2023
Liz Cheney is as far away from Reagan’s more thought-out, smart foreign policy as is possible to be. That she and other neoconservatives now want to claim the mantle of Reagan is laughable.
But I digress, let’s talk about Graham’s rantings.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said in an interview on Tuesday morning that he “could not disagree more” with Mr. DeSantis’s characterization of the stakes attached to the defense of Ukraine.
“The Neville Chamberlain approach to aggression never ends well,” said Mr. Graham, comparing Mr. DeSantis to the British prime minister who appeased Adolf Hitler. “This is an attempt by Putin to rewrite the map of Europe by force of arms.”
I am begging Republican hawks to realize that history didn’t start and end in 1938. For all the flack Chamberlain catches, there was essentially no chance that the broader European powers were going to go to war at that point in time to stop Hitler’s early encroachment. The United States itself was firmly neutral and had no intentions of getting involved. Bringing up Chamberlain like a drunk parrot every time someone offers any nuance about any conflict is lazy and pathetic.
Unfortunately, that pretty much describes Graham perfectly. He has a foreign policy record so bad that he rivals Joe Biden’s five decades of abject failure. Graham has never met a conflict he didn’t support not only fighting but escalating to absurd levels.
What makes that worse, though, is his complete lack of attrition over those failures. He’s never once sought to reevaluate his position on the Iraq War, or the even less defensible actions in Syria and Libya. The latter two conflicts have seen nearly a million people die so that Libya could become a modern-day slave hub and Syria could be left in ruins fighting US-backed Islamists that the people don’t even support.
Graham has never shown an ounce of introspection about his immoral, deadly decisions. He was gung-ho for “regime change” no matter what because he’s a simpleton who treats foreign policy like a scrap in a schoolyard. Back in the real world, there are unintended consequences to every move made, and if those aren’t properly analyzed, lots of innocent people die for very little gain.
In other words, Graham can kindly go jump in a lake with his moralizing over Ukraine. DeSantis did not call to allow Russia to take over the Eastern European nation. All he did was suggest that the current conflict, which has devolved into a dispute of regions fought over since 2014 was not a vital national interest, and he’s right. At some point, the United States must decide what the end game is because that end game is not likely to result in Ukraine retaking Crimea.
Lastly, I can’t help but notice Graham’s total silence about Donald Trump’s even more isolationist position on Ukraine. Could that be because Graham endorsed Trump a few months ago for the 2024 presidential nomination? If so, that sure makes the South Carolina senator seem like an opportunistic hypocrite, does it not?
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