Despite World War I and World War II both starting in Eastern Europe (The Balkans for WWI, Poland for WW II), Governor Ron DeSantis declared on Monday night via Tucker Carlson, that Ukraine is not in the “vital interest” of the US, as he described it.
The Florida Governor has also described the ongoing war as a “territorial dispute,” instead of a full-on invasion designed to grab land and engage in a degree of ethnic cleansing.
It’s a remarkable climb-down for DeSantis who as a Congressional back-bencher in 2015 believed (correctly in my view) that the Obama Administration wasn’t doing enough to arm and protect Ukraine. But it is far from the first time that DeSantis is now taking a stance that is at odds with his past record. On vaccines, DeSantis was the most aggressive pitchman for months, promoting vaccination before he flipped since it was obviously a wedge issue he could use against Democrats and former President Trump (whose own vaccine position puts him at odds with his base).
DeSantis’ quotes delivered to Tucker Carlson are damming. He indicates “checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party” is the number one geopolitical priority, yet fails to see the Russia-Ukraine war as a proxy dispute between western democracies and Chinese imperial aggression. In his recently released book, he doubled-down in support of the protectionist policies of the Trump years, that we’ve explained numerous times on this site actually enabled and empowered China to increase its global hegemony.
He continued to say…
The Biden administration’s virtual “blank check” funding of this conflict for “as long as it takes,” without any defined objectives or accountability, distracts from our country’s most pressing challenges.
Without question, peace should be the objective. The U.S. should not provide assistance that could require the deployment of American troops or enable Ukraine to engage in offensive operations beyond its borders. F-16s and long-range missiles should therefore be off the table. These moves would risk explicitly drawing the United States into the conflict and drawing us closer to a hot war between the world’s two largest nuclear powers. That risk is unacceptable.Ron DeSantis on Tucker Carlson, March 13, 2023
First off, the objectives are clear- remove the invader from Ukrainian territory and restore Kyiv’s sovereignty over regions illegally occupied or annexed by Russia.
Secondly, Ukraine is a sitting-duck without heavy artillery, and the ability to conduct offensive operations robustly. What DeSantis claims here is that Ukraine should not be able to engage in offensive operations “beyond its borders,” which based on his earlier claim of being a “territorial dispute,” could mean the regions illegally annexed by Russia should not see Ukrainian military offensives per the Governor. That is COMPLETELY unacceptable rhetoric and quite frankly dangerous coming from potential future President of the United States.
DeSantis comments also imply a shared responsibility for the conflict, which puts him on par with the likes Glenn Greenwald and Max Blumenthal on the left and Steve Bannon on the right, in championing a view that the US provoked the conflict – in fairness, DeSantis doesn’t say it directly, but he does strongly imply it.
The DeSantis view on Russia and Ukraine put him on the extreme far edge of opinion even among GOP officeholders, and expose his overriding desire to pander to an increasing strain of isolationist and anti-western views within his party. It’s worth noting former Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and others in the GOP do not share DeSantis’ views on this topic. I don’t believe Florida’s GOP Senators Rick Scott (who has took some well-placed shots at DeSantis on immigration and education this past week) and Marco Rubio agree with this extremist, anti-western alliance view advocated by the Governor.
These comments render DeSantis hopelessly naive and intellectually vapid. They also demonstrate he’s getting some terrible advice from those around him (or maybe he doesn’t really listen to those around him?) .It’s particularly stunning coming from a veteran. It’s unacceptable discourse and it furthers the damage that DeSantis divisive rhetoric on domestic issues has already caused.
Since he might be the next President, let’s hope he wises up and grows up quickly on this issue. Otherwise, our own national security might be in serious peril should he make it to the White House.
I could be wrong, as this is really just speculation, but I don’t think the intended audience for that comment was American. It almost felt like the sort of thing Latin American dictators propped up by the west would say about issues deemed important to the US in the 50s: the general population feels it’s clearly out of touch because it’s being addressed to a foreign power.
[…] this leads to DeSantis overreach this past week – his comments on Ukraine we’ve already dissected, but they are a major cause for concern as they could not only undermine continued support for the […]