It takes a bit of investigation to puzzle it out, but the facts are there for anyone who makes the effort. The United States has only one set of treaty obligations at this time: those that arise from the North Atlantic Charter, which created NATO. There was once a comparable SEATO, which created an alliance of nations in the South-East Asian region, but that treaty has expired. Our other “security commitments” are entirely informal, matters of “understandings” between national administrations.
In particular, we have no treaty obligations to Ukraine.
Recently, Tucker Carlson submitted the question of “what we should do about Ukraine” to a number of prominent politicians and aspirants to high office. That question is obviously pertinent to the ongoing war between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Equally obviously, any contender for the presidency must expect to face that question. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is one prospective contender, albeit undeclared at this time.
Here is the most pertinent part of DeSantis’s response:
While the U.S. has many vital national interests – securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party – becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them. 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.
Sounds pretty moderate, doesn’t it? In good agreement with the Trump Administration’s policy of “America First.” I can find nothing objectionable in it. But then, I’m not a member of the political elite:
Former Vice President Mike Pence, without mentioning Ron DeSantis by name, rebuked the Florida governor Saturday for his isolationist approach to the war in Ukraine….
A sharp divide inside the GOP over U.S. involvement in Ukraine has made Mr. DeSantis the target of widespread Republican criticism for suggesting America should focus on problems closer to home. His approach aligns him with former President Donald Trump, who is warning the conflict could cause “World War III.”
“There must also be a complete commitment to dismantling the entire globalist neocon establishment that is perpetually dragging us into endless wars, pretending to fight for freedom and democracy abroad,” Mr. Trump said in a campaign video Thursday.
Mr. Pence said those who suggest the U.S. can’t take care of its problems at home and still remain the leader of the free world are selling America short.
“That’s a pretty small view of the greatest nation on Earth,” he said. “We can do both.”
The article does mention “declining Republican support” for American involvement in the conflict, but then, the great majority of Republican-aligned voters aren’t members of the political Establishment. At least, we don’t expect defense contractors to help us with our monthly bills.
DeSantis is no better liked than Trump in Establishment circles. Whether the letter after the name is D or R, Establishmentarians are firmly opposed to what Pence has called “isolationist” policy. “Isolationist,” in their idiom, means any lessening of the “GloboCop” posture of the U.S. toward regional wars. They want significant, visible American presence in all such conflicts, regardless of the particulars.
On the Republican side, it might be about maintaining the stream of campaign donations. On the Democrat side, the issue is power, and the prestige that widespread international meddling brings with it. They’re the Twenty-First Century’s descendants of the Nineteenth Century colonialists who sought to impose the rule of their nations on less developed lands “for their own good.” The first of them, Woodrow Wilson, was determined to involve the U.S. in World War I. Democrat presidents since him have eagerly inserted American forces in war after war, regardless of the relevance to American interests.
I submit that ordinary Americans have a strong interest in not being caught up in a war with Russia. Whether or not it would “go nuclear” is a side issue. “Never get into a land war in Asia,” right? Our last foray cost nearly 56,000 American lives and brought us…nothing of value. A war with Russia would be a great excuse for imposing censorship, confiscatory taxes, a renascent draft, and other authoritarian controls on American life. Read up on the activities of General Hugh Johnson during the World Wars for a refresher.
But the Establishmentarians have another agenda…and our interest in remaining alive and free doesn’t factor into it. The “America First” component of the electorate is their enemy. Anyone who claims to speak for it must be destroyed. Like Trump, Ron DeSantis had better watch his back.