Some of my GOP colleagues have lost their moral compass on Ukraine

By Chris Sununu

March 18, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

Chris Sununu, a Republican, is governor of New Hampshire.

“America First” does not mean “America Only.” It means putting our interests first — and that’s what opposing Russia in Ukraine does.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is not a “territorial dispute,” as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis described it this month. Russia is engaged in a war against an innocent people, and it must be condemned. The United States of America is the greatest country on Earth, and we must stand with our allies around the globe to fight aggressive and dangerous regimes that threaten freedom wherever they are.

Simply opposing aid to Ukraine because President Biden supports it is not a viable foreign policy. To abandon Ukraine would set off a negative chain of events for U.S. interests domestically and abroad. Vladimir Putin is knocking at NATO’s doorstep, and without our support — and the support of our European allies — Ukraine will fall, resulting in far graver problems for the United States: conflict across Europe.

For generations, oppressive authoritarian rule has quashed religious freedom and limited individual opportunities across the globe. The United States should stand with freedom-loving people and help support emerging democracies wherever they are. The days of being coy on foreign policy are over.

History has taught us that complacency and appeasement benefit our enemies much more than they benefit the United States. Some in the Republican Party have lost their moral compass on foreign policy, as evidenced by former president Donald Trump, who once called Putin’s invasion “genius” and “savvy.” As Republicans, we should support freedom, not abandon it. We must not equivocate, but rather lead with strength and courage in the mold of Ronald Reagan.There should never be blank checks when it comes to government funding, and all tax dollars must be spent and accounted for wisely. Yet the price the United States is paying in Ukraine today is far less than the price we will face if Putin continues his westward march, threatening the sovereignty and security of NATO.

As a stabilizing global power and the leading democracy on the planet, the United States has a duty to limit authoritarian and tyrannical aggression, whether it’s Russia in Ukraine or China in Taiwan. If we were to abandon Ukraine, the United States would send an unmistakable signal to dictators that the United States does not stand with its allies, nor for the expansion of freedom. Allied countries such as Japan and Australia would be left to wonder if the United States would tolerate Chinese aggression in the Pacific.

U.S. resolve is being tested, and Xi Jinping is watching. It is easy to see what happens next: Russia and China get stronger; the United States gets weaker. China, emboldened, sees an opening in Taiwan, conflict cascades, and the United States faces an existential threat.

The idea that our support of Ukraine is creating a partnership between China and Russia is a straw man. China and Russia have colluded against U.S. interests for over a decade, and this war has weakened Russia.

What if we had considered Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 just a “territorial dispute”? Under President George H.W. Bush, the United States reestablished itself as the trusted leader of the free world by building a world coalition, supporting our allies and protecting U.S. interests.

Unfortunately, Putin is now hearing future leaders of the United States speak with a lack of commitment against such aggression.

As Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Today, our commitment to freedom’s legacy is being tested. My hope for the Republican Party — and for the United States — is that we continue to stand with freedom for generations to come.

Resolve is the United States’ most powerful tool in worldwide conflicts. We need to show it. Our hopeful vision for the world must be aspirational and ambitious, not apathetic and indifferent.


  1. He sounds like a good bloke!
    However; he says : “There should never be blank checks when it comes to government funding, and all tax dollars must be spent and accounted for wisely. Yet the price the United States is paying in Ukraine today is far less than the price we will face if Putin continues his westward march, threatening the sovereignty and security of NATO.”

    There was a blank check for a genocidal dictator: Stalin, when he came over to our side. The asshole got today’s equivalent of $300bn, with no expectation of repayment.
    Britain got a similar amount but paid it all back. It took until 2008.
    So the phrase “no blank checks” is not appropriate for Ukraine, whose assistance needs to double.

    • I think that the term “blank check” here is meant to prevent mismanagement of funds that a blank check could embolden. Ukraine still has problems with corruption, unfortunately. I agree that it’s better to offer Ukraine what it needs and to have full accountability of what’s given. I’m afraid that there is no other way to maintain the current level of support in the US for aid to Ukraine, or even to increase it.

      • I’m afraid that the pejorative: “no blank check” is always an attempt to slur Ukraine with corruption allegations by its enemies. Does anyone seriously think that Trumpkov isn’t corrupt? Plenty of countries in the EU are more corrupt than Ukraine, including the EU itself, which has not produced audited accounts for many years.
        Did anyone use the term “no blank checks” when handling shitloads of money to Stalin, whose regime was many times more corrupt than modern Ukraine?

        • I get your point, Scradge. However, that doesn’t help much in any debate about blank checks. What exactly does a blank check mean? The sky’s the limit. No one wants that, not the US, nor the UK, Germany, NATO, EU or anyone else. But, this does not mean that Ukraine will not and should not get what it needs to win this fight. They don’t need a blank check. They need what they said they need, and this is the least that we should do.

          • They are getting enough to prevent the catastrophe of a takeover and all the horror that entails. They are not getting anywhere near enough to drive the putinazis out forever.
            I’d say a blank check IS exactly what is needed, but I (and Ukraine) would settle for the $300Bn that Stalin got. Britain should also chip in proportionally.
            The backers of putler’s defeat could and would get their money back in the form of shares in Ukraine’s immense mineral wealth.
            A deal could be stitched up now that would say in effect; “help us win now and win big and you will be repaid with interest.”

            • I fully agree. On this note, I wonder what the price tag would be if we just handed over masses of material that’s just sitting around our humongous storage facilities. Only 10% or 20% would do a world of good, and it would not even strain our budget. The Abrams alone, stupidly being build extra for Ukraine, has a heft price tag.

    • Also, he fucking copied everything the Americans gave and then sold it all over the world.

      Helping the Soviet Union taking on Nazi-Germany was probably the worst mistake the U.S. ever made.

      They had a unique chance to solve many problems at once: the Soviets and Germans fighting each other till death.

      The enemy of my enemy is my friend is not great advice if both were enemies to begin with and are at war with each other.

      Then you shouldn’t support neither of them, but let them slaughter each other.

  2. Alas, many in the US have been confused about Trump’s call to make America great. No surprise there, because Trump himself is confused about what it takes to make us great again. Now, the DeSantis camp has joined the confused circus show to help catch the vote of every confused fish in this sea of confusion. Are you now also confused?
    It’s not so confusing, if you use the brain that you were born with. Letting a country like the RF win a war against an innocent, brave and strong-willed people is not what America is about. This is not what makes us great. What Trump and DeSantis want us to do, is like a dog, quickly disappearing into his doghouse with his tail between his legs. We are better than that! Especially in the face of a very evil country being led by a wanted war criminal! Are we willing to sink so low?

  3. As an older Reaganite, neither Trump or DeSantis will get my vote. I’ll vote Democrat if I have to.

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