Thursday, May 26, 2022

Hagerty and Blackburn are among the eleven pro-Putin Republicans opposed to arming Ukraine.

by Rod Williams, May 25, 2022 - It has been three months since the Russian unprovoked attack on its neighbor Ukraine.  Against all odds, Russia has failed to take the country.  When the attack occurred, most thought Russia would overwhelm Ukrain within days. It didn't happen. Ukraine successfully stalled the Russian advance and where Russia did take territory it has been recaptured and the Russians forced to withdraw, everywhere except in the eastern Donbas region of the country where Russia is still in control.

Former KGB director Russian President Vladimir Putin clearly wants to rebuild the Russian empire. He has said the collapse of the Soviet empire “was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.”  

He has said, "As for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory." He has taken the position that Russia has an obligation and a right to defend Russian-speaking people anywhere and claims his aggression is on behalf of Russians in other lands. He will fight on behalf of Russians in other countries even if has to kill or make refugees out of most of them in the process. 

He also justifies his aggression based on fear of being encircled by enemies. Of course, NATO and the European Union are no threat to Russia. NATO is a defensive alliance and has no aim to forcibly annex any nation. Both the claim of aiding mistreated Russians in foreign lands and the fear of being encircled by enemies is a rationalization for Putin's aggression. 

Since 2008, Russia has illegally occupied 20 percent of Georgian territory and has essentially made Georgia a client state. In February and March 2014, Russia invaded and subsequently annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. Unless Russian aggression is stopped in Ukraine, the Baltic countries of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia are likely to be the next targets of Russian aggression based on the same logic of aiding Russians in foreign lands and resisting encirclement.

Russia's war on Ukraine has been especially brutal. Russia has not just waged war on Ukraine's military but has targeted civilians, bombing apartment buildings, hospitals, and indiscriminately leveling cities. Russian forces have rounded up and murdered civilians and deported many to areas deep within Russia.

In light of Ukraine's brave resistance and the witness of the horrors of Russian war crimes, most of the civilized world has come to the aid of Ukraine, cutting off Russian access to commerce, boycotting Russia, and giving Ukraine the means to defend itself. The US has stepped up to the plate. While I wish we could have established a no-fly zone, the US is wise to do all it can without directly engaging Russia. A no-fly zone would have no doubt led to open Russian hostility with the US. Russia is a nuclear-armed nation and may very well launch nuclear weapons if war developed with the US or a NATO country. Putin has threatened such. We are wise to avoid direct engagement with Russia but are correct to do all we can short of military engagement. We are doing the morally correct and strategically wise thing by giving Ukraine the means to defend itself. 

Recently, Congress passed a 40 billion dollar aid packet to Ukraine. The bill supplies Ukraine with military, humanitarian, and medical resources. In the Senate, the vote was 81-11, with all votes against coming from Republicans.  The bill had previously passed in the House.

The action of the eleven Republicans disgusts me. Throughout the Cold War, it was Republicans who were steadfast in providing funding for nations resisting Russian aggression and making sure our military was adequately funded to protect our nation. It was Republicans who could be counted on to help weak nations in their fight to remain free. While the Cold War generally had bi-partisan support there was always a segment of Democrats in Congress who voted against funding the Cold War and who were isolationist and some were advocates of unilateral disarmament. 

Now, Democrats are doing the right thing, all of them, and 11 of 50 Republican senators are against giving Ukraine the means to defend itself. We are witnessing David standing up to Goliath and all David asks for is a slingshot and eleven Republican senators say, "no."

Here is the list of Republicans voting against arming Ukraine:

  • Rand Paul, R-Ky
  • Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.
  • John Boozman, R-Ark.
  • Mike Braun, R-Ind.
  • Mike Crapo, R-Idaho
  • Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn
  • Josh Hawley, R-Mo.
  • Mike Lee, R-Utah, 
  • Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.
  • Roger Marshall, R-Kan.
  • Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala. 

If Tennesee had party registration, in protest of the pro-Putin vote of our two Senators I would have to change my registration from Republican to independent. If Hagerty or Blackburn ever pursue a run for the Republican nomination for President, I will vote for someone else. In the next primary, if either is challenged by a sane credible Republican, I will contribute to that candidate's campaign. 

For someone in my income bracket, I contribute a considerable amount to Republican candidates. I am for now abstaining from any contribution to the campaigns of Hagerty or Blackburn or the National Republican Party or The National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC), are any PAC that may funnel money to either of our Senators or any of the other nine Senators on this list.  I have just made a contribution to the campaign of Evan McMullin of Utah, an independent challenging Mike Lee. 

I doubt I will vote for either Blackburn or Hagerty when they next run for election. One does not have to vote for the lesser of two evils. Abstaining is an honorable option. I have been a lifelong Republican and an active Republican. I am still a Republican but not a pro-Putin, appeasement Republican. 

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