Editor, The Beacon:
There is a minority voice in the Republican Party that advocates cutting American financial and military aid to Ukraine. The argument is that this money would be better spent here at home. It would be useful to remember some history before this questionable view is embraced.
World War II in Europe began when Germany invaded Poland in 1939. The United States did not enter this war until Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan in 1941. However, there was no hesitation on President Franklin Roosevelt’s part to provide Britain with as much financial and military aid as possible prior to Pearl Harbor. We understood the danger that the Axis powers (Germany, Japan, Italy) presented to our own nation’s welfare and security.
There is a similar scenario being played out today. Russia has invaded Ukraine with the goal of destroying Ukraine’s national identity and assimilating it into Russia. Russian President Putin has stated his goal is to win back either politically or militarily the nations that declared their independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. This would include a number of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states.
Putin, a former communist secret-police officer, hopes to re-create a neo-Soviet Union. He anticipates a conflict with NATO, an organization we founded to contain the spread of communism after World War II.
There was sound justification for creating NATO. Our national security rests on the international alliances we have scrupulously developed to insure global peace and cooperation.
We recognized that Hitler would not be content with taking Czechoslovakia and then Poland. And we should recognize now that Putin will not be content with taking only Ukraine. He has publicly voiced his ambitions, and they present a serious threat to our European allies, and to the United States.
We can hope and pretend that Putin can be accommodated and cajoled into some diplomatic solution to the current war with Ukraine. Britain’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain flew to Munich, Germany, with the same hopes in 1938. We saw the consequences of his efforts.
It would behoove us to have a nonpartisan response to Putin’s aggression. We should supply both Ukraine and our NATO allies with sufficient military aid to stop Putin before he can realize his broader ambitions. Those who question our commitment to NATO and Ukraine would be wise to review the consequences of appeasement.