Greene emerged from the extremist fringe of the Republican base, initially known for promoting the hysterical conspiracy theories of QAnon, an extremist ideology based on false claims. But her short tenure has catapulted her into the national spotlight; she has become an embodiment of the energies driving the right-wing movement in the United States. While there is no unified consensus within the Republican caucus on how best to support Ukraine, Greene represents a constituency as much as more established figures like Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has urged the Biden administration to urge military to provide aid to Kiev on a larger scale and faster.
And maybe she’ll have reinforcements in Congress after Tuesday. A Republican-led House is expected to, among other things, incite the Biden administration over its approach to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and increase political pressure on Iran. But Ukraine may also feel the pinch, as Congress has already given the green light more than $60 billion in aid and Kiev is calling for more from the West. It remains locked in an existential conflict with Russia, cities have been hit by indiscriminate rocket attacks and entire communities displaced or besieged.
Ahead of the election, several GOP lawmakers and candidates have signaled that the fire hose of funding should be shut down.
“I think people will be in a recession and they won’t be writing a blank check to Ukraine,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) recently told Punchbowl News. “They just don’t do it.”
“I think we’re at the point where we’ve given enough money in Ukraine, really. … The Europeans must stand up,” said JD Vance, the Republican nominee for the US Senate in Ohio. “And frankly, if the Ukrainians and the Europeans, more importantly, knew that America wouldn’t foot the bill, maybe they’d go a step further.”
In Ohio, Vance faces resistance in Ukrainian community over attitude to war
Marjorie Taylor Greene’s announcement that the GOP would stop sending money to Ukraine is not about cost. It’s about the rhetoric and her longstanding sympathy for Russia’s position. https://t.co/UzwVnVKYXw
— Philip Bump (@pbump) Nov 5, 2022
The current mood marks a striking departure from not-so-distant paradigms. For years, Republicans have been the party more prone to militarism and aggressive foreign policy. That is arguably still the case on many fronts, but the war in Ukraine has unraveled a curious seam in American politics. The Biden administration’s energetic and effective approach — at least, according to European diplomats in the US capital — to bolster Ukraine’s defenses and rally Western partners to its cause has resulted in an open-ended mission. President Biden and his allies all framed the fight for Ukraine as a fight for the future of democracy and the liberal order itself.
Meanwhile, Democrats on their party’s left are struggling to even express skepticism about ongoing efforts to support Ukraine’s war-prosecution — a situation best illustrated last month by the haunted saga surrounding a largely anonymous letter from a bloc of progressive Democratic lawmakers who called on the Biden administration to work on negotiations and a ceasefire with Russia, even as the United States continues to support Ukraine militarily.
The irony, as my colleagues reported this weekend, is that the Biden administration is indeed quiet pressure on Ukrainians to drop their refusal to enter into a dialogue with the Kremlin, as part of an effort “to ensure that the government in Kiev maintains the support of other countries facing constituencies that are be wary of fueling a war for years to come.” Nevertheless, the letter sparked a heated response from other Democrats last month and was clumsily withdrawn, with some of the signatories stressing that they did not want to be seen in the same light as Republicans eager to pull the plug on support for Kiev. .
About those Republicans, Danielle Pletka, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Republican Senate foreign policy officer, told the New York Times that McCarthy’s comment about not giving Ukraine a “blank check” “was just a toe in the water of this growing divide within the Republican Party between the traditionalist, internationalist wing and the populist Orban wing of the party.” She referred to illiberal Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who commands a curious degree of devotion among the American right and is Europe’s leading Kremlin-friendly statesman.
Democrats have warned that if former President Donald Trump returns to center stage — it looks like he will soon announce his presidential run in 2024 — the wind in Washington will start to turn. “I just see a freight train coming, and that’s Trump and his operation is turning against aid to Ukraine,” Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told MSNBC last month. “If the House Republicans took the majority, they would be supernaturally against everything Joe Biden is for — including the war in Ukraine — and there is a real crisis where the House Republican majority would refuse to provide additional aid to Ukraine. supports.”
Senate, House, abort governor races that could turn in the middle
Scoop: Biden administration personally encourages Ukrainian leaders to show openness to negotiate with Russia and drop their public refusal to participate in peace talks unless Putin is removed from power, sources say https://t .co/f6OuXn6hph
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) Nov 5, 2022
Ukraine casts a long shadow over Trump’s tenure. His first impeachment by a Democrat-led House was provoked by Trump’s attempts to forcefully arm the Ukrainian government to aid his own domestic political feuds. And going back further, Trump and his circle had a bunch of connections with Ukrainian and Russian agents bent on overthrowing a political dispensation in Kiev that was unfavorable to the Kremlin, as detailed in the New York Times Magazine of this week.
For what all this is worth, many in Ukraine are concerned about the road ahead.
“The US midterm elections are one of the factors worrying us about the winter,” a senior Ukrainian official told my colleagues last month, on condition of anonymity as Ukrainian troops armed almost entirely by the West sought more territory. to reclaim what had been lost to the invaders. “Russia will gain an advantage from the new Congress and from Europeans if they blackmail them about energy policy. That is why the current offensive is so important.”
There are also fears of a reduction in US aid to Ukraine in Europe, where many governments may not have the capacity or political will to fill the gap. “You would capitalize on” [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s hands,” Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defense committee in the British Parliament, told my colleagues. “If America pulls back, Putin could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.”
A similar awareness is visible among the Kremlin fortune tellers.
“Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ formula, MAGA, those are the guys that start to say, ‘Why are we funding not just America’s interests, but Biden’s personal interests, the interests of puppeteers behind Biden’s back? ‘ Russian political scientist Sergey Sudakov said on a state television news program last week, adding: “I’m sure the Republicans will win.”