As the costs of supporting Ukraine’s war effort soar well beyond $50 billion, high-level officials are seeking to sell Americans on even more military spending, with senators, generals and the Ukrainian president himself each insisting aid to Kiev is vital to American interests, amid rampant inflation, mounting shortages and monumental public debt in the US.
In a statement justifying a recent vote to send another $40 billion in assistance to Ukraine, Republican Senator Ted Cruz argued the move was essential not only for the security of the US, but to ward off a Chinese attack on Taiwan as well.
“If Putin wins in Ukraine, it will confirm for Xi that he can confidently invade Taiwan,” he said, referring to the Russian and Chinese heads of state.
“The reason we should support our Ukrainian allies is because it protects American national security, it keeps America safer, and it prevents our enemies from getting stronger, from threatening the safety and security of Americans, and from driving up the cost, the economic damage, to Americans,” Cruz added.
The reason we should support our Ukrainian allies is because it protects American national security, it keeps America safer, and it prevents our enemies from getting stronger.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) May 23, 2022
Following repeated appeals for additional Western arms, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is now warning that American troops may have to face down the Russians if they are not stopped in Ukraine, adopting a version of the ‘fight them over there…’ slogan popular during the US War on Terror.
“If we fall, if we don’t hold the line, Russia will proceed, attacking the Baltic states – Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia…The US military will have to go to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, according to the fifth article, and they will have to fight there and die there,” he said in an interview with Axios on Monday, citing NATO’s Article 5 collective defense provision.
During his West Point commencement speech over the weekend, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley echoed similar sentiments regarding Ukraine, all while predicting that future wars would be fought against ‘great powers’ like Russia and China.
In a further callback to the Cold War, the top US military officer asserted that such powers would only be encouraged if acts of “aggression” are not met with a serious response.
“Yet again in Ukraine, we are learning the lesson that aggression left unanswered only emboldens the aggressor,” he said.
The three statements somewhat resemble the Cold War-era ‘domino theory,’ which contended that the presence of Communism in one country would quickly spread into neighboring states – a key public rationale behind US intervention in Vietnam. However, former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara acknowledged in 1995 that the theory did not play out as predicted, stating, “I think we were wrong. I do not believe that Vietnam was that important to the Communists. I don’t believe that its loss would have led – it didn’t lead – to Communist control of Asia.”
Updated with contributions from Will Porter.