China might soon give it a run for its money, but no foreign nation has been dragged deeper into US politics in recent years than Ukraine.
In 2019, a rookie President Volodymyr Zelensky (top right) was the unfortunate recipient of what Donald Trump misleadingly termed a “perfect” call: The then-US president tried to use military aid to extort him to open an investigation into his eventual Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Ukraine has played a huge role in Biden’s presidency as well -- after the brutal Russian invasion led to an extraordinary US and Western attempt to ensure its survival with billions of dollars in arms and aid.
Now, as it heads into the second year of a vicious war, Ukraine’s plight is again about to be tied up in America’s extreme and shifting politics. First, radical members of the new Republican majority launched an attempt to halt its lifeline of American aid. The stirring Republican presidential race meanwhile brings more bad news, with two potential top candidates who take a dim view of Kyiv’s fight for freedom.
Trump says he'd end the war in Ukraine in one day -- claiming that doing so would avert World War III -- while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (top middle) is keener on waging a culture war than a proxy one to save a foreign democracy.
Their positions might be bad news for democracy, but they make sense politically in the scorched earth politics of the Republican primary. Support for US military aid to the country has decreased compared with last spring, according to an AP-NORC survey conducted in late January -- and the decline was sharper among Republicans, falling from 53% in May 2022 to 39% .
In a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, Trump seemed eager to rekindle his genuflecting relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Before I even arrive at the Oval Office, I will have the disastrous war between Russia and Ukraine settled. ... I will get the problem solved. And I will get it solved in rapid order and it will take me no longer than one day," Trump said. "I know exactly what to say to each of them," he added, before hinting at a potential strategy of siding with the aggressor in the war by reminding his audience, "I got along very well with Putin."
DeSantis has yet to declare his campaign. But he’s already warned against the possibility of a proxy war with China in Ukraine after Washington told Beijing not to send weapons to Russia. And in his new book, he lashed out at US democracy promotion overseas, especially under ex-President George W. Bush who launched the Iraq war 20 years ago this month. A tough primary against Trump, who is gearing up to accuse Biden of caring more for Ukrainians than Americans, would probably force DeSantis to adopt his former mentor’s hardline position.
If one of these two Republicans were to win the White House, Biden’s vow to stand with Russia in its fight for Ukraine may have an expiry date: The day of the next US presidential inauguration on January 20, 2025.
Postar um comentário