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Thomas Massie Stands Up to the Anti-Russia Hawks
Will more Republicans join the Kentucky Congressman to stop this insane proxy war?
Did Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) just prevent the United States from heightening tensions with Russia?
On January 30, 2023, President Joe Biden announced that the United States government will not supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets. Ukraine has long coveted these aircraft during its conflict with Russia, which is now approaching its one-year anniversary.
Massie has been one of the most vocal opponents of delivering advanced weapons systems to Ukraine. Prior to Biden’s announcement, Massie bluntly proclaimed that sending F-16s to Ukraine in order to confront a nuclear power in Russia is a bad idea:
Deploying offensive weapons against a nuclear power is a terrible idea.
In the past few weeks, lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have been calling for the Biden administration to ramp up military aid to Ukraine. Several weeks ago Ukraine was able to secure battle tanks from the US and other Western nations such as Germany. From there, Ukrainian authorities have pushed for the US to send the embattled country F-16s in its fight to fend off Russian forces who have made gradual gains in eastern Ukraine.
According to a Ukrainian air force spokesman, Ukrainian pilots would need approximately 6 months of training on these fighter jets to be battle ready. Thus far, the US has prioritized the delivery of artillery, armor, and ground-based air defense systems to Ukraine, which defense experts believe are essential for Ukraine to possess in its military struggle with Russia.
Ukraine has been preparing to launch a new offensive in the spring with the aim of retaking territory, which has intensified calls for supplying it with F-16s to facilitate this ambitious task. Previously, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), stated that he was “not against” supplying F-16s to Ukraine. However, he signaled that he favors supplying Ukraine with “whatever works.”
You can’t half-ass a war. Putin’s not. You’ve got to meet Putin armor for armor, weapon for weapon, because there’s already an extraordinary disadvantage in number of troops. Whatever works, whatever they need, send to them. My message when I first started talking about this is what were once vices are now habits. Everything we ever proposed was seen as escalatory. I’m not opposed to it. It’s just not at the top of the list of anybody’s priorities who’s focused on what [weapons] the fight really needs right now.
As for the Senate, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) previously issued a statement praising the Biden administration for sending tanks to Ukraine. However, the bipartisan grouping of Senators demanded that the US quickly provide fighter jets and long-range artillery systems.
In the statement, the Senators said the following:
The combination of tanks, fighter aircraft, and ATACMS will help Ukraine confront the upcoming Russian offensive and go on offense in both the east and the south in an attempt to further erode Russia’s capability to continue fighting in Ukraine. Let’s give the Ukrainians everything they need to win — now.
Thankfully, the Biden administration ended up not fully committing to sending F-16s to Ukraine. At least, for the now. Thankfully, the presence of elected officials such as Massie has been able to temper some of DC’s most hawkish tendencies.
However, the threat of tensions escalating between Russia and the West remains strong. While Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine was a geopolitical earthquake of epic proportions, there is no real reason for the US to get involved here. Given the multitude of domestic problems the US is facing — spanning inflation to a collapsing border — getting into a conflict with a nuclear power would be the height of political absurdity.
While Americans can breathe a temporary sigh of relief knowing that F-16s won’t be deployed to Ukraine anytime soon, the specter of war is always around the corner. Hopefully, more elected officials take Massie’s lead and start questioning the merits of the proxy war the US is trying to prosecute against Russia.
A nuclear conflict is a lose-lose scenario for the world no matter how one slices it.
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