WASHINGTON, D.C. — Responding to a request from talk show host Tucker Carlson, Florida governor Ron DeSantis provided a statement on the Russia-Ukraine war that clashes with the Washington establishment’s and mainstream Republicans’ long-held position.
“While the U.S. has many vital national interests – securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party – becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” Governor DeSantis writes.
He is also critical of the Biden administration’s “blank check” for funding the Ukrainian side of the conflict. DeSantis does not want to interfere in Russia’s domestic affairs by engaging in “regime change” attempts to oust Vladimir Putin.
“A policy of “regime change” in Russia (no doubt popular among the DC foreign policy interventionists) would greatly increase the stakes of the conflict, making the use of nuclear weapons more likely. Such a policy would neither stop the death and destruction of the war, nor produce a pro-American, Madisonian constitutionalist in the Kremlin,” DeSantis states.
Tucker Carlson approached all likely Republican presidential candidates with the question of what their stance is on Ukraine. Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo, Asa Hutchinson, John Bolton and Chris Sununu did not provide a response.
Like DeSantis, former President Trump’s answer was also critical of U.S. involvement in Ukraine – but seemingly based on other factors, notably himself:
“Like inflation and numerous other self inflicted wounds and mistakes made over the past two years, Russia would definitely not have raided and attacked Ukraine if I was your President,” Trump wrote, adding that Europe should be footing the $125 billion U.S. bill for the war.
Other Republicans who answered Carlson’s request for comment sided more with the Washington establishment line on the conflict.
Former Vice President Mike Pence’s stance on Ukraine basically contains an admission that the U.S. is conducting a proxy war against Russia by supporting the country:
“When the United States supports Ukraine in their fight against Putin, we follow the Reagan doctrine, and we support those who fight our enemies on their shores, so we will not have to fight them ourselves,” Pence wrote to Carlson.
A recent survey on attitudes among conservatives reveals a deep disconnect between a position like Pence’s and the voting public.
According to the American Principles Project poll of sentiments among 1,000 likely GOP primary voters, respondents say that the most important issues facing the nation are the economy and inflation, immigration and the wide-open U.S. southern border. According to the poll, a Republican candidate who wants to keep funding Ukraine is seen as unfavorable by 50 percent of respondents.
Dr. Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow for defense and policy studies at the Cato Institute and the author of 13 books on geopolitics and global conflict, is among those who have rejected the establishment narrative on Ukraine.
“The country is not a symbol of freedom and liberal democracy, and the war is not an existential struggle between democracy and authoritarianism. At best, Ukraine is a corrupt, quasi‐democratic entity with troubling repressive policies,” Galen argued in an analysis.