Overview:

With the midterms producing results that weren't what the GOP were expecting or hoping for, support for Ukraine looks to remains strong.

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The Red Wave never happened, and left-leaning seculars are generally very happy about this considering what might have happened. But for some, this is not just from a political standpoint concerning hot potatoes like Roe v Wade and women’s autonomy, but from the point of view of the geopolitics of the Russia-Ukraine War.

The US has been a stalwart supporter of Ukraine, an ally that has put its money where its mouth is in defending the sovereign nation from the outright illegal aggression of Russia. This was both a moral imperative but also a potentially economically astute move in the context of a looming economic recession. Though many liberals may balk at the idea of supporting the military-industrial complex, it is, for the US, wrapped up inextricably with its economy. Sending out lots of equipment to Ukraine requires that such munitions are manufactured and replaced. Thus, these political stances have economic ramifications, and not always negative.

The Republicans were predicted to make sweeping gains with the GOP looking to take control of both Houses. However, this doesn’t seem to be happening. It’s too early to call at the time of publication, but it appears that the Democrats will only lose the House of Representatives by a slim margin, and could well retain control of the Senate.

In the run-up to the midterms (elections in which, on paper, the incumbent government very rarely does well), the Republicans were making very public sounds concerning continuing support for Ukraine. Minority House leader Kevin McCarthy told Punchbowl News, “I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine. They just won’t do it. … It’s not a free blank check.”

This is, as Republican Rep. Liz Cheney complained months ago, the GOP having a “Putin wing.”

Rep. Michael McCaul, the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, claimed that, in the event of a GOP majority, there would be greater oversight on the Ukraine spending. As The Washington Post previously reported, fringe Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene (but who represents a very vocal base) made a very strident announcement at a rally recently:

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) vowed…that “not another penny” of U.S. funding would be spent to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia if Republicans take control of Congress after the midterm elections. Greene spoke at a Save America rally in Sioux City, Iowa, staged by former president Donald Trump to boost Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), among others, on the ballot.

As Politico reported in September, a then-growing number of GOP lawmakers were prepared to curtail financial and military support for Ukraine. This included Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who claimed that a GOP majority in the House would halt aid to Ukraine altogether.

Matt Gaetz is another Republican to add to this group:

YouTube video

Though there was a consistent and then growing number of Republicans who voted against aid for Ukraine, and though they were becoming more vocal about their position, the results coming in for the midterms will be pretty emphatic.

The US will continue to support Ukraine.

There are a few other reasons for this. First of all, Biden invoked the Lend-Lease Act for the first time since WWII. This allows the US government to give arms and support overseas with minimal expectations of getting it back, and without it needing to be signed off by Congress.

Second, even with a growing contingent of Republican naysayers, with all or most of the Democrats supporting aid packages, Biden’s administration only ever needed a small number of Republicans to support such packages. And there has always been sizeable bipartisan support.

Part of this also has to do with the economic ramifications hinted at above. Many Republicans speak out of both sides of their mouths when it comes to appeasing their voter base while also knowing which side their bread is buttered. There will be a number of Republicans (and Democrats) who are being lobbied by companies and corporations involved in the military-industrial complex who would very much like such aid packages to continue. And such bills might also maintain employment in their constituencies.

This all needs to be taken in the context of a very solid public support for Ukraine that has lasted through the growing cost-of-living crisis that the country has been experiencing.

It would have to take a sweeping victory for the GOP, a veritable wave, to have actually reversed the current trend of support for Ukraine that the US government is committed to continuing to supply. The Red Ripple will not wash away US-Ukrainian support.

However, if China invades Taiwan? Well, that’s another story.

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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...