The GOP’s pro-Russia caucus lost. Now Ukraine has to win

The GOP’s pro-Russia caucus lost. Now Ukraine has to win

Anne Applebaum writes:

It’s not too late, because it’s never too late. No outcomes are ever preordained, nothing is ever over, and you can always affect what happens tomorrow by making the right choices today. The U.S. Congress is finally making one of those right choices. Soon, American weapons and ammunition will once again start flowing to Ukraine.

But delays do have a price. By dawdling for so many months, by heading down the blind alley of border reform before turning back, congressional Republicans who blocked weapons and ammunition for Ukraine did an enormous amount of damage, some of it irreparable. Over the past six months, Ukraine lost territory, lives, and infrastructure. If Ukraine had not been deprived of air defense, the city of Kharkiv might still have most of its power plants. People who have died in the near-daily bombardment of Odesa might still be alive. Ukrainian soldiers who spent weeks at the front lines rationing ammunition might not be so demoralized.

The delay has changed American politics too. Only a minority of House Republicans, including Speaker Mike Johnson, joined most Democrats to approve $60 billion in aid yesterday. What is now clearly a pro-Russia Republican caucus has consolidated inside Congress. The lesson is clear: Anyone who seeks to manipulate the foreign policy of the United States, whether the tin-pot autocrat in Hungary or the Communist Party of China, now knows that a carefully designed propaganda campaign, when targeted at the right people, can succeed well beyond what anyone once thought possible. From the first days of the 2022 Russian invasion, President Vladimir Putin has been trying to conquer Ukraine through psychological games as well as military force. He needed to persuade Americans, Europeans, and above all Ukrainians that victory was impossible, that the only alternative was surrender, and that the Ukrainian state would disappear in due course. [Continue reading…]

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