We in this country, in this generation, are – by destiny rather than choice – the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of peace on earth, good will toward men.’ That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: "except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."

John F. Kennedy, Nov. 22, 1963

“We in this country... are… the watchmen on the walls of world freedom.” So President John F. Kennedy would have said at the Dallas Trade Mart on Nov. 22, 1963, had he not been shot down earlier that day by Lee Harvey Oswald, an ex-Marine who had defected to the Soviet Union.

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Kennedy was not alone in his view that the free world should be defended. He represented a united American leadership carrying on a tradition established by President Franklin Roosvelt, who in the dark days of 1940, had declared that, rather than deserting the brave British then defending freedom’s walls for us, the US should become “the arsenal of democracy. 

So, despite Kennedy’s assassination and all the partisan chaos endemic to democracy, America persisted in holding the line.

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This commitment was non-negotiable. We knew that there was no peace to be found through desertion. As Ronald Reagan told the Republican national convention in July 1980: “We know only too well that war comes not when the forces of freedom are strong, but when they are weak. It is then that tyrants are tempted.” 

As a result of this sustained resolve, not only were the democracies of western Europe protected from communist domination, but the captive nations of eastern Europe were freed, and are now vibrant members of the free world alliance.

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But now, apparently, those days are over. Notwithstanding the assassination of his uncle and his father by individuals with enemy (Moscow, Castro, PLO) ties, Robert F. Kennedy Jr would withdraw all US forces from their posts around the globe. This kookery is nearly matched by that offered by putative Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy (Vivek would only abandon the defense of the Eastern Hemisphere) and accommodated by actual candidates Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. 

Most importantly, in votes this weekend, the House Republican caucus made it clear that their number one priority in budget negotiations was to cut off aid to Ukraine. That is, rather than accept a deal negotiated by (then) Speaker Kevin McCarthy that would have imposed substantial fiscal restraint on the federal government – including 30 percent cuts in numerous liberal hobby-horse programs – but preserved military aid to Ukraine, the Republicans accepted an agreement that did the exact opposite. 

Republicans have expressed outrage at the Democrats’ accusations claiming that Donald Trump has been involved in colluding with the Kremlin. Indeed, so long as such charges were based on little more than questionable dossiers assembled by partisan figures such as Rep Adam Schiff (D-CA) there were reasonable grounds to cry foul. But what can one say when the controlling faction of House Republicans makes assuring Russian victory their top priority?

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Let us be clear: Cutting off aid to Ukraine is collusion with Russia.

Furthermore, it is also collusion with Beijing. Russia and China are allies. If Russia conquers Ukraine, it will greatly enhance its material and technological power, delete Ukraine’s million-man army from the West’s order of battle, advance its forces to the borders of NATO members Poland and Romania, and eliminate its strategic weakness along its southwest border that otherwise would constrain its ability to attack elsewhere.

Under these circumstances, the US would be faced with a choice. Either we would send half a million troops and matching airpower to defend Europe, or we would not. If we do, we will divert the forces and funds needed to contain China in Asia. If we don’t – as is more likely, given the wall deserters’ clear preference for global retreat – the idea of American protection will be discredited, and countries everywhere will move to cut their deals with the world’s new masters. 

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This catastrophe must be prevented. In this hour, the US needs Reagan Republicans, not Putin Republicans. President Biden has been weak and indecisive in his support of Ukraine. The alternative offered by the Republican Party should be leadership that offers victory, not accelerated defeat followed by global rout. 

By destiny, rather than choice, we are the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We need to live up to that role.

Robert Zubrin is an American aerospace engineer. His newest book, The Case for Nukes: How We Can Beat Global Warming and Create a Free, Open, and Magnificent Future, was recently published by Polaris Books.

The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily of Kyiv Post.

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