The US Republican Party, in both the Senate and House of Representatives, has many members who understand what’s at stake and do support additional Ukraine assistance. But it’s also within the Republican Party that strong voices against additional Ukraine assistance can be heard. This intense debate is growing more vocal and frustrating as the 2024 election approaches. 

Many Republicans are imposing a demand that there be “no blank check” for Ukraine (one has never been requested, but it makes a great sound bite) unless the Biden administration can clearly outline the “end game” for what additional funding would gain for American taxpayers.

This is analogous to telling the doctor trying to treat a potentially fatal, but curable cancer condition, that you refuse to pay for any more chemo unless he can guarantee successful results. He can only try (again) to explain that without more chemo, the patient will almost certainly die, with great suffering as the disease plays out. 

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Some Republicans insist they will refuse Ukraine assistance until they are told: “What would another $60 billion do that $100 billion couldn’t do?” That is absolutely the wrong question. They, the Ukraine support “deniers,” haven’t been asked pointedly enough: “What is the ‘endgame’ plan if the worst-case scenario is allowed to unfold in Ukraine?”

Four Months of Hell – A Ukrainian POW Tells of Daily Russian Torture
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Four Months of Hell – A Ukrainian POW Tells of Daily Russian Torture

Every day, Taganrog prison was filled with the sounds of screams, squeals, and crying.

Even without adequate weaponry and funding, we know that Ukraine will continue to resist, as it must. Otherwise, they face complete elimination and a horrific, Stalinesque “cleansing” that Putin would surely inflict. In this scenario, a determined, emboldened Putin will have his forces march (in spite of heavy losses) completely across the country, destroying cities and lives in the process and parking his army at the border with NATO. All the politicians who promised EU and NATO membership to Ukraine would be left holding an empty bag, and new issues.

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Don’t feel threatened by Russia? You think NATO, as it is, is rich and strong enough to contain Russia? Not so fast… 

This war is proving that combat technology has evolved dramatically. We are always prepared, as they say, for the last war. Tanks and APCs are so WWII and Cold War. Now, without sufficient quantity of reconnaissance and combat drones, without enough trained and experienced operators to use them, conventional combatants will be lucky to survive, let alone succeed.

Ukraine has creatively pioneered and demonstrated the effectiveness of drones on the battlefield. How long will it be before combat is completely dominated by AI-equipped autonomous drones that can shoot down other drones, kill tanks and hunt individual soldiers on the field of battle? “Air superiority” will require a new definition. 

Russia has learned and is very aggressively chasing and possibly surpassing Ukraine in drone capability. They are putting a lot of effort into mass producing drones. From the front lines, reports indicate Russia’s efforts are paying off. Has the US and NATO kept up? I admit I don’t know, but I suspect neither does the Republican Party.

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But wait, there’s more!

I will not attempt to deliver yet another dissertation on the loss of respect for the collective West that aggressive autocratic governments around the world would clearly enjoy in the event of a Putin victory. This has been addressed thoroughly in the media. 

But it does bring us to this question for the intransigent Republicans: What is their plan for adequately defending against an emboldened China, Iran, North Korea and Russia, fresh from a victory handed to Putin, who would then be in command of the best trained and experienced operators of the largest fleet of drones in the world? How much will that cost?

The Republican Party should not be allowed to sit back, throw stones and vote “no.” They have to stand up and face the questions that swirl about the future and how many more billions of dollars will be required if they manage to let this crisis deteriorate. Time is important! Stop thinking, or implying, or saying that we need to move on with “negotiations” instead of support!

Putin doesn’t want peace! He wants victory - the elimination of Ukrainian culture, government, existence as a sovereign nation and much of it’s population. 

Doug Hiller was a USAF F-16 Instructor Pilot at MacDill AFB, FL from 1983 to 1986. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Virginia Tech (1974) and a MS in International Relations from Troy University (1980). He’s an amateur triathlete living in Virginia.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post. 

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