“We understand that there's concern about the safety, security and sovereignty of Ukraine, but the American people have those same concerns about our own domestic sovereignty.”

Words spoken by House Speaker Mike Johnson in response to a reporter's inquiry as to why he was holding up aid for Ukraine. The question was certainly a challenge to both his political legislative and Christian qualifications.

I would submit that even 100,000 Central American asylum seekers, mostly unarmed, including women and children along the US’ southern border, do not measure up to 150,000 Russian soldiers armed to the teeth with artillery backup at Ukraine's eastern border, as was the case on the eve of Russia's vicious full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

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Lest I should appear to agree on anything with the notorious extremist Steve Bannon, who is also not happy with Johnson and recently offered a rant against the Speaker for negotiating with the White House. He proceeded to attack Johnson's Christianity and suggested it be replaced with Islam, thus forming for the Speaker a backbone made of titanium. I will refrain from further criticism of the Speaker, despite his poor choice of metaphors and bizarre political reasoning.

President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared at the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos to a mostly cordial reception, including assurances that the EU, with its 27 members or 26 members if one excludes Hungary, will approve a €50 billion aid package to Ukraine on or about Feb. 1, 2024. NATO members the UK, France and Germany, along with new aspirant Sweden, have all stepped up recently to fill an obvious void caused by such political primitives as “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) Republicans and Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary.

Russian Missile Wounds 3, Sparks Warehouse Blaze in Odesa
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Russian Missile Wounds 3, Sparks Warehouse Blaze in Odesa

A Russian cruise missile hit a warehouse in the southern port city of Odesa, sparking a fire over thousands of square metres (yards), Ukrainian officials said on Monday.

With strengthening European support, the lack of US leadership will become much less a problem for Ukraine, even if the US reverts to a time not so long ago when Donald Trump was president.  US global leadership was then lacking, much to the amusement of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and then US President Trump was ridiculed by most western allies, even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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So, the ball is now in the US court, not only to help Ukraine win a war where the sides are clearly marked as representative of good and evil. But the mantle of global leadership is moving away from the US, and this represents a more serious problem for Ukraine, the US and the wider world.

The problem of US exceptionalism

To a simple but isolated, even educated but normally selfish mind, the obligations and expenses of global leadership far exceed any perceived benefits. Prestige is a consideration, but to an isolated mind, prestige is only that which is recognized locally.

Much has been made of the fact that the MAGA Republicans cater to, and resultingly are overwhelmingly supported by, those who lack a college degree. This was displayed recently in Iowa. However, much would appear to depend not so much on the level of education as the field of studies. In fact, are so many examples of contradictions in this regard that a meaningful analysis is impossible.

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The views of doctors, lawyers, political scientists, even clerics and divinity students, are varied. Consider such bizarre examples as former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee and his daughter and current governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders who as press secretary for President Trump lied at will.

Why are Evangelicals opposed to aid for Ukraine when the war in Ukraine is manifestly a struggle of good versus evil?

US exceptionalism and the US as the beacon of freedom and hope are simply intangibles. Being the land of opportunity is a well-deserved moniker but also the cause of the country’s problems along its southern border. The biggest impediment to a global perspective is that many Americans have never left the continent. 

Isolationism was a malaise that afflicted Americans only several generations ago. The Japanese woke us up and suddenly we realized that we had interests all over the world. Then we recognized that we were a superpower and were treated as such by the rest of the world.

English became the universal language. If we travelled beyond our shores, we experienced an uplifting treatment, even somewhat undeserved. That treatment was appreciated by some of us. Other Americans took this as an opportunity to become ugly. Nevertheless, our interests beyond the continent compelled us to be involved. And then, of course, there was the moral component largely unknown to the MAGA contingent.

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Ukraine continues to fight the good fight, often relying on US weapons previously provided. The role of Javelins, Patriots and Abrams (soon F-16s) among other weapons the US has manufactured and supplied cannot be overstated.

Still, our investment not only in Ukraine, but in global security and peace, may be wasted unless we protect our investment. These, along with the moral component, are just some of the reasons why the US should not relinquish its mantle of global leadership.

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

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