“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, certainly, a challenge to both his political and Christian “bona fides.” I would submit that even a 100,000 Central American asylum seekers, including women and children, at America’s southern border do not measure up to 150,000 Russian soldiers armed to the teeth at Ukraine’s eastern border, as was the case on the eve of Russia’s vicious invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

The extremist Steve Bannon is not happy with Johnson and offered his own tirade against the Speaker for negotiating with the White House, attacking his Christianity and suggesting it be replaced with Islam, thus forming for the Speaker a backbone made of titanium. This is the criminal Steve Bannon who was charged with siphoning “wall money” for his own purposes, faced prison time and was saved by a Trump pardon.

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I should refrain from further criticism of the Speaker, but Johnson has become unbearable in his fecklessness and hypocrisy.

President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared at the last Davos forum to a most cordial reception, including assurances that the European Union with its 27 members (or 26 without Hungary) would approve €50 billion in aid to Ukraine. The EU did. Separately, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Sweden have all stepped up.

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Estonia’s PM: NATO Troop Training in Ukraine Won't Trigger War With Russia

Kallas said that training Ukraine’s forces on their territory would not be escalatory, adding that “Russia’s propaganda is about being at war with NATO; they don’t need an excuse.”

Thanks to Europe, lack of American leadership has become a little less of a problem for Ukraine, as America appears to have reverted to a time not so long ago when Donald Trump was president and American global leadership was not only missing, but the President of the United States, himself, was ridiculed by most of America’s allies. At a recent summit of Ukrainian diaspora global leaders in Bucharest the prevailing mood was very negative towards America.

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A full week has passed since the two-week break of the lower house of the US Congress, regarding the implementation of Speaker Johnson’s Easter promises. Apparently, inspired by the resurrection of the Son of God, the deeply religious Speaker promised during the break that he would consider the issue of aid to Ukraine, as he felt it was necessary from a moral point of view. And so his morality has become dormant once again.

After three days, the Speaker decided to meet with his puppeteer. And so, a meeting between Johnson and Trump took place with the topic of aid to Ukraine a minor issue. Trump apparently agreed to give aid to Ukraine in the form of a loan.

What does that mean and why is this an aberrational phenomenon? Because the person holding the Speaker hostage is Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose interviews are often peppered with obscenities and who had been stripped of her committee assignments by her own party. This is not unusual as far as integrity is concerned within the ranks of the Republican party. It’s almost as if the Republican party in America is following the script of the AfD in Germany, manifestly supporting Putin and the Kremlin.

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With Republicans serving as “useful idiots” or even clandestine agents for the enemy, Democrats and the White House have to get creative.

President Zelensky often talks of the consequences, points out that Ukraine will lose the war without American help. Perhaps that is not quite so. Ukraine has opened new networks, producing its own weapons, in which Europe helps. Only time will tell if they are sufficient. America, on the other hand, has begun a process of losing its world leadership. Even Israel does not listen to American instructions, or admonishments.

We live in quasi-medieval times, when power overwhelms what is right, and evil wins over good. Moscow is said to influence events and decisions in the US Congress, not unlike Germany. There are many “useful idiots” in Congress, among them the feckless Johnson (often referred to as Moscow Mike), a Ukrainian-American neophyte Congresswoman, Victoria Spartz, who does not support aid to Ukraine now that she is running for re-election, and Senator Lindsey Graham who prefers playing golf with the former president to doing what is right. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and Senator J.D. Vance have been so outrageous that they ought to be investigated for Russian contacts much like some of the members of the AfD in Germany.

This is not the lament of a Ukrainian-American. This is a direct challenge to honest people. For more than two years Ukraine has shown extraordinary spiritual and physical strength. What happens next? Military and political setbacks due to a lack of ammunition should be considered temporary and neither fatal nor final. It is necessary to look at the entire perspective optimistically, but with the readiness to assist. And there are myriad methods of doing so.

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I believe that Americans will come to Ukraine’s assistance. A bit of a wakeup call came when Iran bombed Israel unsuccessfully. Senator Vance stressed that Israel is a closer ally than Ukraine. What a ridiculous observation! They are both strategic allies in different theatres. Israel is also much better prepared to fight Iran than Ukraine to fight Russia. Both are equally important. Strategically, Europe is as important as the Middle East. Globally Russia is certainly more dangerous than Iran.

With Republicans serving as “useful idiots” or even clandestine agents for the enemy, Democrats and the White House have to get creative. There is much flexibility with the Europeans, who are more perspicacious perhaps because of proximity to Russia. With some persuasion they will agree to loosen not only Russian sanctioned profits but capital as well. This must happen before the Washington Summit.

The White House needs to send a message that it is willing to offer Ukraine immediate NATO membership. Here President Biden has been so wrong for so long. Offering Ukraine NATO membership will enrage the bully, but at the same time deter him. The appropriate strategy is not appeasement but deterrence. Ukraine as a member of NATO is the best deterrence. Championing that membership will restore American credibility and leadership.

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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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