The Reaganesque revolution that has taken place in Congress, forming a bipartisan pro-Ukraine majority, is gaining momentum.  A vibrant, charismatic leader has come to the fore – the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael Thomas McCaul, Sr.

McCaul taught a masterclass in the House on May 22, pointing out on a map just what a betrayal it was to forbid Ukraine to use US weapons to strike targets in Russia.

This ban has always been unjust and mean-spirited towards a heroic ally of the US.  McCaul made this clear, yelling to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken as he tried to answer McCaul's questions: “It is now completely inconceivable!” He backed up his argument, stating: “We have Russian aircraft in Russian airspace over Belgorod using glide bombs to destroy entire city blocks in Kharkiv.”

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Blinken didn't even try to object. During a joint press-conference in Kyiv last week with Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, Blinken finally agreed that it was completely up to Ukraine how it uses the weapons it receives to fight its mortal enemy.

Still, McCaul wouldn't let up: “Why the hell does [Jake] Sullivan and your administration continue to insist on this ban?”  He made a point to call out by name his main opponent and Ukraine's enemy No 1 in Washington.  

The sleazebag had the nerve to show up in Kyiv at a time when it had no ammunition (thanks to the US) and demand that Ukraine stop using its drones to strike Russian oil refineries. A rise in oil prices, you see, might negatively impact Grandpa Biden's re-election campaign.  

WORLD BRIEFING: June 23, 2024
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WORLD BRIEFING: June 23, 2024

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The Ukrainians responded unkindly to Sullivan. And McCaul's memorable performance in the House on May 22 sends a clear message.  Ukrainians can strike not only using British Storm Shadows and French Scalps, but American ATACMS as well.  No one in Washington dares to speak out against the idea now.  

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I wrote in a previous column about the productive competition at play between Washington and Paris for the role of Leader of the Free World.  A similar competition, no less fruitful, is underway within Washington for the very same mantle.  (The next day, the hapless Blinken came under fire again from Senator Cruz for his insufficient support for Israel).  

Putin is no Master of the Universe

Isolated from the world by his entourage, Joe Biden was the last person left who believed Russian President Vladimir Putin and his nuclear saber-rattling.  Sullivan never believed him. It was his job to scare Biden with the prospect of a global nuclear war.  

Perhaps more importantly, Putin himself no longer believes in his own nuclear blackmail.  French President Emmanuel Macron has beaten him on a psychological level, while the three Republican musketeers in the House (McCaul, Rogers, Turner) deprived him of any last glimmer of hope for "victory" when they overcame the six-month, Trump-enforced, blockade on military aid to Ukraine.  

Putin's rather calm and reasonable reaction to this tragic (for him) turn of events shows he is just a run-of-the-mill cynical gangster from St. Petersburg.  He is not the Master of the Universe. So, he has turned to the existential task at hand – how to remain in power (and, consequently, survive) as his country suffers a defeat.

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It seems the first practical steps he has taken in this new reality have been completely rational.  He wants to postpone the defeat for as long as possible (the concept of a long war of attrition). He has placed the blame on the military exposing the widespread thievery present in the Ministry of Defense.  He aims to neutralize any potential activists in the army. Yet Russia is now filled with NKVD agents, drunk on their own immunity from prosecution and general omnipotence, along with regional barons who now have their own gangster-filled private military companies.

The meltdown within Russian society has already begun and is impossible to stop.  At the cost of massive human losses, Ukraine has prevented the spread of Rushist magma to the prosperous lands of Europe. The individuals and institutions so eagerly striving to become Leaders of the Free World can and should help Ukraine immediately as it tries to rid its sovereign territory of the toxic by-products of a complete collapse of Russian statehood.

This task could be fulfilled tomorrow, in two weeks, or in two months. It all depends on the West's political will. All the physical components necessary to complete it are present. The 200 NATO aircraft (French, British, Swedish) stationed on the airfields of Romania, Poland, Finland, and Ukraine could instate a no-fly zone over all of Ukrainian territory.  

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Threatened with the immediate destruction of its Crimean alignment of forces, Russian military leadership would then sign a memorandum stipulating the organized withdrawal of all Russian troops beyond the borders of Ukraine as they were in 1991.

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

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