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Some Considerations on Assisting Ukraine

Republicans in Congress have blocked approval of additional funding to help Ukraine to

resist the aggression by Russia attempting to take over their country. They raise a variety of reasons why they don’t want to help Ukraine further and we’ll examine the more common ones here.

Of course, the main reason they don’t want to help Ukraine is that Donald Trump does

not want to help Ukraine. He owes a debt of some sort to Russian President Putin and therefore does what Putin wants.

Republicans claim that we should not help Ukraine but instead address the needs of

people here at home. As if America cannot do both; we have assisted friends in need and met the needs of people here at home for decades. Republicans act as if the choice is help for Ukraine or help for Americans. When given the opportunity to "help Americans”, they refused to change the immigration issue by increasing spending on the southern border. They seek to reduce help for Americans by reducing child care assistance, blocking reductions in student debt, decreasing food stamps and other poverty reducing programs.

If, the Republicans want to help their defense industry donors… well the majority of aid to Ukraine comes in the form of weapons made by American companies. So, aid to Ukraine boosts their donors’ sales.

Some Republicans ask why we should help Ukraine at all. After all, they're way over there - not next door to us. But, we have an alliance in Europe: NATO. The NATO alliance consists of 30 countries who agreed that an attack on one will be considered to be an attack on all (it is called Article Five of the treaty).

Several countries, like Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia (sometimes called the Baltic States) were once part of the Soviet Union. Putin wants to take them back. All three are partners in NATO. So, if Putin is successful in Ukraine because we won’t help Ukraine, he will likely turn

on those three countries next. If Russia were to attack them, we will then, by treaty, send troops to defend them.

Only once has Article Five been invoked by a NATO country. When the US invaded Afghanistan to defeat Al Queda, all 30 NATO countries sent troops or support in one form or

another. To say, as Trump did, that we won’t stand with them would be a betrayal of our word.

There is a claim that some NATO members don’t “pay their dues”. It is an idiotic claim (may as well call it what it is). NATO members don’t pay dues. The commitment is that each country will spend at least 2% of their country’s budget on their own defense. It is true some of them lag behind that number but most meet the goal. In 2014 President Obama and other NATO leaders crafted an agreement that those who fell short would take steps to up their defense activity and since then most have. Lithuania, for example, spends more as a percentage of their economy than we do.

When Republicans raise objections to providing assistance to Ukraine, view their claims carefully. What you will find is that their objections are just excuses that don’t hold up. What

they really object to is anything that Joe Biden wants.

The vote on Ukraine funding will likely come up in early March. Now would be an excellent time to tell Rep. LaHood that you support aid for Ukraine.

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