‘The Lincoln Project’ Clobbers Josh Hawley For Sabotaging Democracy

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The anti-Trump conservative group known as The Lincoln Project went after Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) this week after it came out that he was pushing for the Biden administration to withdraw longstanding U.S. support for Ukraine eventually joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) — support which has been in place since at least the era of Republican President George W. Bush. Hawley unveiled this push while Ukraine faces the threat of further military action by Russia, which has amassed a substantial military presence on its border with the country. No matter Hawley’s justifications for his position, for the United States to drop its backing of Ukraine’s prospective NATO membership would offer critical support to a key ambition of Russian President Putin. Russian authorities oppose Ukraine joining NATO.

On Wednesday, The Lincoln Project shared a video insisting that Hawley is “complicit” in the attack on democracy that unfolded last January when supporters of then-President Donald Trump attacked the Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification by Congress of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. Hawley helped lead the effort in Congress to block that certification, providing implicit support to what ended up as the rioters’ cause. In a caption for their video, The Lincoln Project (accurately) observed that “Josh Hawley has a storied history of opposing democracy and the institutions that defend it.” Ukraine is pushing towards democracy, while Russian leaders are pushing against it. In the context of January 6, Hawley has never expressed any apparent remorse for the positions that he took that directly helped lead to the violence of that day.

Hawley justified his opposition to keeping up the U.S. support for Ukraine joining NATO by insisting that dropping it would help ensure that the country could more easily focus certain resources on countering threats from China. Hawley wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that President Biden “has announced that the United States will send more conventional forces to Europe, if Russia invades Ukraine,” but Hawley said that “[such] a deployment can only detract from the U.S. military’s ability to ready and modernize forces to deter China in the Indo-Pacific,” adding that “those opportunity costs pale in comparison to what would be expected — indeed, required — of the United States, were NATO actually to admit Ukraine as a member.”

There’s no indication that the Biden administration is keen on taking foreign policy advice from Josh Hawley, but the Missouri Senator’s stance is part of a worrying trend in the GOP of essentially acquiescing to Russian interests. Fox News host Tucker Carlson recently asked his viewers to “imagine if Mexico fell under the direct military control of China,” adding: “We would see that as a threat, of course. That’s how Russia views NATO control of Ukraine. Why wouldn’t they?” Besides the fact that Carlson is essentially stumping for a dictator, NATO doesn’t “control” its members. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is preparing strategic actions to take against Russia in the event of a more advanced invasion. (Years ago, Russian authorities already took over the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.) These contemplated actions include sanctions against Putin allies and curtailing the exporting of technologies that are needed by Russian weapons manufacturers.