Jake Sullivan, national security adviser to President Joe Biden, argued in a briefing this week at the White House that members in Congress who vote against proposed funding for assistance to Ukraine are effectively helping the ambitions of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, whose war against Ukraine remains ongoing.
The future of U.S. assistance to Ukraine remains generally in limbo amid divided government (meaning a divergence in which party controls the House and Senate) combined with the renewed ascent to Congressional power of the far-right, exemplified by current Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican. Sullivan carefully specified that he wasn’t speaking to the motives of the members taking or threatening to take votes that he was criticizing, just his perception of the strategic realities looming here.
“I believe that any member of Congress who does not support funding for Ukraine is voting for an outcome that will make it easier for Putin to prevail. That is, a vote against supporting Ukraine is a vote to improve Putin’s strategic position,” Sullivan said. “That’s just an inescapable reality. That’s not speaking to someone’s motive, why they chose to vote against it. That’s just speaking to the outcome of their vote. A vote against supplemental funding for Ukraine will hurt Ukraine and help Russia; it will hurt democracy and help dictators.”
Sullivan’s discussion gets at the argument that’s come up before insisting the U.S. has an actually rather vested interest in the outcome of the war between Ukraine and Russia. In short, an emboldened Russia could pose further threats to interests closer strategically and geographically, in addition to potentially even the U.S. itself. That’s all in addition to the humanitarian concerns also driving U.S. assistance, which has largely taken the form of weapons deliveries, which broadly support domestic economic interests here in the U.S. House Republicans backing Trump have led the GOP opposition to further Ukraine assistance, and they’re positioned to keep that up as spending negotiations move forward.
Reporter: Are you saying any member of congress who votes against aid to Ukraine is voting for Putin?
Sullivan: I believe that any member of congress who does not support funding for Ukraine is voting for an outcome that will make it easier for Putin to prevail. pic.twitter.com/UUSItiBmad
— Acyn (@Acyn) December 4, 2023