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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

In Congress, the war in Ukraine has shifted the agenda, empowering the centre

In Washington, the escalating Ukrainian crisis is upending policy and political thinking on both the left and right sides of the aisle, as it poses an immediate threat to the global order, while rising energy prices empower the political centre, putting pressure on the two parties’ flanks to the left and right.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine will deliver a virtual address to members of Congress on Wednesday. Both Republicans and Democrats will be confronted with a changing climate, which may be both positive and negative.

As a result, both political parties have backed away from the policy ideas and political messaging that most excite their core followers in recent years. Democrats on the left are acquiescing to more military spending and abandoning a campaign to phase out fossil fuels as soon as possible, according to a new poll. Separatism and assaults on the transatlantic alliance are being consigned to the fringes of the Republican Party in Congress under President Donald Trump. Plans to bring Hunter Biden, the president’s son, and Ukrainian corruption to the forefront of a Republican-controlled House now seem to be a long shot.

Mr. Zelensky is scheduled to restate his plea for a convoluted exchange in which Ukrainian MIG fighter planes would be sent to Poland and American-made F-16 fighters would be sent to Ukraine on Wednesday, according to reports. The Biden administration, which has opposed the exchange as a reckless escalation of the war with no discernible military goal, might be accused of being soft on Russia by some Republicans as a result of this.

Republicans and Democrats have both questioned the MIG purchase in light of the Defense Department’s recent reservations about whether Ukraine would be able to operate the jets in the first place.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, told reporters on Tuesday that Mr. Zelensky would not be able to get legislative backing for a so-called no-fly zone over Ukraine, and he expressed reluctance about the transfer of fighter jets from the United States.

Democracies are appalled that Republicans — the vast majority of whom did not criticise Mr. Trump for repeatedly siding with Mr. Putin and undermining NATO, as well as withholding military aid from Mr. Zelensky in an effort to pressure him to dig up political dirt on Mr. Biden — would raise concerns about the current president’s willingness to confront Russia.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington state and the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, acknowledged that the current crisis has slowed, at least for the time being, attempts to reduce military expenditure in the United States.

Republicans are also receiving a reality check of their own. He claimed that, under Mr. Trump, a growing faction of the Republican Party was promoting isolationism, calling into question alliances and trade agreements, and promoting a “America First” agenda that would have been in keeping with the national mood leading up to World War II, according to Mr. Meijer.

Recent meetings between Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a conservative Republican, and the German ambassador to the United States were held in order to express gratitude to the ambassador for her country’s support for NATO’s defence and assistance to Ukraine.

Ukraine, on the other hand, is no longer a political flashpoint as it once was. According to a YouGov survey conducted in September 2019, 36 percent of registered voters in the United States were unsure if Ukraine was a friendly or hostile country. Only 41% of respondents described the country as friendly or an ally. New YouGov polling found that 81 percent of American voters considered Ukraine to be either friendly or an ally, a figure that approaches or exceeds that of long-standing allies and allies of the United States such as France and Japan.

Ms. Jayapal expressed concern that resurrecting Burisma would enable Democrats to remind the country that every Republican senator, with the exception of Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, voted to let Mr. Trump to go unpunished for humiliating and strong-arming Mr. Zelensky for his own political gain. Mr. Cole, on the other hand, advised against such a course of action.

He speculated that since Ukrainians are “the tip of the spear in the fight against Russian aggression,” people would be less inclined to bring up Burisma as an issue.

Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews
I am a Political News Journalist of The National Era
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