Speaker Kevin McCarthy dissed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday, not only refusing to OK a joint address to Congress, but even forcing the visitor to meet with House Republicans off Capitol Hill.
Bush league, Kevin.
We generally think McCarthy is doing a fine job in wrangling a feisty GOP caucus into an effective check on the Democratic Senate and White House despite his razor-thin majority.
And we get that many of his members have turned all-out against US aid to Ukraine; keeping Zelensky at arm’s length spares him considerable flak.
Plus, plenty of grassroots Republicans worry about how much cash is going overseas.
(In reality, a huge chunk of “Ukraine aid” gets spent at home, on modernizing US ordnance as we send older equipment over there — and that modernization is vital to beefing up our neglected defenses.)
More important: Russia’s imperialist war of aggression needs defeating.
If the Kremlin wins, it’ll move on to bullying other neighbors in Central Europe, threatening NATO members and risking a conflict that would draw in US troops.
And would-be conquerors will imitate Vladimir Putin, as the entire world order decays.
America and the West will pay a far higher price than we are paying now.
None of which is to say that President Joe Biden has been a great wartime leader: If he’d started sending weapons before Russia invaded, rather than just threatening sanctions, Putin might’ve hesitated.
Worse, he’s let Putin nuclear-bluff him into withholding the advanced weaponry that Kyiv needs to better face Moscow head-on, forcing Ukraine’s current counter-offensive to proceed far more slowly than need be.
And Biden’s failing to make the case for US support of Ukraine to the American public: He should be speaking out regularly on this, not just saying the right things at the United Nations.
(It’d be a much easier to sell than his pitches for Bidenomics.)
“What is the plan for victory?” asks McCarthy; Biden absolutely should tell him.
On the other hand, Mr. Speaker, we’re pretty sure President Zelensky would be happy to tell you and everyone else if you dared sit down with him in public.