Top Republican contenders for the party’s presidential nomination are sparring over continued U.S. support for Ukraine, with some arguing that the United States should leave the nation to its fate and others urging a robust defense against a growing China-Russia alliance.
Supporting U.S. assistance for Ukraine during the second Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, were former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former UN Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and former Vice President Mike Pence.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, however, urged that the United States immediately halt aid to Ukraine and seek a deal with Russia.
Mr. Christie underscored that China, Iran, and North Korea are providing economic and military support to Russia as it wages its attempted conquest of Ukraine.
As such, he said, Russia needed to be stopped to prevent a cascade of conflicts led by authoritarian powers in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
“The Chinese are paying for the war in Ukraine,” Mr. Christie said.
“The fact of the matter is, we need to say right now that the Chinese-Russian alliance is something we have to fight against, and we are not going to solve it by going over and cuddling up to [Russian President] Vladimir Putin.”
GOP Candidates Split on Confronting Russia in Ukraine
Mr. Christie was met with some argument on the debate stage.
Mr. DeSantis pledged to make the war in Ukraine a European problem, swearing to abandon the nation in order to ensure that U.S. tax dollars went to U.S. causes.
“I will end this war,” Mr. DeSantis said.
“We’re going to make the Europeans do what they need to do.”
Mr. Ramaswamy likewise suggested that the United States should halt security deliveries to Ukraine and cede occupied Ukrainian territory to Russia through a peace deal. Ukraine, he suggested, is simply not a good enough nation to support.
“Just because Putin is evil does not mean Ukraine is good,” Mr. Ramaswamy said.
“We need a reasonable peace plan to end this.”
Mr. Christie condemned Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Ramaswarmy, noting that four consecutive presidents have tried and failed to negotiate in good faith with Mr. Putin.
“I understand people want to go and talk to Putin,” Mr. Christie said. “Guess what? So did George W. Bush. So did Barack Obama. So did Donald Trump. And so did Joe Biden when he said a ‘small invasion’ wouldn’t be so bad. Every one of them has been wrong.”
Mr. Pence and former South Carolina Gov. and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley also condemned Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Ramaswamy for failing to acknowledge the threat posed by the