In his historic address before Congress on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared a victory of sorts. Acknowledging the contributions of the United States and Europe, he said, “We defeated Russia in the battle for minds of the world. We have no fear, nor should anyone in the world have it.” But there is still the matter of the battle for Ukraine itself. Ukraine cannot win without continued support from the United States. And even as Zelensky was meeting with President Biden at the White House on Wednesday, opponents of that support were making themselves heard.
House Republicans like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Paul Gosar spent the day arguing that it was not in America’s interest to defend Ukraine and that we should put “America first.” And many Americans dislike issuing “blank checks” to Ukraine or are exhausted with “forever wars.” The fact is, victory in Ukraine is not only in America’s interest, it’s absolutely necessary if Americans want to avoid a forever war in Europe.
The good news: Ukraine is currently winning. At every stage of the war, Ukrainian forces have outfought and outfoxed Russia. They have repeatedly embarrassed the doom casters and defeatists who either predicted a swift Russian victory or a hopeless stalemate. Since February, Ukrainians have reclaimed an astonishing 25,000 square miles of their land—an area nearly the size of Florida—and set the conditions to restore full sovereignty over their country, including Crimea. This is not what a forever war looks like. Ukrainians have demonstrated that they can finish the fight that Russia started if given the tools, technology, and weapons to do so.
Advocates for a hasty “peace” with Russia make two fundamental miscalculations. First, they assume that Russia will negotiate in good faith and keep its promises. The Kremlin’s track record says otherwise.