Key Republicans launched a two-pronged plan to put pressure on Biden in Ukraine
Republicans have launched a two-pronged campaign to pressure the Biden administration in the coming months to send more advanced weapons to Ukraine, including weapons that the president has so far reluctantly provide. But the onslaught of conservatives is connected with the expectation of greater and faster progress of Ukraine, as polls show declining support for efforts to arm Ukraine, especially among Republicans.
The first part of the dual campaign is to hold closed-door briefings in Congress, like a recent classified Senate Armed Services Committee briefing involving Celeste Wallander, assistant secretary of defense for international security, and William LaPlante, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, on according to two people directly familiar with the current discussions in the Republican leadership.
The second part is a public campaign calling on President Joe Biden to provide things like Gray Eagle drones and the Army’s long-range tactical missile system, or ATACMS, which would help Ukraine strike Russian artillery batteries that are continuously firing missiles at Ukrainian forces. Kyiv has requested ATACMS since the beginning of the war, but these requests became more vocal when the United States approved other pieces of equipment it had previously resisted, such as M-1 Abrams tanks.
The public side of a Republican campaign can take many forms. Virtually every House and Senate Armed Services Committee hearing provides an opportunity for comment, the two people said. MPs could also speak on the issue during speeches and media appearances.
In a Senate speech last week, Sen. Roger Wicker, Miss. did the job for the transfer of ATACMS and Gray Eagle and Reaper drones to Ukraine. “We must deliver these assets quickly to make an immediate difference on the battlefield. Together with our allies, this “more, better, faster” approach will give Ukrainians a real chance to win,” he said. He doubled in this post on Friday, calling Ukraine’s latest aid package “the same unnecessary slowness that got us to this point.”
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, also publicly signaled support for sending ATACMS to Ukraine.
In their message, several Republicans on key national security committees are trying to show that they not only support Ukraine, but will do so with more enthusiasm than Democrats and the White House.
This was told by Rebecca Heinrichs, a senior researcher at the Hudson Institute Defense alone: “If you notice a lot of the arguments that people like Senator Wicker and Congressman Rogers and all those and even Senator. [Tom] Cotton – they argued that the way to end the war was to speed up the supply of these weapons to enable Ukraine to win. This is the argument they make: if you want the war to end, do it this way.’
But to sell the war to the American people, Republicans are less likely to repeat Biden’s talking points about democracy and the international order, and are expected to focus more on weapons and their cost, while maintaining adequate defense spending and protecting a depleted US arsenal to deter China
“The administration has not explained why this is important without resorting to talk of ‘supporting a rules-based order’ — that’s just not convincing to ordinary Americans,” one of the sources said.
Republicans will continue to challenge some key claims by the Biden administration, particularly that the US military-industrial base could house efforts to support Ukraine and a mission to prevent a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. in the next five years. The administration’s assurances that Ukraine’s equipment does not undermine US military readiness are unconvincing, they said. “Attention to China, Taiwan and the defense-industrial base will be renewed and continued. And there is no doubt that the replenishment of the defense and industrial base is an important part of the history of Ukraine.”
Republicans will also focus more on accounting for aid packages, especially in light of two decades of questionable military aid in previous conflicts, particularly in Afghanistan, the people said.
Recently, the Inspector General of the Ministry of Defense announced a new accounting and tracking operations in Ukraine. But the people said that so far the history of gun tracking and control is primarily “good” for Ukraine, which has moved quickly to expel the officials accused of corruption.
The extra scrutiny could also appease voters who see Ukraine as inherently corrupt, Heinrichs said.
Some members of the Republican majority in the new chamber openly question the US’s support for Ukraine under almost any circumstances. Heinrichs said that while the populist contingent of the GOP, championed by Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and Marjorie Taylor GreenR-Ga., is relatively small, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which has also expressed skepticism about further efforts to support Ukraine, is much larger and may find common ground with some of those Republicans on the issue.
She pointed at letter Last summer, 30 progressive members of the House of Representatives called on Biden to begin direct negotiations with Russia to end the war. They later retracted the letter, but Heinrichs says it wasn’t necessarily because they changed their minds.
“The Progressive Caucus, they went silent going into the midterms because they had their letter tugged…This is quite a serious faction in the Democratic Party. I think that’s what we haven’t wrestled with: how are they going to move forward on the Ukrainian issue now that the election is over. I mean they are much closer to the populist wing, [of the Republicans] than everyone else” on the matter, she said.
Still, growing opposition from both the far-left and the far-right could be a gift to those who now want to speed up aid to Ukraine, although it is still politically possible to do so, according to the two people. The Republican strategy will also remind the administration that support for the war among Republican voters is falling. While officials of the Biden administration there is to love By saying that US support for the war will continue “as long as necessary,” Republicans will be much more eager to see progress.
“I feel like the administration is vastly overestimating the amount of time they have, that even members who are, shall we say, somewhere in the middle between the defense hawks and the America First types want to see progress, want to see results, and not play deadlock.”
Heinrichs argued that the slowly waning support shows that the Biden administration is mismanaging the opportunities to win in Ukraine, and believes that the longer the war drags on, the more likely NATO members will also become impatient and lose support among their publics as well.
“You have to go hard and fast, not do the job,” she said. “That’s poor clock management.”
https://www.defenseone.com/policy/2023/02/key-republicans-launch-two-part-plan-pressure-biden-ukraine/382600/ Key Republicans launched a two-pronged plan to put pressure on Biden in Ukraine