Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) greatly upset the pro-interventionist war hawks in the D.C. political establishment when he said that defending Ukraine from Russian invasion was not one of America's "vital national interests," Breitbart reported.
The governor's view that the U.S. should avoid becoming entangled in foreign conflicts -- a fundamental policy initially established by America's first president, George Washington -- was summarily decried and denounced, or explained away as mere lip service to the GOP base, by numerous Republican and Democratic lawmakers whose rhetoric suggests they are anxious to become fully involved in the Eastern European war.
Where Gov. DeSantis stands with regard to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war was made clear in response to a series of questions that Fox News host Tucker Carlson recently posed to all declared and prospective Republican 2024 presidential candidates.
Carlson's questionnaire asked six questions, including: "Is opposing Russia in Ukraine a vital American national strategic interest? What specifically is our objective in Ukraine, and how will we know when we’ve achieved it? What is the limit of funding and materiel you would be willing to send to the government of Ukraine? Should the United States support regime change in Russia? Given that Russia’s economy and currency are stronger than before the war, do you believe that U.S. sanctions have been effective? Do you believe the United States faces the risk of nuclear war with Russia?"
Many of the would-be GOP nominees sent statements in reply back to Carlson, and as the Fox News host had promised, he published the responses he received in full.
"While the U.S. has many vital national interests -- securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party -- becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them," DeSantis said in his statement in response to Carlson's questionnaire.
"The Biden administration’s virtual 'blank check' funding of this conflict for 'as long as it takes,' without any defined objectives or accountability, distracts from our country’s most pressing challenges," he added, and at another point, said, "Our citizens are also entitled to know how the billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are being utilized in Ukraine."
As for the objective in Ukraine, the Florida governor replied that "without question" it should be "peace," but noted that "The U.S. should not provide assistance that could require the deployment of American troops or enable Ukraine to engage in offensive operations beyond its borders."
"F-16s and long-range missiles should therefore be off the table," he added. "These moves would risk explicitly drawing the United States into the conflict and drawing us closer to a hot war between the world’s two largest nuclear powers. That risk is unacceptable."
DeSantis also dismissed the notion of "regime change" in Russia as being "no doubt popular among the DC foreign policy interventionists" but also something that would "increase the stakes" of the conflict, make the use of nuclear weapons "more likely," fail miserably to stop the ongoing death and destruction, and likely result in an "even more ruthless" successor to Russian President Vladimir Putin -- all at "astronomical" costs for such a "dubious outcome."
He further noted that President Joe Biden's policies have driven Russia and China closer together, enriched and empowered Putin and Russian energy production, and depleted America's arsenal of weapons and resources -- all while serious problems here at home are ignored in favor of "intervention in an escalating foreign war."
While those responses from Gov. DeSantis to Carlson's questions may seem like common sense to many Americans, they were soundly rejected by numerous members of the neoconservative pro-interventionist Republicans in D.C., as documented by The Washington Post.
Nor was it just Republican lawmakers who were infuriated by DeSantis declaring Ukraine to not be among our nation's "vital national interests," as even a cursory internet search will show dozens of Democrats and government officials, as well as their dutiful mouthpieces in the media, expressing similar shock and outrage at the governor's assertion.
Of course, as was suggested by some, DeSantis could have said all of that in a calculated move to curry favor with the generally anti-interventionist GOP base and would act differently if he were actually the president, but the only way to know that for sure would be for DeSantis to get elected in 2024 -- and virtually every one of his current critics on Ukraine stand vehemently opposed to that notion.