Viewpoint: ‘Russia, if you’re listening….’

Viewpoint: ‘Russia, if you’re listening….’
Karen Rubin, Columnist


Considering that 90% of the military aid we send to Ukraine is actually spent here in the United States on U.S. defense manufacturers and American workers, you have to wonder why the House Republicans led by Speaker Mike Johnson are blocking aid.

This is especially puzzling after the House GOP recently killed the bipartisan legislation that was tied to the immigration “reform” of their dreams and will likely let the federal government shut down rather than pass the budget that had already been agreed to.

The answer is that Johnson is the leader not of the U.S. House, but of the Putin Chaos Caucus, going back to Steve Bannon and Trump’s Russia collusion that tilted the 2016 election in his favor. Bannon (a paid Russian operative) has stated his goal is to bring down American democracy – Trump is his (Putin’s) tool.

For Trump, the goal is a kleptocracy, for his sycophants it is their dream of an oligarchy, and for Johnson and the Christian Nationalists it is a theocracy.

Ukraine has now entered the third year in its noble fight against Putin’s unprovoked invasion, unbowed even in face of the heinous war crimes inflicted upon them.

President Joe Biden arrives at JFK on Air Force One. Immediately following the murder of Alexei Navalny, he imposed 500 more sanctions on Russia and is calling upon Speaker Mike Johnson to put the National Security Supplemental, providing crucial aid to Ukraine, which passed the Senate, to a vote in the House © Karen Rubin/

President Biden and Western democracies recognize the threat Putin poses – he has ambitions of establishing a new Russian Empire, and once he has dispatched Ukraine, will move against Poland, Lithuania and others in the former Soviet Union.

Trump only sees a ticket back into power (and out of jail).

Trump’s declaration that he would allow, even encourage Russia to invade a NATO member that hasn’t paid up, is equivalent to him saying in 2016, “Russia if you’re listening….” It is an invitation and an incentive for Putin to again interfere in the election as Russia did in 2016, with its disinformation, propaganda and attacks on voting machinery (for which the whistleblower Reality Winner went to prison for exposing Russian hacking in the election).

Jack Posobiec, a QAnon leader who helped promote the “Pizzagate” pedophile conspiracy theory against Democrats, joyfully hailed the “end of democracy” at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference during a panel moderated by former White House adviser Bannon, a felon  and white supremacist.

“Welcome to the end of democracy. We are here to overthrow it completely,” far-right OANN anchor Jack Posobiec declared. “We didn’t get all the way there on Jan. 6, but we will endeavor to get rid of it and replace it with this, right here.”

These traitorous politicians need to be held to account (14th Amendment), but the immediate emergency is getting weapons and aid to Ukraine to stand against the invigorated Russian invasion and derail Putin’s strategy to wait for November when he can re-install his agent, Trump.

It speaks volumes that Trump has never said a bad word about Putin – in fact, praises him fawningly – not even after the unexplained death of Alexei Navalny in a Siberian penal colony. Instead, Trump obscenely appropriates Navalny’s mantle of a “political dissident” in describing his own “persecution” for actual crimes committed for his own benefit, vowing retribution to anyone who crossed him once he regains power.

In contrast, Biden met with Navalny’s wife and daughter and issued 500 more sanctions against Russia.

Biden has spoken out on the urgent need for Congress to pass the National Security Supplemental bill that includes aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan and humanitarian aid to Gazans.

“We can’t walk away now.  That’s what Putin is betting on,” Biden said. “Supporting this bill is standing up to Putin.  Opposing this bill is playing into his hands. As I’ve said before, the stakes on this fight extend well beyond Ukraine.  If we don’t stop Putin’s appetite for power and control in Ukraine, he won’t limit himself to just Ukraine.  And the costs for America and our allies and partners will rise.”

Some 31,000 Ukraine soldiers have died so far in their heroic fight over the past two years (though this shouldn’t faze Republicans who tolerate 43,000 Americans dying each year to gun violence. But not one frozen embryo shall perish!).

Since 90 percent of the U.S. defense aid for Ukraine is actually spent in the U.S. (because the weapons that Ukraine needs are only manufactured here), the European Union, which has already donated $60 billion worth, and other countries could basically buy them and send them to Ukraine (Germany is actually proposing to do this).

Americans who believe in Ukraine and democracy could even send up a GoFundMe account on Ukraine’s behalf.

There is also a possibility that Biden could adopt FDR’s Lend Lease program in a replay of 1941 when an isolationist Congress refused to come to Europe’s aid against Hitler, and use his authority “to lend or lease war supplies to any nation deemed ‘vital to the defense of the United States’.”

But act. The emergency is clear: Ukraine is fighting the war to prevent the unraveling of the international structures that kept peace and prosperity in Europe since World War II, and remain a sovereign, democratic nation.

Taiwan will be next. North Korea – now in alliance with Russia – may be encouraged to strike South Korea. And when Putin moves on Poland and Lithuania, that will trigger Article 5 of the NATO charter, in which case the U.S. would be brought into the war, unless Trump has done what he has vowed and abandoned NATO.

There is another thing: the United States would be violating the 1992 Budapest Memorandum, a promise that the U.S., United Kingdom and ironically Russia made to defend Ukraine, then the third largest nuclear power in the world, housing thousands of nuclear arms stationed there by Russia.

No country will trust the United States again, the U.S. will lose its place as global leader, an extinguished “superpower.”

The Doomsday Clock remains set at 90 seconds to midnight. The Bulletin’s Science and Security Board, which sets the clock, cited “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the increased risk of nuclear escalation” as major reasons for moving the clock to 90 seconds before midnight last year.

Ukraine is one domino in the MAGA Republican ProPutin Chaos Caucus plan to kowtow to Moscow, destroy democracy and install a theocratic/oligarchic autocracy.

“For those Republicans in Congress who think they can oppose funding for Ukraine and not be held accountable, history is watching.  History is watching.  A failure to support Ukraine at this critical moment will never be forgotten,” Biden declared.

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