President Joe Biden’s announcement Tuesday banning Russian oil imports presents what may be the most difficult test yet of Americans’ willingness today to sacrifice for the nation’s greater good. Already-high gas prices are sure to spike further with the ban, frustrating drivers and giving Republicans an opportunity to further demagogue the issue. The GOP should resist that urge — and all Americans should remember sacrifices that earlier generations made in times of war.
Pain at the pumps is real, but it pales against the pain of sending American soldiers into armed conflict against another superpower. Yet allowing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to go unanswered is also an unacceptable option. What’s left is for this divided country to come together and accept the approaching economic pain as the price of standing up to tyranny.
That principle — standing up to tyranny — is the answer to the short-sighted voices suggesting the U.S. has no national interest in defending Ukraine. If Ukraine or any other fledgling democracy can simply be brought under the thumb of a neighboring autocrat for no reason but that he decides he wants it, then democracy isn’t safe anywhere. America’s special place as a beacon of democracy and freedom gives it a special responsibility to stand up to such unprovoked aggression.