We’re glad Mike saw the light on Putin’s threats

There was no time to lose in sending Ukraine the aid it needs to fend off Russia's advancements. For all of Europe, the difference will be immediate.

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Editorials

April 22, 2024 - 5:42 PM

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) speaks with members of the media following passage of a series of foreign aid bills on Saturday April 20. The House passed a $95 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images/TNS)

While the Western world had been anxiously watching whether the United States would come to Ukraine’s aid, right-wing conservatives were doing everything in their power to thwart the support.

On Saturday, six months after taking the House Speakership, Republican Mike Johnson said, finally, “I believe the intel. I think that Vladimir Putin would continue to march through Europe if he were allowed. To put it bluntly, I would rather send bullets to Ukraine than American boys.”

One has to wonder what took him so long. Whether it’s the influence of military experts or public opinion, matters not. 

Johnson did right by America by effectively garnering bipartisan support to advance substantial financial aid to not only Ukraine but also Israel and Taiwan, also under threat by either terrorist groups or ruthless dictators.

For Ukraine — and all of Europe — the difference will be immediate. The stakes were that high.

The legislation will provide funds to replenish our diminished weapons stockpiles as well as new weapons for Ukraine and monetary loans.

Without the aid, Ukraine’s situation was grim. With its eastern border with Russia pummeled beyond recognition, Ukraine is losing its hold.

And if Ukraine were to succumb? It would determine the scope of the future world order.

What some refuse to accept is that what’s good for Europe is also good for the United States.

Locator map of deadly attack in Chernihiv

Were Russian President Vladimir Putin to overtake Ukraine, he has made clear his goal of retaking the “Russian Empire,” including the Baltic states of Hungary and Poland which, as members of NATO, would pull the United States to their defense.

Overnight, our lives would be upended, much as those in Ukraine were when Putin invaded in March of 2022.

PUTIN HAS REVELED in Republicans’ resistance to help Ukraine, betting that the likes of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, and her obsequious fawning to his every word would hold sway among her Congressional cohorts.

Two things upset Putin’s plan.

Speaker Johnson has not only begun to believe “the intel,” but is reading the polls.

Almost 70 percent of Republican voters say Putin’s westward advances must be stopped. They know a bloodthirsty despot when they see one. 

Every Democrat voted to pass the House measure, 311 to 112, turning recent history on its ear. Time was when Republicans, not Democrats, were regarded as foreign policy hawks. And it wasn’t that long ago that support for Ukraine was largely bipartisan.

Instead, support for Ukraine has become a political flashpoint with an increasing number of Republicans declaring themselves as isolationists, questioning why we should come to the aid of our allies.

After Saturday’s vote, Greene accused those who supported the bill as “Representatives so proud to work for Ukraine. Not the American people. It’s despicable.”

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