DeSantis calls Russia-Ukraine war a ‘territorial dispute’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) this week responded to a questionnaire to argue that protecting Ukraine against Russia’s yearlong invasion should not be one of America’s “vital national interests,” knocking the Biden administration for indicating it’ll support Kyiv as long as it takes.

“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 response to a questionnaire on Ukraine sent out to possible 2024 presidential candidates by Fox News’s Tucker Carlson.

“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,” the Florida governor said.

DeSantis, whom many consider likely to enter the 2024 race for the White House, hit the Biden administration for its moves in the conflict in a “Fox & Friends” appearance last month. His weighing-in on foreign policy may be another signal that he’s plotting a potential White House run. 

Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine more than a year ago, and the U.S. has given billions in aid to Ukraine as it fends off Moscow’s forces. Recently, the Biden administration pledged to send battle tanks to Kyiv, and now faces pressure to send over F-16 fighter jets. 

DeSantis said F-16s and long-range missiles should be “off the table” because the moves could risk “drawing the United States into the conflict and drawing us closer to a hot war between the world’s two largest nuclear powers.” 

The U.S. “cannot prioritize intervention in an escalating foreign war over the defense of our own homeland,” he said.

DeSantis accused the Biden administration’s policies of pushing Russia into “a de facto alliance” with China.

“Because China has not and will not abide by the embargo, Russia has increased its foreign revenues while China benefits from cheaper fuel. Coupled with his intentional depletion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and support for the Left’s Green New Deal, Biden has further empowered Russia’s energy-dominated economy and Putin’s war machine at Americans’ expense,” the governor said. 

The Florida Republican also knocked a policy of “regime change” in Russia, which he characterized as “no doubt popular among the DC foreign policy interventionists” but which Biden has said is not the country’s position. 

Attempting to remove Russian President Vladimir Putin from power “would greatly increase the stakes of the conflict, making the use of nuclear weapons more likely. Such a policy would neither stop the death and destruction of the war, nor produce a pro-American, Madisonian constitutionalist in the Kremlin. History indicates that Putin’s successor, in this hypothetical, would likely be even more ruthless.  The costs to achieve such a dubious outcome could become astronomical,” DeSantis wrote.    

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