Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued a thinly-veiled and strongly-worded rebuke of Republicans opposed to aiding Ukraine in a speech he delivered on the floor of the Senate Sunday, accusing them of engaging in “idle work” with “idle minds.”
Several GOP senators — most notably Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH) — have come out against providing any more support to Ukraine as it continues to fight its defensive war against Russia, arguing that continuing to do so is not in American interests.
McConnell rejected this view on Sunday.
“For years, I’ve warned about the growing threats to America’s national security, and the growing coordination among our adversaries. And for years, I’ve worked to steer greater investments toward the hard power needed to deter them,” said the longtime Republican leader before making his case in earnest:
The Russian despot trying to conquer Ukraine also wants to see America weakened. The Chinese autocrat hoping to subjugate Taiwan also wants to consign American leadership to history. The Iranian regime that equips the slaughter of Israeli Jews and a terrorist war on international commerce also wants to shatter our influence in the region and spill American blood in the process. They tell us this by their actions. Pretending not to hear them is not an option. Delaying until the costs in American lives and treasure rise immeasurably is not an option.
The time to stand up to these gathering threats is right now. Every night, millions of Americans sleep in peace because brave men and women continue to answer the call to serve in our nation’s armed forces. Every day, millions of Americans turn for their livelihood to an economic order built and underwritten by American leadership. And every time that peace and prosperity are threatened, we stand with allies and partners who trust in the righteousness of that leadership and the credibility of our commitments.
Today, the future of the world I’ve just described is in question. The endurance of an order in which American support is craved and American strength is feared is in doubt. And we, the United States of America, have the most to lose. Ever since we came to the aid of our allies 80 years ago, America has been an inseparable partner in the security of Europe. Not out of charity, but because our own security and prosperity is tied to it. Ever since we were attacked in 1941, America has helped guarantee stability and free commerce in the Indo-Pacific. Not as a moral gesture, but because we have core interests of our own in this critical part of the world. Ever since the establishment of the modern Jewish state of Israel in 1948, America has stood by her.
Not out of generosity, but because of the enduring values and interests we share – in security, in democracy, and in peace. I know it’s become quite fashionable in some circles to disregard the global interests we have as a global power. To bemoan the responsibilities of global leadership. To lament the commitment that has underpinned the longest drought of great power conflict in human history. This is idle work for idle minds. And it has no place in the United States Senate. In this chamber, we must face the world as it is.
We must reject the dimmest and most shortsighted views of our obligations, and grapple instead with actual problems. As they come. In the harsh light of day. And today, the questions facing this body are quite simple. Will we give those who wish us harm more reason to question our resolve? Or will we recommit to exercising American strength? Will we give those who crave our leadership more reason to wonder if it’s in decline? Or will we invest in the credibility that underpins our entire way of life? I cannot answer these questions for any one of my colleagues. But none of us can afford to get them wrong.
Watch above via C-SPAN2.
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