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Why Supporting Ukraine Enhances US National Security

While the United States has valid reasons to avoid a direct confrontation with Russia, supporting Ukraine’s war effort should be a top foreign-policy priority. Aiding Ukraine costs a fraction of what the Iraq War cost, does not entail the potential loss of US soldiers, and advances America's interest in deterring wars of aggression.

CAMBRIDGE – Observing Republican members of Congress oppose the extension of US support to Ukraine, one cannot help but wonder what happened to one of the United States’ two major political parties. This includes those GOP politicians who, while ostensibly supportive of Ukraine, allow their colleagues to hold it hostage to unrelated concerns about the US-Mexico border. Given the dire consequences of a potential Russian triumph in Ukraine, it is abundantly clear that supporting the Ukrainian war effort should be a top foreign-policy priority. But some in Congress evidently need a reminder of some basic history.

In 1916, US President Woodrow Wilson was re-elected with the slogan, “He kept us out of war,” in reference to World War I. This was in line with a tradition, dating back to the US founding, of avoiding what Thomas Jefferson called “entangling alliances.” As John Quincy Adams famously put it in 1821, the US does not go “abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”

Nevertheless, the US entered WWI in 1917, largely owing to Germany’s resumption of submarine attacks on neutral vessels, which had resulted in the loss of American lives. The arrival of US forces in Europe played a pivotal role in shifting the balance of power, enabling the Allies to defeat Germany and leading to the armistice on November 11, 1918.