DeSantis’ Slippery Ukraine Maneuvering

DeSantis essentially endorses the status quo while posing as a bold critic.

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Ron DeSantis expands on his Ukraine position in response to a questionnaire from Tucker Carlson:

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. 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.

Without question, peace should be the objective. The US should not provide assistance that could require the deployment of American troops or enable Ukraine to engage in offensive operations beyond its borders. F-16s and long-range missiles should therefore be off the table. These moves would risk explicitly drawing the United States into the conflict and drawing us closer to a hot war between the world’s two largest nuclear powers. That risk is unacceptable.

The early coverage of DeSantis’ statement is emphasizing and exaggerating the gap between him and Biden, and this is probably just what DeSantis wants. Note that DeSantis says that the US should not become “further entangled,” which implies that he has no objection to the current level of entanglement. He attacks Biden again for a “virtual blank check” position that Biden doesn’t actually hold, and then goes on to rule out certain kinds of military assistance that the Biden administration has also been opposing. Like Biden, he says he worries about escalation risks and the possibility of direct conflict between the US and Russia, but he can’t be seen acknowledging that Biden holds these same views.

DeSantis is looking for a way to run against Biden on Ukraine without embracing full-on opposition to the policy. What he has come up with is to misrepresent Biden’s position in order to make Biden seem more aggressive and reckless than he has been. Then DeSantis essentially endorses the status quo while posing as a bold critic.

This is a bit reminiscent of how Mitt Romney ran against Obama’s foreign policy. Because Romney didn’t really differ that much with Obama on substance on most issues, he usually had to distort Obama’s record to make the policy differences between them seem vast. The problem back then for the challenger was that Romney started to believe his own propaganda about apology tours and appeasement and then made a fool of himself on a regular basis.

Read the rest of the article at Eunomia

Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

12 thoughts on “DeSantis’ Slippery Ukraine Maneuvering”

  1. He got in trouble with the donar class and pulled back into vague generalities.
    Politician do what politicians do.

  2. Destantis is a tad boring. Some times, it is better to fully invest oneself in the issues rather then to hide ones head up his own ASS. (ass is merely an anatomical reference.)

    1. On top of being horrible on almost all issues, DeSantis doesn’t have the guts to go up against Trump. He can’t even bring himself to mention Trump’s name when he talks about him.

      Don’t be fooled by what any politician says. Instead, watch what they do. DeSantis is just a typical right wing establishment Republican, and he wouldn’t do anything to stop this war if he were elected, which he won’t be anyway (no realistic chance of beating Trump absent some ground-breaking event).

      1. Really? And who else would be significantly better? Marianne Williamson is the only one who might be better, but 1) she is ignorant about some important issues (this gets exposed in interviews with her) and often takes the wrong positions because of that; and 2) she doesn’t seem to prioritize the right things. As to the latter, the most important issues for a U.S. president are foreign affairs and land use issues, because that’s where they have the most power to actually do anything. Prioritizing domestic issues just ensures that she wouldn’t get anything done if she were to get elected, which she won’t anyway.

        As much of a vile pig as he is even in public, Trump basically governed like a typical Republican president. The establishments of both parties hate him because he occasionally says things in public they don’t want said (we’re in Syria for the oil and we’re taking it, for example), because his vile public personality puts a bad face on U.S. empire, and because he occasionally (but ineffectively) challenges the U.S. military (wanted to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Syria, wanted to make peace with North Korea, etc.) and opposes unlimited international trade (for the wrong reason, but at least he opposes it). And Trump didn’t start any new wars, despite trying to by assassinating an Iranian general.

        It really doesn’t matter much who gets elected president. The biggest difference will be land use and other environmental issues in the U.S., because Republicans seem intent on destroying the entire planet to make money, while Democrats at least pretend to not want to destroy everything (they still prioritize making money though). The worst president in my lifetime was easily Ronald Reagan, because he actually did all the horrible things as president that he said he’d do when he was campaigning.

        1. Well Jeff:
          YOU would be better.

          I would be better.

          THOMAS would be better, along with a multitude of regulars here on AW.

          I can dream.

          1. None of us are running, nor would we have a realistic chance of winning in this rigged system if we were (probably not even if the electoral system weren’t rigged, because Americans are pretty right wing as a whole).

            My point was that there’s no point in obsessing on things like who does or doesn’t get elected president. If it’s not Trump or Biden, it will be some other war monger Wall Street pig. Substantial positive change is not going to come from our rigged and corrupt electoral system.

  3. The only presidential candidates who might stop funding the U.S. proxy war against Russia are Marianne Williamson (she wants to start a Department of Peace, but her website says nothing about this war), but she’s being censored by the corporate/mainstream/establishment media (not that she has any realistic chance of winning), and Trump, though Trump doesn’t care about anything except for his money and his ego, so you never know what he’ll do. The rest of the candidates are just servants of the U.S. empire and will continue to do whatever the war mongers want, and/or are war mongers themselves.

  4. DeSantis has been just about the best governor you could have hoped for during the “covid domestic deep state” operation.

    That said, thanks for the information, and confirmation that setting up resistance to the oncoming tyranny is imperative.

    1. On COVID, DeSantis started off as a Cuomo/Whitmner/Newsom clone — he ordered, then extended, a statewide lockdown, extending even to stationing state troopers at airports and state border highway crossings to order travelers into “quarantine.”

      Then he discovered a couple of things.

      One was that all the rural Floridians whose votes he counted on were doing one, two, or three of three things — ignoring his bullshit orders, and/or laughing at him, and/or wondering who they’d vote for in 2022 since he was obviously unsatisfactory.

      So he flipped the script to a different kind of authoritarian approach that he thought (unfortunately correctly) would appeal to those voters. He undid all his “I’m Andrew Cuomo, only down south” stuff and started trying to tell businesses who they could hire, fire, and do business with so he could PWN THE LIBZ.

      Was he the worst governor during COVID? No. He managed to come out in the middle of a bad pack by switching between two kinds of bad.

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