America wins if we help Ukraine defeat Russia

Russia opposes NATO and is cooperating with our adversaries -- China and Iran

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Kansas’ favorite son, General and later President Dwight D. Eisenhower, remarked after the end of World War II that, "history does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid." "Ike" recognized that the freedom we enjoy today is both a unique privilege and hard-won inheritance.  

It was left to us by individuals who understood that the preservation of freedom requires enormous effort; indeed, liberty demands the marshaling of every resource necessary in its defense against those who would see it destroyed.  

Such a monumental endeavor was evident following victory in World War II and throughout the Cold War, as the United States, alongside allies and partners, opposed the Soviet Union and the rise of global communism, which were antithetical to individual freedom and human dignity.  


Though the Soviet Union collapsed, the same fight to preserve freedom remains. This fight has raged in Ukraine since February 2022, as Vladimir Putin’s Russian forces have waged an unprovoked and unjustifiable war with shocking barbarity.  

Ukraine war one year on

Ukrainian military's Grad multiple rocket launcher fires rockets at Russian positions in the frontline near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/LIBKOS, File)

Taking a sober view of history, there should be no doubt of the importance of the outcome in Ukraine and what it means not just in Kyiv, but in the United States. 

There are those who today favor appeasement with respect to Russia. This is a losing strategy. We must remember that Russia is America’s adversary by its choosing, not our own. For decades, we fought and won a Cold War without firing a shot.  

President Ronald Reagan’s "peace through strength" strategy crushed Soviet occupation of many Eastern European countries, including Ukraine, as well as for some of our most stalwart allies in the Baltic nations, Romania, and Poland.  

Through principled and tough-minded statecraft, we convinced President Mikhail Gorbachev that diplomacy was a better path than military confrontation.  

Today, Putin has rejected this path. He has chosen instead to pursue the reconstitution of the Russian empire according to his own warped vision of Russian history. He has made clear that his aspirations go beyond Ukraine and that he views NATO as Russia’s enemy.  

His naked aggression violates the principle of territorial integrity, and rather than trying to avoid civilian targets as the West does, Putin’s forces have intentionally targeted societal infrastructure and committed other atrocities against civilians.  

And under Putin’s leadership, Russia is increasingly collaborating with other nations who oppose us – Iran and our most powerful adversary, Communist China. 

From both an international and domestic perspective, it is in America’s vital national interest to assist Ukraine in repelling Russia’s invasion. Ending the war on terms favorable to Kyiv will leave Ukraine and NATO’s front in a stronger and better position to deter further Russian aggression.  

Ukrainian emergency personnel

In this photo provided by the National Police of Ukraine, firefighters work to extinguish a fire after a Russian attack at an apartments' buildings area in the town of Uman, 200 kilometres (125 miles) south of Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, April 28, 2023. (National Police of Ukraine via AP)

It also communicates to our Asian partners facing Chinese aggression, including and especially Taiwan, that the United States – alongside its partners – retains the capacity and public will to prevent a growing axis of authoritarian countries from breaking the alliances that secure freedom and prosperity. 

We should also remember that Putin’s brutal war has not been without serious consequences for the American people, as it has exacerbated already-high food and energy prices here at home. Farmers – including in Kansas – are but one industry feeling the effects of this war through higher input costs, while at the same time, they are faced with meeting shortfalls in global food production.  

Allowing the war in Ukraine to fester will only prolong and deepen the instability already wrought, and it puts at greater risk the 100,000 U.S. servicemembers defending NATO’s borders – including those from Fort Riley, Kansas. It is in our interests to help Ukraine degrade Russia’s warfighting capabilities, thereby reducing this threat to our servicemembers.  


To achieve success, the United States must lead, alongside its NATO allies and partners in Europe. This should not, and will not, require American troops to fight in Ukraine. 

There are those who today favor appeasement with respect to Russia. This is a losing strategy. We must remember that Russia is America’s adversary by its choosing, not our own. For decades, we fought and won a Cold War without firing a shot.  

Instead, it requires providing the Ukrainians with the weapons they need to win the war on their own. Only by doing this will Russia be forced to conclude that further efforts to compel Ukraine to surrender will fail.  

We are thus supportive of the recent announcement by the U.S. on training Ukrainian forces to operate F-16 fighter jets as well as the provision of long-range missiles and other needed equipment to Ukraine.  


However, it has taken too long to get equipment into the hands of the Ukrainians who are doing the fighting. This only makes the conflict last longer. The United States must speed up the delivery of support so that it is relevant to conditions on the battlefield. 

Both Presidents Eisenhower and Reagan embraced a pragmatic approach to foreign affairs, but they were far from isolationist. Each brought the weight of American power to aid those who sought to defend themselves from oppressive forces while avoiding committing American lives to the fight. Ukraine’s battle for freedom and security today is a noble one that we are right to support in the same spirit as those who came before us.  



Republican Jerry Moran represents Kansas in the U.S. Senate. He is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations, Commerce and Banking Committees.