Months of Russian occupation are over in Kherson, the strategically crucial Ukrainian port city. The major setback for Vladimir Putin’s troops should decisively end any talk of the United States soon ceasing its support for Ukraine. The chief objective must remain ending the brutal invasion — with hopes that a durable peace is soon negotiated on terms that send a decisive message to any other nation that seeks to roll over a weaker sovereign neighbor.
Although it’ll be a narrow majority indeed, Republicans look close to retaking the majority in the US House. If they do, a sizable contingent in the party, still in thrall to Donald Trump’s “America First” brand of isolationism, is expected to raise the volume on calls to pull the plug on American support for Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s defensive campaign. Daily, the likes of Tucker Carlson ask why on earth America is militarily entangled with Kyiv. Speaker-in-waiting Kevin McCarthy has already said the GOP will not write a “blank check” funding those efforts.
Nobody wants unlimited billions to go out the door; placing reasonable conditions on cash is certainly reasonable. But Putin initiated hostilities just 266 days ago. To so quickly lose stomach for following through on a pledge to support a friendly democratic nation — a commitment that involves putting no American lives at risk — would make a mockery of America’s global commitments.
The balance is delicate indeed. Through soft and hard power alike, the United States and its many allies need to remain focused on helping Ukraine defeat Russia without needlessly escalating the conflict or inadvertently sparking a wider regional conflagration.
But the message of Kherson is to press on in the crucial mission of beating Putin back. The good guys can win this war.