McConnell on Supporting Ukraine: “Strength Is Not A Provocation”

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Ukraine:

“Over the last few days, the Biden Administration’s confusing mismanagement and mixed signals surrounding the Ukraine crisis and the West’s response has again spilled out into public view.

“Here’s the pattern. Time and time again, throughout this crisis and the months preceding it, the Administration’s first instinct has been to resist strong and decisive steps.

“The President and his team initially take a pass on strong steps when they could have been put in place proactively and had a real deterrent effect.

“But then, after sustained public pressure, they buckle and implement the steps anyway, often too late.

“This ‘leading from behind’ leaves us in a lose-lose scenario. And the pattern has played out yet again with the bizarre argument over MiG airplanes that President Biden’s team have carried out in public with our Polish allies.

“The mere fact that Biden Administration officials are contradicting not only each other but also our NATO allies in public like this evidences a severe lack of the coordination and proactive leadership that America should be providing.

“This isn’t just limited to these Polish planes. There are all manner of different systems, tools, and arms that our Eastern Flank allies and partners could be providing more readily to the brave Ukrainians.

“This would take American leadership and coordination and an American commitment that we will help them replace their Soviet-era stocks with American and Western military technology.

“The loan guarantees we included in the supplemental appropriations bill will give the Administration a tool to do just this – help eastern flank NATO partners use their own money to modernize their defensive capabilities. This would be a win for Ukraine, a win for us, and a win for NATO.

“These kinds of steps should be no-brainers for a confident, assertive, and decisive American administration.

“Instead, it repeatedly seems like this Administration’s first instinct is to flinch, wait for international and public pressure to overwhelm them, and then take action only after the most opportune moment has passed us by.

“Nobody wants wanton escalation. But if the Administration keeps repeating this pattern of self-deterrence – of convincing itself that any proactive steps would be irresponsible – they are just internalizing Putin’s false premise and amplifying Putin’s false equivalence.

“Strength is not a provocation.

“The world needs President Biden and his team to be leading, taking the initiative, and shaping circumstances — calmly, soberly, but with confidence and decisiveness. They seem instead to be trapped in a cycle of passivity, indecision, self-deterrence, and then, finally, reaction.

“The world needs the Biden Administration to be flying this plane. Too often it feels like the plane is flying them.”


Related Issues: National Security