Why even America First conservatives should back aid to Ukraine

It’s a popular talking point among Republican opponents of the bill to say it’s a distraction from other priorities, especially the baby formula shortage and the border crisis. But the bill has nothing to do with either of these. The baby formula issue involves FDA regulatory policy, which is completely unaffected by how much we are or aren’t spending on Ukraine, and Biden isn’t magically going to become a border hawk if we cut off assistance to Ukraine.

GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri has said his “biggest concern” with the bill is that it doesn’t represent “a nationalist foreign policy.” What constitutes a nationalist foreign policy is open to debate, but the bill, and our broader support for Ukraine, falls comfortably within a common-sense definition.

Assisting a sovereign country in defending its borders against a nation bent on regaining imperial glory, while ensuring other sovereign counties are better able to deter that would-be imperial power from further aggrandizement is a broadly nationalist project. So is resisting an adversary that wants to reduce our national power and influence. And, finally, one would think that a nationalist would feel a little resentment over a foreign power repeatedly threatening to nuke us if we don’t get out of its way.

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