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A Time to Play Offense

State of the Union: The realist right should learn from Senator Vance’s masterclass on how to talk about Ukraine.

Credit: Ive radin

Why are realists always on the defensive when it comes to foreign policy? This is not an academic question. Readers will remember that, during the early days of the war, there was a systemic push by a section of the usual suspects to enforce a NATO no-fly zone over western Ukraine. The public interest in that only died down once seventy-eight academics signed a counter letter explaining what that actually entailed: shooting down Russian planes and direct conflict between NATO and Russia. 

Public opposition to another “forever war” has only increased since. So much so, that Semafor is reporting on the rift between the Republican electorate and the Republican elected representatives. Gallup notes the shift, stating:


Republicans are more likely now (50%) than when the war began (43%) to say the U.S. is doing too much to support Ukraine. Republicans are also more likely today (49%) than in January 2023 (41%) to prefer ending the conflict quickly, even if it allows Russia to keep captured territory. Independents have been supportive of Ukraine during the conflict, but their views have also shifted in a similar direction to those of Republicans. Independents are more likely now (43%) than last summer (34%) to prefer ending the war quickly.

CNN confirms in its own poll:

Overall, 55% say the US Congress should not authorize additional funding to support Ukraine vs. 45% who say Congress should authorize such funding. And 51% say that the US has already done enough to help Ukraine while 48% say it should do more.

Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio, a Republican, recently gave a masterclass on going on the offense, that should be a template for anyone trying to take control of the narrative. 

Immigration and foreign affairs are often not seen as connected, but we are entering a total and perfect storm at a time when there are millions of military aged men on the southern border quite literally planting their own flags on American soil. Republicans expect their elected representatives to go on the offense. The realist right should take their cues from Vance. 


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