Democrat Senator Richard Blumenthal is just back from a trip to the Ukrainian capital where he met with President Zelensky, and he's seeking to assure a hesitant American public that their taxpayer money is being well-spent because Russia is taking losses yet without costing American lives.
He said in an op-ed for the Connecticut Post that we are getting our "money's worth" in Ukraine given that not "a single American service woman" has been been lost.
"Even Americans who have no particular interest in freedom and independence in democracies worldwide, should be satisfied that we’re getting our money’s worth on our Ukraine investment," Blumenthal wrote.
"For less than 3 percent of our nation’s military budget, we’ve enabled Ukraine to degrade Russia’s military strength by half… All without a single American service woman or man injured or lost," he added.
Of course, this is the very definition of a proxy war on display, despite the reluctance of hawks like Blumenthal to actually call it that. In fact, they reject the term, ironically enough.
Sen. Blumenthal used the trip, and the op-ed, to further rally the war-weary US public, describing Zelensky as having "magnetic energy" despite the brutal war. The lawmaker from Connecticut wrote of Ukraine's leader:
His magnetic energy was as impressive as ever when I recently met with him alongside my colleagues, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, during my fourth visit to Ukraine.
And then argued that Zelensky's is somehow fighting in America's interest:
It will be a challenge, but it begins, and maybe ends, with a clear-eyed recognition that our own national security and self-interest are at stake. If Putin wins in Ukraine, he’ll roll forward against other nations — NATO allies that we have a treaty obligation to defend with troops on the ground. Ukraine is at the tip of the spear, fighting our fight for independence and freedom.
Recently, on the other side of the Congressional aisle, Sen. Mitt Romney Utah also called the conflict "the best national defense spending I think we’ve ever done."
"We’re losing no lives in Ukraine, and the Ukrainians are fighting heroically against Russia," Romney said. "We’re diminishing and devastating the Russian military for a very small amount of money … a weakened Russia is a good thing."
But to get the public behind them, these Congressional hawks are forced to paint an overly optimistic (and false) picture of how the counteroffensive is actually going.
Russian state media has taken note of the Democrat senator's words...
"As Zelensky is frank and forthcoming to say, Ukraine could not have survived without America and our allies,” Blumenthal said further in his op-ed. "But his counteroffensive is far from an assured success. In the end, the only way he loses is if America pulls the plug."
Or rather, we might say "pulling the plug" on massive US defense aid could be the quickest path toward getting both sides to the negotiating table.