Supporting Ukraine not 'vital national interest': Is Gov. DeSantis right?


Fact Box

  • On March 15, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis responded to a presidential candidate questionnaire regarding Ukraine in a statement asserting that, “While the US has many vital national interests [...] becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them.”
  • Since the Russian invasion, the United States has given over $100 billion to Ukraine in humanitarian, defense, and additional financial aid. 
  • Through Statista, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported a total of 8,231 deaths and 13,734 injuries during the Ukraine-Russia conflict as of March 12, 2023. 
  • February 24, 2023 marked the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began with “unleashing airstrikes on cities and military bases and sending in troops and tanks” to Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has become a symbol of Ukraine’s refusal to “bow” to Moscow.

Curtice (Yes)

Anytime there are military conflicts between two or more countries, the United States should take an interest, as well as offer to mediate. The question is whether Russia's war with Ukraine is of vital interest to the United States. And given the number of issues directly affecting the United States and its citizens, Ukraine should not be at the top of the list.. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is correct in his assessment that it is not a vital national interest for the US. 

Ukraine is important to other European countries, but the US and European countries (even if all NATO members) don't always have the same interests. Europe has a reliance on Ukraine for food supplies, and they also rely on oil and natural gas from Russia. The initial support for Ukraine support among European countries was initially mixed. The US and Europe's sanctions on Russia have certainly impacted European countries.

While the US has contributed substantially to Ukraine's war effort, our financial support for their war effort should not be open-ended as it only extends the war and overall costs to both nations. There must be limits, and even the current administration perhaps realizes that there are and should be limits to our support.

The US has more vital interests that require attention and sharper focus from the Biden administration, such as our own border crisis with the rising threat of cartels, persistent inflation, the fentanyl drug crisis, the general deterioration of the economy and American wellbeing, increasing homelessness and city crime, and so on. 

It should also be noted that Joe Biden has been wrong on nearly every foreign policy issue throughout his career, so one should perhaps take his unwavering support for Ukraine with a grain of salt.

Mark (No)

Gov. Ron DeSantis could not be more misinformed and misguided in his recent comments about the Russian/Ukraine conflict. DeSantis has warned that US troops could be deployed to Ukraine when that has yet to come close to happening. He is essentially using scaremongering tactics to rally support for his cause and impending presidential bid. Likewise, referring to the US support of Ukraine as issuing 'blank checks' is disingenuous, as he neglects to explain that these funds benefit America's military as they go toward modernizing our own weaponry before sending it abroad.

DeSantis has served as a sort of echo chamber to former President Trump, when inferring that Russia isn't a serious threat to world peace. This very conflict contradicts the notion that Russia is a peace-seeking nation. In fact, if Russia were to succeed in seizing Ukraine, then experts theorize that China is likely to follow suit, potentially similarly targeting Taiwan as Russia has done to Ukraine. Underestimating Putin has proven to be a costly devaluation, time and time again. 

DeSantis fails to realize that this conflict can and likely would become a threat to national security. History has proven that efforts such as the ones currently made by Russia continue beyond where they started. For the US to look away from the escalating situation in Ukraine sets a dangerous precedent that war is tolerable. Finally, the Russia-Ukraine conflict can be directly linked to America's inflation surge. If we do not de-escalate the situation between the two nations, America will continue to incur the effects.

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