by Askold S. Lozynskyj

Ukraine, America, and the world await Speaker Mike Johnson to do what is right.

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has done her part by putting the Speaker’s position in jeopardy and uniting the Democrats behind the Speaker. Politics is the art of what is possible. And it certainly makes for strange bedfellows. More importantly, it is often very ironic. Marjorie Taylor Greene may unwittingly enable aid to Ukraine. “Unwittingly” is the magic word. Most of what she does is without wit.


In the meantime and since the New Year, Ukraine is surviving, not with smoke and mirrors but with greater European help and its own innovation and creativity. President Zelensky is proving himself to be a magician as well as a first-class politician, with nerves of steel. He has replaced his surrogates where needed without too much rancour and appeased the dismissed with alternative positions. In fact, without American assistance, Ukraine has inflicted many losses on Russia including disabling some half of its naval and aerial power, limiting Russian unlawful occupation of international waters, and Russian threats to the world, including  the hungry in Africa, with its full control of the Black Sea. Russia is now limited to the eastern part of the Black Sea. Still Russian continues shelling Ukraine’s large cities such as Kharkiv and Odesa.


President Macron of France and Polish Prime Minister Tusk have stepped up suggesting the possibility of their own countries’ boots on Ukrainian ground. While other NATO members have disavowed that, the proposal remains in light of the very real likelihood that the United States will continue to provide mere band-aids for Ukraine’s defence, including the use of the interest on the Russian assets which are sanctioned repositories.


America continues to inhibit Ukraine’s strategy, often embarrassing itself with red lines against Ukraine’s legitimate attacks on Russian oil refineries. Even the Republican poster boy for hypocrisy Senator Lindsey Graham traveled to Ukraine, seemingly to make amends by proclaiming Ukraine’s place in NATO and suggesting anachronistic lend lease alternatives as espoused by his boss, the witless Donald Trump. Furthermore, Graham  brazenly encouraged a younger Ukrainian conscription attempting to cover up his vote in the Senate against aid to Ukraine. Ukrainians were deeply offended by his pomposity.


While there is reason for optimism, there is pessimism as well, and that is being exploited by Russia. Ukrainian society feels betrayed by America. Russia is and will continue to exploit that feeling. The only argument that will entirely stem Ukraine’s disillusionment in America’s commitment, would be immediate and tangible action.


President Biden recently scolded Speaker Johnson for his two-week Easter vacation while the world is

in peril and needs American support. Two weeks with little or no ammunition to defend itself is a long time. Passing a bill on aid to Ukraine does not immediately deliver the much-needed ammunition but it does immediately deliver equally needed moral support. Other steps must be taken in the interim so that the ammunition shells and missiles arrive at Ukraine’s border. A previous break at  Christmas and now this Easter hiatus simply underscores that Speaker Johnson is a neophyte. Unfortunately, there are few Republicans in the House who can influence Johnson in the right direction.


That influence must be convincing in explaining to Speaker Johnson that this is not a gift to Ukraine. This is an investment in not only the American defence industry but in the jobs of ordinary Americans throughout the United States. Furthermore, it is an investment in global security. Providing old and outdated US weapons to Ukraine is cheaper than maintaining them or even destroying them as they’ve outlived their usefulness to the US military. These outdated weapons have to be replenished by American industry and American workers thus strengthening America’s economy. Furthermore, a Ukrainian victory saves American lives because it precludes a war on NATO territory.


My suggestion here is a bipartisan coalition of the sane and moral. There have to be 218 sane and moral members in the House despite the debilitating cynicism and amorality in America today. The best example is the recent introduction by Donald J. Trump of his election campaign Bible at $60 per copy. When Speaker Johnson, a self-proclaimed student of the Holy Bible, saw this display and heard Trump say May America Pray Again, he should have expected Trump to be struck by a bolt of lightning. Fortunately for some and to the disappointment of others, that did not happen. Ultimately the good in America will prevail. God works in mysterious ways!


March 28, 2024