DeSantis downplays Russian military might; blames Biden’s ‘weakness’ for Ukraine war

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has struck fear into his adversaries as a budding Republican rock star with widespread national appeal as a result of his domestic policies but may have opened the door to critics with his take on the war in Ukraine.

The Sunshine State Republican has yet to declare his 2024 candidacy for the White House but may have given his opponents an opening to attack his ability to lead over foreign policy after he downplayed the power of Russia’s military.

(Video: Fox News)

On Monday, DeSantis appeared on Fox News where he joined the crew at “Fox & Friends” to discuss President Joe Biden’s surprise visit to Ukraine, a President’s Day trip where he engaged in a photo-op with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

DeSantis expressed the opinion that there would likely have been no invasion of Ukraine if it weren’t for Biden’s fecklessness abroad, especially the surrender of Kabul to the Taliban, telling co-host Brian Kilmeade he didn’t “think any of this would have happened but for the weakness that the president showed during his first year in office, culminating, of course, in the disastrous withdrawal in Afghanistan.”

“I think a lot of Americans are asking, you know, how much more money, how much more time, how much more human suffering?” DeSantis was asked by co-host Lisa Boothe as he joined the program from New York where he was promoting his policies on law and order.

“Well, they have effectively a blank check policy with no clear, strategic objective identified. And these things can escalate. And I don’t think it’s in our interests to be getting into a proxy war with China, getting involved over things like the borderlands or over Crimea,” DeSantis responded.

“So, I think it would behoove them to identify what is the strategic objective that they’re trying to achieve. But just saying it’s an open-ended blank check, that is not acceptable,” he said.

Asked by co-host Steve Doocy what victory would look like in Ukraine, DeSantis suggested that the idea that Russia was a revanchist military juggernaut that would use the corruption-ridden former Soviet territory as a springboard for a wider conquest of Europe was overblown.

“Well, I think it’s important to point out, I mean, you know, the fear of kind of Russia going into NATO countries and all of that and steamrolling, you know, that has not even come close to happening. I think they’ve shown themselves to be a third-rate military power,” the governor said.

“I think they’ve suffered tremendous, tremendous losses. I got to think that the people in Russia are probably disapproving of what’s going on,” DeSantis added. “I don’t think they can speak up about it for obvious reasons. So I think Russia has been really, really wounded here. And I don’t think that they are the same threat to our country, even though they’re hostile. I don’t think they’re on the same level as China.”

DeSantis’ view ran counter to that of Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin, another of the foreign leaders who are regularly given airtime on major establishment media outlets to make the case to American audiences for deepened U.S. involvement in a conflict that some believe is on the cusp of a major escalation, quite possibly leading to World War III with a nuclear powerhouse.

“I don’t think that Vladimir Putin is someone that you can reason with. I think his actions are very emotional and it’s based on some kind of feeling of history and greatness of Russia. They see Ukraine as part of Russia, and they think that they have the right to attack another independent country,” the Finnish leader said on Sunday’s edition of CBS flagship “60 Minutes” which aired the evening before Biden showed up in Kyiv.

“I think Russia poses a threat to all of Europe. They are attacking another country. They are killing civilians. They are demolishing infrastructure. Russia poses a threat to all of us. And that’s why we have to make sure that Ukraine will win,” Marin said.

The reaction to DeSantis’ remarks was entirely predictable with shrill but familiar cries that he may be in cahoots with the Kremlin and a Putin puppet, accusations that have served the left well as a potent talisman to use against their critics and were repeated by the usual hysterics and hacks on Twitter.

It’s not only that America has been ripped apart by the ruling establishment, but that it is being done on the behalf of foreign influences and there are ominous signs that the nation’s own problems will be relegated to the back of the bus in the 2024 elections with the drums of war drowning out reason.

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Chris Donaldson


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