Ever since Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine and the Biden administration galvanized a NATO-wide effort to supply Kyiv with weapons and aid, U.S. policy has witnessed a deepening rift.
On one side are those — this author included — who see our response as a reaffirmation of America’s strategic DNA. On the other side of the rift stand those who maintain that the European theater is a distraction from the primary threat the United States faces, which is in the Indo-Pacific as China gears up to attack Taiwan. The argument against aiding Ukraine contains two subsets: First is the claim that by aiding Ukraine, the United States has in effect created a Sino-Russian alliance, whereas our goal should be to do a “Nixon-Kissinger in reverse” and peel Russia away from China. Second is that this is predominantly a question of resource constraints.
The China-first argument posits that our defense-industrial base is too small to support actions in both theaters, and we need to husband our stocks of weapons and munitions to defend Taiwan.
The relative value of each argument aside, egos are also on the line, and with the presidential primaries approaching, support of Ukraine and Taiwan, or of Ukraine versus Taiwan, could become hopelessly politicized, paralyzing rational debate over the issue.