Republican Ohio Sen. JD Vance strongly cautioned against linking funding to Ukraine with funding to Israel, warning in a Monday memo that this is a “grave error that betrays a lack of strategic focus.”
“Each conflict is distinct and represents a different claim on U.S. interests,” he warned in a memo circulated to Senate Republicans and the House Freedom Caucus.
The senator stressed that Israel has a “strategic imperative to secure its borders and degrade Hamas” given the horrific Hamas invasion on Oct. 7. The Israeli operations “will help secure the Gaza Strip,” Vance said, but the Ukraine war has “jeopardized the European security architecture and threatens global disorder.”
The United States’ political and military relationship with Israel is “qualitatively different” from the United States’ relationship with Ukraine, Vance said, noting that Israel is “one of the cornerstones of U.S. foreign and security policy” and that Ukraine’s struggles with corruption will likely worsen its relationship with the U.S. “in coming decades.”
Vance also argued that Israel’s requests for assistance will be “specific, targeted to essential military systems to support a capable, well-trained, well-disciplined military” while assistance to Ukraine is “neither well-scoped nor secure.”
Israel has an achievable objective, the memo notes: “to degrade Hamas within the 140 square-mile Gaza strip.” Ukraine, meanwhile, will “require decades to recover its territory through force of arms and will be at risk of running out of men and munitions well before then,” Vance said.
“The United States does not have a plan in Ukraine, but we do have a plan in Israel,” the memo emphasizes. “Israel has a clear plan, and we have a clear means of helping them to fulfill that plan – by providing very specific munitions to enable Israel to conduct a limited operation with a view to neutralizing the threat Hamas poses to Israel.”
“We have no such plan for the Russia-Ukraine War,” he said. “The Administration has stated time and again that the United States is engaged in Ukraine’s war for ‘as long as it takes.’”
U.S. lack of planning in Ukraine “runs extraordinary risks,” Vance warned, noting that prolonged conflict could allow Russia to leverage its “considerable advantages” over Ukraine and create opportunities that expand or escalate the conflict.
“Major wars create wrenching decision-points that risk escalating conflict and expanding it to neighboring territories,” the memo concludes. “The consequence of the U.S. failure to elucidate a clear, achievable strategy in Ukraine had made U.S. policy and the American people hostages to fortune and prisoners of hope.”
Last week, nine Republican senators warned against the inclusion of any Ukraine funding in the aid package that the United States is sending to Israel in the wake of brutal Hamas terrorist attacks. Those senators were Vance, Mike Braun of Indiana, Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Rick Scott of Florida, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas,Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Josh Hawley of Missouri.
“We know there will no doubt be efforts to attach any funding to Israel to more aid to Ukraine, in excess of the already $113 billion Congress has provided to Ukraine,” the senators said in a Thursday letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “These are two separate conflicts and it would be wrong to leverage support of aid to Israel in attempt to get additional aid for Ukraine across the finish line.”
“Furthermore,” they added, “it would be irresponsible and we should not risk a government shutdown by bundling these priorities together and thus complicating the process and lessening the likelihood of a funding package.”
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