The Ukraine War Made Me a Hippie, Not a Putin Stooge

I am a former naval officer and I have always believed that the United States should never hesitate to flex its military muscle around the globe in pursuit of our national interests. I was, in fact, a war hawk. 

The disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan made me question my reflexive hawkishness. The United States’ support of Ukraine in its struggle with Russia further drove me to question our nation’s foreign policy. Why, for example, are we spending billions of dollars to help Ukraine defend its borders when we do not protect our own?

Ukraine has been invaded and occupied since antiquity. Its borders have continuously changed and its occupiers have influenced its culture for thousands of years. In fact, the shared heritage between Russia and Ukraine “goes back more than a thousand years to a time with Kyiv, now Ukraine’s capital, was at the center of the first Slavic state, Kyivan Rus, the birthplace of both Ukraine and Russia,” per National Geographic.

Upon Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Joe Biden announced, “President Putin has chosen a premeditated war . . . Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”

But the world is not holding Russia accountable; that burden has fallen primarily on the United States. As recently as September 2022, the European Union was “still the biggest market for Russian crude,” according to the International Energy Agency.

In addition, 2022 saw the United States give Ukraine about $67 billion in defense aid, approximately $46 billion to meet financial and humanitarian needs such as “general Ukrainian government aid, economic support, and aid for refugee resettlement”—much more than we offer to any other nation. This is at a time when the U.S. national debt grew to $31.42 trillion. The United States is paying for the Ukrainian government to exist and function when we cannot pay our own bills.

Yet U.S. involvement with Ukraine is poised to deepen in the coming months. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who never met a war he didn’t like, has recently called for the United States to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets and the training to fly them, representing a major escalation in a potential direct conflict with Russia.

Even liberal Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is calling for the continuation of military and emergency aid to Ukraine, making this one of the only bipartisan initiatives in recent years.

The reality is, the United States has more debt than it can ever repay. So why are we spending billions involving ourselves in a Slavic border dispute? Could it be money? Could it be that the military-industrial complex is alive and well and looking to fill its coffers now that we are no longer in Afghanistan? 

CBS News reports Ukraine’s use of artillery shells exceeds the Pentagon’s capacity to make them, “using in a month as much as (the U.S.) produced in the year.” Lockheed Martin is “gearing up to turn out one new rocket every 10 minutes at its plant in Arkansas.” This, as the defense budget approaches $1 trillion.

Is this an attempt to further push Europe away from Russia and deepen Europe’s dependence on energy from the United States? Now, Europe is the largest consumer of American oil for the first time in six years.

The war in Ukraine is also having some negative consequences for America’s geostrategic interests. Russia has improved its relations with both China and India, as India—never a U.S. ally—has moved further away from the United States. 

China is threatening Taiwan and recent war games show that “the United States and its allies lost dozens of ships, hundreds of aircraft, and tens of thousands of servicemembers” in any attempt to defend the island nation.

So now I am a hippie, not a Putin stooge. I would like to see the United States end its aid to Ukraine and use that money here. The time for our country to be involved in regional conflicts that do not impact our own security is over.

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About Jim Nelles

Jim Nelles is a supply chain consultant based in Chicago, Illinois and a regular contributor to the National Pulse. He has served as a chief procurement officer, chief supply chain officer, and a chief operations officer for multiple companies.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images