Let's Not Listen To Adam Kinzinger About Going To War In Ukraine
There are a lot of very unremarkable members of Congress. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) may be the least remarkable of all. Over the weekend Kinzinger introduced an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) resolution that, if passed, would authorize President Biden to commit the U.S. military to defending Ukraine if Russia uses chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
Kinzinger announced the joint resolution during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“I just introduced an AUMF, an authorization for the use of military force, giving the president basically congressional leverage for permission to use it if WMDs [weapons of mass destruction], nuclear, biological or chemical are used in Ukraine,” Kinzinger said.
The congressman said that in his mind the AUMF would serve as a deterrent to Vladimir Putin. He also noted that the U.S. should get ready in case the situation in Ukraine evolves into one which compels our involvement.
“Prior to World War II, there were moments nobody ever wanted to get involved in, eventually came to realize they had to. I hope we don’t get to that point here, but we should be ready if we do,” Kinzinger said.
Kinzinger’s resolution states explicitly that we should be prepared to go to war to defend and restore “the territorial integrity of Ukraine.” Kinzinger has also talked in terms of red lines that must be prescribed and justified his call for armed conflict by saying “We must stand up for humanity and we must stand with our allies.”
“After World War II, America made our position clear—our commitment to freedom put autocrats on the defense and strengthened democracies around the world. In the last decade, we have seen this determination waver and tyrants, like Vladimir Putin, have exploited those vulnerabilities. Today, America has an opportunity to re-affirm our support to freedom-seeking people and firmly stand up to authoritarianism. After speaking with Secretary Blinken and hearing his grave concerns over Putin’s use of chemical weapons, I’m confident that the United States will show the international community that we will not stand for senseless violence.”
Kinzinger’s resolution follows on earlier calls by him for the United States to declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine and deny Russian aircraft access to Ukrainian airspace. Critics of that suggestions were quick to point out that Kinzinger's proposed no-fly zone would likely require the U.S. to fire on Russian aircraft
"No. This is insane," tweeted Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky).
Buzz Patterson, a former U.S. Air Force pilot who ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Republican in 2019, called Kinzinger’s no-fly zone proposal. "The dumbest s--t I've ever heard [Kinzinger] say … And that's a pretty high bar."
Congressman Kinzinger’s call for us to prepare to go to war with Russia over Ukraine is obviously mad. It is also in many ways a perfect distillation of the interventionist policies, which have led us to careen from armed conflict to armed conflict for decades. In point of fact, it is not the mission of the armed forces of the United States to function as some sort of international police force imposing our values on other nations and preventing armed conflict wherever it occurs.
The American military exists to protect the American people. When and if it becomes involved abroad to defend other nations it is because the security of the United States is threatened. As distasteful as the Russian invasion of Ukraine is, the current conflict does not in fact in any meaningful way threaten the security of the United States. To the extent we have a desire to see the Russians lose that desire is being fulfilled quite adequately at present by the supply of arms and equipment to Kyiv.
Absent, of course, from Kinzinger’s insane proposal is any real appreciation for the cost of going to war with Russia or how such a conflict might end. Russia does not maintain a military on a par with that of the old Soviet Union. On the other hand, it has almost a million men under arms. It has advanced weaponry. A war with Russia would not be a fight against a third-world adversary.
Such a conflict would be fought in the middle of Eurasia. It would be fought on Russia’s doorstep. Every man, tank, and missile the American military committed to this fight would have to be transported thousands of miles from American shores. It goes without saying that casualties would likely be massive and that our ability to respond to other threats, like a. Chinese move on Taiwan, greatly diminished.
Congressman Kinzinger’s reference to the American intervention in World War II is apt although probably not in the way he intended. The reality is that the United States deliberated for a very long time before entering that conflict and only went to war after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Prior to that time, it was the prevailing opinion that we should do our best to steer clear of international entanglements and foreign wars.
Maybe the “Greatest Generation” knew something we have forgotten. Maybe we ought to be a lot more hesitant to go to war.
We definitely shouldn’t listen to Adam Kinzinger.