By Sandy Fitzgerald
Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., Friday disagreed with fellow Republicans who say the United States is protecting Ukraine’s border while neglecting the issues at the border with Mexico.
Calling calls to handle domestic problems first a “false choice,” Reschenthaler told Newsmax that the country also must honor its international obligations to other democracies such as Ukraine.
“We are the United States of America,” Reschenthaler, a military veteran, told Newsmax’s “National Report.” “We can do anything we so choose. We have that ability. We’re the world’s superpower.”
He added that “of course,” the U.S. should end the chaos at the southern border and stop the drug trafficking that’s happening, but it also must stay engaged internationally to protest its allies.
“Remember we’ve got a treaty obligation with Ukraine,” he said. “Ukraine gave up their nuclear weapons with the Budapest agreement, and it was the United States and Great Britain that promised Ukraine that if they gave up those nuclear weapons, we would support them in the face of Russian aggression.”
But Great Britain wasn’t present when the Chinese Communist Party went into Hong Kong, and the U.S. didn’t stop the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan, Reschenthaler argued.
“It’s that weakness that’s now pushing Putin to move into Ukraine, and that’s why it’s time for the West, the United States, and Great Britain, for example, to finally live up to some of these treaty obligations,” he continued.
If that doesn’t happen, “we can see the start of a new arms race,” Reschenthaler said. “We can see the second-rate nations all over the globe, getting nuclear weapons and refusing to surrender the nuclear weapons because they’ll know when we make promises, we don’t stand behind them.”
He added that he was “sick and tired” of America showing its weakness rather than being proactive.
“We should live up to our obligations internationally, and we should certainly defend democratic states against authoritarian tyrants,” Reschenthaler said.
The congressman also addressed Russia’s plans to stage ballistic missile drills, which will be overseen by President Vladimir Putin, calling them a power play to keep the Russian leader at the forefront of the tensions with Ukraine and to make President Joe Biden look weaker.
“It’s in Putin’s best interest to keep that tension going because he aggrandizes himself in Moscow and the Russian Federation,” Reschenthaler said. “Again, he puts the West on the defensive.”
Meanwhile, reports had said Russia would invade Ukraine on Feb. 16, which is now past, and that’s also showing how Biden is trying to lead from behind, Reschenthaler said.
“What we should be doing is taking a very proactive stance towards Ukraine,” the congressman said.
Reschenthaler said he’s joined Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, and other Republicans in the Guaranteeing Ukrainian Autonomy by Reinforcing its Defense (GUARD) Act of 2022, legislation proposed to ensure Ukraine has the military and diplomatic support in the wake of the Russian buildup around its borders.
The legislation also would strengthen sanctions on Russia, Reschenthaler said, adding that there is yet another bill that would sanction Putin personally, as well as his family and the oligarchs who support him.
“We need to take immediate action diplomatically to put Putin on the defensive right now,” the congressman said. “When Joe Biden leads from behind, Putin is in control.”
He added that NATO allies should be encouraged to bring Ukraine into the alliance now, rather than later, which Putin has demanded not happen.
“It would put Putin on his heels and we would be exerting influence right now,” Reschenthaler said. “We’re acquiescing to Russian aggression because we’re not taking a leadership role in the world again … we are now playing to Putin. He’s in control. He’s dictating the terms.”
Reschenthaler also called for a proactive stance to defend democracies around the world, because “at the end of the day, this is about aggression elsewhere.”
The Chinese Communist Party is looking at how the U.S. responds to the threats against Ukrain to make decisions on an invasion of Taiwan, and both Iran and North Korea could get more aggressive depending on how Biden responds to Putin, Reschenthaler added.
“The world is watching how Joe Biden and the West have shown recklessness in the face of Russian aggression,” he said. “That’s the real danger here.”