McConnell Invokes Reagan’s Legacy at NATO Summit: Talk Is Cheap When It Comes to Ukraine, Israel

Craig Bannister | July 10, 2024
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The late President Ronald would’ve done more than just talk, if faced with the conflicts involving Ukraine and Israel, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Tuesday, addressing a NATO summit in Washington, DC.

“The world remembers Ronald Reagan as the Great Communicator, and rightly so,” but the world knew that he was prepared to back up his words with “hard power,” McConnell said:

“But President Reagan knew well that being a master of rhetoric, public diplomacy, and soft power wasn’t worth much without the hard power that gave his words their weight. He knew that telling Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the walls that imprisoned the captive nations of the Soviet Union only packed a punch because the arsenal of democracy – which he had spent years rebuilding – was backing it up.”

“It’s no mystery” where Reagan would’ve stood regarding Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, McConnell said:

“It’s not difficult to imagine what President Reagan would’ve thought about a democratic nation – whose sovereignty his actions helped secure – facing the sharp edge of Russian aggression yet again. It’s no mystery where he would’ve stood while a proud nation gave its sons and daughters to beat back neo-Soviet imperialism, asking only that America and the West have its back.”

Today, Reagan’s foreign policy would require America and all NATO nations to stop talking and start taking swift, significant steps to help Ukraine defend itself, McConnell explained:

“Our friends on the front lines of authoritarian aggression and terrorist savagery don’t need hand-wringing hesitation or second-guessing. They need the tools to defend themselves, to impose costs on their aggressors, and to negotiate from positions of strength.

“Slow-walking aid to Ukraine didn’t stave off further Russian escalation. It only guaranteed that this terrible conflict will be longer and bloodier. Conditioning further assistance will weaken Ukraine’s hand and risk emboldening the very tyrant we hope to defeat.”

“By the same token, micromanaging Israel’s defense strategy doesn’t lessen the costs of war for innocent civilians. It just shields the terrorists responsible from justice,” McConnell added, noting that the outcome of Ukraine’s and Israel’s fights for survival will affect the security of the free world:

“Our friends in Israel and Ukraine are fighting existential wars of survival. Their enemies are working together to weaken the American-led order. The security of the free world will either be strengthened by our friends’ victory or weakened by their defeat. They deserve our support. This is Reagan 101.”

If NATO nations want to continue to enjoy collective security, they’ll “need more leaders to start facing today’s threats with the eyes of a Cold Warrior like President Reagan,” McConnell concluded.