Washington continued at full tilt into an all-out war with Russia over the weekend, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Kiev, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger proposed to send US troops to Ukraine, and Republican Congressman Michael McCaul raised the prospect of the United States using nuclear weapons against Russia.
Over the weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled in secret to Kiev, an active war zone, to pledge the US’s support to Ukraine “until victory is won.”
Pelosi, second in the presidential order of succession, was the highest-ranking US official to visit Kiev, in a sign of how deeply committed the United States is to a conflict that is rapidly escalating into a third world war.
Pelosi met with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, pledging the United States will “be there for you until the fight is done.” Given that it is the official doctrine of Ukraine’s government to retake Crimea by military means, Pelosi’s statement had vast and sweeping implications.
She added, “Our delegation traveled to Kyiv to send an unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine… We stand with Ukraine until victory is won. And we stand with NATO.”
She concluded, “Do not be bullied by bullies. If they’re making threats, you cannot back down. We’re there for the fight, and you cannot fold to a bully.”
Pelosi traveled with six other Democratic members of the House of Representatives: Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, as well as Barbara Lee, Bill Keating and Jason Crow.
The seven Democrats declared in a statement, “Our Members were proud to deliver the message that additional American support is on the way, as we work to transform President Biden’s strong funding request into a legislative package.”
Democratic representative Jason Crow, a former paratrooper and Army Ranger, one of the “CIA Democrats” elected in 2018, declared, “We have to make sure the Ukrainians have what they need to win… The United States of America is in this to win, and we will stand with Ukraine until victory is won.”
The visit by the congressional delegation followed the visit by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last Sunday, where Austin declared the United States is in a “fight” with Russia, and aimed to “weaken” it.
All of the members of the congressional delegation were Democrats. The prosecution of Ukraine’s “hot war” against Russia has been central to the program of the Democratic party. In 2019, the Democrats impeached former president Donald Trump over claims that he withheld military aid to Ukraine.
In the present crisis, however, significant sections of the Republican Party have been just as bellicose as the Democrats.
On Sunday, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger announced that he has introduced an Authorization for Use of Military Force that would allow president Biden to deploy US troops in a full-scale war with Russia.
Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Kinzinger announced, “I just introduced an AUMF, an Authorization for the Use of Military Force, giving the president basically congressional leverage or permission to use it if WMDs, nuclear, biological or chemical are used in Ukraine.”
Kinzinger continued, “It gives him, you know, a better flexibility, but also it is a deterrent to Vladimir Putin.”
He continued, “there may be a point that we have to recognize, you know, look, this is—world war—prior to World War II, there were moments nobody ever wanted to get involved and eventually came to realize they had to.”
Kinzinger’s Authorization for Use of Military force states:
the President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as the President determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to—protect the national security interests of the United States with respect to Ukraine; and assist in defending and restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said on ABC’s “This Week” that Congress would swiftly pass Biden’s $33 billion spending package for the war with Russia, declaring, “Time is of the essence. The next two to three weeks are going to be very pivotal and very decisive in this war. And I don’t think we have a lot of time to waste.”
In perhaps the most striking moment in all the Sunday talk shows, McCaul raised the prospect of a US nuclear attack on Russian troops.
Asked by host George Stephanopoulous, “What would happen if a chemical weapon was dropped on Ukraine and/or a short-range tactical nuke?... What would we—what should we do?”
To this, McCaul replied, “That crosses a red line. And I think, if that happens, we would have to respond in kind.”
In an exchange on “Face the Nation” on CBS, Senator Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016, refused to rule out sending US troops to Ukraine.
Kaine was asked by moderator Margaret Brennan, “Your Democratic colleague Senator Coons was on this program a few weeks ago, and he said there at least needs to be a conversation about when the United States would use force potentially in Ukraine.”
To this, Kaine replied, “So, right now, the status quo is, we are providing massive amounts of aid to Ukraine, both the US and NATO allies and others. If there were to be an invasion of a NATO country, a kinetic or even a cyberattack, or if there were to be use of chemical or nuclear weapons in Ukraine, that would change the equation.”
The US press, meanwhile, is braying for escalation. In an editorial headlined, “Defeating Putin will require larger U.S. commitments—and risks,” the Washington Post declares, “Mr. Putin’s war aim is not merely to conquer Ukraine but to overthrow the international order itself. It’s worth accepting costs and taking risks to make sure that Russia fails—and emerges from the conflict unable to wage such aggression again.”
The statements made by dominant sections of the US political establishment over the weekend must be taken as a major warning that Washington is preparing to massively escalate US involvement in the war, including directly sending troops or even using nuclear weapons against Russia.