Doug Bandow devoted a May 3 column to complaining about U.S. financial support for Ukraine and demanded that Europeans do it instead:
Why the U.S.? Americans have spent nearly eight decades protecting Europe. European governments, after shamelessly leeching off U.S. taxpayers for the entire Cold War and beyond, should take the lead on underwriting their neighbor under assault from Russia.
Aid to Ukraine is a worthy cause, but the U.S. already has provided some $3.5 billion in military assistance to Kyiv and another $1 billion for nervous NATO members. More important, Washington is not the only rich industrialized country in the world. It is not the industrialized nation with the most at stake in Ukraine’s defense. And it has not spent decades relying on other nations to protect it. The Europeans are all those and should step up.
Bandow went on to go fully into isolationism:
For America, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a human tragedy, not a military threat. Through most of U.S. history, Ukraine was ruled by someone else, which bothered Americans not at all. Washington treated Ukraine as a "captive nation" for propaganda purposes during the Cold War, but President George H.W. Bush discouraged Ukrainian independence. Ironically, over the last decade, Russia’s Vladimir Putin did more than anyone else to spur a sense of Ukrainian nationhood.
As a victim of unjustified aggression, Kyiv warrants U.S. support, but the U.S. role should be secondary. Washington’s highest duty remains to the American people. That especially means avoiding pressure to escalate militarily and risk war with Russia, which has become an increasing possibility. Treating Ukraine as a proxy war against Moscow increases the cost to Ukrainians and risks accidentally triggering World War III.
Europe should take the lead in dealing with both Ukraine and Russia. The U.S. government is broke, while European governments have more reason to give. After decades of defending so many other countries and peoples, Americans deserve a break. Now.
Ted Galen Carpenter's April 28 column dismissed Ukraine as "an appalling corrupt and increasingly authoritarian country" and insisted that it is "utterly irresponsible" for the U.S. to aid it, adding: "Corrupt and increasingly authoritarian Ukraine is not worth the life of a single American. Risking war with a nuclear-armed Russia that could take the lives of millions of Americans is beyond shameful. The Biden Administration needs to take several firm steps back from the abyss."
In his May 4 column, Carpenter blamed Russia's invasion on NATO and not, you know, Russia:
In one of the great foreign policy blunders of modern times, U.S. and European leaders repeatedly disregarded Vladimir Putin’s warnings that Russia would never tolerate Ukraine becoming a NATO military asset. Because of resistance from the French and German governments (which had as much to do with Ukraine’s chronic corruption as with concerns about Russia’s reaction), the Alliance delayed offering Kyiv a Membership Action Plan – an essential step toward membership. Nevertheless, at the 2008 summit in Bucharest, NATO’s existing members ostentatiously insisted that "someday" Ukraine would join the Alliance, and they repeated that pledge on numerous occasions thereafter.
Western officials implicitly assumed that Russia could be intimidated and eventually compelled to accept Ukraine as part of NATO. They dismissed the Kremlin’s increasingly pointed warnings that efforts to make Kyiv an Alliance asset would cross a red line that violated Russia’s security. Their assumption that Moscow would tamely accept a NATO presence inside Russia’s core security zone proved to be spectacularly wrong, and Ukraine is now paying a very high price in treasure and blood for their miscalculation.
One might hope that NATO leaders would have learned an important lesson from such a costly mistake. However, they are stubbornly ignoring a new set of ominous warnings from Moscow, and this time, the price of such tone-deaf arrogance could be utterly catastrophic. Indeed, it is creating the risk of a nuclear clash between Russia and the United States.
Western officials and members of the foreign policy establishments in the United States and Europe speak openly of helping Ukraine win its war and inflict a humiliating defeat on Russia. What such individuals do not seem to comprehend is that Ukraine is a vital Russian security interest, and the Kremlin will do whatever is necessary – probably even the use of tactical nuclear weapons – to prevent a defeat. The failure to understand just how important Ukraine is to Russia caused Western leaders to disregard Moscow’s warnings over more than a decade against making Kyiv a military ally.
Ryan McMaken used a March 21 column to insisting that the "lesson of 1938" learned about trying to appease Hitler does not apply to Russia: "But it is not, in fact, the case that every act of diplomacy or compromise designed to avoid war is appeasement. Moreover, we can find countless examples in which nonintervention and a refusal to escalate a situation was — or would have been — the better choice." He claimed that the "lesson of 1914," in which countries decided to "rush to war, immediately escalate, and confront "enemies" with military force in the name of countering aggression" is the proper lesson to apply, though nobody but Russia is escalating things.
Meanwhile, CNS edidtor Terry Jeffrey's pet columnist, Pat Buchanan, continued to serve up calls for U.S. isolationismm that benefits Russia:
- On April 22, he endorsed letting Ukraine be dstroyed by Russia if it meant keeping U.S. troops out: "To avoid war with Russia, President Harry Truman refused to breach Joseph Stalin's Berlin Blockade. Eisenhower let the Hungarian revolution be drowned in blood and told the Brits, French and Israelis to get out of Egypt. President John F. Kennedy let the Berlin Wall go up. President Lyndon B. Johnson let the Prague Spring be crushed by the Warsaw Pact. The sooner this war ends, the better for all."
- He used his April 29 column to complain that "the new, or newly revealed, goal of U.S. policy in Ukraine is not just the defeat and retreat of the invading Russian army but the crippling of Russia as a world power," insisting that "the more we destroy Russian conventional power, the more we force Moscow to fall back onto its ace in the hole — nuclear weapons" and adding: "When he warns of military action, Putin has some credibility."
- He fretted on May 10: "By bragging publicly that we helped engineer the killing of Russian generals and the sinking of the cruiser Moskva, we taunt Russian President Vladimir Putin. We provoke him into retaliating in kind against us, thereby raising the possibility of a wider U.S.-Russia war that could escalate into World War III."
- He spent his May 17 column huffing that Finland might be allowed to join NATO : "But why would the United States consent to go to war with Russia, the largest nuclear power on earth, for violating Finland's frontiers? ... By welcoming Finland into NATO, Biden is offering Helsinki the kind of war guarantee Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain gave to Poland in the spring of 1939, which led to Britain's having to declare war on Sept. 3, 1939, two days after Germany invaded Poland. How did that work out for Britain and the empire?
- He gushed inhis May 20 column that even with its failures in Ukraine, "Russia today remains a great power. The largest nation on earth with twice the territory of the U.S., Russia has the world's largest nuclear arsenal and exceeds the U.S. and China in tactical nuclear weapons. It has vast tracks of land and sits on huge deposits of minerals, coal, oil and gas." He did graciously concede that "Russia also has glaring weaknesses and growing vulnerabilities, though he didn't identify the invasion of Ukraine as one of them. He ended on an isolationist note: "In 230 years, the United States has never gone to war with Russia. Not with the Romanovs nor with the Stalinists, not with the Cold War Communists nor with the Putinists. U.S. vital interests dictate that we maintain that tradition."
Buchanan offered no solution beyond apparent appeasement.