Bill Kristol and other prominent neoconservatives are launching a $2 million ad campaign to urge Republicans to continue backing aid for Ukraine.
Defending Democracy Together, led by Kristol and Republican strategist Sarah Longwell, launched Republicans for Ukraine to boost Republican support for Ukraine. The ad campaign precedes what will be a contentious fight over President Joe Biden’s $24 billion request for aid for Ukraine.
The ads will appear online, on billboards, and on television, including the first Republican debate on August 23.
We are Republicans for Ukraine.
We are amplifying the voices of Republicans who believe that the United States should be a steadfast friend to democracies like Ukraine and a fearsome enemy to aggressive dictatorships like Russia. pic.twitter.com/hRclhf2m3e
— Republicans for Ukraine (@GOP4Ukraine) August 15, 2023
Longwell said one of the most “alarming trends” recently is the “real drop-off in support for Ukraine.”
A CNN poll found that a majority of Americans, or 55 percent, believe Congress should not send more aid to Ukraine.
“We’d like to put pressure on Republicans to do the right thing on Ukraine,” Longwell said.
Kelley Vlahos, a senior adviser at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, noted that Kristol’s Defending Democracy Together (DDT) has long promoted antagonism against Russian leader Vladimir Putin and “advocated” for continued U.S. presence in the Middle East:
In previous years (and before the Ukraine war) DDT also pushed campaigns like “Republicans Against Putin” and “Standing with Allies” (which advocated maintaining a U.S. presence in Syria and Iraq). It has leaned in hard on the Never Trump camp, particularly with the super PAC “Republican Voters Against Trump,” which raised over $10 million in the 2020 election cycle, spending $5.6 million in support of Democrat Joe Biden, and $3.3 million against Trump, according to Open Secrets.
Critics say it has been a long time since Kristol was considered a part of the Republican or conservative movement. Aside from his opposition to Trump, it’s obvious that the populist shift in the base against the Washington war policies of the last 20 years has also driven his estrangement.
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George Beebe, the Quincy Institute’s director for grand strategy, said, “This (Republicans for Ukraine) initiative ignores the vital need to pair American military support with American diplomacy.”
“Aid without diplomacy is simply a formula for yet another forever war — or worse, an escalation into direct war with Russia,” he added.
Kevin Roberts, the president of the Heritage Foundation, said, “You might think $2 million is a lot of money to waste on a useless ad, but it’s nothing for the well-financed neocon war machine. Americans know we’ve spent too much on Ukraine at a time when we can ill afford it.”
The fight for more appears dire as Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), the cochair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, said that he is not sure Ukraine’s war against Russia is “winnable anymore.”
Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.