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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/16/23

Ron DeSantis: On the Ukraine Conflict

Steven Jonas
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"Either this nation shall kill racism, or racism shall kill this nation." (S. Jonas, August, 2018)

Ron DeSantis & Kari Lake: What a Team!
Ron DeSantis & Kari Lake: What a Team!
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DeSantis on the Conflict in The Ukraine

Ron "I'm not running for President; I'm just putting forth positions and claims-of-accomplishment that I would be putting forth if I were" DeSantis has put forth a position on the Russian War on Ukraine (well, you know where I'm coming from on this one). To wit:

"While the U.S. has many vital national interests -- securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party -- becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them, . . ."

Despite trying hard to separate himself from Trump, using the "I've actually done stuff" line (and making it very clear that in his terms he has actually done racist stuff while Trump has only talked about it), on the "Ukraine question" he has come down on the same side as Trump. The reaction from the Republican Royalty (in the Senate, at least) from Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell on down (or up, depending upon your point of view), was swift and negative. Of course, Trump has been in Putin's pocket since before the 2016 election. Trump has hinted, here and there, that if he regained the Presidency he would make it fairly easy for Putin to achieve some of his war aims in Ukraine. But getting back to DeSantis, why is he doing is he doing this?

As I said just above, DeSantis is clearly running for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2024 (not 2028). What his real beliefs are, nobody knows. In fact, it is not clear that he has any real beliefs. For example: "Ron DeSantis wanted to send weapons to Ukraine when he was a congressman" in 2014-15." But he has certainly made what his view of "Ukraine" is now, very clear. And what better place to do it on the Pro-Putin Tucker Carlson Show. As the anti-Trump Republican Charlie Sykes said of that appearance:

"It probably should not come as a surprise that Ron DeSantis chose Tucker Carlson's show to make his first major foreign policy announcement. Tucker, after all, remains the keeper of the right's restless ethical, moral, and ideological id.

"It doesn't matter that he has been exposed as a shape-shifting charlatan, fabulist, and hypocrite. His [referring to Carlson] flirtation with white nationalism, election denialism, and Insurrection revisionism have hardly dented his clout. Nor, in the new GOP, is it considered disqualifying that Tucker's pro-Putinism has made him a fixture on Russian state television in the midst of a genocidal war. His is the ring that still must be kissed. And kiss it DeSantis did. With enthusiasm."

And so, it is becoming very clear very quickly just why DeSantis is doing this, despite his earlier position on the matter. He is currently the number 2 behind Trump in the race for the Republican nomination. But as I have previously stated, I think that, as the indictments start to roll in, Trump won't be sticking around to engage in them. As is well known, there is Nikki Haley, and waiting in the wings are the likes of former Vice-President Pence (now clearly separating himself from Trump) as well as, for example, Mike Pompeo and Chris Christie, on a long list of "possibles."

Of course as soon as Trump leaves for a warmer clime, Saudi Arabia and Dubai come to mind (they do not have extradition treaties with the U.S., and in any case what U.S. Admin. would be stupid enough to try to bring him back[?!?]) if they did), the pool will suddenly become very crowded. And so, as DeSantis continues to vigorously burnish his racist credentials, if he is currently No. 2 in the race, once Trump does depart, he should become the putative no. 1. And so now, he is distinguishing himself, on foreign policy, from every other possible candidate who has indicated that they are or might be one.

At the same time, as noted above, DeSantis is also vigorously burnishing his racist credentials (or at least his racist policies/campaign-themes, for no one knows whether or not DeSantis is a personal racist). DeSantis recently summed up in his famous phase: "Florida is where woke goes to die," which he said after his recent reelection victory. As it happens, a standard dictionary definition of "WOKE" is: "aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)." According to the DeSantis campaign the term means something rather different: "Asked what 'woke' means more generally, [Desantis' General Counsel Ryan] Newman said 'it would be the belief there are systemic injustices in American society and the need to address them.' Newman added that DeSantis doesn't believe there are systemic injustices in the U.S. [emphasis added]."

Given the common, non-racist, definition of "WOKE," DeSantis' statement above tells you all you need to know about what is running on in that sphere. In a future column, we shall return to a consideration DeSantis' racist strategy and tactics and how he is using them. That column will also deal with how he is approaching civil liberties, academic policy at the university level, and educational policy at K-12 in the future.


Post-script on the "Munich" comparison which certain pro-Ukraine policy supporters are throwing around in criticizing its critics, like Carlson and DeSantis. There is no comparison. The Munich Deal in which the British and French gave away to Nazi Germany half of an independent country, Czechoslovakia, ostensibly to prevent a second world war (in Europe at least) was not about "Peace in our Time" as then British Prime-Minister Neville Chamberlain advertised it.

It was all about preventing the Soviet Red Army from suddenly appearing in force in Central Europe (take a look at the map) to come to the aid of the very well-equipped, well-trained Czech Army which certainly could have turned back any attempted invasion of Nazi armed forces as they stood at the time. In fact, on the night of Sept. 30, 1938, the Red Air Force was warming up just over the Czech border to begin the counter-offensive against the Nazis. But again, the last thing the UK and France wanted was to have the Soviet Union be geographically where it would have been if that had occurred. And that was that.

What Carlson, DeSantis and other critics of current US/Ukraine policy (including elements on the Left) are proposing, essentially giving Russia what it wants in Eastern Ukraine, but hardly the whole country, hardly qualifies as "a Munich." (And oh yes, within six months of "Peace in Our Time" Hitler had taken over the parts of Czechoslovakia he had not gotten at "Munich," and five months after that had launched the invasion of Poland.)

(Article changed on Mar 18, 2023 at 11:38 PM EDT)

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY). As well as having been a regular political columnist on several national websites for over 20 years, he is the author/co-author/editor/co-editor of 37 books Currently, on the columns side, in addition to his position on OpEdNews as a Trusted Author, he is a regular contributor to From The G-Man.  In the past he has been a contributor to, among other publications, The Greanville PostThe Planetary Movement, and Buzzflash.com.  He was also a triathlete for 37 seasons, doing over 250 multi-sport races.  Among his 37 books (from the late 1970s, mainly in the health, sports, and health care organization fields) are, on politics: The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022; A Futuristic Novel (originally published 1996; the 3rd version was published by Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, Brewster, NY, sadly beginning to come true, advertised on OpEdNews and available on  (more...)

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