Historian refutes Sen. Hawley’s claim that ‘Ukraine is not an ally’

Missouri senator calls for end to U.S. aid to Ukraine
Published: Nov. 21, 2023 at 11:04 AM CST
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOV) -- Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley said the United States should cease sending aid to Ukraine, nearly two years after Russia invaded the country.

Hawley said Congress should instead divert the same resources to Israel, in the midst of conflict in the Gaza region.

“Ukraine is not an ally, to start with,” Hawley said. “Israel is an ally and longtime partner of the United States and they are facing an existential threat as we speak.”

While neither Ukraine nor Israel are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Jay Sexton, a history professor and director of the University of Missouri’s Kinder Institute said it’s not accurate to claim that Ukraine is not a U.S. ally.

“Ukraine has been a partner of the United States since it broke free from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s,” Sexton said. “The United States policy has been to foster a democratic, market-based Ukraine, that’s part of our wider alliance system.”

Hawley said that the U.S. has an obligation to assist its allies when they’re under attack, but holds the position that Ukraine doesn’t count as one.

“When an ally is under severe threat as they are, they’re not asking us to fight their war for them,” Hawley said of Israelis, not Ukrainians. “They’re not asking us to put troops on the ground. They’re asking us to help supply some weapons they’ve run out of in their fight against these terrorists and I think it is absolutely incumbent upon us to act.”

Neither Israel nor Ukraine has requested U.S. “troops on the ground.”

The U.S. has so far committed to nearly $44 billion in security aid to Ukraine since the 2022 invasion began. Under an agreement struck by the Obama Administration, the U.S. has spent $3.8 billion annually on Israel’s defense. Pres. Biden requested more than $14 billion in aid to Israel following an attack by Hamas on October 7, 2023.

Sexton said that Ukraine heavily relies on U.S. support, and that investment in the conflict should be viewed as an investment in global security.

“If Ukraine falls if Russian aggression is allowed to advance is not going to stop there,” Sexton said. “That’s what history has shown us about European Affairs. … Costs are much more likely to go up rather than to go down if we cut off the aid to Ukraine right now. It will give license to Putin to take or invade whatever he next wants to do.”

Sexton said a U.S. capitulation to Putin would also embolden other adversarial states, including China.