Sen. John Thune (R-SD) made it clear he wants to put maximum pressure on President Joe Biden to ratchet up American involvement in the Russia/Ukraine conflict. You can best believe that if it were to backfire, he and the GOP would be blaming Biden faster than you can say, “Russia, if you’re listening…”
Thune is the Republican whip in the U.S. Senate and the No. 2 Senate leader. So when he talked about wanting to pressure Biden, he was likely speaking for the GOP, at least in the Senate.
Thune appeared yesterday on Fox News shortly after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the U.S. Congress.
THUNE: If they [Ukraine] want MIGS, we ought to give ‘em MIGS. If they want drones, we ought to give ‘em drones. If they want SAMS, we ought to give ‘em SAMS.
The Ukrainians want to carry the fight. Let them. If they need these weapon systems, then we ought to make it possible for them to help defend the airspace there over Ukraine. And I think at least the speech this morning, at least that was very powerful, very effective, I thought.
And you - everybody had a chance to see it, but it was kind of delivered to the American congress. The American congress, I think, has been effective in persuading the Biden administration to provide more lethal aid and to impose stronger sanctions. I mean, many of the steps the administration has taken, they've taken slowly and they've kind of been drug into it. But I think to the degree that Zalensky and the Ukrainian people continue to inspire people all over the world, hopefully at least here in this country, it'll have the desired effect and the pressure that we can help bring and the American people can help bring on the administration will lead them to at least give them the weapons that they need to fight the fight.
The MIGS that he is asking for and that the neighborhood wants to provide, we ought to help make that logistically possible. It doesn’t mean that American pilots are going to be flying planes or we’re going to be directly engaged, I’m not for that, but if the Ukrainians want to defend the airspace over their country, we ought to make it possible for them to do that.
Host Neil Cavuto pointed out that Biden, his military advisers and even some fellow Republicans think “that could be an opening to World War III.”
Thune “wouldn’t use those words” but he didn’t seem to mind such an outcome.
THUNE: I wouldn’t use those words, Neil. I think, frankly, anything that we provide - a weapons system - if we give them SAMS, if they can shoot Russian planes out of the sky or we give them drones, you’re essentially doing the same thing. Whatever you do, Putin’s going to claim you’re escalating, because that’s what he does. …
He’s trying to convince his people that there’s a rationale for them being there and blowing up neighborhoods and indiscriminately killing women and children. People aren’t buying that, and I don’t think that we should stop at anything short of American, direct American involvement at giving them the weaponry that they need so that they can defend themselves.”
Hopefully, the administration will come to the conclusion that this is something that they’re going to need, and the longer the Ukrainians can carry this fight, the more likely it is that in the end that Putin’s going to make a calculation that this doesn’t make much sense, and I think we ought to do anything possible to make that happen.
And if Biden doesn't go along, they'll blame him for anything that goes wrong, too.
You can watch it below, from the March 16, 2022 Your World.