by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
With the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, war is now on the border of our NATO allies for which we have pledged collective defense. …
… Ukraine is now the target, but are the Baltics and other regions safe? Probably not. Does the potential for China to take action against Taiwan in the near term further increase? It is hard to ignore that shortly after the Ukraine conflict began China flew planes through Taiwan’s claimed air defense identification zone.
The threat of sanctions and diplomacy failed as a deterrent, and are now being used by Washington and its allies as a punishment in lieu of military force. …
… First, the president and Congress must work together to enact the fiscal 2022 budget. Defense has been languishing under a continuing resolution (CR) for nearly six months, with political gridlock holding up requested funding to support activities in Europe, including $275 million in aid for Ukraine.
CRs are incredibly damaging to readiness, as our service chiefs have recently testified. The nation loses unrecoverable time and, according to numbers from leading trade associations, up to $100 million per day in defense buying power under the temporary funding measure.
More directly, it is hard for anyone to take a Congressional commitment to Ukraine seriously until it has secured the basic defense requirements for US forces in the region and elsewhere. Before rushing to get new money to Ukraine, let’s pass the fiscal year 2022 appropriations and get the money already planned for them cleared and on its way.
Second, the President should submit a FY23 defense budget of $814 billion to cover inflation and modernize the military, while also working an agreement with Congress and pass that budget on time this September.
Third, the President should submit to the Congress an FY22 Emergency Supplemental to respond to the violence in the Ukraine, reassure our allies in Europe, and deter China from getting any adventurous ideas while the Ukraine situation plays out.