Lindsay Graham, a remnant of the Bush era Neocon fold, has been a busy bee in the past year. He has visited Ukraine at least three times since the war with Russia began, called for the assassination of Vladimir Putin, called for the US to directly attack Russian planes, and he's even demanded that the US put troops on the ground in Taiwan to fight the Chinese. It just goes to show that there are certainly a number of politicians that identify as GOP Republicans that do not represent the will of most conservatives and moderates.
Graham's latest visit with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky has been broadly publicized. Andriy Yermak, the head of the president’s office, released footage of the meeting, intercut with dramatic piano music for effect:
The notion of "bi-partisan support" is broached with Graham applauding, saying that US efforts in Ukraine are "The best money we've ever spent." Congress approved over $113 billion in funds to Ukraine in 2022 alone, and around 60% of that was directed into Ukraine's military.
Zelensky once again asked for long range weapons and air defense systems at the meeting, which might indicate that Russian missile and drone bombardment has been more effective than the Ukrainians have been admitting. The recent destruction of a Patriot missile battery in Kiev suggests that current air defenses are not adequate to counter Russian hypersonic weapons.
Though full transcripts of the discussion are not available, there was also some coverage of the Wagner Group. According to Prosecutor General of Ukraine Andriy Kostin, topics included “continued joint efforts to counter the criminal activities of the Wagner Group in Ukraine and beyond...” Even after the Wagner Group successfully defeated NATO trained Ukraine forces in Bakhmut, Lindsay Graham suggests that "the Russians are done."
This kind of premature celebration does make one wonder if NATO is giving Ukraine false hope in their chances of gaining back any territory in the Donbas, let alone Crimea, given their long hinted "counter-offensive" has still not materialized. And Graham's suggestion of bi-partisan US support is curious given polls show support from both sides of the political spectrum is waning.
American zeal for aid to Ukraine was never as widespread as the media made it seem, and there are no streets in the US with Ukrainian flags flying high as Joe Biden once claimed. However, among Democrats there has been a larger margin of blind enthusiasm for the war effort. This is changing.
Polling now shows that even on the political left there has been a marked decline in support, with the idea of any US military involvement becoming highly unpopular. After almost 20 years of fighting in a host of countries including Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria under the direction of people like George Bush, Lindsay Graham and Barack Obama, Americans are growing rather tired of the war hawks.
In the case of Ukraine, the political dynamic seems to have flipped, with Democrats now becoming the war party while conservatives largely oppose involvement. Meetings like the one featured from Lindsay Graham may be designed to draw out the war by encouraging empty bravado, when diplomacy and an ending to the conflict should be the goal. But where does it end? If Graham has his way, the inevitable result would be WWIII.