The war in Ukraine has moved from city to city: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol, Kherson, Bakhmut. But its outcome, oddly, might be decided by a political contest thousands of miles away. The contest isn’t between Ukrainians and Russians. It’s between Republican hawks and Fox News.
Vladimir Putin is betting that the international alliance in defense of Ukraine will unravel. His best shot to win that bet is in the United States, where polls show that public support for arming Ukraine has declined, particularly among Republicans. War fatigue and unease in the Republican base are being channeled and fueled by Fox News, whose primetime anchors have worked to undermine America’s support for Ukraine.
The question now is whether congressional Republicans and GOP presidential candidates—the people who could cut off further aid to Kyiv—will withstand this pressure. The struggle is playing out on live TV, as Fox anchors press these politicians to disown or curtail our commitment to Ukraine.
The pressure from Fox’s side is intense. “Biden and the Democrats fought like crazy to stop $2 billion from going to our border wall—but just poured $100 billion into securing Ukraine’s border,” says Jesse Watters. “We’re going to spend billions in Ukraine but ignore our problems at home,” complains Pete Hegseth. “Biden—and, frankly, many Senate Republicans—are happy to give a blank check to Ukraine, even as they drag their feet about a disaster unfolding right here at home,” says Laura Ingraham. Tucker Carlson says we’re subsidizing a “corrupt foreign autocrat”—Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky—who is bent on “total destruction.”
Some politicians have taken the Fox bait. On Monday, in an interview with Hegseth, former Rep. John Ratcliffe—who served, absurdly, as director of national intelligence under Donald Trump—called the current U.S. policy “Ukraine first, Ohio last,” a reference to the train derailment in that state. Ratcliffe accused President Biden of advocating “welfare and Ukraine pensions and support to the Ukrainian people.” On Thursday, Rep. James Comer, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, castigated Biden for “trying to continue to spend more tax dollars in Ukraine when we have a national emergency in Ohio.” Sen. Mike Lee told Fox & Friends that the “military-industrial complex” was behind Congress’s misguided commitments to Ukraine…