Kinzinger Proposes Use Of Force Resolution In Ukraine
Kinzinger Proposes Use Of Force Resolution In Ukraine
Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois will not have a job in Congress next January, so he’s making waves on his way out.
Kinzinger, who is the current Republican darling of the left because of his role, along with Liz Cheney, on the January 6th committee, was on CBS’s “Face The Nation” this morning, ostensibly to talk about all the non-happenings in the January 6th investigation and ORANGE MAN BAD. This is how Kinzinger is making his bones and preparing himself for that future role as “Republican media analyst” at CNN or MSNBC or some other media company that will give him a paycheck for keeping an “R” by his name while trashing the GOP. But at the tail end of this interview, the subject of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Ukraine came up, and Kinzinger casually dropped that he has introduced an AUMF (Authorized Use of Military Force) into the House, so that if Russia crosses a “line,” then Joe Biden would be able to respond with the United States military.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Speaker Pelosi and top Democrats were in Ukraine overnight, as I’m sure you know. Do you see impediments to getting this $33 billion that the president has asked to be passed?”
REP. KINZINGER: I certainly hope not. I mean, look, there’s- we do have outliers of people that seem to show some Putin sympathy. But for the most part, Congress is vastly and largely united on the issue of Ukraine. We recognize Ukraine is fighting for all of us. That $33 billion is significantly less than what we would have to spend if we took Russia on directly. So I hope we don’t have any impediments to that at all. I wouldn’t expect we do.”
MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Kane was with us and he said it is too soon to begin talking about potential use of force in Ukraine. Do you think he’s right?”
REP. KINZINGER: No, I don’t. I don’t think we need to be using force in Ukraine right now. I just introduced an AUMF, an authorization for the use of military force, giving the president basically congressional leverage or permission to use it if WMDs, nuclear, biological or chemical are used in Ukraine. Doesn’t compel the president to do it. It just says if it is used, he has that leverage. It gives him, you know, a better flexibility, but also it is a deterrent to Vladimir Putin. If Vladimir Putin wants to escalate with the West, he will. It’s easy for him to do it. And I think right now what we’re doing with supply and with Lend-Lease, with the financing is right. But there may be a point that we have to recognize, you know, look. This is- World War- prior to World War II, there were moments nobody ever wanted to get involved and eventually came to realize they had to. I hope we don’t get to that point here, but we should be ready if we do.”
The joint resolution that Kinzinger is announcing would, theoretically, only allow for military action under certain circumstances.
“I’m introducing this AUMF as a clear redline so the Administration can take appropriate action should Russia use chemical, biological, and/or nuclear weapons. We must stand up for humanity and we must stand with our allies.”
“As the President of the United States has said, Putin must be stopped. Accordingly, the Commander in Chief to the world’s greatest military should have the authority and means to take the necessary actions to do so.”
So, let’s talk about this. HOW ABOUT NO.
First, we all know that Kinzinger is on his way out. The long-term political consequences of passing this joint resolution will not follow him, so call me massively skeptical that this is anything but an emotional ploy in order to boost Kinzinger’s post-congressional profile.
Second, given his record in Afghanistan, Biden and his Obama handlers are unlikely to be excited about an AUMF for Ukraine. Remember Obama’s infamous “red line” in Syria concerning chemical weapons use by Assad? What makes Kinzinger think that Biden would act any more decisively than Obama did?
Third, we already have a treaty via NATO. The concern is very real that Putin will step over the NATO line sooner rather than later. And at that point, Kinzinger’s AUMF is useless because we already have those ratified mutual defense agreements in place.
Finally, I completely understand the emotional appeal of trying to provide assistance to Ukraine in the face of Russian brutality. The siege of Mariupol, the massacre of civilians, and the raping of Ukrainian women are all horrific and evoke strong emotional responses in rational human beings. I applaud those on the ground who are working to assist the refugees. And if individual Americans wish to take up arms in Ukraine against Russia and are willing to assume the consequences, then they should be free to do so. But a Congressional authorization for military force? That’s a hard no. The prospect of taking on NATO is, so far, keeping Russia contained to Ukraine. A “Lend-Lease” deal with Ukraine, fine. Not chickening out when MiG-29s are in the offing, fine. But I wouldn’t trust Biden with a AUMF for Ukraine after the disaster during the Afghanistan withdrawl, either in using it, or in rationalizing NOT using it.
Kinzinger is making an emotional appeal without thought to the consequences, because there won’t be any for him. He’s been gerrymandered out of his own district, so what does it matter to him if he sets a booby trap on his way out the door? Hopefully, his proposal, despite some bipartisan support, will go nowhere fast.
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Featured image: Representative Adam Kinzinger, official Congressional portrait, cropped, public domain