US Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has touted Washington’s strategy of trying to weaken Russia by providing massive military aid to Kiev, allegedly degrading Moscow’s military forces while only Ukrainian troops are put in harm’s way.
Romney, who lost the 2012 presidential election to Barack Obama as the Republican Party’s nominee, made his comments during a visit on Tuesday to Utah-based defense contractor Strider Technologies. He argued that the best way for the US to mitigate the security threat posed by China is to ensure that Russia is defeated in Ukraine.
“Russia being weakened weakens their ally China,” Romney said. “And by the way, being able to take an amount that equals about 5% of our military budget . . . to help the Ukrainians is about the best national defense spending I think we’ve ever done.”
We’re losing no lives in Ukraine. And the Ukrainians are fighting heroically against Russia, that has 1,500 nuclear weapons aimed at us. So, we are diminishing and devastating the Russian military for a very small amount of money.”
While American forces have been spared bloodshed – at least officially – Ukrainian troops haven’t been as fortunate. An estimated 43,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since Kiev began a counteroffensive operation in early June, according to an August 4 estimate by the Russian Defense Ministry. Since the conflict began in February 2022, Ukraine has lost 400,000 troops, former Pentagon senior advisor Douglas Macgregor, a retired US Army colonel, said last week in an interview with Tucker Carlson.
Nevertheless, Romney claimed that the US effort to hurt Moscow through a proxy combatant has been successful, sending a message to Chinese leaders and to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has previously argued that Russia is a “geopolitical adversary” and is the “only real ally” of China.
“A weakened Russia is a good thing,” Romney said. “It tells China to rethink their territorial ambition. It tells Russia, perhaps most importantly, that the Putin vision of re-establishing the Russian empire and grabbing the old former Soviet Republics that that’s not something that’s going to work.”
During his unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2012, Romney called Russia “America’s No. 1 geopolitical foe.” Obama responded by quipping that “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
Romney claimed to have been vindicated when Russia began its military offensive against Ukraine last year. During his visit to Strider, he said, “It is very much in America’s national interest, in our national interest, to help Ukraine, and the best thing we can do for America is to see people who have nuclear weapons aimed at us getting weaker.”
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As for Romney’s claim that the US is “devastating” the Russian military by arming Ukraine, the opposite may be true. Russia’s forces are far larger, better-armed and more battle-hardened than when the conflict began, and they have gained 18 months of experience in destroying NATO weaponry and countering NATO combat tactics.