Time to Get Tough on Russia

The White House must increase pressure on Russia in response to increased attacks on government buildings in eastern Ukraine, said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “I would be sending arms to the Ukrainian army. I would encourage the European Union to expand and take in Ukraine,” said McConnell last week. The US also should renew discussions with the Czech Republic and Poland to construct land-based missile defense interceptors in those countries, added McConnell (R-Ky.). Those steps “would indicate, without sending in a single American soldier, that the US is serious in standing up to this new kind of … Russian aggression.” Also last week in a speech in Lithuania, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said NATO must shift its posture toward a “more even distribution of our presence and capabilities across the alliance” to include the Baltic States. “This shift cannot be tactical and temporary. It must be strategic, sustainable, and enduring.” Though economies are still rebuilding, McCain said Russian actions in Ukraine demonstrate why members of NATO must spend “at least two percent of its GDP on defense.” Lithuania has pledged to do this, and other countries must follow suit, said McCain. The US and European Union also must provide greater diplomatic, economic, and military support to Ukraine, he added, especially in assisting with the rebuilding of the country’s armed forces.