January 31, 2024 | Reading Time: 4 minutes
The Republicans represent a ‘sovereign nation’ inside America
Russia is an ally. Ukraine is an enemy.
Anne Applebaum, whom I love, has a new piece in The Atlantic in which she blames the sudden collapse of American support for Ukraine’s war against Russia on “political incompetence.” “By abandoning Ukraine in a fit of political incompetence, Americans will consent to the deaths of more Ukrainians and the further destruction of the country,” she wrote.
Applebaum continued, saying that the collapse “will convince millions of Europeans that we are untrustworthy. We will send a message to Russia and China too, reinforcing their frequently stated belief that the US is a degenerate, dying power. Less than a year ago, when Biden made his surprise trip to Kyiv, the US projected confidence and unity as the leader of a functional alliance. Now, suddenly, we don’t.”
I love her, but let’s focus on the “incompetence” part and others like it. It may look that way from the view of a foreign policy mind, like Anne Applebaum’s, that has an internationalist take on US politics. But if you take a view rooted in American history, rather than America’s place in world history, you can see that “incompetence” isn’t quite right.
Linking Ukraine to the border bill wasn’t a “strange idea.” It was rational for an ongoing insurgency bent on sabotaging the United States from the inside out in order to establish a new world order according to God’s law.
The Republicans who are standing in the way of aid to Ukraine are competent, though it may not seem so. In their minds, they and their presumptive leader faithfully represent the views and interests of a country that’s sovereign in all but name. They faithfully represent a nation-inside-a-nation that opposes democracy and universal liberty, and that stands with countries, like Russia, that are equally opposed.
Applebaum said that the front line in the Ukraine war is fluid, but if it falls back dramatically, “Russian occupation of more territory would continue to mean what it has meant for the past two years: torture chambers, random arrests, and thousands of kidnapped children.”
The shock won’t end there, she said.
“An even deeper, broader shock wave would be triggered by the growing realization that the United States is not just an unreliable ally, but an unserious ally. A silly ally. Unlike the European Union, which collectively spends more money on Ukraine than Americans do but can’t yet produce as many weapons, the US still has ammunition and weapons to send. Now Washington is on the verge of refusing to do so, but not because the White House has had a change of heart.”
Applebaum goes on to list the “bad choices” that have led to this moment. First was former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s decision to remove aid to Ukraine from a federal budget bill. Then came the “strange idea” of linking aid to Ukraine with “controversial changes” to US border and immigration law. Third was Donald Trump’s victory in Iowa and New Hampshire, after which he pressured congressional Republicans to kill the bill that linked Ukraine with border reforms.
She concludes: “To the outside world none of it makes sense. All they see is that the US political system has been hijacked, rendered dysfunctional by a radical, pro-Russian faction led by a disgraced ex-president who used violence and deceit to try to remain in office.”
Like I said, I get it.
But the Republicans and their presumptive leader represent more than a “radical, pro-Russian faction.” They represent a confederacy of the mind and spirit, an imaginary nation inside a real nation that is, to them, sovereign in all but name. It is a place where the “laws of God” supersede the laws of men, and efforts to actualize the broader ideals of America, such as universal liberty, are seen as perversions of the will of God that are deserving of any reaction, up to and including treason.
The state of Texas has declared that it is free to do whatever it takes to protect itself against “invaders,” which is to say, migrants. (It continues to install razor wire along the border after the US Supreme Court authorized federal agents to remove it.) Governor Greg Abbott has said that this “constitutional right” is “the supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes to the contrary.” Texas is doing what the former Confederate States of America did, nullifying the rule of law to maintain a social order that’s dominated by white people. The Republican governors of 25 states signed a document in agreement.
Russia is in fact America’s enemy. Ukraine is in fact America’s ally in preserving democracy around the world and the liberal international order. But to the representatives of this confederacy of the mind and spirit, that’s upside down, backwards and prolapsed. The enemy of their enemy is their friend. In order to preserve “their way of life,” and in order to “take their country back,” they’re going to need all the help they can get against their host country. Their former loyalty to the Constitution and the laws of the United States isn’t going to stop them.
So the Republicans are not “incompetent.” They know what they want, and they know how to get it, no matter how destructive it may be to everyone, including to themselves. Linking Ukraine to the border bill wasn’t a “strange idea.” It was rational for an ongoing insurgency bent on sabotaging the United States from the inside out in order to establish a new world order according to God’s law. They are not just a pro-Russia faction. They are pro-white confederacy. If America is a degenerate, dying power, that’s because of the parasite within it.
John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.