Roger Stone's Blog
DeSantis Tries to Finesse His Position on the War in Ukraine
By Roger Stone
With the probability that the war in Ukraine will drag on for another year, it is increasingly likely that it will become the dominant issue in the 2024 presidential election. As with the war in Vietnam and the war in Afghanistan; the longer the war drags on and the more expensive it becomes, the less popular it will be.
As I wrote in this column some weeks ago, President Donald Trump has skillfully staked out a position that allows him to run on a platform of ending the war and emerging as the Peace candidate.
During the roll out of his new book, Governor Ron DeSantis, whose presidential candidacy is a certainty, tried with a notable lack of success to finesse the issue. The governor is painfully aware that the people putting up millions for his presidential run are cheerleaders for the war, but Republican primary voters are growing weary of the massive expense. This trend will only continue as the war drags on.
While DeSantis has criticized the “blank check” policy of the Biden Administration, he has, at the same time, downgraded the threat that the Russians potentially pose to the NATO countries.
When pressed to be more specific regarding his views on the war in Ukraine, the governor gets testy. As Aidan McLaughlin, Editor in Chief of Mediate accurately noted on Twitter, “DeSantis refused to answer when asked in an interview with Murdoch-owned paper The Times of London how he would handle Ukraine.”
As The New York Times reported, “Despite the seemingly cordial tone of the interview, Mr. DeSantis at one point became irritated with his interlocutor.”
Mr. Charter (of The Times of London) writes that when he asked Mr. DeSantis how he would handle American relations with Ukraine, the governor referred “to Biden being ‘weak on the world state’ and failing at deterrence.”
Mr. Charter pressed for more detail: How would a President DeSantis handle the conflict in Ukraine?
“Perhaps you should cover some other ground?” the governor replied. “I think I’ve said enough.”
In an appearance on Fox & Friends, DeSantis implied that Trump was weak on Russia, saying that Trump “was very positive about Putin,” which is, of course, a total distortion of Trump’s actual record.
The most shameful aspect of DeSantis’ clumsy attempt to bury his past as a pro-Ukrainian coup neocon and to avoid declaring himself on the future of the war in Ukraine, is the implication that President Donald Trump was somehow soft on the Russians.
Trump implemented the toughest sanctions against the Russian government since World War II — Trump shut down their oil pipeline while supplying Ukraine with offensive weapons (that had been previously denied to them by Obama). Trump has been quite blunt about the fact that he told Putin directly that any invasion of Ukraine (which took place in Crimea under Obama and Ukraine under Biden) would result in the bombing of Moscow.
Just as Eisenhower was elected on a pledge to end the war in Korea and Nixon was elected on a pledge to end the war in Vietnam; Trump will increasingly be seen as the presidential candidate with the best prospect for reaching a negotiated settlement of the war in Ukraine.