Donald Trump’s supporters will almost certainly not change their stance on impeachment, despite the fact that strong evidence continues to grow in support of the allegation that Trump used the power of his office for personal gain.
The testimony of a number of highly respected witnesses corroborates the the intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint was the catalyst for the Trump impeachment inquiry. A number of the witnesses have served honorably under both political parties, and stress that they are loyal to the country, not to a president or political party. Yet Trump’s supporters will have none of that.
It’s not just because Trump’s supporters are loyal (often irrationally so). It’s not because they see Trump as an honorable, or even innocent, man. It’s in large part because many of Trump’s supporters seem unable to fully connect the dots between Trump’s alleged conditioning of military aid to Ukraine, and the importance to the U.S. of Ukraine’s position in the world (and its relationship with the U.S.).
Many Trump supporters, taking their cue from GOP lawmakers, now acknowledge that Trump may well have required that Ukraine investigate one of Trump’s political rivals (Joe Biden) and Biden’s son, Hunter, in exchange for (already allocated) military aid. (“Do us a favor, though,” said Trump.) And, parroting Trump, they maintain that what Trump did was not wrong.
But the idea that the impeachment inquiry is nothing more than folly goes beyond simply the belief that Trump did nothing wrong.
Many Trump supporters feel we shouldn’t be helping Ukraine, anyway. Other countries, according to Trump and, consequently, his supporters, are far behind the U.S. in their aid to Ukraine, and should step up. Let Ukraine help themselves, they say, or let other countries help them for a change. We should be focusing on America and Americans.
That mindset, however, shows an ignorance of the strategic diplomatic balance required not only to support Ukraine in its fight to remain free from Russia, but also to help maintain the balance of freedom and national security for other countries, including, yes, the United States.
The U.S. cannot afford to be an island. It’s in our best interests, not just those of Ukraine, for the U.S. to continue to offer its support, and to avoid dangling support in front of Ukraine on condition of a “favor” in return.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the U.S. has consistently provided aid to Ukraine, in part because Ukraine is a key Russia-bordering country. Pro-Western political and military links in Ukraine are vital to the U.S, as well as to the well- being of the Western world, in general.
“Our efforts have been designed to promote stability, to protect the integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, and to help it reform,” said former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine John E. Herbst, now director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council.
And according to Ned Price, a member of the National Security Council during the Obama administration, “(Military aid to Ukraine) is to send a signal that Russia cannot violate one of the key tenets of international affairs, and that is that big countries cannot bully small countries. Our aid has been an integral part of a deterrence against Putin’s worst ambitions.”
The idea put forth by Trump that other countries are not doing their part to provide foreign aid to Ukraine is false. Since 2014, European countries have provided approximately two-thirds of all of the aid given to Ukraine. The E.U. has sent more than $16.5 billion in loans and grants to support Ukraine’s reform process, and Germany and Britain, on their own, have each offered millions of dollars in assistance. Japan, too, gave $3.1 billion to Ukraine in the early 1990s to establish diplomatic relations.
To Donald Trump’s supporters, withholding aid from a foreign country is, in part, what “America First” means. Global security, to them, may mean eliminating our perceived enemies, but it doesn’t consider strategic protection and global relationship-fostering. And, to Donald Trump’s supporters, loyalty to country means loyalty to Trump, who preaches that not only do we not need to nurture relationships with other countries to Make America Great Again, other countries don’t need us, either.
Why U.S. Aid Is So Important To Ukraine | NBC News Now
NBC News [2019-10-14]
Camerota asks voter how she would vote if Trump shot someone. Hear her response | CNN [2019-11-06]