Here’s a New Twist: New York Democrat Runs for Congress as a Hawk on Ukraine

‘I am a believer in American strength, I’m a believer in American military strength. I’m a believer in American diplomatic strength. I’m a believer in America’s economic strength.’

Max Rose outside his Staten Island office, October 8, 2020. AP/Kathy Willens

If President Putin occupies Ukraine, America should support, arm, and fund a Ukrainian insurgency, a former U.S. Representative, Max Rose, Democrat of Staten Island, says as he runs to reclaim the seat from Representative Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican.

“We should dedicate significant resources and strategy to funding an insurgency against Russian occupation,” and that should include “arming Ukraine and immediate Ukrainian allies to a degree to which we have not been.”

Within the Democratic Party, Mr. Rose is a rare hawk — one who understands the importance of American power.  

“I am a believer in American strength, I’m a believer in American military strength. I’m a believer in American diplomatic strength. I’m a believer in America’s economic strength. And I’m actually a believer that when you have the latter two, military and economic, that’s where strong diplomacy can really push forward…. America is the only one that can be a leader in that regard. And that means that we have to be able to show strength across the board.”

He spoke with the Sun via video chat last week. As someone who fought similar battles — Mr. Rose served in the Army and appeared in arms in Afghanistan, where he was injured and earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart — he says that Russia will have a major problem on its hands. 

“After having fought insurgency for more than 20 years, I certainly know that we would be capable of helping to support one, and that is where Russia would truly pay the consequences. …

“As we have seen, in the 21st century, the invasion is actually the easy part.”

America shouldn’t be quiet about our willingness to fund an insurgency, either, he says. “We should make it clear and make it known that it is something we are considering.”

While Mr. Rose says he supported the decision to let Nord Stream 2 move ahead — “Ultimately,” he says, “economic integration is a strong tool for pacifying regions and reducing the chances of different types of warfare” — his stance was that the pipeline should be canceled if Russia moved on Ukraine. 

Notably, Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, did just that, announcing Tuesday morning that the German government will pause the process of certifying the pipeline.

The key at this moment, Mr. Rose argues, is that Mr. Putin’s larger goal — weakening NATO — is thwarted. 

“If you consider what it is, Vladimir Putin’s strategic goal here, I actually don’t think his strategic goal is centered around Ukraine. His strategic goal is centered around reconstituting the Soviet Union and weakening NATO. And we have got to make sure that his actions produce the exact opposite of what his strategic intent is, which is an even more strengthened NATO.”

That strengthened NATO, he argues, is one in which “the Sacred creed of NATO, which is, ‘You attack one, you attack all,’ is stronger than it ever has been.”

There are “two really important principles here on the line. The first is the strength of NATO and the concurrent strength of the post-war project, which has economic implications and military implications and security implications. And the second is the fact that you want to make sure that territorial boundaries mean something and that nations don’t seek to grow stronger and larger via military means…. We have to use all the tools at our disposal right now, military and otherwise … to make sure that both of those principles remain just as important in the 21st century as they were in the second half of the 20th,” Mr. Rose says. 

The New York Sun

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