Sometimes you wonder if those who lead the federal government are on your side.
For example, last April, President Biden alerted us that the United States sent cash to Ukraine so that their pensioners could “have something in their pocket.” That sentiment, which never looked good, seemed particularly embarrassing after the Congressional Budget Office projected that the Medicare and Social Security trust funds would run out of cash by 2030 and 2033, respectively.
No word on whether Mr. Biden cares about whether pensioners in the United States — the country for which he is nominally responsible — will have anything in their pockets soon.
This lack of certainty about who elected officials are working for is a bipartisan problem. Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Republican and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, shared his belief that Ukraine will need American F-16 fighter planes to win its war with Russia. The reckless expansion of American aid to Ukraine has gone from a posture of “no offensive weaponry” to “what the hell, let’s give them tanks and planes and see what happens.”
No clue as to whether Mr. McCaul is equally concerned with giving the U.S. Border Patrol some ability to deal with the 10,000 drones that crossed into American airspace last year. By all means, though, keep worrying about Ukrainian territorial integrity before getting around to defending our airspace.
It seems important to point out that while Mr. Biden has been to Poland and Ukraine, he has not managed an extended trip to the United States’ southern border. This despite the fact that he remains president of the United States. As such, his primary responsibility is the territorial integrity of the United States, not Ukraine.
Perhaps global warming is your thing. Team Biden has rightly made much of the Inflation Reduction Act and how much cash it provides to address climate change. For comparative purposes, however, the “Inflation Act” is going to ship about $30 billion in taxpayer cash to businesses each year. In just the first year of the war, Team Biden — with the unreflecting help of congressional Republicans — has already shipped $100 billion of taxpayers’ cash to Ukraine. No doubt there will be more to come.
All of that might be tolerable if there were some endgame in mind.
It is obvious that Ukraine won’t be able to invade and defeat Russia, and Mother Russia probably won’t be able to swallow Ukraine whole. That means that both sides will eventually need a negotiated settlement. We should probably get on with that before the ante keeps getting increased and people start suggesting that we send nuclear-tipped cruise missiles to the Ukrainians.
The larger problem for the United States and its citizens is that the government’s response to the conflict in Ukraine has made it clear that a significant (and bipartisan) portion of our “leaders” consider themselves more citizens of the world than citizens of the United States. They certainly seem much more interested in Ukraine than almost any domestic or security problem facing the United States.
That’s fine; everyone is entitled to their own opinions. At a certain point, however, such a bias is contrary both to their oath of office and to the expectations of the voters who elected them.
The lack of focus comes at a cost.
Right before he left for Europe, Mr. Biden tweeted that fentanyl has killed about 70,000 Americans — about 70,000 more Americans than the war in Ukraine. Fentanyl is largely the product of a very successful joint effort between communist China (the producers) and Mexican drug cartels (the marketers and distributors). Team Biden has yet to articulate, let alone execute, a plan on how to attack this problem.
In Kyiv, Mr. Biden told the Ukrainians that the United States is fully committed to their victory. Maybe it would be better if he were fully committed to the victory of the United States over Mexican drug cartels and their suppliers in communist China.
• Michael McKenna, a columnist for The Washington Times, co-hosts “The Unregulated Podcast.” He was most recently a deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House.