(NewsNation) — America watched in awe 20 years ago as the Air Force pounded Baghdad during the opening days of President Bush’s war on Saddam Hussein. Nearly two-thirds of the country supported the war then, with the highest numbers being among Republicans.
Now, some Americans argue aid to Ukraine will lead to conflict with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Polling from Pew Research Center shows 26% of Americans think the U.S. is giving too much aid to Ukraine. Solely among surveyed Republicans, that number jumps to 40%. Which presents the question: Are Republican defense hawks disappearing?
U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., served as the former national security adviser to then-Vice President Dick Cheney during the Iraq War. He supports Ukraine and believes isolationism is on both sides of the political spectrum in the U.S.
“What I think you’re seeing now is a massive ideological hangover from 20 years of the Middle East wars. I think it’s certainly arguable about whether we should have gone in and debatable whether we should have gone into Iraq and whether we face mission creep in Afghanistan,” Waltz told NewsNation host Leland Vittert. “I think a lot of people are asking the questions when it pertains to Ukraine, which I think is a fair question, what does success look like? How much are we prepared to give? How does this end?”
Monday, President Joe Biden announced an additiona $350 million worth of weapons directly from America’s stockpiles. Waltz says as long as Biden does not articulate the need for U.S. involvement with Ukraine, questions will remain amongAmericans, especially as certain aspects of U.S. military power are not what they used to be.
“I think from a broad standpoint, yes, the military has been really worn out by the last 20 years of these conflicts coupled with sequestration. They were starved of funding for about 10 years on top of that, and yes, there are certain areas where we couldn’t do what we did,” Waltz said.
Waltz said some U.S. military capability is atrophied, explaining that 20 years ago, there were about 400 ships dedicated to taking military, tanks, fighting vehicles and soldiers over to the Middle East. Now, the U.S. has about 40. He thinks that the Chinese military buildup is something to keep a close eye on.
“In many ways, we’ve declined, but they have exploded on the scene, tripling the size of their nuclear arsenal; their navy is now larger than ours. There are hypersonics and other key technologies that they have developed that we’re trying to play catch up” on, Waltz said.
The U.S. has been a leading provider of assistance to Ukraine. Waltz insists European countries closer to the frontlines are “delivering a fraction” of what the U.S. has given in aid.